Ecuador Rainforest Education and Conservation
The Andes is home to some of the world's most impressive volcans which can be seen during this programme
English lessons jungle-style. Volunteers always have an attentive audience - Yachana students always want to learn!
Path through the Yachana foundation forest
Yachana Colegio - one of the student accommodation buildings
Volunteers digging new storm drains with Yachana students
Each sunday volunteers and students work together during 'La Minga' (the mingle) on projects around the Colegio, here they are making new paths
Student and teacher accommodation at Yachana
View of Rio Napo whilst floating down it!
Yachana Colegio tree and plant nursery
The hoatsin is one of the unusual and unique sights to be had on a nature walk with your expert local guide
Volunteer accommodation at Yachana is either in 2 or 4 bed same sex dormitories at the Colegio and Lodge
Rio Napo at sunset, deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin
This was built using green construction techniques, local carpenters and wood from nearby sustainable sources. It has a very low 'embodied energy' rating as a result.
This campaign is designed to provide people of all walks of life with unique experiences in the Ecuadorian jungle that cultivate personal growth and result in a meaningful contribution to the conservation of the rainforest and the sustainable development of its indigenous and mestizo communities.
Explore Ecuador, its people and culture in depth as you volunteer deep in the Amazon jungle, learning Spanish whilst living and working alongside an amazing bunch of students at a dynamic school with an exciting future.
At the Yachana Colegio a qualified local teacher will guide you, according to your ability, through the grammar of spoken and written Spanish in a Jungle classroom. You will be able to engage the students as you put to good use your personal knowledge of IT and English to bridge the digital divide using a bespoke, state of the art, low energy, satellite wifi ethernet network. They in turn will reward you with insights and practical experience in agronomy, sustainability, biodiversity and micro-enterprise in the jungle.
We are in a unique position to be able to help with the fight against poverty and disease and the destruction of Ecuador’s imperilled rainforest.
Responsible volunteering - what you can do.
- Teach the skills of digital networking, podcasting and multi-media
- Practice your new found conversational Spanish whilst they practise their conversational English
- Aid development of the School’s micro-enterprise initiatives
- Cultivate organic agriculture.
- Help with natural and sustainable animal husbandry.
- Maintain walkways and facilities of the School.
- Take on roles and responsibilities to help with the day to day running of the school and the Foundation’s own Eco-lodge.
But it is not all work and no play! Depending on your programme duration you will have opportunities to mission off to explore what else this fantastic country has to offer, both near and far, as part of your once in a lifetime volunteer experience. (These will be either day or weekend excursions).
- Guided nature walks in Primary and Secondary rainforest to witness the vast array of flora & fauna
- Meet the local Amazonian communities and take part in indigenous ceremonies
- White-water rafting at Tena
- Experience the great capital city of Quito, gateway to the Ecuator and Ottavalo, site of the country’s largest indigenous market.
Prices - from £1299, plus £100 donation to Yachana Foundation (choose from the Foundation's Wish List how you want to spend this)
For our volunteers
- Learn to speak and read Spanish
- Gain empathy and understanding of other cultures
- Acquire valuable life skills such as a sense of independence & self-empowerment
- Huge sense of achievement Highly desirable enrichment of CV/ Personal Statement
- Satisfaction of having had a major impact on the development of digital networking and media education programmes at Yachana
- Learn to work as part of a team Learn about sustainable practices that benefit the rainforest and its communities
- Experience social entrepreneurialism
For the School
- Introduction and implementation of improved teaching curriculum in a variety of digital multi-media subjects
- New and previously unavailable online teaching resources
- Benefit from renewable energy sources (Energee-Saw and Solar panels for electricity)
- Development of international links
- Enhance the learning experience for the students at the School Continuation of this dynamic learning experience for the Students of Yachana High School
Arrive into Quito and transfer to city centre twin share B&B accommodation. Welcome dinner and introduction to programme. (Volunteer arrivals suggest being before 1700)
Day 2 (meal allowance provided)
Breakfast followed by city-sightseeing tour of Quito highlights with local guide and excursion to Mitad del Mundo - the Ecuator.
Day 3 (meal allowance provided)
Breakfast & private transfer by bus over the Andes, and motorised canoe up the Rio Napo to project accommodation at Yachana High School. Orientation of school and locality with guide. Introduction to project and duties.
Day 4 - 25 (excluding weekends)
PROJECT DAYS - 0800 to 1700, typically comprising daily spanish lessons, helping students with conversational and written English, teaching digital networking skills, working alongside students helping with sustainable farming practices, taking part in micro-enterprise initiatives (t-shirt printing, manufacture of seed products)
N.B: Changes to activities may occur subject to project requirements and school calendar. You will be kept informed of these as far in advance as possible.
Day of leisure at Yachana eco-lodge and its beautiful surroundings
Day 27 (evening meal allowance provided)
Departure day from Yachana Foundation. Private transfer by motorised canoe and bus to Quito.
