Isla de San Cristobál, Ecuádor
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Ecuador Teen Trip

Ecuador Galapagos

21 Days including 11 days of Galapagos Island adventure, 40+ hours community service, surfing, snorkeling, beaches & mountains!




2019 Dates

June 29 - July 19


21 days



Trip Highlights

  • 10 Days in the Galapagos Islands!
  • Surf, Snorkel, Sail & Hike
  • Village Visit & Service in Andes Mts
  • Organic Farm Community Service
  • The Best of Ecuador
  • Community Service: 40+ Hours




Visiting San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabella Islands, we spend 10 days on the Galapagos Islands exploring the turquoise waters and abundant wildlife. Snorkeling, hiking, surfing, biking and community service give us the opportunity to see the Islands from a variety of angles. With plenty of time in the water and on land, we see lots of sea turtles, tortoises, manta rays, blue-footed boobies and much more! Taking a brief break from adventure, we spend two days working at a Special Education Center, helping local school children with special needs. In addition, we partner with the Charles Darwin Center to assist in the conservation of Galapagos Tortoises. The most all-encompassing Galapagos Teen Trip.


Traveling back into the mountains, we travel to the village of San Clemente high up in the Andes Mountains. Experiencing local indigenous culture, we spend two days and one night with a host family (boys in one house, girls in another) while volunteering in the village's small school. With the unique dress, incredible cuisine and the most spectacular views, San Clemente is the cultural highlight of Bold Earth's Ecuador Galapagos trip. On our final day in Ecuador, we experience Quito's bustling markets and colonial architecture. We explore the palaces and plazas of this historic city and visit the Equator Line Monument and Museum. Our trip concludes as we partner with a local school charity, Ninos de la Calle, to participate in a service project dedicated to helping the under-served children of Quito. An authentic way to end Bold Earth's Ecuador Teen Trip.


