Between Arc, ActionQuest (the adventure travel arm of our organization), and
Lifeworks (our service focused program) we offer two 21-day programs
and one 28-day "Plus" program in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands every summer.
The nature and feel of the sessions is fairly different, so it's best to
consider them separately.
, also known as the Darwin voyage, students
earn approximately 40 hours of community service in the Amazon and the Galapagos
with increased touring and adventure activities split between mainland Ecuador
and the Galapagos Islands. Adventure activities include white-water rafting,
horseback riding, hiking, and scuba diving. Students tour all the best this country
has to offer, from the Amazon basin to the high Andes to the capital Quito and,
of course, the Galapagos Islands.
students earn 100 hours of community service with time spent in the Galapagos, Amazon and Andes. With this increase in community service time, students leave having greater immersed themselves into the culture and ecology of the Galapagos, and with a deeper understanding of some of the complex issues this amazing part of the world faces. Session 2 students work hard, but also play hard with afternoons and weekends spent snorkeling with sealions, playing soccer with local children, and touring some of the most famous sites in Ecuador and the Galapagos.
Our Ecuador Plus Program
is for those Session 2 students interested in the best of both worlds, 100 hours
of meaningful community service work and the adventure activities of session
1. The final 7 days of this 28-day trip is an action packed week of white-water
rafting, horseback riding, hiking and much more in the high
Andes of mainland Ecuador.
What certifications will I earn?
This program offers education through it's unique
cultural, natural history and biological exposure yet it is not supported by
an accredited academic curriculum. Those students joining us for Session
2 will be enrolled in the Presidential Volunteer Service Award program as
their bronze award documents 100 hours of service. The President's Council
on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to
thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example,
inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
How many people go on this program?
The Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands programs are two of the smaller programs we offer. We maintain a 5:1 student to staff ratio with a maximum of 14 students per program.
What is our accommodation like?
Most nights will be spent in comfortable, clean, and safe
hotels or hostels. Session 1 students spend some nights on board a Galapagos
Islands motor-yacht. Arc has longstanding relationships with many local hotel
owners, who consistently provide warm, welcoming hospitality and delicious
food! Feel free to give us a call for more information on this year's accommodation.
Who will be my staff?
Arc maintains a 5:1 student to staff ratio for this program.
Our staff travel with the students full-time, available to the students 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. Arc students also work closely with our community
service partners in the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon. For many of the adventure
activities, we additionally hire local guides and naturalists, ensuring authentic
experiences with the highest safety standards.
What's the weather like?
Depends on where you are! The high Andes can get quite cold, the Amazon quite warm and rainy, and the Galapagos Islands somewhere in between.
We'll be sending you more information on what to expect (and pack!) after acceptance into the program.
How can parents find out what's going on aboard the program?
The easiest way is for students to place a quick call home to let Mom and Dad know what's going on! Sometimes this doesn't happen though, so we also have a trip update system in which, at the end of each day, the "leader of the day" journals the day's activities and stories in our "program log." When time and local internet service is on our side, we type up student entries and post them, along with photographs, on the Arc website. On certain occasions, we are able to post podcasts as part of these blogs as well.
Do I need any specific immunizations for this program?
As required and recommended vaccinations often change for countries around the world, please visit the CDC's (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website at
and check with your physician or a travel health professional for the most up-to-date information regarding vaccinations for Ecuador. Please allow plenty of time before your trip (CDC suggests 4-6 weeks) to see your health care provider.
What about the travel arrangements?
Students come from all points of the compass, so coordinated air travel is of vital importance. For this reason, we ask that all students flying to Ecuador book through Reservation Services International as they regularly obtain the best fares available, arrange group seating, and provide close monitoring on travel days in case of flight difficulties. As airlines often change their schedules, Arc cannot be responsible for the coordination of air flights that are not booked through Reservation Services International.
For those booking through Reservation Services International, a Arc representative will meet the group at Miami International Airport to help with this transfer. In most cases, this representative will also be a guide for the program and will fly to Quito with the group. Additionally, it's often possible for us to help families connect with other families in their area to coordinate students flying together on the domestic portions of their itineraries.
The in-country, round-trip flights, Quito to Galapagos and Quito to Amazon, are not available through
Reservation Services International, so Arc will organize this directly with the airlines and bill parents
separately (typically $540).
For more information on flight itineraries and travel information, please contact...
Reservation Services International
Do I need a passport or any special visas?
Please visit the Ecuador section of the U.S. Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs
website or contact the Ecuadorian Embassy in your home country for the most up-to-date information regarding passports and visas. At the time of this writing, U.S. citizens need passports with a remaining validity of at least 6 months after their arrival date in Ecuador. Tourist visas for U.S. citizens are issued upon arrival.