Ecuador & Galapagos

Program Itinerary

25 Day High School Service Program

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Ecuador program. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

 

June 29 – 30: Arrive at the Quito airport, where VISIONS leaders will be waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) We spend the first night in a hotel in the city and drive to the Andean town of Patate the next morning, where we settle into our homebase and enjoy a welcome dinner with community members. We will also have our first Circle meeting, to begin to get to know each other.

 

July 1: In the morning we participate in a scavenger hunt around Patate to explore and learn about our host community. Then we head to the worksites for an orientation about our service projects, and meet our local projects maestro Segundo, who introduces us to the basics of cinder block construction and the tools that we’ll be using (including their Spanish names). Projects may include expansions and improvements to schools, repairs at the local elders’ home, or improving gardens and greenhouses. Segundo also gives the context and meaning of each project, making clear why each is essential to the community.

 

July 2: Excursion day! We visit some aguas termales (hot springs), a natural phenomenon common in the Andes that makes for great relaxation and taking in the surroundings.

 

July 3 – 5: We settle into our first week of work in Patate. You choose your worksite each day, be it making needed improvements to an elder’s home or playing with local children at the daycare. We also begin “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. In the afternoons, we hike in the surrounding mountains, participate in local artisan workshops and take Spanish lessons. A particular highlight of this week is Dia de Bomberos, a day when we meet local firefighters and community elders, learn traditional arts and crafts, and experience traditional dancing and food.

 

July 6 – 7: On our homestay day, you and a buddy will spend the day with a local family, becoming fully absorbed in the life of Patate. You may help out around their house or in the fields, sample some traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, or play with their children, all the while practicing Spanish and learning about what it’s like to live, work and play in this South American mountain town. The following day, we take an excursion and hike to Cascada de Mundug, a beautiful waterfall with stunning mountain views.

 

July 8 – 12: Dig into our second week of work, building on the progress and skills acquired so far. Afternoon activities include learning how to make tamales, taking a salsa lesson, and helping design and paint a local mural. In the evenings, we make bonfires and set aside time for Circle meetings, which allow us to reflect on our collective experience.

 

July 13: On our second homestay, you’ll deepen your community relationships and cultural understanding by spending another day living the life of a local Patate family.

 

July 14 – 17: During our final workdays, we finish up our projects, celebrate our progress and say goodbye to community members. We do a Big Clean of our home space to ensure it’s in ship-shape condition and get packed for the next adventure. The last night in Patate, we host a goodbye dinner for all of the friends we’ve made.

 

July 18: Head to Quito to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, walking along cobblestone streets, visiting ancient cathedrals, marveling at the historic colonial zone and learning about 16th century Spanish colonization. We spend the night here before catching a flight to the Galápagos Islands the next morning.

 

July 19 – 22: Arrive at San Cristobal Island in the Galápagos. During our time on these remarkable islands, we snorkel, spend time on the beach and at nature preserves, visit the Galápagos Science Center, and participate in service work at a local orchard.

 

July 22 – 23: Leave the islands and head back to Quito, where we say our goodbyes before catching flights home. Kids whose flights leave the following day stay with leaders at an airport hotel.

Below is the planned itinerary for the 2019 VISIONS Ecuador program. The actual schedule may be a little different because work, community activities and excursions can vary depending on changes in the weather, unexpected invitations from new local friends and other opportunities.

June 29 – 30: Arrive at the Quito airport, where VISIONS leaders will be waiting to meet each student. All teens make a quick call home before the group heads out. (Additional calls home happen about once a week during the rest of the trip.) We spend the first night in a hotel in the city and drive to the Andean town of Patate the next morning, where we settle into our homebase and enjoy a welcome dinner with community members. We will also have our first Circle meeting, to begin to get to know each other.

July 1: In the morning we participate in a scavenger hunt around Patate to explore and learn about our host community. Then we head to the worksites for an orientation about our service projects, and meet our local projects maestro Segundo, who introduces us to the basics of cinder block construction and the tools that we’ll be using (including their Spanish names). Projects may include expansions and improvements to schools, repairs at the local elders’ home, or improving gardens and greenhouses. Segundo also gives the context and meaning of each project, making clear why each is essential to the community.

July 2: Excursion day! We visit some aguas termales (hot springs), a natural phenomenon common in the Andes that makes for great relaxation and taking in the surroundings.

July 3 – 5: We settle into our first week of work in Patate. You choose your worksite each day, be it making needed improvements to an elder’s home or playing with local children at the daycare. We also begin “homebase crew” days, when a rotating subgroup helps with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up our living space. In the afternoons, we hike in the surrounding mountains, participate in local artisan workshops and take Spanish lessons. A particular highlight of this week is Dia de Bomberos, a day when we meet local firefighters and community elders, learn traditional arts and crafts, and experience traditional dancing and food.

July 6 – 7: On our homestay day, you and a buddy will spend the day with a local family, becoming fully absorbed in the life of Patate. You may help out around their house or in the fields, sample some traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, or play with their children, all the while practicing Spanish and learning about what it’s like to live, work and play in this South American mountain town. The following day, we take an excursion and hike to Cascada de Mundug, a beautiful waterfall with stunning mountain views.

July 8 – 12: Dig into our second week of work, building on the progress and skills acquired so far. Afternoon activities include learning how to make tamales, taking a salsa lesson, and helping design and paint a local mural. In the evenings, we make bonfires and set aside time for Circle meetings, which allow us to reflect on our collective experience.

July 13: On our second homestay, you’ll deepen your community relationships and cultural understanding by spending another day living the life of a local Patate family.

July 14 – 17: During our final workdays, we finish up our projects, celebrate our progress and say goodbye to community members. We do a Big Clean of our home space to ensure it’s in ship-shape condition and get packed for the next adventure. The last night in Patate, we host a goodbye dinner for all of the friends we’ve made.

July 18: Head to Quito to explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, walking along cobblestone streets, visiting ancient cathedrals, marveling at the historic colonial zone and learning about 16th century Spanish colonization. We spend the night here before catching a flight to the Galápagos Islands the next morning.

July 19 – 22: Arrive at San Cristobal Island in the Galápagos. During our time on these remarkable islands, we snorkel, spend time on the beach and at nature preserves, visit the Galápagos Science Center, and participate in service work at a local orchard.

July 22 – 23: Leave the islands and head back to Quito, where we say our goodbyes before catching flights home. Kids whose flights leave the following day stay with leaders at an airport hotel.

Celebrating 30 Years