In the tropics of Ecuador’s Pacific Coast, we spend 5 days volunteering at Río Muchacho, a self-sustaining, zero-waste organic farm. Community service and environmental awareness is our focus as we learn about compost and crop rotation while tending to the farm’s horses, pigs, chickens and guinea pigs. Even though the seeds we plant will not mature for months, all the food eaten on the farm is grown on the farm. Campers leave inspired by the farm’s ecologically friendly practices and are ready to start gardens of their own! A carefully selected stop on Bold Earth's Ecuador Teen Trip.
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Day 1
Welcome To Ecuador!
Welcome to Bold Earth! Campers will be met upon arrival at the Quito Airport by your experienced Bold Earth trip leaders. Campers will immediately call home to confirm their safe arrival. Once the group has arrived, we load up our private van and head off to our bed & breakfast hotel in the center of Quito. Day 1 is full of fun! During orientation, we get to know each other and learn what to expect in the days ahead. We have an Ecuadorian feast on the roof of our hotel to celebrate our first day and watch the sunset over the Andes Mountains.
Day 2-3
Beautiful Quito & Community Service!
From our hotel near Quito's downtown district, we set out to explore Ecuador's capital city and its surroundings. A charming metropolis surrounded by mountains with a population of 2 million people, Quito is located at 9,184 ft above sea level, resulting in spring-like weather. Known for its colonial architecture and well-preserved historic center, the city was named the original Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. Visits to the Palace of Congress, the Presidential Palace, Independence Square and various cathedrals are interspersed with a visit to Panecillo, a lookout point in Old Town affording us a beautiful panoramic view of the area. We venture just outside of the city to pay a visit to the official Equator Line Monument and Museum where we witness scientific experiments that prove we are at the center of the Earth! We round out our time in the city with a service project with "Ninos De La Calle", a foundation dedicated to serving the under-privileged children of Quito. By interacting with the children, playing games, teaching English and assisting with their daily chores, we gain insight into the hardships and struggles these children face on a daily basis.
Day 4
Travel to Río Muchacho
We drive from the Andes down to Ecuador's beautiful Pacific Coast. In a private and comfortable van, we spend the day listening to music in the car, stopping at waterfalls and arriving mid-day at the beach! We are welcomed to the paradise of Río Muchacho where we will spend the next few days.
Day 5-8
Work in Organic Gardens
The farming community coordinates a local primary school where sustainable agricultural education is at the forefront of the curriculum. The school has become a center for the community and serves as a site for meetings, educational courses, and social gatherings. We contribute directly to the unique curriculum and education of the school children by teaching English, playing games and helping to build the school's playground. During our three days of service, all meals will be prepared from the farm's fresh produce by the local people. We help in the kitchen with food preparation and work in the garden harvesting fruits and vegetables for sale (and for our meals). We will sleep in rustic cabins designated for volunteers, all of which were built using natural, renewable materials such as bamboo and palm leaves.
Day 9
Travel to Guayquil
After saying "adios" to the Montubio people of Rio Muchacho, we travel by bus to Ecuador's largest and most populous city, Guayaquil. Long the center of the country's fishing and manufacturing industries, Guayaquil has expanded its tourism base in recent years with beautifications of its squares, parks and urban districts. We explore the city, shop for souvenirs and crash early in our hotel to prepare for our morning flight to the Galapagos Islands!
Day 10
Travel to the Galapagos Islands!
We fly together to the Galapagos Islands (flight included), located about 1000 km (620 miles) off the Pacific coast of mainland Ecuador (3 hours by air). The archipelago consists of 14 major islands and scores of islets that served as a living laboratory for Charles Darwin, the renowned evolution theorist. Long before Darwin arrived in the Galapagos Islands, seafarers knew these isolated islands as home to some of the strangest and most wonderful wildlife imaginable, including birds that swim but no longer fly, iguanas, dragon-like lizards and giant tortoises. Covering nearly 5000 sq km (3,100 sq miles), the Galapagos Islands are now a National Park. Our first stop is San Cristobal Island, the easternmost island in the Galapagos Archipelago. We stay in a hotel on land and take advantage of the landscape with a thrilling downhill bike ride and a swim with playful sea lions at Mann Beach.
Day 11-13
Kicker Rock: Snorkeling and Beaches!
Located a short boat ride away on San Cristobal Island lies "Kicker Rock," also known as "Leon Dormido" because of its striking resemblance to a sleeping lion. Here snorkelers are immersed in a world of color and movement filled with schools of fish that move as one: king angelfish, yellowtail surgeonfish, needlefish, parrot fish, Moorish idols, damselfish, sea cucumbers, sea stars, sea urchins, sleeping sharks, turtles, rays and many more, making this one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos. We also sail to Cerro Brujo Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos, before returning to our hotel on San Cristobal for the evening. The next day is spent snorkeling and hiking along beaches seeing amazing wildlife.
Day 14-16
Santa Cruz Island
Charles Darwin Station-Highlands (Santa Cruz): Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos, and home to the Charles Darwin Station, where visitors can observe tortoise research and breeding programs. Scientists and park managers conduct the conservation of the islands and make huge efforts to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tonight's hotel is in the small town of Puerto Ayora, which is the economic center of the Archipelago, with the largest population of the 4 inhabited islands, approximately 8,000. Tourism, fishing, boat building, and commerce are the major productive activities. Santa Cruz is also the only island where six different vegetation zones can be seen, and a trip to the lush greenery of the Santa Cruz highlands offers even more unique flora and fauna. We visit Tortuga Bay, complete with a beautiful white sand beach, where we observe marine iguanas and other colorful marine life up-close-and-personal aboard our kayaks. We see dozens of giant tortoises, abundant wildlife, flamingos, blue-footed boobies and more.
Day 17-18
Isabela Island
Isabela Island: We bid farewell to San Crist and set sail for our next home on Isabela Island, by far the largest island in the Galapagos. A full-day tour of this magnificent terrain takes us to the Sierra Negra Volcano, which boasts the second largest crater in the world. Either hiking or on horseback (optional), we experience a birds-eye view of this magical landscape. The rich animal, bird and marine life on Isabela Island are beyond compare. Here you will find more wild tortoises than the rest of the islands combined! The island teems with blue-footed and masked boobies, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, hawks, red and green marine iguanas and penguins. We also take to the water to observe the white tip reef sharks at Tintoreras Shark Alley. We spend our days exploring this unique wildlife and each dusk on the beaches of Isabela watching the sunset over the Pacific.
Day 19-20
Otavalo Village Homestay
Traveling north into the Andes, we spend two days living in the village of San Clemente. An authentic village where villagers dress in traditional garb and speak Quechua. For 1 night, campers stay with indigenous families (at least 2 campers per family) and learn about the culture. Campers spend the first day working on the village farms and challenging the local kids to a soccer game. In the evening, campers help prepare a feast. After dinner, we gather around a campfire to sing traditional songs. The next day, we travel to the town of Otavalo to visit the world-famous market (a great place to buy locally made souvenirs). In the afternoon, we return to Quito and have a celebratory last dinner.
Day 21
Say Farewell to Ecuador!
We pack up our gear and celebrate an amazing 3 weeks in Ecuador! Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end. Early on the last day, we go to the airport confident, tan and strong after the most incredible summer of adventure, fun, and friends.

