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Galapagos, Amazon Jungle and Volunteer work
Galapagos, Amazon Jungle and Volunteer work (44 days)

43 Nights - Price from 3100 US$ p.p. -> During the first two weeks you travel through some of the most beautiful natural areas of Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest. After you've seen the amazing Ecuadorian wildlife in its natural environment you will join the experienced team of Merazonia and get the chance to help the less fortunate animals that were taken away out of their natural environment to serve as pets, often in small cages, or on a short chain... By the time these animals arrive in Merazonia unfortunately most of them already are too injured or imprinted to be released back into the wild. Part of your job will be to feed these animals, clean their cages, treat them well and give them a chance to live as naturally and comfortably as possible within the protected environment of Merazonia. For the animals that might still be capable to survive on their own in the jungle, you could help with rehabilitating and developing release programs, which are different for each animal. More information about Merazonia you can find on their own website: www.merazonia.org


Bookings

Long itinerary, Galapagos, Amazon, volunteer tour: Long itinerary, Galapagos, Amazon, volunteer tour:

 

This tour is a great combination of travelling, enjoying nature and do something back for it! During the first two weeks you will travel through some of the most beautiful Monkey Samsonnatural areas of Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest. After you've seen the amazing Ecuadorian wildlife in its natural environment you will join the experienced team of Merazonia and get the chance to help the less fortunate animals that were taken away out of their natural environment to serve as pets, often in small cages, or on a short chain...
By the time these animals arrive in Merazonia unfortunately most of them already are too injured or imprinted to be released back into the wild. Part of your job will be to feed these animals, clean their cages, treat them well and give them a chance to live as naturally and comfortably as possible within the protected environment of Merazonia.
For the animals that might still be capable to survive on their own in the jungle, y
ou could help with rehabilitating and developing release programs, which are different for each animal. More information about Merazonia you can find on their own website: www.merazonia.org

Short itinerary of the tour:

Day 1 (Sunday’s): Arrive in Quito
Day 2: Quito - Galapagos Islands
Day 3: Galapagos tour
Day 4: Galapagos tour
Ocelot
Day 5: Galapagos tour
Day 6: Galapagos tour -> Quito - Otavalo.
Day 7 (Saturday): Market in Otavalo
Day 8: Otavalo (Optional: Laguna Coicocha hike) - Quito.
Day 9: Quito - Lago Agrio - Cuyabeno Tour

Day 10: Cuyabeno Tour.
Day 11: Cuyabeno Tour.

Day 12: Cuyabeno Tour:
Day 13: Cuyabeno - Lago Agrio - Quito.
Day 14: Quito - Baños
Day 15: Baños
Day 16: Baños - and the small town of Mera. From here it takes only 15 min. in a taxi and a short walk to cross the bridge over the river into the protected area of the Merazonia Animal refuge.
The next 4 weeks you will
work and live with the team of Merazonia, while you stay in a 6-sided jungle abode, which consists of a large dorm-style room, housing up to 8 volunteers. There is also a large deck area to eat, relax in hammocks, or strike up a game of cards, a great surrounding to make new friends for life.

Day 44: End of this combination of travelling and volunteering. You can decide to go back to Quito and home, stay longer at Merazonia, or continue travelling. We will help you with the arrangements of any decision you make.

Booby


Long itinerary:

Day 1
: Quito
(Sunday’s): Arrive in Quito (2850m) and private transfer with English speaking driver to your hotel.
Quito was elected by Unesco as the American Capital of Culture 2011, because of its impressive colonial centre.


Flamingo
Day 2: Quito - Galapagos -
Puerto Ayora - Isabela - Flamingo Lagoon
In the morning you will take a flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Airport. At the airport you will be met by our guide, who will arrange the transfer by ferry and bus to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz island). After lunch you will take the public speedboat to Isabela, the Galapagos’ largest island. Arrive at Puerto Villamil after about 3,5 hours of navegation. In the late afternoon you will visit the Flamingo Lagoon, which is the largest coastal lagoon found in the
Galapagos. This is one of the main reproductive sites for flamingos.
 

Day 3:
Sierra Negra - Volcan Chico - Concha Perla
After an early breakfast departure to Sierra Negra, one of Isabela’s five active volcanoes. After a short ride by car we will continue walking (or optional on horseback, extra) to the rim of the crater. With a diameter of 10 km. this is the world’s second largest volcanic caldera. From the crater you can enjoy spectacular views. We also will visit Volcan Chico, a smaller crater, where you can see petrified lava and fumaroles. Return to Puerto Villamil for lunch. In the afternoon we will go snorkeling at Concha Perla, a calm bay where you can swim with sea lions.
 
