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Biology School Trip to Ecuador

Trip type: 
Enrichment & Science
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
40
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Ecuador, Americas | 10 days
Trip code: 
SGECB
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, on foot, domestic flight, boat.

Accommodation -  Hotel (4nts), jungle camp (4nts)

Meals - Full Board Basis

English Speaking local Tour Leader throughout

Flights - Iberia from London Heathrow (regional departures available)

1 free teacher place per 10 paying students

Trip Highlights: 
Journey into the Amazon Rainforest, surrounded by jungle sights & sounds
Stay with the local Huaorani tribe
Spend a full day on the Hunting Trail (no animals will be harmed)
See the impact of the oil industry on a 'Toxic Tour'
see full itinerary >>
Trip Highlights: 
Journey into the Amazon Rainforest, surrounded by jungle sights & sounds
Stay with the local Huaorani tribe
Spend a full day on the Hunting Trail (no animals will be harmed)
See the impact of the oil industry on a 'Toxic Tour'
see full itinerary >>
What's included: 

Transport - Minibus, on foot, domestic flight, boat.

Accommodation -  Hotel (4nts), jungle camp (4nts)

Meals - Full Board Basis

English Speaking local Tour Leader throughout

Flights - Iberia from London Heathrow (regional departures available)

1 free teacher place per 10 paying students

Trip Overview: 

The award winning Huaorani Ecolodge is situated at the headwaters of the Amazon and run by the Huaorani, one of the most isolated ethnic groups on earth. This fantastic encounter will engage your pupils with a lifestyle far removed from their own, where they will learn traditional hunting methods using a blowgun, decorate their faces with red achiote along with the rest of the village, and take a two day meander down the Shiripuno river in kayaks or dugout canoes watching tropical birds and monkeys. Life in the Amazon awaits you on this fascinating school trip where the centuries old, peaceful co-exisitence of jungle and man will be laid bare, and then contrasted alongside the modern world's intervention. You will listen to an indigenous leader relate the tribe's fight against oil exploration, and with luck, you will meet Moi Enomenga, a conservation hero honored by National Geographic and the Buffett Foundation.

Itinerary: 
Day
1

Day flight to Quito

On arrival in Quito you’ll be met by your Tour Leader and taken to your hotel.

Day
2
Quito city tour

Quito city tour

Today you head out with a local guide to explore the colonial heart of the city. Quito has spread along a valley sandwiched in by volcanoes. The old colonial section has some fantastic buildings and churches and from the foot of the angel on top of the Panecillo Hill you get a fantastic view across the city. You continue to the Mitad del Mundo (centre of the earth) monument which marks the spot that in 1736 Charles-Marie de la Condamine declared to be the equator (according to his measurements!). It is possible here to see how water drains clockwise on one side of the equator and anti-clockwise on the other. Later you head back into Quito where the rest of the day is left free to further explore the city or to relax. Please note, that during free time, pupils should be supervised by members of school staff.

Day
3
Journey through the Amazon to Huaorani Territory

Journey through the Amazon to Huaorani Territory

This morning we transfer to the airport for a short, 30 minute flight to Coca, the gateway to Ecuador's Amazon basin. From Coca, there is a drive of approximately two hours to reach the Shiripuno River. Upon arrival to the Shiripuno Bridge, there will be a quick safety briefing before the group sets off into the jungle by motorized canoe. Once underway, listen out to your naturalist guide will be identifying the different plants, birds and animals encountered en route. Travelling upstream We will continue upstream until we arrive at the Huaorani Territory and Reserve, where lunch will be served. In the afternoon, we´ll visit the Village of Nenkepare. All the community gathers in a typical Huaorani house made from palm leaves where the local community will welcome you with their traditional dances and songs, painting your faces with the “achiote fruit (bixa orellana)” from where the local people get a red paint to color their faces. In the evening, our staff will prepare a fresh dinner for you. Accommodation at Nenkepare Campsite (multiple accommodation)

Day
4
Visit to Apaika community

Visit to Apaika community

After breakfast, you set off canoeing up the Shiripuno River in traditional Huaorani style. Today the day starts extra early in order to catch a glimpse of the many different birds out at these hours. The tranquility of the morning will allow you to appreciate the true peace and calm of the rainforest.  Next up is a stop at the Apaika community, who live inside the Yame Reserve, a 55,000-hectare protected area managed by the Huaorani Association, who leads the region’s ecotourism initiatives. Here you will enjoy a quick snack and visit Apaika’s mini interpretation center, where you can learn more about Yasuní National Park. To complete the afternoon, you’ll be able to join the community in some of its daily activities and share in its history, myths and magic. Afterwards, the group continues a couple more hours  upriver  near the Huaorani village of  Quehueri`ono. You will spend 2 nights here, at the lodge along the Shiripuno River. Accommodation at Huaorani Ecolodge  (multiple accommodation)

Day
5
 Full day on the Hunting Trail

Full day on the Hunting Trail

Today is hunting day!  And you thought this was an environmentally friendly project? Well, it is! Huaorani are hunters and gatherers and their main sources of protein are mammals (yes, including monkeys), fish and birds. The goals of this project are to preserve the traditional practices of the Huaorani culture and to protect the tropical rainforest. After breakfast, a Huaorani guide will accompany you on a long nature hike into the forest. The local guides are also experienced hunters and they will teach you the secrets of rainforest survival without killing any of the creatures that live there. You’ll learn how to set traps, make fire without matches, build a shelter in minutes, use a blowgun, practice the perfect swing of the machete and catch fish in small creeks. 

