Don't let Ecuador's size fool you. Tucked between Colombia and Peru, it might be the smallest Andean nation but the country is packed with jarring contrasts of scenery and ways of life. Often called a microcosm of Latin America, the diversity in people and places is truly astounding and makes Ecuador a delight to visit. Whether trekking through dense Amazonian rainforest, marveling at the majesty of massive snow-capped peaks, exploring colorful highland markets or navigating Quito’s historic colonial district, our programs will show you the many sides of this captivating country.
Walking Tree organizes programs for teachers and their students.
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Walking Tree Travel specializes in customized group travel. The itinerary below is from a recent program and is provided here as an example of just one of many experiences that are possible in this destination.
Afternoon arrival to Quito and transfer to hotel where we'll get settled, enjoy our first meal together and hold a brief orientation meeting.
Start the day with a tour of historic downtown Quito, one of the most well preserved historic districts in all of South America. We'll visit the Presidential Palace, and ascend the spires of the Basilica del Voto Nacional. In the afternoon, we'll straddle the equator before dining on the edge of Pululahua Volcano, one of the only inhabited volcanic craters in the world.
We'll drive between breathtaking mountains and valleys to Otavalo, where we will spend the day visiting artisan workshops and learning firsthand about Ecuadorian/Andean culture (music, dress, and cuisine). We'll see a presentation from local expert musicians, then have lunch in their home before visiting a local weaver's workshop. We'll finish the day with some shopping at the Plaza de los Ponchos, one of Latin America's most famous artisan markets. We'll dine overlooking the square, and have the chance to sample some delicious Ecuadorian street deserts.
We'll descend from the mountains, stopping through small towns along the way, and arrive at our host community of Nanegal. Here we'll meet our homestay families, orient ourselves in the town, and learn about our community service project. In the afternoon, we'll take a hike to a lookout spot where we see the entire valley in which Nanegal is situated. Throughout the program, we'll have the opportunity to interact with local community members in Spanish, participate in cross-cultural exchanges, and learn more about the rich culture of Ecuador.
During our stay in Nanegal, we'll wake up early to work on our community service project and spend time with host families in the afternoons and evenings. Evening activities will vary, ranging from hikes to waterfalls, swimming in the river, dancing, playing music, farm visits, and generally getting to know the beautiful and unique culture and history of Nanegal.
Today we'll look to finish the remainder of our community service project and spend time with host families in the afternoons and evenings. We can also look forward to a going away party after our brief but meaningful stay in this special community.
We'll finish up work on the service project and have a final thank you meal with community leaders and host families before departing Nanegal. As we ascend into the mountains again, we'll stop and go on a zip-line tour of cloud forest canopy in Nanegalito. We'll travel to Papallacta Hot Springs high in the Andes and then continue on to the wildlife reserve La Jimenita where we'll spend the night. We'll have a structured reflection to discuss our experience, and some other group activities.
We'll have an optional short hike in the morning to watch the different humming birds that live in the reserve. Explore a network of hiking trails and enjoy the lush scenery! Then travel from Papallacta to Quito. We'll ride a cable car up Pichincha Volcano to see a final panoramic of Quito, then have a final goodbye dinner before heading to the airport for our flight later tonight.
Spanish Teacher, Oregon
"My favorite part was the homestay where students experience authentic opportunities to use their Spanish and make cross cultural connections with their host families."
All-Inclusive Program Tuition
$2,290 + International Flight
Program Types in this Destination
Service AdventuresConservation ExpeditionsCultural Journeys
Don’t see your area of interest highlighted in the itinerary above?
Plan your own customized trip today!
Program Tuition Includes
Global Leadership Activities
Walking Tree Travel has developed tools that will help our travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame the group’s experience, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively on our programs now and on their own into the future. Our activities also encourage students to take initiative as leaders in their local communities to make a difference at an immediate level, helping them to understand the impact they can have when they combine cultural understanding with personal and social responsibility.