Big Picture?

Top 3 reasons to spend your summer with Bold Earth in Ecuador:

1. GALAPAGOS: 10 days living on THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS is the huge WOW!
2. SERVICE: 40+ Hours of AWESOME Community Service
3. CULTURE: The culture and diversity of Quito and the soaring Andes Mountains!

Campers describe Bold Earth’s Ecuador Galapagos trip as INCREDIBLE. Designed specifically for campers interested in wildlife, biology, community service, adventure and culture, Ecuador Galapagos is a DREAM trip! See ALL of Ecuador: Mountains, Beaches, Rain Forests and the GALAPAGOS!

Ecuador is a safe, democratic and beautiful country that is known for its ecological diversity and sheer beauty. Each and every adventure activity is supervised by local, professional guides including surfing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and biking. Our small groups ensure you will make lifelong friendships and develop a passion for travel!

What's The Community Service Like?

Community Service is a Bold Earth core value. Bold Earth carefully chooses hands-on community service projects that are active, engaging and . . . LIFE CHANGING! All Bold Earth participants will receive a certificate to document their service hours.

Service Credit: 40 Hours

Some AWESOME details:
1. Río Muchacho Organic Farm: Located on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast, Rio Muchacho is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. The village and its farms maintain a sustainable, zero-waste organic system which has become a model for sustainable agriculture in the area. Using practices such as reforestation, permaculture and pesticide-free farming the farm not only supplies food for the village but serves as a model for the local area. The farming community also coordinates a local primary school where sustainable agricultural education is at the forefront of the curriculum. We work alongside villagers to plant trees, harvest crops, maintain vegetable gardens, refurbish buildings, cook meals and teach in the primary school. Volunteering at the farm, the school and in community development projects give campers the opportunity to learn, share and contribute to the unique culture of rural Ecuador.

2. Niños de la Calle: In Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, we volunteer with an organization called, “Ninos de la Calle” (Children of the Street). We spend the day teaching English, playing soccer, cooking food and picking up trash with local children. While providing a day’s work in the community, campers also learn about a wide range of social problems facing these underserved youth in Quito. (3-5 hours).

3. San Clemente Village: High up in the Andes Mountains, north of Otavalo, campers spend two days living in a remote and traditional village. Renowned for its unique culture, pristine environment and spectacular mountains, Ecuador’s Andes are home to a culture of its own – very different from what campers will experience in other parts of Ecuador. Bold Earth is immensely proud of its relationship with San Clemente Village and campers love it! Working in small groups, campers work in the fields harvesting quinoa and other crops. In the evening, campers help our hosts cook dinner around a fire. We fall asleep with the sounds of traditional Andean music still playing in our ears.

