Leadership and Ecology
Andean Highlands and Galapagos Islands
July 6-17, 2017*
Tentative dates

Day 1: Owning your Experience: Quito Area  
Your students will be challenged to take charge of their experience over the next 12 days in Ecuador, encouraged to engage in active learning and personal growth, and to have open minds to make the most of this incredible opportunity.

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito and the adventure of a lifetime. Your Chill Expeditions bilingual guides will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel to settle in. Share a delicious dinner as your guides set the tone for students owning their experience with active and engaged learning.

Important Themes:

  • Your guides will introduce the Story Approach and the teaching themes that will cohesively link together the incredible wealth of information you will learn on the trip.
  • Your group will be introduced to the Expedition Mentality, our nuanced strategy for creating the strongest possible group culture.
  • Our first nightly circle and bandana ceremony will reinforce the Expedition Mentality and set the tone for the best possible experiential learning trip.

Overnight: Quito Area

Day 2: Introduction to Experiential Education and Camp Activities
Today we have a chance to learn about “who” we are going to share this adventure, and recognize our group as a team.

Through different activities we will encounter “who” we are as a team, in what matters we are strong and in what aspects we need to get better. Also is the perfect time to learn about camp activities, like preparing our backpacks, and setting up tents and getting familiar with cooking equipment. After lunch we will have a map and compass class.

Important Themes:

  • Experiential Education Activities
  • Preparing the team for Camp Lifestyle.
  • How varying altitudes create unique climates and ecosystems in Ecuador

Overnight:Camping in the Andes!

Day 3: Expedition Mentality: Pasochoa
The next couple of days we have the opportunity to truly learn the value of expedition mentality, in challenging ourselves and supporting each other.

Today we ascend to the base of Pasochoa, learning about flora and fauna of the Paramo along the way. We begin our hike with an orienteering class and then experience first-hand the relationship between altitude and temperature in the tropics. Tonight we will camp under the stars and above the lights of Quito to recharge for the ascent the next morning. Your Chill Expeditions Ecuador guides will provide advice on how best to organize your camp and cooking groups.

Important Themes:

  • Facing challenges and supporting your team
  • Biodiversity and unique adaptations in the paramo
  • Focusing on the journey, versus the end result

Overnight: Camping in the Andes!

Day 4: Community Service: Santa Barbara town, local kinder garden
Today we see first-hand the geologic wonder of this area and discuss how volcanoes impact the biology and culture of Ecuador

This morning we shoot for the top! Pasachoa at 13,776 ft (4,199 m) above sea level is certainly worth the view. Here we begin
to understand the geology of the Ecuadorian Andes as we admire this eroded caldera from above. Pasochoa sits upon the Avenida de los Volcanes. On a clear day, you can see the spectacular peaks of Antisana, Iliniza and Cayambe. Today we continue to learn about orienteering and then use our skills on our way to the summit.

Important Themes:

  • Geologic processes
  • The importance of geology to Ecuador’s biodiversity, history, eco-tourism potential
  • Geology in your hometown

Overnight: Quito

Day 5: Community Based Conservation: Ostional
Today we dive into the Galapagos- exploring the center of population, and learning about the conflict and cohesion between human and animal life on the islands.

Today starts with a quick breakfast and then we are off to the airport. We fly to the Island of Baltra (flight time 2.5 hours) to begin our weeklong adventure on these enchanted islands. After a bus ride and a snack, we will take a chartered speedboat to the island of Isabela (2 hours). We will have lunch, and in the afternoon we head to a nearby islet for some amazing snorkeling. Overnight in the tiny town of Isabela.

Important Themes:

  • How human settlements affected these islands over time
  • What to expect in the Galapagos
  • Species distribution and niches on the islands

Overnight: Isabela Island

Day 6: Lava Tunnels and the Wall of Tears; Isabela Island
We explore the island today by flipper and bike to understand both the ecology and history of this unique place

After breakfast you will be transported by boat to visit one of the best snorkeling spots Isabela has to offer. Enjoy world-class snorkeling through a maze of lava bridgesand tunnels set in crystal clear turquoise water. This area offers a condensed combination of many defining features of the Galapagos – the crystal clear waters, unique lava formations, native birds perched on the rocks, and of course abundant marine life. In the afternoon, we explore the complex human history of the Galapagos with a visit to the Wall of Tears, a powerful reminder of the conflict of human history here.