Breakfast & private transfer to Quito International airport for departure flight (unless you are remaining in the country for further exploration. Advice given on request).
Is there an age limit?
Volunteers should be aged 18 or over, though there is not upper age restriction. The only proviso is that you are healthy, fit and compos mentis (latin for 'sane').
What level of fitness is required?
You must be in good health.
Can I get by only speaking English?
We recommend that you have some previous language skills or a desire to learn! Other volunteers may speak English, but most of the staff and community members do not.
Will I be alone?
You will be in groups of between 5 & 10
When can I go?
This programme operates set arrival and departure dates. This are available on request by clicking the 'Apply now' link or completing the form on our 'Contact' page.
What is the climate like?
Ecuador has two seasons. The Andean highlands have their dry season from June to September. The Amazon basin is often wet with December to March offering the driest months. The coast’s wet season is January to May, with the dry season in June to December. The dry and rainy seasons however do not need to dictate your time of travel. Due to its location on the equator, the climate remains largely constant throughout the year. The differences occur as the landscape changes, largely determined by altitude.
Do I require a visa for entry into Ecuador?
On arrival in the country, the immigration police will normally allow holders of British passports to remain in Ecuador for up to 90 days. If you are planning on staying for more than three months you should apply for a visa from an Ecuadorean Embassy before your arrival in the country. In certain circumstances, a 91-day extension for tourist visas can be applied for at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please check their website for further details and requirements.
Do I have to pay a departure tax?
Yes a fee of $44.30 is payable on departure. You must pay this before you are allowed to check into your departure flight. This is payable in cash.
What is the currency of Ecuador?
They use US $, but you may sometimes receive change in centavos coins, sucre notes are no longer in circulation.
What immunisation do I require?
Please consult your local doctor's surgery for the latest advice on which jabs are recommended. We suggest you do this at least 2 months prior to departure.
Is insurance needed?
Yes, insurance is compulsory and without it you will not be allowed to work on the project or go jungle trekking where applicable. You should specifically mention to your insurance company that you will be undertaking volunteer work and ensure you are also covered for jungle trekking. General holiday insurance is not sufficient in these circumstances. We can recommend insurance if needed.
Making your reservation
Our team would be than happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you.
You can register your interest by clicking the apply now button on the page above.
Once you have expressed firm interest, we will hold your tentative booking for 7 days and your placement will be secured once we have received a deposit of £195 per person. You can pay by cheque (made payable to mindthegap travel ltd), bank transfer (we will send you details of our bank account) or credit / debit card (this will incur a 3% admin fee).
If you wish to pay in any other currency, you can pay by transfer through our local Travelex banking partner. We will send you full details.
On confirmation of your placement we will send you by email a Travel Voucher, a full itinerary on payment of deposit and Know Before You Go document on payment of balance (2 months prior to departure on chosen placement date).
Between the time you secure your placement to the time of departure we are here to assist in your travel preparation and to answer your queries.
Once you have paid your deposit, the most frequently asked question is what happens now?
You will receive your receipt and travel itinerary via email along with a document which gives you further information on the project that you have selected. It also contains details on the local area, the religion and culture and gives you everything you should need to know to prepare you for your arrival at site.
If you have any questions or concerns before your departure you should contact our volunteer coordinator at email@example.com.
Approximately two months before departure you will receive an email detailing the names and email addresses of other participants on your project. It often helps to break the ice and get to know each other before your journey begins. Other volunteers may have useful information to share and as we have a lot of returning volunteers they are often very keen to share their knowledge and previous adventures with you.
Emergency contact details are kept on our site and updated when necessary. These details exist for your use and also for your families should unexpected problems occur at home. Please make sure you are aware of your projects emergency contacts prior to starting your journey.
All that is left for you to do now is pack your bags. We send you a site specific kit list to help you prepare for your adventures. So every step of your way we are there to help and support you.
Data Protection Policy
mindthegap travel ltd is committed to meeting its obligations under the UK Data Protection Act 1998. We will take due care in the collection, processing and storage of all personal data, including any sensitive data. We will only use your personal data in ways relevant to carrying out our legitimate purposes and functions and in a way that is not prejudicial to your interests. Our staff will do their best to keep all your personal data current, accurate and secure.
As an international company, we may share your personal data with our staff, partners and suppliers overseas in order to arrange your safari or placement. We will work to ensure that our staff understand they are required to observe UK data protection laws when handling personal data transferred overseas from the UK.
You should be aware that the country or countries we may need to transfer your personal data to may not afford the same level of protection to your personal data as your home country.
In the UK, we will hold and store all personal data you give us in connection with your booking for the same reason. Other reasons why we may hold and store your personal data are for our own marketing purposes, as well as for purposes relating to potential legal proceeding (the period of time determined by reference to statutory limitation periods). We will not hold or store your personal details for third party marketing purposes.
By completing our Application Form, you are giving your explicit consent to all transfers and the holding or sharing of your personal data. We will meet any request for access to personal data in compliance with the law.