Alongside members of a local Quechua community in Ecuador's Andean highlands, learn about cultural and language preservation efforts and clean water initiatives. Savor rich Ecuadorian coffee. Learn Spanish from interactions with local Ecuadorians. Visit local markets. Learn about local spiritual traditions. Travel south to a working hacienda (ranch) at the base of Cotopaxi volcano. Explore Cotopaxi National Park by foot and on horseback.
Discover the other-worldly landscapes and extraordinary wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, home to giant tortoises, lava tunnels, equatorial penguins, marine iguanas, and blue footed boobies. Travel by boat from island to island amidst unmatched geographic and biological diversity. Hike the crater of an active volcano. Bike from the highlands of San Cristobal Island down to the coast. Body surf in Tortuga Bay. Snorkel with sea turtles and manta rays.
Issue Focus: Rural Development & Biodiversity
With both a rich indigenous history and the influence of Spanish colonization, Ecuador is a country of contrasts. The snow-covered peaks of the Andean highlands descend into lush Amazon rainforests and colonial architecture gleams at the center of urban sprawl. Many of its people live in stark poverty with limited opportunities, but Ecuadorians are proud of the traditions that connect them to their communities and to their indigenous heritage. Mitzvah Corps Ecuador & the Galápagos participants join members of a local Quechua community in Ecuador’s Andean highlands to learn about cultural and language preservation efforts and clean water initiatives.
Known as the "birthplace of evolution," the Galapagos Island archipelago is the world's premier biological hotspot, and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, with over 97% of the land area designated as a national park, and a marine reserve second in size only to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Islands are home to many unusual species. In the Galápagos Islands, Mitzvah Corps participants learn about the delicate balance between nature and development.
In Partnership With: Putney Student Travel
Mitzvah Corps Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, run in partnership with Putney Student Travel, combines Putney's extensive experience and networks in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Mitzvah Corps' deeply rooted Reform Jewish values and commitment to engaging participants in meaningful, relevant Jewish experiences.