Your guide may also point out and let you taste edible insects, identify and explain the uses of medicinal plants, and show you which clay is used to make pottery. The trail has two overlooks as it winds toward the community. There are tree trunk seats for some much-needed rest and will allow you to enjoy the view over the forest canopy, where you may see vultures soaring and trees in bloom. Afterwards, you’ll have time to change into your swimsuit and take a dip in the fresh river water, swimming beside the creatures of the Amazon. Do not worry, though, the animals won’t bite; humans are the only true threat in the jungle! Most likely, members of the Huaorani community will join you for the swim; the river plays a central role in their lives and they love to play in the water! Shortly after, you’ll fill up on a hearty lunch near the community. The afternoon will be spent with the community, when you’ll get to know the members personally. The relaxed, informal visit may lead you to share a bowl of chucula (a sweet drink made of ripe bananas) under the filtered light of the thatched houses, or admire the beautiful handmade artifacts, including woven hammocks and bags, blowguns, traps and necklaces. You’ll also have the chance to visit the Bi-cultural Ecology Education project and learn how to harvest manioc, also known as yucca or cassava. Perhaps you will be invited to join in a game of ecua-volley! if you’d like, you can visit the community’s handicraft market and purchase some of the products. The production of crafts is one of the ways the Huaorani maintain their culture, and buying crafts is way to provide direct support the Huaorani families: it provides employment in the village and another reason to protect the natural areas around the community. You return to the lodge by canoe at the end of the afternoon to relax and have dinner, then your naturalist guide will offer a half hour discussion, or charla, on a subject of interest. Like the day before, if you’d like to extend your day and continue observing, ask your guide to take you on a short night hike. Accommodation at Huaorani Ecolodge  (multiple accommodation)

Day
6
Yame Reserve and Yasuni National Park

Yame Reserve and Yasuni National Park

After breakfast, you set off once again by kayak, heading downriver near the Huaorani village of Nenquepare. One of the major highlights is hiking to one of the region’s most stunning waterfall. The Huaorani built and maintain a trail to this magnificent waterfall, which has special significance to the community. The easy stroll to the cascade and back takes about three hours, and once you arrive at the waterfall, you can jump into the clear, energizing waters to recharge for the return walk. Along the way, your naturalist guide will point out the special features of the area influenced by the humidity of the falls as well as the special plants and animals you might have the opportunity to see. A small charge will be made to cover the costs of maintaining the trail. This is a moderate hike of about 90 minutes, beginning with a short steep ascent after which you walk along the ridges of undulating hills allowing you views midway into the canopy, where you may see such birds as toucans, piping guans and hawks. Listen for the incessant call of the Screaming Piha, a loud but small bird that is rarely spotted.

You will spend the again a night here, camping out along the Shiripuno River, sleeping with the sounds of the Amazon’s animals.  Accommodation at Nenkepare Campsite (multiple accommodation)

Day
7
Toxic Tour and return to Quito

Toxic Tour and return to Quito

After our morning hike we will leave the campsite to begin our return journey to Coca and onward to Quito. This revealing route is also known as the “toxic tour,” which will expose you to the harsh reality of how oil companies have impacted Huaorani territory. We will drive back on the road constructed by Texaco in the 1970s as a way to access the oil fields and then continue alongside miles of pipelines, which go from the Huaorani community of Tihuino to Lago Agrio, the oil hub of el Oriente, to be pumped across the Andes to the port of Esmeraldas. This will allow us to see and experience the oil industry’s impact and what their brochures don’t show. It also helps put in prospective the importance of indigenous people who protect their lands such as the Huaorani.

Day
8

School Visit

Back in Quito you’ll have a chance to visit a local school.  There you’ll experience the typical lifestyle and to see firsthand the community school and educational and other projects that have been successfully implemented there.  The afternoon is free to relax and explore the city.

Day
9 / 10

Overnight flight back to London

Venture into the amazing Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is the perfect educational setting for biology students. Alive with flora and fauna, there is no better place on Earth than the jungle to delve into the biological wonders of the universe. From evolution to eco systems the Amazon is a classroom your pupils will will never want to leave. Accompanied throughout by local guides with extensive knowledge of the region and it's residents, your group will get a fantastic insight and assistance in spotting and identifying different plants, birds and animals.

Meet the Huaorani People

The Huaorani have long inhabited the headwaters of the Amazon living as nomadic hunters and gatherers with no outside contact until the end of the 1950s, at least one clan continues to shun all contact with the outside world. Due to an innovative community based tourism project, the Huaorani Lodge was created to allow these indigenous people to earn an income while maintaining control of their territory and lifestyle. At the lodge, school groups will spend time with the Huaorani learning about their lifestyle and the part of the Amazon that they call home. It's a unqiue experience, after all, no one knows a place like the people who live there!

Stay at the Nenkepare Jungle Camp

Camping out in the Amazon is an amazing experience. The sounds of the jungle come alive after dark and hearing the noctural world going about it's business is unforgettable. Our camp is on the banks of the Shiripuno river, where a series of covered platforms have been erected to protect the tents. You'll be raised off the ground and protected from the elements but the sides are open so expect to hear the wildlife after lights out - a truly exhilarating feeling!