Can I speak to references?

To receive a list of Ecuador Galapagos references call us in Colorado at 303-526-0806 or email Please mention the trip you are interested and where you live.

Since 1976 over 16,000 students from all 50 US states and 55 countries have joined Bold Earth! We encourage you to contact our alumni directly to find out about the quality of our leaders, depth of programming and what a summer with Bold Earth is really like.

We want careful and selective families to choose Bold Earth. Our offerings are only as good as the families who choose Bold Earth Adventures. Our target student is responsible, informed and enthusiastic.

Tell Me More About Ecuador!

Ecuador is a small democracy located in the Andean region of South America. Ecuador is bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 620 miles west of the mainland.

Ecuador is about the same size as the state of Colorado. The capital of Ecuador is Quito, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the 1970s for having the best preserved and least altered historic center in Latin America.

Ecuador today is now defined by its Mestizo majority (mix of Spanish and Indigenous ethnicity). Ecuador’s indigenous communities are integrated into the mainstream culture to varying degrees, but some may also practice their own indigenous cultures, particularly the more remote indigenous communities of the Amazon basin and the Andean Highlands. Spanish is spoken as the first language by more than 90% of the population and as a first or second language by more than 98%.

What makes the Galapagos Islands special?

OMG – the Galápagos are INCREDIBLE! See a bit more info below…

Situated 630 miles west of mainland Ecuador lies an archipelago unlike anything else in the world. Renowned for its unique ecosystems – the Galapagos Islands are on all travelers “MUST SEE” list. Geologically, the Galapagos Islands (like many in the Pacific Ocean) were born from volcanoes erupting violently out of the sea. In fact, almost every major island consists of a single large volcano. The Galapagos Islands are in fact quite young, probably no more than five million years old.

What makes the Galapagos so different from any other island chain in the world is that by the time the islands began poking their tops above the ocean, plant and animal species traversed hundreds of miles of ocean to colonize the islands, leaving species isolated and evolving independently from the other species around the globe. Charles Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle in 1831 helped establish theories of evolution and put the Galapagos Islands on the traveler’s map.

Darwin’s documentation of endemic species (plants and animals that originate from the specific geographical area exist nowhere else) is world famous. The Galapagos Islands help Ecuador rank as the 8th most bio-diverse country on the planet – containing 20,000 species of plants, 1,500 species of birds, 341 species of mammals and more than 840 species of reptiles and amphibians. WOW!

Recent history has made the Galapagos more developed. There are more people living here than most would assume. Over 30,000 of us hominids have claimed these isolated specks of land our home. Much of the local economy is geared toward sustaining a thriving tourism industry. From the moment you walk off the plane or boat you are almost instantly greeted by giant tortoises, lava lizards and the most interesting birds flying overhead. Not a single person has walked away from a trip to the Galapagos Islands and not felt the impact of this very unique and treasured place. The Galapagos is unlike anything else that anyone will ever see in their life.

What Do We Do in the Galapagos?

Watch TV all day… Just kidding!

Non-stop adventure, sightseeing, snorkeling, hiking, sailing, surfing, jumping off waterfalls, community service, dodging seals, iguana’s by the thousands, etc… Just a normal 11 days in nature’s greatest science laboratory.

Bold Earth campers experience 4 different islands, San Cristobal, Isabela, Santa Cruz and Baltra. Each island is famous for a different thing. Campers do not get bored of the Islands as the trip is designed to be very busy, educational and active. After a day of hiking and wildlife viewing, Bold Earth will spend the next day surfing, sea kayaking, do community service or hang out on the beach.

Yes, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Center for a day-long guided tour of its renowned conservation of Galapagos species. Unfortunately, our old friend, Lonesome George, is no longer with us (SAD!) but there are lots of other very old tortoises.

