Ecuador: Andes + Galapagos + Rainforest

Company : The Leap Overseas
Activities: Community Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Location : South America
Duration: 6 weeks to 3 months
Approx Costs: 1750 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Travel from the Andes, down to the rainforest, onto the Pacific coast and finally the Galapagos…. getting stuck into contrasting conservation and community projects in each spot – pretty perfect.

Travel from the Andes, right down to the rainforest, onto the Pacific coast and onto the Galapagos…. whilst getting stuck into contrasting conservation and community projects in each spot – pretty perfect.


So, how does it work?

The team adventure starts in the Andes, brushing up your spanish skills with the help of our expert teachers and getting plenty of practice whilst volunteering in a local village. Experience living in Otovalo, a famous indigeous market town surrounded by volcanoes and beautiful scenery 3 hours drive from the capital Quito.

Your mornings will be spent in nearby Chilcabamba, a wonderful community of traditional Kayambi people where volunteer projects include development of the community school, expansion of an artisan market built by previous Leap groups, creation of a playground, and assisting families with their livestock. Experience true high-altitude living at nearly 14,000 feet, surrounded by spectacular rolling hills and snow capped volcanoes, such as Cayambe, which you will have the chance to climb at the weekends. The area is well known for its traditional crafts and markets and locals famous for their colourful ponchos and distinctive panama hats adorned with peacock feathers.

Next you'll travel to the Rainforest to spend 3 weeks living amongst one of the last indigenous Tsachila communities in the country, in a fascinating and stunning environment with ancient trees and meandering rivers. Live among an indigenous shaman community learning about their traditions and customs and helping the local community improve their standard of living. You'll work on various construction projects in the community buildings and local school, assisting chocolate farmers and living like a true local!

After this you’ll get to enjoy a few days R&R on the beach's of the Pacific Coast surfing paradise - Montanita. Learn to surf Ecuador’s best breaks, experience a legendary full moon party and soak up the famously laid back ‘hammock-culture’ of the beach.

In week 7 you’ll choose between two different options - either volunteering in the Galapagos, or the remote Andean community of Chilcapamba.

Those choosing this option will stay at the Hacienda Tranquila on San Cristobal, the easternmost island in the famous archipelago. An island characterised by it’s charming local culture, beautiful white sandy bays and turquoise seas (not to mention the obligatory curious sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans and crabs!). This is a fantastic base to experience the unique environment of the Galapagos. Help us to restore the land back to it's natural state so that the endangered Galapagos tortoises can be reintroduced. You will also work with local children and disabled adults leading hikes, horseback rides and playing games whilst teaching about environmental issues.

OR Pacific Coast
If you choose this option you'll spend 3 weeks living in Estero de Plátano, a small village located right on the Pacific Coast beach, surrounded by cliffs that meet the ocean. Estero is a wonderful community of Afroecuadorians and mestizos that are working to improve the education of their children. The community is so remote that students above primary school level have to travel in order to obtain a secondary education.  There are currently eleven students who are supported by a scholarship program initiated by the Yanapuma Foundation.  Your volunteering in the community will involve construction and repairs that will improve the buildings of the primary school and its library, as well as the playground. At the end of the day, spend time on the beach, learn how to make artisan crafts, and explore the only place in Ecuador where the rainforest extends all the way to the ocean. On weekends visit the beach town of Atacames, where open sided bamboo discoteques line the beach and compete to play the loudest music.

Finally, in the last week of the placement we’ll round things off with a week of adventure and expedition, taking the famous “Ruta de los Volcanes” (Volcanic Route). You will travel from Quito to the Quilotoa crater lake to soak up spectacular scenery and explore the waters by kayak. From here it’s off to Baños, where you’ll bike to waterfalls and white-water raft some of Ecuador’s best rapids. Next it’s off to the mighty Chimborazo volcano to see equatorial life above the snowline (how many people can say they’ve done that?!) and mountain bike back down the volcano.

The final week finishes in the town of Riobamba where you can relax, shop and enjoy the sights and sounds of a traditional mountain town. Phew...



  • £2055 (6 weeks) - £3526 (full 10 weeks)


What is Included

  • Three Meals a Day
  • Accommodation For Duration of Program
  • Placement in a Team
  • Safety & Induction Course on Arrival
  • 24/7 Emergency Backup
  • In-Country Project Leader
  • Airport & Project Transport


Start Dates

Jan, April, July and Sept

Booking / Enquiry

The Leap Overseas Ecuador: Andes + Galapagos + Rainforest Reviews

Amazing - I loved this trip

I went on the Ecuador trip with The Leap and had a great time. I'm still in contact with lots of the participants today and I’d love to go back and see with all the people I met again. Ecuador is an amazing destination and this trip made me want to travel and explore more of the world.

By: Taylor Elwood
Nationality: United States
Age: 20

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