Galapagos & Ecuador

Islands, Andes & Amazon

Though the second-smallest country in South America, Ecuador rightfully boasts the title of one of the world’s few “Megadiverse” countries. From lush rainforests to windswept mountain tops, and from the international city-center to the remote desert islands of the Galapagos, Ecuador will show you an interconnectedness you never thought possible. Explore the Andes on horseback, snorkel face-to-face with sea lions, and work with the endangered Galapagos tortoise while finding time to give back to the threatened people and ecosystems of this remarkable country.

Note: The published tuition fee below does not include the cost of flights to/from the program, nor an additional $800 for the internal flights between Quito and the Galapagos, and Quito and the Amazon.

  • Days
  • Service
  • Students
  • Age
  • Availability
  • Tuition (USD)
Upcoming Session Information

We’re sorry, but our summer 2018 dates and costs are not yet published. Please check back in August, or give us a call (+1.941.924.2115) to discuss our future offerings.

Service Focus

  • Humanitarian Support
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Wildlife Stewardship

Adventure

  • Cultural Exploration
  • Hiking & Walking Tours
  • Water Sports
  • Land Sports

Environment

  • Urban
  • Mountains
  • Ocean
  • Rainforest

The Journey

Your Adventure Starts Here

¡Hola! Welcome to Ecuador!

1 Day

Our journey begins! Students have the option of flying to Quito (UIO) via Miami (MIA) on a preselected group itinerary, or students can fly independently. For students flying via MIA, GoBeyond arranges for an airport representative to assist with the transfer. In some cases, this representative is one of the group leaders and flies with the students to the journey destination. In other cases, he/she is a local contact responsible for airport assistance but will not be on the flight to Quito. After arrival in Quito, students are met at the airport by GoBeyond’s professional staff and transferred to our comfortable and clean country B&B near the tranquil town of Tababela.

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

5 Days

Students finish their trip with a visit to the magnificent Andes Mountains. After another brief layover in Quito for laundry and calls home, students are transferred via private bus to a spectacular countryside B&B near the town of Chugchilán. Here, students get a taste for high altitude living. Colorful Andean cultures intermix with the beautiful páramo, the high altitude grasslands. Students visit lively markets on the way, then enjoy some invigorating hiking and quiet reflective time against the backdrop of distant snow-capped volcanoes.

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

(cont.)

One of the most breathtaking sites in the Chugchilán area is Quilotoa Lake – a unique volcanic crater with emerald waters that spans 3 kilometers wide. Students explore and hike through this natural wonder, shop for colorful Andean clothing such as hats and ponchos in markets nearby, then return home at night to the welcoming warmth of our Andean ecolodge. 

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

(cont.)

Students also spend an afternoon navigating the Andean countryside on horseback. No experience is necessary for this short excursion, though you may want to bring your hunger. Students are offered the opportunity to travel to a nearby village where a historic cheese factory offers brief tours and samples. You’ll find the most authentic Ecuadorian flavors here!

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

(cont.)

To cap off our time in the Andes, students have an action-packed day full of fun and excitement while rafting through the cloud forests of the Rio Toachi. Rapids range from class II to class IV on this scenic river, thus all ability levels – experienced and non-experienced rafters alike – are bound to have fun. When not navigating the rapids in the river, our veteran whitewater rafting guides fill the time with hilarious boat games and river jokes.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

8 Days

Students fly from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. First impressions last forever in this natural wonderland – “magical” sums it up best for most. Beyond its unique beauty, the Galapagos are also one of the most biologically important places on earth. It was these islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. During our Galapagos excursion, students develop a love of the animals while touring the islands and lending a hand to conservation service projects through the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS). Projects often include removing invasive species, planting native trees, beach clean-ups, and educational initiatives for local children.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

(cont.)