Is there a local Naturalist Guide?

ABSOLUTELY! Yes, Bold Earth is accompanied by a highly trained and experienced naturalist during all 10 days on the Galapagos Islands. This is essential.

Visiting the Galapagos Islands with a naturalist is like seeing an NFL Football game with Tom Brady, visiting the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo or reading Shakespeare with him at your side. Campers enjoy the brilliance of the Galapagos Island through the incredible insight of our naturalist guide.

What Do I need to Bring?

CLICK: Ecuador Galapagos Packing List for a carefully detailed description of exactly what to bring.

Please Note: Campers must bring $120 USD CASH with them to the Galapagos. This cash will cover the Galapagos National Park Entry Fee ($100) and the Transit Control Card ($20).

Give Bold Earth a call at 303-526-0806 if you have any questions. A Bold Earth trip advisor is are always available to help if needed!

What's the food like?

The food in Ecuador is delicious! Like most Bold Earth international trips we eat traditional foods in casual restaurants or prepare our own breakfast and lunches. Bold Earth caters to all special diets including vegetarian, kosher, allergy diets, etc., and make sure you are eating well and eating what you want. We always provide plenty of delicious and nutritious food and you will get plenty of opportunities to do some hands-on cooking!

Ecuadorian cuisine is known for being fresh and diverse. From the seashores to the mountains, Ecuador’s food availability varies with altitude and associated agricultural conditions. Ecuadorian cuisine traditionally consists of two dishes, a soup, and a rice platter. For the most part, Ecuador is also known for its bananas, and all the dishes made from them, as well as for its starches such as potato, bread, rice, and yuca. Traditionally, any of these ingredients can be found in either the soup or the rice platter that is usually served. Most regions in Ecuador follow the traditional three-course meal of sopa (soup) and segundo (second dish), which includes rice and protein such as beef, poultry, pork or fish. Then dessert and coffee are customary. Dinner is usually lighter with a salad or soup as the main dish.

Food at Río Muchacho is incredible. All ingredients (except oil and sugar) and from the farm. This is the freshest food you could possibly find. All sources of protein (beans, eggs, meat, and fish) are from no more than a mile from our dinner table. WOW!

Weather in Ecuador & The Galapagos?

Beautiful! Ecuador is right on the equator, technically, we will travel from winter to summer, back to winter and end in summer… But don’t worry the weather is always warm – never colder than 75°F (22°C) during the day, 55° (12°C) at night.

Galapagos Islands: We will be traveling to the islands in what is known as the garúa season, or dry season. Typically, only the higher parts of the islands receive rain, and as a result, the palo santo forests of the lowlands are relatively leafless. The air and the ocean are both a little cooler this time of year than in the winter, bringing our average temperatures in-between 70° and 75°F (20°-23°C). During the garúa season, it is common for a fine mist to be present in the higher areas.

Is This Trip Authentic?

YES! Bold Earth is an authentic experience. This is NOT a teen tour. Bold Earth is MORE fun, MORE interesting, MORE service, MORE adventure, MORE leadership, MORE friendship and MUCH MORE authentic than a teen tour.

Campers who choose Bold Earth want to eat local food, wake up early, and get their hands dirty! With 20 years of experience in Ecuador, Bold Earth has scouted the coolest locations, hired the best local leaders and found the sweetest host families. Bold Earth is the REAL DEAL!

Two Trip Combination?

Ecuador Galapagos is specifically designed to combine with Peru Machu Picchu or Costa Rica Classic 21. The time between trips (1 day) is fully supervised and is included at no additional cost.

It is important that if you are interested in combining trips that you contact our Colorado office for more information: 303-526-0806 or e-mail at

Group Size

Small group size = SUCCESS!