Sea lion
Day 4: Giant Tortoise Breeding Center - Muro de las Lagrimas - Tintoreras Islet
In the morning we will go on an excursion to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center. We will visit Muro de las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears), a wall built with huge blocks of lava by the convicts who were forced to work here from 1946 to 1959, when Isabela was a penal colony. We will visit a small lava tunnel and another lagoon with flamingos. Return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we will navegate to Tintoreras Islet, where a colony of white tip sharks can be seen. Tintoreras is also an important breeding site of marine iguanas, and you can see sea lions and penguins. It is an excellent place for snorkelling.
 

Day 5: Galapagos (
Puerto Ayora) - highlands of Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Station
Giant tortoiseEarly breakfast and departure by public speedboat back to Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz island). After check-in at hotel in Puerto Ayora you will drive to the highlands of Santa Cruz, where you can see the giant tortoises in their natural habitat. After lunch return to Puerto Ayora and visit the Charles Darwin Station. Here you will have the opportunity to see Lonesome George, the last Galapagos tortoise of its species.
 

Day 6: Galapagos (los
Gemelos) Baltra - Quito - Otavalo
After breakfast short excursion to Gemelos or Twin Craters, which are similar to craters, but formed by a collapse of the earth because of the lava flows that passed below it. After this excursion we continue to the Baltra Airport where you will take a flight back to Quito.


A privateOtavalo transfer
with English speaking driver will bring you directly to your hotel in Otavalo (2560m) (2h).  
Otavalo is o
ne of the very few places in Latin America where its citizens are proud to be indigenous and with reason. Already for thousands of years the people of Otavalo are known for their special high quality weaving techniques and commercial skills. The Inca’s supposedly used their weaving skills and now the Otavalenios have shops in several places over the world, even in New York City.


Day 7: Otavalo Saturday Market and surrounding

Today
you can explore the small town, visit the famous local and colorful Saturday market, visit a rescue centre for birds of prey, go on a short hike to the waterfall of Peguche, or to join a very interesting excursion to visit several small communities in the surroundings of Otavalo. During this tour you get great views of the country side of Ecuador and you will learn about the different ancient handicrafts that are still practiced in these communities. These handicrafts include leather work, weaving and making flutes.
Cuicocha lake


Day 8: Otavalo (Optional Laguna Cuicocha) - Quito
In the morning: Optional to hike around Laguna
Cuicocha (4h). The Cuicocha (cocha = lake) is a 3 km (2 mi) wide caldera and crater lake at the foot of Cotacachi Volcano in the Cordillera Occidental of the Ecuadorian Andes.
Its name comes from the Kichwa indigenous language and means "Lago del Cuy" or Guinea Pig Laguna in English. It was given this name due to the guinea pig shape of the largest Island in the middle of the laguna.
Half day use of hotel room in Otavalo. Halfway the afternoon private transport back to Quito.


Day 9: Quito - Lago Agrio - Cuyabeno Reserve

AnteaterPrivate transport to the airport followed by a short flight takes you from Quito to Lago Agrio.
From here starts your tour through the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is situated in the north-eastern Amazon region of Ecuador, between the San Miguel and Aguarico rivers, and close to the Colombian and Peruvian borders. The reserve is made up of 605,000 hectares of primary forest, rivers and lakes, and is home to an incredible variety of animal and plant life. Five different ethnic groups live within the reserve: the Siona, Secoya, Cofán, Kichwas and Shuar, each of which has its own culture and language.

The base of your trip in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, is the Nicky Amazon Lodge, located in the southern part of the reserve. This tourist class lodge has 7 cabins, each with 2 separate rooms and private bath (only cold water). Nearby is the Quichua birdwatching tower, where you can enjoy magnificent views of the canopy.

The tour into the Amazon starts from Lago Agrio at 10:00 a.m. We travel with a small international
Cuyabeno Reservegroup by truck for 2,5 hour to Tierras Orientales, where we start a journey by motorized canoe. We navegate first downstream the Aguarico river and then continue upstream along the Cuyabeno blackwater river. After about 3 hours we arrive at the lodge. After dinner our bilingual naturalist guide will tell you about the program for the next days.
 
