Ecuador

Located in the Middle of the World, Ecuador is a stunningly beautiful country full of interesting places to visit. With a fantastic climate and breathtaking landscapes, the essence of Latin America merged to create a unique and unforgettable destination.

Ecuador is a paradise full of astonishing natural attractions. Ecuador has it all: snow-capped volcanoes, plunging valleys, majestic mountains, breathtaking gardens, green valleys bathed by cascading waterfalls, beautiful colonial architecture, monasteries, Indian markets, and little villages lost in the Andes.  

The culture is just as varied as the landscape, with traditional Native Incan, African, and European colonial influences that combine to create uniquely Ecuadorian cultural traditions. Its people are very friendly and hospitable making the cities full of life and culture.

Our volunteers will be based in the historic capital city of Quito. Quito has one of the largest, least altered and best preserved historic centers in all of the Americas. It was also one of the very first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO.

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Projects

This great fit for those who may be more independent, comfortable being left without a guide 24/7. The program is supervised, though you will frequently be at the project work site without a coordinator. Environmental conservation and animal rescue and care are both major issues facing the city and surrounding areas. During the registration process you will be asked to please make a selection of which volunteer experience you would prefer. Please see more below:

Environmental Conservation

To say that Ecuador boasts some of the most precious natural habitats of the planet is not an exaggeration. Ecuador is a green country with vast forest, unspoilt nature, amazing waterfalls, lovely beaches and much more. Our conservation volunteer project is aimed to protect the fragile ecosystem and preserve the flora of this unique paradise. Volunteers from around the world are welcome to join us and take part of this fantastic adventure and great challenge by participating in tree nursery activities such as; tree planting, preparing areas for planting, collecting seeds and data, maintaining the garden, teaching conservation practices, and assisting in providing environmental education. This project is open to flora lovers as well as volunteers of all skills interested conservation issues. This project primarily takes place in a botanical garden in Quito.

Animal Care

A large number of dogs and cats are roaming free on the streets of Quito, which presents a big problem for the city and its inhabitants. Apart from suffering from starvation, disease and maltreatment, many of these dogs and cats have been neglected or abandoned on the street and are living in very poor conditions.  Slowly but surely, the problem is being addressed. Animal rescue and welfare foundations are working on solutions to reduce the number of street dogs and cats. You too can be part of the solution. If you are a dog-lover and/or cat-lover, then you are welcome to lend a hand as a volunteer and help in a wide range of duties such as: rescue operations, caring for street dogs and cats (bathing, brushing, taking dogs for walks), feeding animals, cleaning cages, supporting sterilization procedures and veterinary service, helping to improve the shelter and educate people about responsible pet ownership.

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Leisure and Cultural Activities

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador and it is the second highest capital in the world at an elevation of 2850 meters. Quito is one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and is a great place to explore in your free time. Cultural visits to the old/colonial city, churches, museums, Indian markets, etc. are available during your week in Quito. Excursions to Pululahua Volcano or Middle of the World are also possible leisure opportunities to experience during your week. Leisure activities are planned, but not mandatory, and are a separate cost from the program fee.

Food and Lodging

A homestay with a local family is the best way to gain authentic insights into the everyday life and culture of Ecuador. The homestay will include: a private room and meals. Host families are all carefully screened, well-educated and have experience with hosting international volunteers. A 'host family' can be a married couple or a single person, with or without children and/or pets. Your host will, of course, be a native Spanish speaker. All of our host families reside in short walking distance or bus ride away, in quiet and safe residential sectors of the city and close to everything such as supermarkets, internet cafes, medical centers, post offices, shopping malls, bars, restaurants, etc.

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Arranging your Airfare

Volunteers will be picked up at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport exit. As many flights arrive late at night, volunteers may want to fly in on Friday night for an overnight stay in Quito before your program begins. If you elect to take this option, PELASE NOTIFY US. l An extra night with your host family can be arranged for a small additional charge (under 40$). The airport is located approximately one hour from your accommodations. Alternatively, we can provide you with hotel recommendations for those volunteers wanting to go that route.
A visa is not required for US citizens traveling within Ecuador under 90 days. Ecuadorian immigration officials may ask for proof of onward travel from Ecuador, so it is good to have those documents handy.

Safety and Security

Quito is not a dangerous place for volunteers, however, as with any large city it is smart to use common sense and not carry large sums of money, passports, and bank cards in easily accessible areas. We also discourage volunteers from wandering around town alone during the night.

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