Into the cloud forest
Our journey in biodiversity begins in the bustling city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where we spend the night in a little hotel near the historic district and head to Papallacta, soaking in the local hot springs while you learn about the adventures to come and begin to get to know one another. After spending some time acclimatizing and preparing for your upcoming journey, we head to a biological reserve that Broadreach helped build just a few hours from Quito. It's a challenging, yet rewarding, hike to this beautiful site located in the cloud forest and teaming with an abundance of wildlife including Andean spectacled bears, jaguars and over 300 bird species. While there, help maintain the trails and conduct biological surveys to collect information from the site to support its environmental protection status.
Welcome to the jungle
It's an adventure in itself just getting to our next stop, a research station deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle where few people have ventured before. Experience the thrill of scenic open air bus rides and river boat cruises before arriving at our destination. As we glide down the river, witness nature untouched by man and more species of birds, monkeys and butterflies than you're able to count. Maybe you'll even spot a pink river dolphin! Once we settle in, you can explore the labyrinth of research facilities and jungle cabins at the station. See a whole new perspective on the Amazon as you ascend into the trees and wander through the canopy's walkway system, interacting with animals that can't be seen from the jungle's floor. Your time in the Amazon deepens your understanding of rainforest ecosystems and leaves you in awe of its immense biodiversity.
Spend a few days in the capital city of Quito enjoying the incredible culture of Ecuador and her people. Explore open air markets and soak in the view from the top of the Basílica del Voto Nacional. Walk the picturesque cobbled streets of the Old Historic District of Quito, taking time to stop at local shops, haggle for souvenirs and sample the local delicacies.
The birthplace of biodiversity
We bid the Amazon goodbye and head to the most incredible archipelago on Earth, the Galápagos Islands. This cluster of volcanic islands is nestled just under the equator, over 5 million years old and best known for its vast number of endemic species. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this marine reserve is full of countless species to behold: lumbering giant tortoises, brightly colored iguanas, foot-high penguins, albatrosses, blue-footed booties, sea lions and more species than you can count. Snorkel among pods of sea lions, schooling fish, seahorses and frogfish. Maybe even spot a whale shark or two. There is no better place on the planet to study the world's abundant flora and fauna. Spend your last night on program under the stars at a rooftop restaurant and celebrate all the amazing things you and your new friends have experienced and learned.