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Biology School Trip to Ecuador

Trip type: 
Enrichment & Science
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
30
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Ecuador, Americas | 10 days
Trip code: 
SGECB
What's included: 

Staff - local group leaders and one FREE teacher place per 10 paying students

Transport - Minibus, on foot, domestic flight, boat

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

Meals - Full Board Basis

Flights - Iberia from London Heathrow (regional departures available)

 

Trip Highlights: 
Journey into the Amazon and see the wildlife
Delve into the biological wonders of the jungle
Stay with the local Huaorani tribe
Learn how to hunt in the rainforest
See the impact of the oil industry on a 'Toxic Tour'
see full itinerary >>
Trip Highlights: 
Journey into the Amazon and see the wildlife
Delve into the biological wonders of the jungle
Stay with the local Huaorani tribe
Learn how to hunt in the rainforest
See the impact of the oil industry on a 'Toxic Tour'
see full itinerary >>
What's included: 

Staff - local group leaders and one FREE teacher place per 10 paying students

Transport - Minibus, on foot, domestic flight, boat

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

Meals - Full Board Basis

Flights - Iberia from London Heathrow (regional departures available)

 

Trip Overview: 

The Amazon rainforest is the perfect educational setting for biology students. Alive with flora and fauna, students can learn about everything from evolution to eco systems; the jungle is a classroom your pupils will never want to leave. Our local guides have extensive knowledge of the region and can help the group spot and identify different plants, birds and animals.

Fantastic encounters with the Huaorani tribe 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 meander down the Shiripuno River in dugout canoes watching tropical birds and monkeys.

Life in the Amazon awaits students on this fascinating trip, where the centuries-old, peaceful co-existence of jungle and man will be laid bare, and contrasted with the modern world's intervention.

Itinerary: 
Day
1

Day flight to Quito

Upon arrival in Quito, you’ll be met by your tour leader and transfer to your hotel. (D)

Day
2
Quito city tour

Quito city tour

Today is free for you to explore Quito, or relax after your flight. Alternatively, we can arrange for you to head out with a local guide to explore the colonial heart of the city, which has some fantastic buildings and churches. You'll visit Panecillo Hill, for fantastic views across the city, before continuing to the Mitad del Mundo (centre of the earth) monument. This marks the spot that, in 1736, Charles-Marie de la Condamine declared to be the equator. It is possible to see how water drains clockwise on one side of the equator and anti-clockwise on the other! (BLD)

Day
3
Journey through the Amazon to Huaorani Territory

Journey through the Amazon to Huaorani Territory

Fly to Coca (approx. 30 mins), gateway to Ecuador's Amazon basin. From Coca, we will drive through the jungle for two hours until we reach the Shiripuno River, where we jump into our motorised canoe/s for the start of our exciting Amazon journey! Along the way, your naturalist guide will identify the different plants, birds and animals as an introduction to the rainforest for biology students. Continuing upstream, we arrive at the Huaorani Territory and Reserve, where lunch will be served.

In the afternoon, we´ll visit Nenkepare village. 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, and paint your faces with the “achiote fruit (bixa orellana)” (a red paint used to colour their faces). (BLD)

Camping in the jungle: 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 its business is unforgettable. Your tents are along the Shiripuno River. 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! 

Day
4
Visit to Apaika community

Visit to Apaika community

After breakfast, you set-off canoeing up the Shiripuno River in traditional Huaorani style. You'll be up at the crack of dawn so you can catch a glimpse of the many Amazon early birds. 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. They live in the Yame Reserve, a 55,000-hectare protected area managed by the Huaorani Association. You'll visit Apaika’s mini interpretation centre, where you can learn more about Yasuní National Park and efforts to conserve it. 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. (BLD)

Day
5
 Full day on the Hunting Trail

Full day on the Hunting Trail

Today is hunting day! After breakfast, a Huaorani guide will accompany you on a long nature hike into the forest. The trail has two overlooks as it winds towards the community. There are tree trunk seats for some much-needed rest and you can enjoy the view over the forest canopy, where you may see vultures soaring. 

The local guides are 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, practise 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. 

Afterwards, you’ll have time to change into your swimsuit and take a dip in the fresh river water. 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.

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!

You return camp by canoe at the end of the afternoon to relax and have dinner. Your naturalist guide will be on-hand to have a discussion about the Huaorani or the eco-system of the Amazon this evening - the perfect opportunity for students to gain further insight into their unique day. With luck, you will also meet Moi Enomenga, a conservation hero honored by National Geographic and the Buffett Foundation. (BLD)

Day
6
Waterfalls and jungle trails

Waterfalls and jungle trails

After breakfast, you set-off once again by kayak, heading downriver near the Huaorani village of Nenquepare.

Today, you’ll hike to one of the region’s most stunning waterfalls. 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. Along the way, your guide will point out the special features of the area, which have been influenced by the humidity of the falls, as well as the different plants and animals; you might see toucans, piping guans and hawks, and make sure to listen for the incessant call of the screaming piha, a loud but small bird...

There’s also the opportunity to swim in the waterfall – students can jump into the clear, energizing waters, the perfect tonic for a steamy walk in the jungle! (BLD)

Day
7
Return to Quito, via an 'oil route'

Return to Quito, via an 'oil route'

Your route back to Coco, for the flight back to Quito, will take you on a revealing route, known as the 'toxic tour'. This will show students the harsh reality of how oil companies have impacted Huaorani territory, a live study on the effects of commercialisation on the environment and traditional lifestyles.

We will drive back on the road constructed by Texaco in the 1970s, as a way to access the oil fields. Continuing alongside miles of pipelines, which go from the Huaorani community of Tihuino to Lago Agrio, the oil hub of el Oriente. It'll help students to put everything they've seen from the Huaroni, who are trying to protect their lands, into perspective. (BLD)

Day
8

School Visit

Back in Quito, you’ll have the chance to visit a local school. You’ll meet the students and see firsthand the educational and other projects that have been successfully implemented there.

The afternoon is free to relax and explore the city. (BLD)

Day
9 / 10

Overnight flight back to London

Meet the Huaorani People

The Huaorani people are excited to share their lifestyle and home with you. 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, and at least one clan continues to shun all contact with the outside world. An innovative community-based tourism project was created to allow the Huaorani to earn an income whilst maintaining control of their territory and lifestyle. The best way to learn about the rainforest is from the people who live there. You will have total immersion into the tribe and they will teach you about their life. You'll see how they live, how they hunt and how they survive in this wonderful place.