Venture 600 miles west of Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands. Live and work on a permaculture farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to help establish sustainable tourism alternatives. Practice your Spanish, snorkel with sea lions and observe blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and giant tortoises.
The Galapagos Islands are a unique place where three ocean currents meet, seismic and volcanic activity shape the land and the diversity of species inspired the theory of evolution. These islands are a global treasure under threat. Service projects in the Galapagos help with environmental and social needs. Work on an environmentally sustainable, organic permaculture farm in the mountains of Santa Cruz. Plant cacao and green bananas (which are used in Ecuadorian cuisine—try some patacones to get ready!) Farm projects include cleaning the crop areas and planting new crops, building composting bathrooms, creating a mixed-medium welcome mural, building wood platforms for dwellings and making an extractor for essence of guava. Work at a school in the village of Santa Rosa, playing games with the kids and teaching English. Join local teens with Frente Insular to clean plastic and remove microplastics from the ocean.
In the mountains of Santa Cruz Island of the Galapagos archipelago, home will be Petrel Camp, an environmentally sustainable, organic permaculture farm. You will live completely off the grid with solar panels and a solar water heater. Learn about composting, alternatives to plastic, minimizing waste and consumption and how to live sustainably in creative ways. The farm grows coffee, bamboo, papaya, bananas, oranges, mangoes, pineapples as well as fruits that you’ve probably never heard of. Hundred-year-old giant tortoises wander through the farm, eating leaves, undisturbed and sometimes seek shade under solar panels.
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Over the summer, I went on a Visions trip in Ecuador, and it was certainly an unforgettable experience. Unlike other service programs, Visions helped me to really understand the culture of South America and its people, who are so full of life and love. In our short four week sojourn in Patate, fourteen other teens and I accomplished so much. The main project which we carried out was the construction of a bathroom in a primary school. This was a great opportunity for us to truly interact with the people at the school; we played games with the kids and discussed daily life the teachers. The relationships that I developed with the Ecuadorians are truly priceless, and I often find myself drifting back to the dreamlike experiences I had on my trip. The breathtaking views, the passionate games of soccer, the energy and spirit of the people, and so much more has really given me such a new perspective on the world. I am so thankful for all of my Visions leaders who were great mentors and role models, and who made our trip a success. I highly recommend Visions for anyone seeking to discover all of the life and soul that exists in other cultures all over the world, and for those wishing to accomplish something greater than themselves, all the while developing a very strong community.
When most teens are inevitably asked to describe a life-changing experience, I don't hesitate to answer. Going on two Visions trips, to the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, is by far the best decision I have ever made. I had gone to an overnight camp for many years, but the adventures I had on these trips far surpassed anything I had ever experienced. Visions sets itself apart from other community service programs because it creates a tight-knit community that gets serious work done in between incredible outings. The programs make up the best two months of my life, and my friends feel the same. Even after over a year, the kids from the Dominican Republic and I still manage to keep up with each other. Visions is the perfect program for anyone who wants to make a difference in their own life and the lives of others. I would not be the same person without going on these trips, and I highly highly recommend them to anyone interested.