The incredible beauty of the Galapagos cannot be fully explored on foot alone. During their time in the islands, GoBeyond students embark on a breathtaking nature tour via private charter boat and visit some of the “jewel” islands, which may include Plazas, Santa Fe, Española, Lobos, and San Cristobal. Students have unforgettable experiences with the wildlife, including close encounters with blue-footed boobies and albatrosses as they perform their intricate mating dances, snorkeling with sea lions, hammerhead sharks, penguins, and much more. Getting up close and personal with the Galapagos’ fearless creatures truly makes this experience one-of-a-kind.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

(cont.)

Until the arrival of mankind in 1535, the Galapagos was the land where time stood still, but humans have changed the balance of natural selection since then. Today, there is a huge effort to reverse the effects of civilization. As with many conservation efforts, education is critical to the Galapagos’ future. Locals – especially children – are not always aware of what makes the islands so unique, thus we work with the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) on projects that center around environmental health, environmental education, and assisting local schools. Some days students find themselves with paintbrushes in hand as we design and paint eco-murals of Galapagos wildlife. Other times, we assist the Darwin Research Station with grounds maintenance, such as cleaning giant tortoise cages.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

(cont.)

Our projects with the GNPS are often located in the highlands as well. It was the view of these volcanic hills surrounded by low-lying clouds that originally gave the Galapagos the name Las Islas Encantadas – The Enchanted Islands. One of the largest threats to native Galapagos species – both plants and animals alike – are invasive species that have been been brought both intentionally and unintentionally to the islands over the years. GoBeyond students help reverse the effects of these aggressive invasive species in a number of ways. Students help plant native species as well as remove non-native plants – such as blackberry and aloe – so that the native flora will thrive once again. 

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“ Helping the people of the Galapagos made me feel like I had made a true difference. If I had not come here, I would have not likely been helping much sitting at home. But having this opportunity helped me to become more aware of issues I did not know about before, and also allowed me to realize that putting effort into a worthy cause is never done in vain. ”
Jacqueline S.Briarcliff Manor, NY
galapagos-testimonial-jacqueline
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Closing Activities

1 Day

The last day is always so hard! To round off their stay, students have a grand feast on their final night, and, perhaps, shed a few tears during our slide show and closing program. Without fail, there is a mix of emotions – there is excitement to return home; there is sadness to leave. On the final day of the trip, students are transferred to the Quito airport by our professional staff, checked in, then travel on to their respective homes and families. Yet the journey continues on for each individual in undefinable ways. The stories we make on GoBeyond Galapagos & Ecuador are things we never forget.

By Paula

In the Jungle

It all started with a 25-minute flight from Quito to Coca where we met Hector, the founder of the organization we...

Read More
By Lewis

Service in the Galapagos

Most of today was another one of those uneventful days (to quote Bodin). However, we started the day at 6:30...

Read More
By Juliette

High Off the Comfortable Ground

We woke up to warm oatmeal. Nervous and excited, we questioned the horse ride to come. The walk down the...

Read More
By Michelle R.

Hasta la Vista Galapagos

Today we woke up to sounds of loud blasting Hispanic music and what seemed like people in agony (turned out...

Read More
By Isabelle A.

Living a Dream

Once back on the boat, we grabbed our beach and snorkel gear and made a quick turnaround to head to...

Read More

Trip Logs

¡Hola! Welcome to Ecuador!

1 Day

Our journey begins! Students have the option of flying to Quito (UIO) via Miami (MIA) on a preselected group itinerary, or students can fly independently. For students flying via MIA, GoBeyond arranges for an airport representative to assist with the transfer. In some cases, this representative is one of the group leaders and flies with the students to the journey destination. In other cases, he/she is a local contact responsible for airport assistance but will not be on the flight to Quito. After arrival in Quito, students are met at the airport by GoBeyond’s professional staff and transferred to our comfortable and clean country B&B near the tranquil town of Tababela.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

8 Days

Students fly from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. First impressions last forever in this natural wonderland – “magical” sums it up best for most. Beyond its unique beauty, the Galapagos are also one of the most biologically important places on earth. It was these islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. During our Galapagos excursion, students develop a love of the animals while touring the islands and lending a hand to conservation service projects through the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS). Projects often include removing invasive species, planting native trees, beach clean-ups, and educational initiatives for local children.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

(cont.)

