Explore Ecuador’s natural wonders, from the Andes mountains to the Amazon basin and the Galápagos archipelago. See seals in their natural habitat, snorkel, hike a volcano, and take in the country’s vast biodiversity.
Land in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, to begin your Experiment. There, you will explore the 16th-century gold-inlaid churches and colonial buildings of the Old Town. Your first excursion is to the equator, where you can stand on the spot where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet. Experience the diverse wildlife of the Mindo Nambillo cloud forest, then travel to the Andes (the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia) for a weeklong homestay in the small city of Riobamba, where you will share daily activities such as sports, movies, and walks through town with your host family.
Continue on to the Amazon Basin to see the stunning waterfalls of Baños and get up close and personal with monkeys and exotic birds. Then, you’ll travel through 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. You will have the incredible opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a biological research facility and active breeding center. There, you will learn about the conservation efforts that maintain and improve the ecology and biodiversity of these remarkable islands. Activities include island-hopping on a night cruise, snorkeling, swimming in lava grottoes, visiting turtle hatching sites, exploring mangrove forests and flamingo lagoons, and observing the courtship displays of rare tropical birds.
Throughout your Experiment, you’ll develop your Spanish language skills through interactive lessons with local teachers and conversations with locals and try your hand at preparing a typical Ecuadorian dish (such as ceviche or empanadas). You will 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 that rises 20,548 feet above sea level, and bike back down through a beautiful Andean landscape.
The Experiment’s programs are designed to build skills that will help you succeed. In Ecuador, you will learn:
*Program fees may increase by$500 -$1000 to account for changesto lodging accommodations.
Families or partner organizations are also responsible for arranging and paying for participants' domestic travel to the international departure/return airport in the U.S., whether flying, driving or by other means. By its nature, domestic airfare varies by airline, timing, destination, and availability.
The environment and ecosystems in Ecuador 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!
JORDAN, The Experiment alum, Ecuador
This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented below.
Orientation in Quito
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay at a mission.
Thematic Focus in Mindo Cloud Forest
During this period, you and your group will stay in a hostel.
Homestay in Riobamba
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Riobamba, Cotacachi, Salcedo.
Thematic Focus in the Baños
Thematic Focus in the Amazon Jungle
During this excursion, you and your group will stay in a lodge.
Thematic Focus in the Galápagos
During this excursion, you and your group will stay at a hotel and travel frequently by boat.
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Quito
During the reflection period, you and your group will stay at a mission.
The Experiment’s group leaders go through a rigorous selection process and have extensive experience with youth education, local expertise in the country or region of their program, language abilities, knowledge in their program theme, travel logistics and management know-how, and experience with health, safety and risk management.
Vanessa Wyns is a returning leader who has twice led the Spanish Language and Culture program in 2022 and 2019. She studied abroad in Peru in high school and later spent a semester in Madrid while earning her dual B.A. in Spanish Language and Studio Art from Baylor’s University Scholars Program. After graduating, she spent two years teaching art and science at a bilingual primary school in Granada and later returned to Spain to be an instructor at a youth eco-camp in the northern Basque Country. Now an Education Director for an urban forestry nonprofit, Vanessa has spent the past decade trying to increase equitable access to, knowledge about, and respect for the world’s environmental gifts and cultural diversity. Her deep interest in how people relate to the environment led her to obtain an M.S. in Ethnobotany, an interdisciplinary study rooted in anthropology that focuses on the traditional knowledge of regional plants and their uses. Traveling is one of Vanessa’s great joys, and she’s had the great fortune to visit, work, or study in over 40 countries.
The Experiment's programs are led by accomplished and experienced faculty and staff who typically live in the country of study. Program leaders are responsible for instructional content, classroom and field experiences, and daily program operations.
Edison Baldeón (Edy) is a national tourism guide and part of the Biking Spirit company specializing in hiking and cycling tours. Edy loves the outdoors; cycling has been part of lifestyle since 1996.
For 16 years he has been a mentor for the highest cross-country mountain bike race in Ecuador, the 42-kilometer Chimborazo Extremo, in which competitors finish at 4,850 meters above sea level (15,900 feet).
Edy is based on Riobamba, close to Chimborazo, the highest snowy mountain in Ecuador, which he calls his second home.
Edy is in charge of hiking and mountain biking during the Chimborazo excursion.
1015 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road Brattleboro, VT 05302
P: U.S. 1.800.345.2929 | Intl. +1.802.258.3481
© 2023. World Learning. All rights reserved.