The trip I took through ISV was a life-changing experience. I learned so much about myself as well as the world around me. I was placed in a project in the Andes, in a town called Chaupi. I was exposed to a whole new way of life, and by the end, this town became a new home for me. My group did various activities for our volunteer work. But the highlights by far were we planted over a thousand paper trees, taught English to the kids in the village, helped out a local widower with farm chores and putting on a skit to teach environmentalism to a nearby town.
My project leaders were fantastic, they didn't just lead us in our work, but they also took on adventures on our day offs, which wasn't part of their job description. We went to a festival in a nearby town, hiked Quilatoa Crater, climbed Los Ilinizas (one of the volcanoes in the Andes) and went to a hot springs.
I thought all the food was delicious, we stayed in a hostel called La Lloveniza, and the family who owns it cooked all our meals for us. My project was really lucky, we had really great living conditions. We had hot water and showers. There was a living area in the hostel, so sometimes we would have movie nights. The weather was a little cold, but it is what you would expect in the mountains. The family who owns the hostel was absolutely amazing, some of the nicest people ever. They really made us feel at home, and it really emphasized the impact we were making there, because of how much they appreciated our help.
The Adventure Tour was also a lot of fun! Personally, though, I valued the volunteer experience much more, and I think it would have been neat to do two volunteer placements instead of one and then the Adventure Tour. But the Adventure tour was really awesome. We rappelled down 100ft water falls, went puenting, had a spa day, hiked and canoed through the jungle, surfed, went to the largest outdoor market in South America (Otavalo) and got to stand on the equator.
I also recommend the Galapagos Excursion! Saw so many unique animals that you can't see anywhere else! The highlight was definitely swimming with the sharks at Kicker Rock. Lots of snorkeling and hiking on this trip, and way more down time. It's a nice way to relax after the craziness of the four weeks before it.