The incredible beauty of the Galapagos cannot be fully explored on foot alone. During their time in the islands, GoBeyond students embark on a breathtaking nature tour via private charter boat and visit some of the “jewel” islands, which may include Plazas, Santa Fe, Española, Lobos, and San Cristobal. Students have unforgettable experiences with the wildlife, including close encounters with blue-footed boobies and albatrosses as they perform their intricate mating dances, snorkeling with sea lions, hammerhead sharks, penguins, and much more. Getting up close and personal with the Galapagos’ fearless creatures truly makes this experience one-of-a-kind.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

(cont.)

Until the arrival of mankind in 1535, the Galapagos was the land where time stood still, but humans have changed the balance of natural selection since then. Today, there is a huge effort to reverse the effects of civilization. As with many conservation efforts, education is critical to the Galapagos’ future. Locals – especially children – are not always aware of what makes the islands so unique, thus we work with the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) on projects that center around environmental health, environmental education, and assisting local schools. Some days students find themselves with paintbrushes in hand as we design and paint eco-murals of Galapagos wildlife. Other times, we assist the Darwin Research Station with grounds maintenance, such as cleaning giant tortoise cages.

Service & Exploration in the Galapagos Islands

(cont.)

Our projects with the GNPS are often located in the highlands as well. It was the view of these volcanic hills surrounded by low-lying clouds that originally gave the Galapagos the name Las Islas Encantadas – The Enchanted Islands. One of the largest threats to native Galapagos species – both plants and animals alike – are invasive species that have been been brought both intentionally and unintentionally to the islands over the years. GoBeyond students help reverse the effects of these aggressive invasive species in a number of ways. Students help plant native species as well as remove non-native plants – such as blackberry and aloe – so that the native flora will thrive once again. 

  • Get Our Free Online Brochure

    Full of detailed information about our journeys, staff, and FAQs for you to access anytime
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

5 Days

Students finish their trip with a visit to the magnificent Andes Mountains. After another brief layover in Quito for laundry and calls home, students are transferred via private bus to a spectacular countryside B&B near the town of Chugchilán. Here, students get a taste for high altitude living. Colorful Andean cultures intermix with the beautiful páramo, the high altitude grasslands. Students visit lively markets on the way, then enjoy some invigorating hiking and quiet reflective time against the backdrop of distant snow-capped volcanoes.

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

(cont.)

One of the most breathtaking sites in the Chugchilán area is Quilotoa Lake – a unique volcanic crater with emerald waters that spans 3 kilometers wide. Students explore and hike through this natural wonder, shop for colorful Andean clothing such as hats and ponchos in markets nearby, then return home at night to the welcoming warmth of our Andean ecolodge. 

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

(cont.)

Students also spend an afternoon navigating the Andean countryside on horseback. No experience is necessary for this short excursion, though you may want to bring your hunger. Students are offered the opportunity to travel to a nearby village where a historic cheese factory offers brief tours and samples. You’ll find the most authentic Ecuadorian flavors here!

Adventure Sports in the Andes Mountains

(cont.)

To cap off our time in the Andes, students have an action-packed day full of fun and excitement while rafting through the cloud forests of the Rio Toachi. Rapids range from class II to class IV on this scenic river, thus all ability levels – experienced and non-experienced rafters alike – are bound to have fun. When not navigating the rapids in the river, our veteran whitewater rafting guides fill the time with hilarious boat games and river jokes.