Especially on a community service/adventure style trip. Bold Earth campers are leaders who seek independence, responsibility, and fun. We know teenagers and we understand that a small group size is ESSENTIAL to camper success. Who wants to travel with 40 other teens on a big bus??? LAME! The communities we visit WOULD NOT permit Bold Earth to visit with such a big group. Bonding and friendship are essential to the success of any summer program.

Bold Earth leaders are carefully trained in group dynamics and leadership. Also, Bold Earth leaders are the MOST FUN PEOPLE EVER! Your 2 Trip Leaders will take a hands-on approach to the success of every individual. Bold Earth campers make friendships that last a lifetime.

Ecuador Galapagos will include a maximum of 13 Campers and 2 Adult Trip Leaders. One of your leaders will be an experienced local Ecuadorian guide who has usually worked with Bold Earth for many years. Your second leader will be an American fluent in Spanish. Having local guides provides a safer, more authentic and rich experience. All leadership teams absolutely include 1 female and 1 male leader, certified in Wilderness First Responder, Lifeguarding and CPR.

Do Campers Join Bold Earth Alone?

YES! Bold Earth campers are diverse, energetic, leaders and FUN! Approximately, 80% of campers join Bold Earth on their own. Bold Earth fully supports students joining on their own or with friends.

Bold Earth will not allow more than 3 people who know each other in one group. We recommend you contact alumni references from this trip to ask them for feedback about the students in their group. BOLD EARTH CAMPERS ARE AMAZING!

Where Do We Stay?

• Hotels – 13 nights
• Bamboo Cabins – 5 nights
• Village Stays – 2 nights

Quito: Bold Earth campers will stay in a beautiful hotel in the center of the city’s bustling historic district. Campers will also be staying in hotels while exploring and adventuring around the Galapagos Islands.
San Clemente: (a small village un in the Andes), we will spend two nights living in a small village where campers will stay with local indigenous families (multiple campers per family). The village stay is often the highlight of everyone’s trip. It allows campers the opportunity to connect at a deeper level with the locals. Host families are always monitored and reviewed and they, of course, will be reimbursed for their hospitality.

Lastly, while we work in gardens in the tropical paradise of Rio Muchacho we will be staying in bamboo cabins designed for volunteers. Wherever we stay is an authentic experience, specifically designed to create a more interesting, fun and unique trip.

Passport & Visa?

Passport: ALL campers require a valid passport to enter Ecuador. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of the trip.

Americans, EU, and Canadians: No visa required

Other Countries: Most campers WILL NOT require a visa to visit Ecuador. For more information, we recommend you contact the Ecuadorian embassy in your home country.

Cash: Campers must bring $120 USD CASH with them to the Galapagos. This cash will cover the Galapagos National Park Entry Fee ($100) and the Transit Control Card ($20).

Do I need Immunizations?

Bold Earth carefully researches possible health risks as part of our trip planning for the exact destinations we visit on Ecuador Galapagos. Bold Earth visits well-established tourist locations. For most campers, standard vaccinations are sufficient for travel in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

For more information, please consult your family physician or local travel clinic. The day to day Ecuador Galapagos itinerary on the website can be printed show to your travel clinic or family physician.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an Ecuador specific website which we find to be very broad covering all areas, ages, seasons and types of travel.

Ecuador Galapagos

Travel Made Easy!

  1. Fly Together: Our goal is to fly together as a group. All students are met upon arrival and families are called immediately from the airport.
  2. We recommend participants book flights three months before departure. Booking around April 1st allows the Bold Earth team to guarantee low fares and maximum coordinated group flights.
  3. Combine 2 Trips: Many Bold Earth participants combine Bold Earth trips. Call or e-mail our office for more information.

Every trip has a story.

We have 40+ years of amazing travel tales to share, but our favorites are always best told by our adventurers themselves.
View Trip Blog
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
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"Erik had a great time on Ecuador Galapagos. He loved the adventure of the trip and liked the community service very much. He was happy to explore a part of the world he had not seen yet. The group leaders were fantastic and it could not have been better!"

-Parents: Charlotte & Chris

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