Important Themes:

  • Unique Marine environments of the Galapagos
  • Marine conservation initiatives, and threats to marine habitats and species
  • Adaptations for life in the water
  • Human habitation of the Galapagos Islands: a complex history

Overnight: Isabela Island

Day 7: Sierra Negra

Today we hike along the rim of the second largest crater in the world! Horseback ride to the Volcan Chico to get a closer look at the almost artistic looking lava formations and the “pioneer plants” that have only barely begun to colonize this relatively young lava.

After breakfast we will pack our lunches for a hike to the Volcán Sierra Negra and Volcán Chico. On this hike we will have anopportunity to see geology in action. Recent lava flows host emerging flora or “pioneer plants,” and bird life. After exploring this incredible area, we make our way back down the volcano and spend the night in town.

Important Themes:

  • What are pioneer species? Endemic species? Native species? Introduced species?
  • How life finds a way, even in the most seemingly inhospitable of environments
  • The seven vegetation zones of Sierra Negra Volcano and their influences

Overnight: Isabela Island 

Day 8: Charles Darwin Station: Santa Cruz
Today we learn about some of the most iconic species of these enchanted islands and the ongoing research that aims to protect them.

After breakfast we will take a speedboat back to Santa Cruz. Our first stop will be a visit to the famous Charles Darwin Station, where we will learn about the ecology of protected species on the Galapagos Islands, as well as ongoing conservation efforts to restore and protect species and habitats. We will have Lunch in the town of Puerto Ayora before taking a bus to the Lava Tunnel on the Primicia’s Farm. Here we will have the opportunity to see Galapagos Tortoises roaming free. Overnight at our hotel in Puerto Ayora.

Important Themes:

  • How geographic settings and separations set the stage for unique traits
  • How were the Galapagos formed differently than most other islands?
  • Unique species and how they have adapted

Overnight: Santa Cruz Island

Day 9: Bartolome  
Today we explore the importance of the Marine Ecosystems of the Galapagos

Pack your comfortable shoes and your snorkeling gear as we are on our way to Bartolomé. This island alone would be enough to encourage you to make regular visits to the Galapagos. After a short climb for an overview of Bartolomé’s complex volcanic history, we make our way down to the bay to snorkel among the enchanting creatures that inhabit the island’s shallows. Even avid divers will be pleasantly surprised at the richness found within a snorkeler’s reach, in these warm waters. Dinner on your own. Overnight at our hotel at Puerto Ayora.

Important Themes:

  • Location and Currents: the unique mix of environmental and geologic features that shape the galapagos
  • Interactions between marine and terrestrial species and habitats
  • Evolution in action: how the Galapagos gave birth to the theory of natural selection

Overnight: Santa Cruz Island 

Day 10 : Land and Sea: Plazas Islands, Santa Fe
Today we explore the habitats of iconic terrestrial and marine creatures of the Galapagos, learning about their biology, unique evolutionary traits, and relationships with each other and their habitat. We also have a chance to leave a positive trace with a beach clean up effort.

The Plazas Islands are twin islands located off the east coast of Santa Cruz. North Plaza is closed due to scientific research and South Plaza is the visitor site. Both islands were formed by geologic uplift and tilt to the north. Because the island’s southern portion has a greater degree of uplift, it contains cliffs with spectacular views. Plazas day trip from Itabaca channel will be around two hours. You spend the morning hiking the flat trails on the rocky terrain, with the opportunity to see land iguanas, swallow tail gulls and sea lions. Keep a lookout for one of the island’s hybrid iguanas! In the afternoon, we will refresh ourselves by snorkeling these waters before returning back to Santa Cruz.

Important Themes:

  • Land and sea: driving forces of evolution in the Galapagos
  • Relationships between species
  • Endemic, Introduced, and Invasive species

Overnight: Santa Cruz Island

Day 11: Back to Quito
Today we put together all we have seen and done on our trip.

After breakfast you begin your trip back to the mainland. Enjoy a city tour and our final dinner to reflect on all we have learned, seen and done!

Important Themes:

  • The future of the Galapagos- what needs to be done to protect the islands?
  • Positive solutions: grassroots efforts for conservation & preservation of unique habitats
  • What can I do? Leaving a positive trace here, and at home

Overnight: Quito Area

Day 12: Home with Inspiration!     

Fly home with memories to last a lifetime of your Andes/ Galapagos Expedition!

Program Cost: $5875 per person, all inclusive land cost :

  • Includes all lodging, meals, activities, in-country transportation, local bi-lingual guides, emergency medical insurance
  • Does not include international flight, gratuities, incidentals, activities not listed in itinerary
  • * Minimum of 5 participants required for program to run