DAY 1 | QUITO
Upon arrival, to Quito, Ecuador’s capital and the First World Cultural Heritage Site, our guide will welcome and transfer us from the airport to the hotel. Depending on arrival time, we can do a Quito City tour, which includes a visit to the Independence Square flanked by the Cathedral, Presidential Palace, Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Afterwards, we will visit the Compañía Church, the best known church in Quito because of its large central nave, which is abundantly decorated with gold leaves. It is one of the most significant works of Spanish baroque architecture in South America and Quito's most ornate church.
We will continue to the Church of San Francisco, one of the greatest religious buildings of the New World. Its impressive facade and atrium lead to its gold interior, a Baroque influence of Moorish style, with the winged Virgin of Quito at its main altar. We will continue to El Panecillo hill, where we can have a breathtaking view of the colonial and modern city of Quito. We can also see an impressive monument of the winged Virgin of Legarda. Next, to the Basilica Church where our guide will offer a brief explanation about the site. If our flight arrives during the afternoon, we can have a city by night, panoramic sightseeing tour instead. We will see Independence Square, San Francisco Square, Compañía Church, la Cathedral, la Basilica and El Panecillo hill. Overnight in a Hacienda.
DAY 2 | BOMBOLI CLOUD FOREST
Just half an hour from the southern outskirts of Quito, towards the Pacific Coast on the Western Cordillera and part of the Illinizas Reserve, we will find Bombolí. It is a private reserve at an altitude of 3000 meters with more than 120 hectares of upper montane forest. This amazing reserve has been conserved and cared for by a couple of nature lovers, Marianita and Oswaldito. They have spent more than thirty years of their lives realizing their great passion, caring for their reservc, making Bombolí a place of indescribable beauty and unbelievable ecological wealth. They demonstrate that, with patience and love, we can make this world a better place. Volunteering in Bombolí offers an unforgettable experience, not only because of the natural richness here, but also because of the valuable knowledge gained through its owners. We can do some of these volunteer activities:
- Daily work
- Garden work
- Reforestation of endemic plants
- Marking pathways
- Inventory of birds and plants
- Study of the carrying capacity of the reserve
- Making cheese and marmalade
- Fence repair
- Arrangements along the driveway to the reserve
- Maintenance of the house
Overnight in Bomboli Cloud Forest. (B,L,D)
DAY 3 | BOMBOLI CLOUD FOREST
After breakfast, we will participate in some activities such as reforestation of endemic plants and marking pathways. In Bombolí, we will find indescribable beauty in the ancient fern forest, filled with giant ferns that are the main protagonists of this surreal landscape. We will also discover trails surrounded by over 200 species of wild orchids, begonias and countless others that grow richly in this area. We can help in the garden where we will see the bold Bombolí idea of reusing tires as pots and creating microclimates capable of giving life to sick plants. We will also see a large variety of other plant species such as lettuce, lemon, mint, onion, lemon verbena, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, leek, red alder, lemon, elderberry and much more. Overnight in Bomboli Cloud Forest. (B,L,D)
DAY 4 | BOMBOLI CLOUD FOREST
After breakfast, we can choose from some activities. One is the production of cheese, prepared here with dedication for years, resulting in a product of excellent quality and taste. A second option is to help Marianita in the kitchen, preparing sweetened condensed milk or one of her fifteen types of jams. In the afternoon, we will return to Quito. Overnight in a Hacienda. (B,L)
DAY 5 | ISABELLA ISLAND
Our guide will pick us up from our hotel and transfer us to the airport to take a flight to the Galapagos. After arriving at Baltra Airport, our assistant will transfer us to Puerto Ayora where we will have lunch at a local restaurant in town. Afterwards, we will take a speedboat to Isabela, the largest island of the archipelago. It features 6 volcanoes, 5 of which are active. The boat will then take us to the southern part of the archipelago. This trip takes about 2 1/2 hours. Transfer to Campo Duro Farm.
Campo Duro hopes to create and maintain a place where people can come and contribute to the fragile ecosystem of the Galápagos, through working activities with local communities, battling invasive species, gastronomy exchange, internal guidance, maintenance of the organic garden, making organic fertilizer, conservation of the turtle area and gardening. Previous experience is not needed, but we need to be prepared to do physical work like making use of a machete or having to carry loads such as watering cans and garden tools. Overnight camping in Campo Duro Farm. (B,L,D)
DAY 6 | ISABELLA ISLAND
Our guide will pick us up at Campo Duro Farm and drive us to one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world - Sierra Negra. Its crater is approximately 7 kilometers wide. We will take a two hour trekking tour to enjoy this wonderful and unique scenery. Lunch in Campo Duro. The Galápagos is home to 500 native and endemic plant species and has over 700 introduced plant species! For that reason, the main activity is to eradicate the invasive plants. Interns and volunteers try to stop the expansion of these species such as blackberry, passion fruit (maracuya) and others.
Endemic Species of San Cristóbal
Manzanillo (Hippomane manchinella) is a flowering plant endemic of the Galápagos that can reach up to 15 meters high with a greyish bark, shiny green leaves and small green or greenish-yellow fruit. It is similar in appearance to an apple. The plant is often referred to as the “poison apple tree” because the tree, and its parts, contain strong toxins. The fruit can be fatal if eaten. Yet, the species is unique in that it captures a vast amount of carbon dioxide, with one plant capturing 470 kilograms per year.
Invasive Species of San Cristóbal
Blueberry (Rubus Niveus) is one of the worst weeds threatening the Galápagos. It has invaded open vegetation, shrub land and forests. It grows in dense thickets up to 4 meters high and produces fruit within three months of germination. Thousands of seeds are produced per bush, per year and remain dormant until after being buried in the soil for at least three months. They can remain viable for many years in the ground, making eradication a long-term project.
Guava (Psidium guajava) is a serious invasive species in the Galápagos that affects the endemic species, as well as other introduced species. It is considered a transformer, which is an invasive species that changes the character, condition, form or nature of ecosystems. Overnight camping in Campo Duro Farm. (B,L,D)
DAY 7 | ISABELLA ISLAND
In the morning, head back to Puerto Villamil town, where we will visit Tintoreras Islets. Herds of white tip sharks can often be seen here, resting around the lava canals. We can also observe hundreds of marine iguanas. Las Tintoreras is one of their main nesting sites. On the nearby sandy beaches, sea lions play and relax in the sun. Afterwards, we will have the opportunity to snorkel. Return to Campo Duro. In the afternoon, we will participate in building paths for hiking in the area and develop further ecotourism activities with guidance from those at the site. Overnight camping in Campo Duro Farm. (B,L,D
DAY 8 | DEPARTURE
We depart early to take a speedboat back to Puerto Ayora. Upon arrival, we will take a bus to Baltra Airport where we will check-in for our flight home. (B,L,D)
(B)Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Land Package Prices Per Person**
|Land Prices Starting From||$1399|