Ecuador Galapagos Expedition

Nature-lovers will be in their element in beautiful Ecuador. Discover the breathtaking Galapagos Islands, get up close and personal with some incredible wildlife and learn about how to protect our important natural environment.

  • Location Ecuador, South America
  • Duration 4 weeks
  • Expedition Type Galapagos

This incredible expedition will take you on a journey through the beautiful and strikingly diverse regions of Ecuador. Spend time working on environmental projects in the spectacular Amazon rainforest and head off to the Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to experience that natural wonderland that inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience some of the world’s most amazing bucket-list destinations and leave a lasting positive impact for the people and places you visit.

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A fully supported expedition, from start to finish

Your expedition cost is comprehensive and covers the incredible activities you’ll be taking part in, as well as the extensive support you’ll receive in the lead up to, and during, your expedition. 

Don’t forget you’ll also need your vaccinations, visas, kit and some spending money. You can find guidance on all of these on your personal Traveller Gateway once you sign up.  

  • Ongoing pre-expedition support
  • Flights
  • In country transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Food and accommodation
  • Adventure challenge
  • Project costs
  • Leader and staff costs
  • Camps t-shirt
  • Orientation and language lessons
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Reserve location

This sample itinerary will give you an insight into what you’ll be getting up to. Please note, the exact projects, activities and camps may change closer to the time of your expedition.

Day Activities More details
Day 1 Leave for Ecuador This morning you will make your way to your designated meeting point ready to embark on your journey to Ecuador.
Day 2 Arrive in Quito On arrival to Quito airport you will be met by a member of our friendly Camps crew. We’ll transfer you to your accommodation in the city where you’ll spend your first night.
Day 3 Head to first camp We will hit the road in the morning and head to your first camp where you will receive an arrival briefing and camp orientation from our Camp Manager, before settling into your new home.
Day 4 – 8 Community project work Over the next few days you will get stuck into community development project work. In Ecuador, young people are moving to the city to find employment opportunities, leaving rural communities fragmented and isolated with a labour and skills shortage. The projects that you will be working on aim to improve basic health and welfare, increase food and water security and improve education facilities for local communities. In the evenings you will get a taste of the local Ecuadorian culture through language lessons and cultural dances performed by local people.
Day 9 Travel to the Galapagos Islands Today you will take a 2.5 hour flight from Quito over to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Galapagos Islands. Flying into Santa Cruz, you will then check into your accommodation before heading to a stunning natural pool where you will get to practice some snorkelling skills in the crystal-clear, emerald green water.
Day 10 – 13 Explore the incredible Galapagos Islands Over the next few days, you will have the chance to discover the many wonders these fascinating islands have to offer. Get up close to giant tortoises in their natural environment at Rancho Primicius or El Chato and snorkel around Bahia Pinguino where you may have the chance to see turtles, marine iguanas, sea lions, sharks, rays, penguins and dolphins. Learn more about the ecological importance of the island during a visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, a working scientific research base which is central to the preservation of these islands and their animals. Explore the lava tunnels of Bellavista, created during the formation of the islands when the hot volcanic lava met cold seawater. There’s time to kick back and relax too – spend time at Tortuga Bay, a feature on many “world’s greatest beaches” lists, and take the perfect panoramic photo at Cerro Mesa, one of the highest points on the islands.
Day 14 Into the Amazon Today you will take the journey to our Amazon camp, your home for the next part of your expedition. You’ll be living right in the heart of the world’s largest tropical rainforest, a unique opportunity to get back to nature and immerse yourself in this incredible part of the world.
Day 15 – 19 Environmental protection in the rainforest For the next few days you will be getting stuck into some environmental project work. This could include planting food trees for bears and getting involved in initiatives to minimise wildlife poaching.
Day 20 Experience the vibrant Otavalo market Today you will spend the day in Otavalo – home to Latin America’s largest artisanal market and the world-famous population of the indigenous Otavalos. Try your hand at bartering in the markets and purchase some unique gifts and souvenirs to remember your time on expedition.
Day 21 – 26 Rural community development It’s back to project work for the next few days at your next camp, located on the outskirts of a small rural community. Here you will be working alongside the locals, getting your hands dirty with some low-level construction, painting, plastering and bricklaying. You will also get to learn some traditional arts and crafts, taught to you by the local community.
Day 27 Back to the city Today you will head back to Quito where you can do some last-minute shopping and explore some more of the local history before checking into a hotel for your final night.
Day 28 Chao Ecuador Time to say your goodbyes to the Camps crew before we head back to the airport in time for your flight home.

How you’ll make a difference

You’ll work on a range of projects throughout your expedition, each aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and designed to make a significant and lasting impact on the region’s most critical issues. 

