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Spend a week touring around Ecuador and its capital city of Quito while engaging in Spanish lessons, then head off to volunteer with rescued animals! During orientation week you will be able to see several of Ecuador's biggest tourist destinations and embrace a new culture. 

Program Highlights:
  • Work hands-on with wildlife in rehabilitation
  • Ethical wildlife interactions and volunteer tasks
  • Experience the serenity of the rainforest
  • Enjoy a week-long introduction to Ecuador with Spanish language classes and tours to the Equator and other amazing site

Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum two-week commitment): 

Arrival Day, Saturday: Arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). You will be picked up at the airport and taken to the volunteer house in Quito. Take your time to relax and become adjusted to the Ecuadorian way of life. 

Day 1, Sunday: Sunday will be a free day to explore Quito. Visit world famous churches in the Old Town, browse through Quito’s oldest indoor market or get a cleansing from a curandera, a traditional healer.

Days 2-6, Monday-Friday: During your introduction week, you will spend the mornings attending Spanish classes for four hours, and the rest of the day exploring and doing fun organized activities. These will include welcome cocktails, salsa classes and a full-day tour of Quito’s popular sites with your teacher to practice using your new Spanish skills.

Day 7, Saturday: Today you will go on a tour of Cotopaxi. Take a hike in the National Park and enjoy breathtaking views of the Andean landscape, during your time on the highest active volcano in the world.

Day 8, Sunday: Volunteers will take a bus from Quito to Puyo. Take the time to rest after your journey and get used to living in the rainforest. 

Days 9-13, Monday-Friday: Your days will be spent taking care of the animals, doing maintenance work at the site and helping with the cleaning. You are also encouraged to use your initiative and nominate tasks that you would like to work on such as working with the vet or helping out with the local environmental education program. Evenings are free for you to rest or take a trip to Puyo where you will be able to interact with the locals and enjoy the Ecuadorian nightlife.

Days 14-15, Saturday-Sunday: Weekends are mostly free, apart from a few morning chores. 

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday mostly free. Departure is on Saturday.


Interested in volunteering abroad in South America? Thinking of gaining some volunteer experience in your travels to Latin America?  Don’t miss GoEco’s Volunteer in South America page
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Location of the Project:  Quito and Puyo, Ecuador
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks-Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)
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Volunteer Work:  Animal care
Age:  Min age of 18 (Age exception: Volunteers under the age of 18 may apply with parental consent.)
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 24 international volunteers

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms at the student house during orientation week and shared cabins while at the project
Food:  3 meals per day, Monday-Friday, are provided during the volunteer work weeks (please check under Living Arrangements for details)
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is provided on arrival day
Orientation:  The first week of this project is an orientation, consisting of 20 hours of Spanish lessons, a city tour of Quito, a visit to Cotopaxi National Park and its volcano, a visit to the Equator and more! *Some small fees apply for excursions.
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Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, meals during orientation week, some weekend meals, bus ticket from Quito to Puyo (approx. $6 USD), taxi from Puyo bus station to project (approx. $3 USD), transfer to airport on departure day, personal expenses.
This project takes place in two main locations- first, embrace Ecuadorian culture in the capital city of Quito and then head towards Puyo to volunteer with rescued wild animals. 

Quito is located in the Andes Mountains, which provides beautiful, scenic views. Spanish courses will be in the city, but there will be several excursions. Volunteers will visit Cotopaxi National Park and its volcano, the Equator and more.

The volunteer portion of the project takes place near the quieter town of Puyo, which is located close to Baños, a tourist-friendly city, where volunteers will have the chance to participate in excursions of their own planning.
The rescue shelter is home to various species of native Ecuadorian wild animals that have been abused, injured or neglected. This haven has several sections, one of the most impressive being Monkey Island, which is only accessible via a pedestrian bridge. These animals are in need of loving volunteers to care for their daily needs.

During your first week of this program, you will enjoy an orientation, including 20 hours of Spanish lessons, as well as getting an introduction to Ecuador. Fun activities during this week include a private salsa lesson, a city tour of Quito and a visit to the Equator. 

Starting with your second week, your volunteer responsibilities will be assisting in the care of the rescued animals at the shelter. Day-to-day tasks include cutting fruit and preparing other food for the animals, feeding the animals and participating in maintenance tasks around the shelter. This may include the building, repairing of and cleaning of enclosures as well as general cleaning. 

Some of your tasks may include:
  • Cutting up food for the animals
  • General maintenance and cleaning around the shelter
  • Construction of enclosures, repairing older enclosures
  • Assisting the veterinarian when needed
  • Assisting visitors
  • Day-to-day care of animals

A typical day: Volunteers will work from 8:00 AM- 12:00 PM and then from 2:30-5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. On either Saturday or Sunday, volunteers will work a few hours in the morning and once tasks are completed, will have the rest of the weekend free.

Holidays: Holidays will not affect the animal project, but they will affect the first week of Spanish classes. Volunteers will receive all 20 hours as promised, but may have to make up hours on non-holidays. 

The holidays for 2018 are as follows:
  • March 29-31 (Easter)
  • April 27-May 1 (Labor Day)
  • May 24-26 (Pichincha Battle)
  • August 9-11 (Ecuadorian Independence)
  • October 11-13 (Independence of Guayaque)
  • Novemeber 1-3 (All souls and Independence of Cuenca)
Internet
Internet:  During orientation week,Wifi is available free of charge in Quito at the student house and school. During the project, Wifi is available at the pool area.
Laundry
Laundry:  During orientation week, laundry facilities are located a short walk away and may be used for a small fee. While at the project, laundry facilities are available in the town of Puyo, 15 minutes away for a fee
Accommodations
Accommodations:  During orientation week: Volunteers will stay in shared, same-gender rooms in the student house that have communal bathrooms and a shared, fully equipped kitchen. There will be two volunteers per room. At the project: Volunteers will stay in shared cabins with bunk beds in same-gender rooms, with up to five other volunteers.
Food:  During orientation week, volunteers will need to prepare their own meals. There is a fully equipped kitchen in the student house and markets nearby. At the project: 3 meals per day are provided, Monday-Friday. Breakfast usually includes cereal and fruit, and lunches and dinners are often traditional South American dishes such as rice and beans.Ingredients for breakfast are provided on the weekends and there is space to cook other meals. There are markets in the town of Puyo where volunteers may purchase food for lunch and dinners on weekends.
Please take note of this project's minimum requirements:
  • Basic level of English
  • Motivation to work with animals
Aside from the included travel highlights, including visit to a volcano and national park and the Equator, volunteers can participate in other activities for an additional fee during their free time. Listed below are a few suggestions.

Travel Highlights in Puyo:

Botanical Gardens Las Orquideas is a beautiful botanical garden with 6.75 hectares. This garden focuses on the education and preservation of Ecuadorian flora and fauna.

The Ethnic and Archaeological Museum is an excellent choice for history-lovers; this museum has artifacts that date back to around 2,000 BC.  


Travel Highlights in Baños:

Rafting Baños Ecuador is for the thrill-seeking volunteers! Guests here have the choice to white water raft down either the Patate or Pasta Rivers.

Ziplining: For the adrenaline junkie, Baños is home to a ziplining tour company that features over 2,000 meters of zipline fun.
 
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