Faculty: Paul Chamberlain
Meeting Night: Tuesday
This course will explore the natural and cultural diversity of Ecuador. The spectacular biodiversity of Ecuador encompasses the Galapagos Islands, the Amazonian rainforest, and the Andean Peaks. On this trip students will experience each of these. The incredible diversity of cultures, with over a dozen indigenous peoples will also be explored. We will travel from the modern city of Quito to the islands of the Galapagos, the highland villages of the Andes, and the remote settlements of the Amazon.
We will begin our exploration of Ecuador with Quito, the 9000-foot high capital and economic center of Ecuador. Among the sites of Quito, we will explore the World Heritage, historic Old Town with it’s picturesque plazas and magnificent churches. We will then take a side trip to the equator and the cultural markets of Otavalo. From Quito we will fly to one of the wonders of the world, the Galapagos Islands, made famous by Charles Darwin. We will spend seven days and nights sailing between the various islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Activities will include up close and personal viewing of a variety of wildlife including the famous giant Galapagos tortoises, blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, marine and land iguanas, and sea lions. We will also view the underwater wildlife while snorkeling. After flying back to Quito we will be transported to the Cotopaxi National Park, where we will begin our three-day mountain biking experience at 15,000ft. We will travel by jeep and bike through the awe inspiring landscape of the Andes, staying overnight at small Andean villages. On our return to Quito we will travel by bus to the town of Lago Agrio and then to Samona Lodge in the Amazon rainforest in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. From here we will take hikes through the rainforest and canoe on the lakes and rivers of the reserve as we learn about the flora and fauna of the Amazon.
ECUADOR TENTATIVE ITINERARY
Day 1- Arrival in Quito
Day 2 - City tour through the historical old town of Quito and visit to Middle of the World (the Equator)
Day 3 - Biking tour: Travel to Cotopaxi National Park (15000ft) and to begin biking tour.
Day 4 - Biking tour: – Hike to Quilotoa Crater Lake followed by another day of biking.
Day 5 - Biking tour – Travel to Chimborazo National Park (15000ft) to begin the final day of biking.
Day 6 - Quito – Free day to explore Quito – Night bus to Lago Agrio and the Amazon.
Day 7 – The Amazon - Travel by bus and motorized dugpout canoe to the lodging in the Amazon. Night walk in search of nocturnal species with our naturalist guide.
Day 8 – The Amazon - Travel by canoe through the rainforest viewing the flora and fauna. After lunch a trek through the rainforest including lessons in the use of plants for survival. Finally go for a swim in the Laguna Grande lagoon.
Day 9 – The Amazon - Take a canoe trip to the Tarapuy Siona community where your naturalist guide will explain about the culture and traditions of the native people. This will be followed by Piranha fishing in the afternoon and a Night-time canoe trip in search of caiman (alligators).
Day 10 – The Amazon - Return to Quito by canoe, bus and airline.
Day 11 - Otavalo Daytour
Visit the indigenous town of Otavalo which is famous for its handicraft market and colourful inhabitants. There will also be a visit to an indigenous family who make and play traditional musical instruments –
Day 12 – 20 - The Galapagos Islands - The Islands that changed the world.
Transfer by bus and airplane to the Galapagos Islands. The next few days we will reside on a sixteen passenger yacht as we study in the Galapagos Islands. The activities include snorkeling, hiking, and learning about the flora and fauna from our Ecuadorian naturalist guide.
Day 21 – Return to Portland
Special Note: This is an adventure Juniors Abroad trip that will include snorkeling in the Galapagos and mountain biking through the Andes. Thus participants must be in reasonable physical condition. Even though the majority of the mountain biking is downhill, it will be at high altitude. To participate in this course students will be required to be cleared for these activities by the George Fox Health and Counseling Center. Immunizations will be required for this trip.