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Amazon rainforest regeneration

As the communities in the Amazon develop, deforestation of this important rainforest is increasing at an alarming rate. You’ll work alongside local people to understand the complex relationship between the environment and community development and you’ll assist with important environmental projects, collecting saplings and replanting trees in the jungle.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

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Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

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Food security

In the rural highlands of Ecuador, food security is a key focus. One of the biggest sources of income for the community at Kuri Kucho is the sale of milk from their cows. During the dry season, the milk truck can get around collecting produce with ease, but in the rainy season some of the dirt roads become impassable and many people can’t sell their milk as a result. You’ll get involved in projects such as improving road infrastructure to connect communities, creating organic gardens to increase local food production and constructing wood ovens for the community.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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No poverty

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

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Zero hunger

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

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Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

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Improving sanitation facilities

Most homes in the area lack basic water and sanitation facilities. You’ll get involved in our large-scale intiative to provide toilets to those in need, constructing septic tanks and rainwater harvesting tanks with toilets and showers. You could also get involved in a number of other small projects to help improve community facilities for local villagers.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
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Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

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Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

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Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Experience the local way of life in our authentic camps 

Our camps are the heart of our expeditions. Built and staffed by locals in the traditional style, and located within the heart of communities, they are the perfect place to relax after a day of project work. You’ll get to stay in a number of camps during your expedition, which could include those featured below. 

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Camp Chilli Urku

Experience true off-grid lifestyle in Camp Chilli Urku. Situated in a remote area of the rainforest, to arrive at the camp you’ll trek for a couple of hours through the jungle – the journey is well worth it. Surrounded by endless green, you will truly feel at one with nature as you fall asleep in your hammock listening to the sounds of the rainforest.

  • Location: In the Arajuno area of the Pastaza province
  • Accommodation style: Hammocks under grassed roofed open sided buildings
  • Bed type: Hammock
  • Toilets: Flushing
  • Showers: Cold bucket
  • Power: There is no power in the camp but we have solar lights charging every morning
  • Social area: Big dining room and open space to enjoy incredible views of the rainforest
  • Signature dish: Maito de tilapia or Maito de pollo – Fish or chicken cooked inside a banana leaf with palmito (roots of a type of palm) and yuca (root veg) and rice.
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Camp Kuri Kucho

Kuri Kucho is our highest altitude camp in Ecuador, sitting 3,300 metres above sea level. Its elevated hillside position offers you the most jaw-dropping views of the dramatic highland surroundings. The views across the valley to the glaciated Cayambe (5,790m) are not to be missed and on a clear day you may also catch a glimpse of Antisa. The camp itself is situated in the heart of this widespread community and it’s not uncommon to see children passing by the camp on horseback on the way to school. Accommodation is made out of ecological materials where possible, making this a very unique and environmentally friendly camp full of rustic charm. You are also only 40 minutes drive from Otavalo, Ecuador’s most famous indigenous market where you can grab all sorts of handicraft bargains.

  • Location: 75 km (2 hours drive) from Quito International Airport
  • Accommodation style: Eco houses
  • Bed type: comfy mattresses & sheets
  • Toilets: flushing toilets
  • Showers: hot water bucket showers & sinks
  • Power: Mains electricity only in social area. US standard plug
  • Social area: Camp fire, volleyball pitch, Otavalo visit
  • Signature dish: Cuy – guinea pig
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Camp Donbiki

One of our newest camps, the incredible Camp Donbiki offers a unique jungle experience. Situated in the heart of the Ecuadorian rainforest, its located next to a wonderful river, so you can be lulled by its peaceful sound as you go to sleep. You’ll be welcomed by the friendly community here as they teach you their local customs and knowledge of the rainforest, including the traditional use of medicinal plants. You’ll work alongside them to help protect and restore the indigenous trees and improve the community facilities.

  • Location: In the Arajuno area of the Pastaza province
  • Accommodation style: Jungle lodge with bunk beds
  • Power: American two pin plug sockets in the communal spaces
  • Social area: the end of each cabin has a chill out space with cushions and there is a small dining room. Lots of open space in camp to enjoy your jungle surroundings
  • Signature dish: Maito de tilapia or Maito de pollo – Fish or chicken cooked inside a banana leaf with palmito (roots of a type of palm) and yuca (root veg) and rice.

I went away with camps to Ecuador/Galapagos. The trip provided me with many great memories, from swimming with fish to the beautiful views at each camp we stayed in – we even started calling base camp ‘home.’ I was the only one from my school to go and everyone was so friendly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank you for a brilliant experience!

Unknown, Camp Ecuador 2017

Our local camp legends

Our camps are staffed by members of the community who will make you feel like a local in no time. These legends will make your expedition spectacular and will show you the very best of their home country. 

Marisol

Ecuador is a country of spectacular natural diversity, from stunning coastlines to magnificent mountain ranges offering everyone who visits us a varied experience. In our village, we are very proud to work with Camps International and to have volunteers from all over the world work with us to make a difference in our community.

Interested in this expedition?

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