Ecuador is an extremely diverse destination with something to satisfy the tastes and interests of everyone. Although one of the smallest South American countries, it is packed with contrasts of landscape and culture. The mainland consists of three principal geographical regions that also influence the climate: the Sierra (Andes) run down the country in a central spine, with an area of Amazonian rainforest to the east and coastline to the west.
Trekking options on an Ecuador expedition include a four-day trek in the cloud forest or the Andean mountains, or the ultimate Cotopaxi challenge. There are numerous national parks in Ecuador, home to an incredible variety of animals, birds and plant life. This school trip has the possibility of being as challenging as a team wishes their expedition to be.
Ecuador is home to many different ethnic groups and the national language is Spanish. There are Quichua speaking communities in the Andes and, among others, Shuar communities in the Oriente. Overall, this blend creates a fascinating and mixed culture which teams will be able to see and experience first hand.
An Ecuador expedition is a good option for teams looking for a diverse experience.
ECUADOR EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Here are just some of the incredible experiences you can choose from for your Ecuador expedition:
There are plenty of beautiful walks through rural Andean villages, visits to waterfalls, hidden lakes and even mountain summits to choose from, to help you acclimatise.
During this time, you get to self-cater and start learning the importance of team work as you see what it’s like to trek at altitude. Watch out for the alpacas!
Community & Conservation Projects
Making a Difference
Ecuador has a wide variety of projects based in indigenous highland villages, rural villages in the Amazon basin or by the Pacific coast. Tasks can vary at each site, but could involve renovating schools, repairing community centres, building playgrounds and teaching English to the locals.
Alternatively, teams may choose to work high up in the cloudforest on conservation projects such as building eco-trails and teaching children about environmental issues.
Ecuador Project Case Study –
Five years ago, World Challenge became involved with a sustainable tourism initiative at the village of San Clemente. Situated on the slopes of the Imbabura Volcano above the nearby town of Ibarra, San Clemente is a thriving community sharing traditional values and a simple way of life. World Challenge teams have completed a variety of work here, including building kitchens, flooring local houses and clearing hiking trails. Each year, around four teams get the opportunity to stay here and help out.
Last year, World Challenge sent 28 teams to 13 different communities throughout Ecuador to complete projects. These sites were in the Andean highlands, the rainforest and also on the Pacific Coast; there's no end to the number of communities that can benefit from the help offered by our teams.
There are a range of amazing treks in Ecuador catering for a range of physical abilities. One option is a walk through remote villages in the central highlands of Ecuador until you reach the breathtaking emerald-green Quilotoa Lagoon with spectacular views.
For those looking for something a bit tougher, why not really challenge yourself by summiting one of the many volcano peaks in Ecuador. Home to some of the world’s highest and most stunning volcanoes, teams can choose to summit one of these after a 4 day main trek in the cloudforest or the Andean mountains. Fit teams may choose to tackle the Around Cotopaxi trek, which includes trekking up to the glaciers of snow-capped Cotopaxi and then summiting Ruminahui volcano.
Rest & Relaxation
Teams travelling to Ecuador often like to contrast their mountain experiences with an adrenalin pumping white water river rafting trip deep in Ecuador’s Amazon. Horse riding around the Cotopaxi National Park is also popular. The fascinating sights and sounds of indigenous markets are never far away and finally there is an abundance of natural hot springs in which to soak those tired limbs!
- Ecuador, South America.
- Languages spoken: Spanish, Quichua and other native languages.
- Time zone: GMT -5.
- Terrain: Rain and cloud forest, mountain, jungle and coast.
- When can I travel there?: All year round. However very limited trekking from Jan-May.
- Climate: Ecuador has only two real seasons. The dry season runs from Jun-Sep. The rainy season is from Oct-May with August and the Dec-Mar period being the driest months of this period. The year-round average temperature is 15°-22°C.
- Expedition Physical Rating: High.
- Expedition Duration: 21 to 28 days.
- Culture Shock: Medium.
- Typical accommodation: Local hostels and tents.
- Ideal for: A demanding destination and challenging environment.
- The language spoken is Spanish.
- In Ecuador things generally get done “mañana” (tomorrow) and being late for everything is considered completely normal!
- Spanish has many beautiful words, but there is one that you will hear time and time again wherever you are in Ecuador. ‘Chevere’ is very commonly spoken by all young trendy Ecuadorians and directly translated means ‘cool, nice or cute’. If you want to try and impress with your Spanish, make sure that this is one of the words you ensure is in your vocabulary.
- Chimborazo Volcano is widely believed to be the point on the Earth’s surface furthest away from its core, even further than the summit of Everest!
Following extensive travel to Europe, South Africa and Russia (among others) during his life, Gary and his family decided to settle down in Ecuador 20 years ago and he became the World Challenge In-Country Agent in 2008. Gary now lives close to Tena where he owns a white water rafting business called River People.
NEW TO WORLD CHALLENGE?
Every World Challenge starts long before your students step on a plane. With our support, develop life skills and take ownership of:
- Destination and itinerary planning
- Fundraising ideas and events
- Budgeting and money management
- Preparation, fitness and nutrition
Get in touch with one of our consultants to start planning your overseas school expedition today!