“ Helping the people of the Galapagos made me feel like I had made a true difference. If I had not come here, I would have not likely been helping much sitting at home. But having this opportunity helped me to become more aware of issues I did not know about before, and also allowed me to realize that putting effort into a worthy cause is never done in vain. ”
Jacqueline S.Briarcliff Manor, NY
galapagos-testimonial-jacqueline
  • Chat With GoBeyond Alumni

    Enter your email below, and we'll send you some alumni references
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Closing Activities

1 Day

The last day is always so hard! To round off their stay, students have a grand feast on their final night, and, perhaps, shed a few tears during our slide show and closing program. Without fail, there is a mix of emotions – there is excitement to return home; there is sadness to leave. On the final day of the trip, students are transferred to the Quito airport by our professional staff, checked in, then travel on to their respective homes and families. Yet the journey continues on for each individual in undefinable ways. The stories we make on GoBeyond Galapagos & Ecuador are things we never forget.

By Paula

In the Jungle

It all started with a 25-minute flight from Quito to Coca where we met Hector, the founder of the organization we...

Read More
By Lewis

Service in the Galapagos

Most of today was another one of those uneventful days (to quote Bodin). However, we started the day at 6:30...

Read More
By Juliette

High Off the Comfortable Ground

We woke up to warm oatmeal. Nervous and excited, we questioned the horse ride to come. The walk down the...

Read More
By Michelle R.

Hasta la Vista Galapagos

Today we woke up to sounds of loud blasting Hispanic music and what seemed like people in agony (turned out...

Read More
By Isabelle A.

Living a Dream

Once back on the boat, we grabbed our beach and snorkel gear and made a quick turnaround to head to...

Read More

Trip Logs

“I learned that there is no such thing as too much kindness. Whether it's a small act, such as picking up a bottle on the beach and throwing it away, or a big act, such as clearing an entire hiking trail for a friend, it makes a difference. No matter how big or small, any act of kindness will be appreciated by someone and make their day. ”
Samantha F. - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
“GoBeyond gave me the opportunity to explore and be truly independent for the first time in my life. ”
Michelle R. - San Francisco, CA
“I will forever be able to use this experience to get over the hardships in my own life. ”
Cristina L. - Gainesville, FL
“All of the service work we did was relative, helpful, and benefited both the environment and the people. ”
Danielle A. - Bonstetten, CH
“This trip definitely took me out of my comfort zone. Not only did it take me to new places that I would have never visited otherwise, but I also did things I never thought I would do like early morning hikes in Elba or windsurfing in Sardinia. A trip like this makes it easy to keep an open and adventurous mindset. ”
Ryan D. - Newtown, PA

Need More Information?

Affiliates

GoBeyond is a proud supporter of local, national, and international service organizations around the world.

In the Galapagos and Ecuador, our students have the opportunity to work closely with local people, on projects where the need is authentic and the results are long-lasting. When our time is up, we provide much needed financial help with direct donations, which helps fund projects in an ongoing way. Consider your impact…join GoBeyond this summer and make a difference!

  • Galapagos National Park Service

    The Galapagos National Park Service is the governmental institution in charge of the protection and the management of the protected areas in the Galapagos archipelago.

  • sumak-allpa-logo

    Sumak Allpa

    A non-profit foundation based in the Amazon rainforest. Sumak Allpa seeks to preserve and support endangered indigenous peoples - their culture, language, and traditional way of life - as well as restoring the health of the jungle ecosystem.

Need To Know

Is this journey right for me?

This journey is for the student looking for a travel experience with an incredible amount of variety. Whether you prefer the ocean, forest, mountains, or city – Ecuador offers all of it just a short distance away. Students applying for this program should be ready for authentic and engaging experiences in both service work and active excursions. If you enjoy interacting with wildlife and stretching the borders of your comfort zone then this is the journey for you.

What's the group like?

There’s really no rigid mold that GoBeyond participants are cut from. Since our students come from different backgrounds all over the world, the groups end up being naturally diverse. Everyone arrives with different goals, expectations, hopes, and fears but they quickly find common ground and begin to bond. The GoBeyond environment allows team members to connect quickly and become closer friends than anyone would expect. Many students report leaving feeling as though they had known their fellow students much longer than they actually had.

Our philosophy revolves around small group sizes that are still large enough to foster a sense of community. For this journey, we’ve found that a group size of 14 students works best. This journey does not require any previous experience, skills, or language fluency – only a willingness to get involved and appreciate each incredible adventure.

