Day 1 :
Departure from your airport - Arrive in Quito
Quito is one of the most compelling cities in Ecuador. Nestled in a long, narrow valley in the Andes, between the the Volcano Pichincha to the west and the Machángara River Canyon to the east, Quito enjoys a spectacular natural setting. The Ecuadorian capital city's mix of colonial and modern architecture creates a fascinating built environment. In addition to being the site of the Ecuadorian government, Quito is also the nation's cultural capital, with an impressive selection of museums and festivals.
Day 2 :
- Jesuit church of La Compania:
We will have use of a private coach and driver, while touring for the next two days. Visit the Jesuit church of La Compania de Jesus, one of the great baroque masterpieces in South America. After 160 years work, the church was completed with Solomonic columns and an intricately decorated Moorish interior.
- El Panecillo:
Visit El Panecillo for the panoramic views of the city. Before the Spanish arrived, the local people used this hill as a place to worship the sun. Afterward, the Spanish used this site to construct a fortress to control the area.
- Plaza de la Independencia:
Explore the beautiful Plaza de la Independencia, the Old Town's main square. In the 16th century the Spanish were afraid that the Incas might poison their water supply, so they set up their own protected well here and this plaza subsequently became the social center of town. Here we will visit Guayasamin's mural of Orellana discovering the Amazon on the wall of Palacia de Gobierno; the City Hall; the Arhcbishop's Palace and the Cathedral.
- Iglesia San Francisco:
Visit Iglesia San Francisco, the first church built in Quito, begun in 1535 on the site of an Inca Temple. Inside we will view the baroque altar which has three important sculptures: the Baptism of Jesus; a representation of Jesus de Gran Poder; and one of the most important sculptures in Ecuador, the original La Virgen de Quito.
- Ciudad Mitad del Mundo:
Visit the Ciudad Mitad del Mundo an impressive structure with replicas of a colonial Spanish town. The complex features a church, an equatorial plaza, a bull-fighting arena, a cock-fighting house, several handcraft workshops and warehouses.
Day 3 :
Transfer to Otavalo - Orientation
Otavalo is a town in the Andean highlands in the Imbabura province of northern Ecuador. It's surrounded by volcanoes including the Imbabura Volcano. It's known for its Otavalo Market in the central Plaza de Ponchos, where traditionally clad indigenous townspeople sell colorful textiles and handicrafts. Nearby, the Tejidos El Obraje Museum has textile exhibits and weaving demonstrations.
- Market day:
Explore the largest market day in Otavalo. Indigenous people from the mountains descend into the valley to sell their crafts, textiles, cows and goats in the tiny town of Otavalo. This is the most famous Indian market on the continent and the good hearted Otavalenos are certain to win your heart.
- Ecuadorian cooking class:
We will participate in a traditional Ecuadorian cooking class. We will learn how to make "pachamanca," which is made with underground stones, and can include Andean ingredients such as potatoes, green beans, and corn.
Day 4 :
- Service activities:
Students will be able to participate in several activities such as aiding teachers and teaching English, computer studies, math, and other subjects at the community's elementary school. Students will be able to participate in and learn from the community's sustainable organic farming projects.
Day 5 :
- Service activities:
Students will continue with service activities today.
Day 6 :
Trip to Yunguilla
Yunguilla is a long valley that begins just south of Cuenca and ends near the seaport city of Machala. Yunguilla offers a myriad of opportunities for nature lovers, including world-class bird watching, a network of great hiking trails, and horseback riding.
- Cooking class:
We will participate in a cooking class to learn how to make "biscochos," which is a popular biscuit from Cayame.
Day 7 :
Service activities - Transfer to Quito
- Service activities:
Learn a new skill by learning how to make cheese, yogurt, or jam in the small factories of the community. We will also have the opportunity to sow vegetables, maintain and harvest or anything related to vegetable gardening. Forestation activities will be done as well. Construction work and the maintenance of paths, camping area, and recreational area will also be service projects that could be potential options.
- Transfer to Quito:
Later, we will return to Quito.
Day 8 :
Departure from Quito