Ecuador: The Galápagos Islands & The Andes

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Your first excursion is to the equator, where you can stand where the Northern and Southern hemispheres meet. Experience the diverse wildlife of a cloud forest. Travel to the Amazon Basin, where you will see the waterfalls and get up close with monkeys and exotic birds as you raft down the river. Next, travel to the Andes for a weeklong homestay.
Travel by boat to the Galápagos Islands, the famous site of Charles Darwin’s research, where scientists and nature lovers flock to research and admire some of the most biodiverse islands in the world. Activities include island-hopping on a night cruise, snorkeling, swimming in lava grottoes, visiting turtle hatching sites, and exploring mangrove forests and flamingo lagoons.
Participate in a community service project to support environmental efforts or the local community. Another adventure awaits as you hike from the first base camp to the second shelter of Chimborazo, an inactive volcano and bike back down through a Andean landscape.

  • Sustainability
  • Community Service
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Wildlife
  • Homestay

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9 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 75%
  • 7-8 rating 25%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
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  • Growth 8.5
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Touristy and Yet Completely Wonderful Experience!

Great trip! One huge highlight was the group; I couldn't have asked for a better one. They made everything so much more fun. Snorkeling in the Galapagos was unbelievable, as well as the atmosphere and staff on the boat we stayed on. Our tour guide was amazing, always happy to give long (in a good way) answers to side questions. The home-stay was also a highlight. My host family had radically different political and religious views than I did, which, while it was uncomfortable, was also valuable to experience. I got to go hit the town with my eighteen year old host sister and her friends, which was really special (not to mention a complete blast) because it was insane to see people across the globe doing something similar to what I might do with MY friends on a Saturday night.

One thing I will say is that this was definitely a touristy trip. If you're looking to really push your limits and/or be completely immersed in a new culture, this probably isn't the one for you. It felt like we touched the surface on a lot, from the history of Quito to the indigenous people of the Amazon, but we didn't really go into enough depth on anything that I felt like I really understood the whole subject. But it was still cool!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Chicken fingers. Not the fried kind: literal boiled feet of a chicken. I was staying with my host family in Riobamba, and they'd taken me to lunch with their huge extended family. We were all piled into their in-kitchen dining table, and I could already overhear some Spanish they thought I wouldn't catch along the lines of "who is she and why isn't she talking? Oh, she doesn't speak Spanish? Got it." so my comfort level was not at its strongest. They served up soup that they'd just cooked, which was delicious... until I found the chicken feet. Everyone picked them up and slurped all of the flabby, beige, boiled meat off of the bones. Don't get me wrong, it TASTED amazing, but the texture and... well, it was hard not to imagine the rest of the chicken. Alive.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Way To Spend My Summer

When I first signed up for this trip, my biggest fear was missing out on my summer because of this four week long trip with people I didn’t know. Now, when I look back on that fear, I am glad that it didn’t stop me. This trip has been the highlight of my summer and if I had the option to go back, I would. From playing Uno with my host family to snorkeling with sharks, penguins, and sea lions I enjoyed every second. I was able to do things I never imagined myself doing and that made for a memorable trip. The Experiment did an amazing job picking activities for us to do. One of those activities was traveling to the Galapagos Islands and living on a boat. Everyday we snorkeled and every night, the entire group would sit, talk and stare at the countless stars that we could see due to our proximity to the equator. This trip has made this summer my favorite by far.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
On this trip, the most surprising thing I saw was sea turtles. Though I could easily go to an aquarium and see these creatures, on this trip we saw them up-close as we snorkeled. This was an amazing and surprising thing to see because they were so close to us. It felt like I could reach out and touch these animals that I have only ever seen behind glass. That was something very surprising to me and something I will never forget.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Had a Blast

A very fun experience when I went to Ecuador. I experienced things that I normally wouldn’t be able to experience here in Missouri, to snorkeling with penguins and sharks to being at high altitudes. Everything was enjoyable, even the small moments like being with the group members, who I can call some of them really close friends. Everything was extremely fun, except sea sickness. I still enjoyed every moment that I had in Ecuador and if I had the chance I would absolutely go back. It was extremely fun to see the wildlife and the indigenous people living in the Amazon, also seeing the different type of wildlife that does not compare to what I am used to here in Missouri. I would really recommend this program for anyone that would love to travel.

What was your funniest moment?
Spending time with the group members and their jokes.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Ecuadorian Experience

I never expected to fall in love on this trip, but I did. Ecuador took my heart and I don't think I will ever get it back. The environment and ecosystems there are so incredibly unique and unlike anything I have ever experienced before, and it was all amplified tenfold by the amazing job The Experiment did. I had amazing group leaders along with wondrous activities The Experiment planned for us. I made new friends, a new family, and experiences that will last a lifetime. I know that I will travel back in the future because of the huge impact it had on me this summer.