Day 10: Cuyabeno Reserve
Early morning we leave for a canoe excursion, because the brisk morning hours are the best time to see the rainforest's activity. After breakfast we will make a hike in primary rainforest with our naturalist guide and native guide. After lunch we will go paddling by traditional dugout canoe, enabling us to enjoy the sounds of the jungle, from the smallest insect to the fierce sounding Howler monkeys. On the way back to the lodge we will stop and try our luck at piranha fishing. After dinner we will make a short excursion to look for nocturnal insects, and with a bit of luck we may see some species of tree frogs or nocturnal mammal, including kinkajous.
 
Nightlife
Day 11
: Cuyabeno Reserve
Nature never sleeps and today we also wake up early. As the sun starts to bring color into the forest, we leave to go on a birdwatching tour. We have the opportunity to observe macaws, toucans, parrots, caciques, hoatzins and other tropical bird species. After breakfast, we trek into primary rainforest and the guide will explain us about the practical and medicinal uses of several plants. After lunch we navigate along the Cuyabeno river to enjoy the beautiful nature. Optional night walk to enjoy the nightlife and the music (insects and frogs) of the jungle..
 


Day 12: Cuyabeno Reserve
Macaw
When the nightlife of the jungle goes to sleep, we wake up with the songs from the birds around us. Today
we spend the whole day exploring the Amazon Rainforest. We observe the enchanting salt lick (an exposed clay bank) where colourful parrots and parakeets feed on the clay to draw the toxins from their bodies. During a hike in the forest the native guide shares with us his ancient knowledge learnt from his ancestors. He shows us the many different medicinal and practical uses of the rainforest and we learn how all life in the tropical rainforest co-exists in a fragile balance. In the afternoon we explore the Cuyabeno river, observing different habitats and looking for other species. We have a good chance of seeing the freshwater pink and grey river dolphins (Inia geoffrensis and Sotalia fluviatilis). We also visit the Quichua Birdwatching Tower; from above the canopy we have a breathtaking view of the surrounding rainforest. After dinner, we venture out on a night excursion to search for caimans and nocturnal birds.
 

Day 13: Cuyabeno Reserve - Lago Agrio - Quito
Squirrel monkeyAfter breakfast we navigate along the Cuyabeno river to an indigenous community of Quichuas, where our guide will explain about the culture and traditions of the native people. Then we travel by canoe down the Cuyabeno river and back along the Aguarico river to Tierras Orientales, from where we return by car to Lago Agrio. Arrival at Lago Agrio late in the afternoon.
Flight back to Quito



Day 14: Today our private transport will take you to the bus terminal just outside of Quito, from where you can take a local bus (3h) to the friendly town of Baños, at the feet of the grumpy volcano Tungurahua (means Little Hell). At night you can sometimes even see a bit of lava coming out of its mouth.
Ecuador Baños

Day 15: A free day in Baños, to enjoy the hot springs were the town received its name from. Because of these hot springs it has developed into a friendly tourist town with lots of activities for local and foreign tourist. These activities include: Rafting, biking, abseiling, quad riding, hiking, spa treatments and more.
For who wants to do something more active, it is a recommendable tour to bike the road downhill from Baños to Puno along the Pastaza River. Along the way you will see steep cliffs, several waterfalls and great views!


Day 16: In the afternoon you walk to the bus terminal and drive in about an hour to the town of Mera. From here it takes only 15 min. in a taxi and a short walk to cross the bridge over the river into the protected area of the Merazonia Animal refuge.

More information about working for and with Merazonia: Parrot
Merazonia is an up-and-coming rescue center for trafficked and abused Amazonian animals, located on 250 acres of rainforest, in Mera, Ecuador. Animals confiscated by the Ministry of Environment and the police, are brought to us where our resident veterinarian gives them their first check-up in our clinic. We are caring for monkeys, kinkajous, cats, other mammals and parrots. Our volunteers help us care for the animals, as well as continue to construct enclosures and trails to improve the centre. We work on both rehabilitating and providing release programs for the animals. If animals are too injured or imprinted for this, we will give them a chance to live as naturally and comfortably as possible.

We also place importance on outreach, education, and research, and plan on implementing local educational programs as well as welcoming international students and researchers. Currently we invite anyone with a passion to make a difference to volunteer with us, get a bit of jungle dirt under your nails, and contribute to the creation of a haven for animals in need!
Sloth release 2
Sloth releaseMerazonia has a young team of people who encourage volunteers to help think of ways we can improve the park. We are currently caring for well over 50 animals, including: capuchins, tamarin and woolly monkeys; many species of parrots and macaws; kinkajous and small mammals; and sometimes felines. Because rehabilitation is an important part of what we do, the group of animals we look after often changes, with animals being released or moved to other refuges, depending on the care and environment they need.

We live at the reserve, which is a 15-minute taxi ride from the town of Mera. Any bus towards Puyo will pass by Mera's central square from where you can take a blue pickup taxi, called Transmera to the center. Volunteers stay in our 6-sided jungle abode, which consists of a large
dorm-style room, housing up to 8 volunteers. There is also a large deck area where we usually eat our meals, relax in hammocks, or strike up a game of cards. Our bathroom facilities are next to the volunteer house, and consist of composting toilets and our famously hot showers.
Volunteers take turns in cooking and our huge kitchen includes even an oven, to encourage volunteers to bake pie or cookies, a great treat after a day of hard work in the jungle.

A typical day starts with feeding the animals and cleaning their cages at 7.30 a.m. After breakfast we work on Building a cagemaintaining and keeping the park clean, or building new trails and enclosures. The animals get fed again at 3 p.m. But there is also time to explore the land, relax by the river, or swim in our waterfalls.


Day 44: End of this combination of travelling and volunteering. You can decide to go back to Quito and home, stay longer at Merazonia, or continue travelling. We will help you with the arrangements of any decision you make.


NOTES: The itinerary may be subject to changes due to weather conditions and the water level in the Cuyabeno Reserve. The Cuyabeno Tour starts each Monday (group size 4 – 10 persons). The Galapagos tours can start each day with a min. of 2 persons.

- The fee for Merazonia is 400 USD p.p. for 4 weeks, including 28 overnights and (mostly vegetarian) and meals.
This money is already included in the public price of this tour, but because we stand for transparentcy you could also decide to pay this money yourself upon your arrival in Merazonia.

Inclusive and recommended to bring with:


Included in this tour:
- 15 nights with breakfast based in a double room.
- 28 nights in the dorm of the volunteer house at Merazonia
- Private transfers with English speaking driver/guide
- Flights to and from Lago Agrio
The Galapagos tour comes with:
- English speaking naturalist guides
- Transfers on the Galapagos by public bus and public speedboatcappuchin monkey
- Accommodation in budget class hotels (double room with private bath and hot water)
- Meals full board
- Excursions as detailed in the itinerary
- Flight to and from the Galapagos Islands -> price around 475 US$ p.p. if more, the total goes up)
- Snorkeling equipment on Isabela
The Cuyabeno tour comes with:
- Naturalist guide
- Transportation from / to Lago Agrio
- Accommodation in Nicky Jungle Lodge (double and quadruple cabins with private bath)
- Meals and purified drinking water
- Jungle equipment (rubber boots, rain poncho and life jackets for on the boats)


Not included:
- Entrance fee for the Galapagos Islands (20 US$ has to be paid on the airport of Quito and 100 US$ upon arrival on the Galapagos.
- International flights and airport taxes
- Optional excursions
- Drinks, meals and personal expenses not mentioned in the itinerary above
- Travel insurance
- Additional price for a single room supplement (ask for the options)
- Tips


We recommend you to bring at least with:
-    Valid identification and travel documents and when needed a valid visa
-    The information of your travel insurance
-    Valid vaccinations, ask you countries health centre for more information
-    A good big backpack or sport bag, NO hard case suitcase.
Snake and lizard, nature
-    A small day (back)pack
-    Good shoes
-    Sandals
-    A warm jacket/ fleece
-    A rain jacket/ poncho
-    A warm sweater

-    Three light trousers
-    Two pair of shorts
-    4 T-shirts
-    Swimming wear
-    A flashlight
-    A water proof to protect your electronics against the humidity of the rainforest
-    Something to be able to back-up your pictures from your camera
-    Protection against the sun and mosquito’s (you can also buy in Ecuador).

Additional information from the volunteer project:

In the Amazon, the weather runs from brilliantly sunny to downright wet (it is the rainforest), so we recommend raingear and layering work clothes (and liquorice or chocolate if you really want to get in good with the managers). While we provide linen and blankets, if you are prone to chilliness, we recommend bringing a sleeping bag for extra comfort. We also provide candles, but a flashlight is always handy for the dark jungle nights.


 

 

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