Who are the staff?

GoBeyond is proud to attract and recruit the best in our field. Our summer staff consists of avid world travelers, highly qualified professionals, and fun and experienced facilitators and educators. All members of our team are dynamic, multi-talented, and passionate individuals with a devotion and commitment to the safety and experience of our students.

The average age of our summer staff is 26. Staff skills are journey specific, such as holding a maritime license in the BVIs or having a background in childcare for China. All staff are First Aid and CPR certified, and many hold advanced training certificates such as Wilderness First Responder or EMT. Along with local guides and our community service partners, the ratio of staff to students is approximately 1:5. This enables close interaction and individualized attention during the journey.

Learn More About Our Staff

What do I need to bring?

GoBeyond students are responsible for carrying their luggage from place to place. As such, we recommend that you keep things simple and avoid overpacking. Students are given the opportunity to do laundry throughout the trip, so there’s no need to pack several weeks worth of clothing.

Our hope is that families will have minimal purchases prior to the trip, so we’ve compiled our packing lists in a way that you’ll find most of what you need in your closet at home. Around mid to late March, we make available our Pre-Trip Packet to enrolled students, which contains a detailed packing list for this year’s journey. If you’d like to see last year’s packing list as an example, you can download it here.

Download Sample Packing List

During the Ecuador trip, students will need approximately $500 USD in cash. This cash is used for two purposes…

“Travel and Reserve Cash” ($200) is held in safekeeping by our staff during the journey. Its intended use is for anticipated travel needs to and from the journey destination and for any unanticipated emergency costs that might arise such as doctor’s visits. Any leftover cash at the end of the journey is returned to the student.

GoBeyond will pay all major journey costs while traveling and working, but there will also be opportunities for students to spend money on personal items. For a student’s personal “Spending Cash” ($300), the most common expenses include phone/internet time, souvenirs, and snacks. Based on our past experience, some students will spend less and some will spend more than our recommendation above. Judge this amount by the spending habits of your student. Please set up boundaries for its use, as GoBeyond cannot be responsible for monitoring student spending. If you are concerned about loss or theft, students can give staff up to $150 of their spending cash to be put into safekeeping/drawn later.

Where do we stay?

GoBeyond is not a luxury journey; however, we utilize comfortable, clean, and safe accommodations during our trips. In the Amazon and Andes, our students typically stay at local ecolodges. You can think of these much like standard B&Bs, yet they adhere to stronger sustainability practices and are more influenced by their natural surroundings. Examples include open air huts in the Amazon (screens and mosquito nets provided) – and a farm-like inn in the Andes. In the Galapagos and near Quito, students stay in more standard style hotels and B&Bs. Students also spend a few nights on a motorized yacht while touring the Galapagos Islands.

What do we eat?

GoBeyond’s tuition covers all meals after arrival in the host country. We strive for healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals, and serve a mixture of local and international fare (including Western). For our Ecuador journey, we primary eat at the hotels/lodges and local restaurants.

Note, as GoBeyond is a health-conscious program, our staff do not provide large quantities of “junk” food (i.e. sodas, chips, candy bars, large desserts, etc.). Students can always supplement our meals and snacks by shopping locally for their own items.

During the application process, families can inform us of any dietary allergies or restrictions. We are usually able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians, etc., as well as various food allergies. However, if your student has a severe allergy to peanuts or other common substances, please call our office to discuss the options.

Nitty Gritty

Flights
How To Book Flights

GoBeyond students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is of vital importance. For this reason, we strongly suggest that students book flights with our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: leahctn68@hotmail.com). Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Since we have no ability to access or modify flight bookings that are not purchased through Leah, GoBeyond cannot be responsible for the coordination of flights not booked through TRC Travel Center.

    • Preferred Itinerary – Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from Quito, Ecuador (UIO) via Miami (MIA). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that students can fly together as a team. Please bear in mind, however, that GoBeyond has no control over the number of participants that choose to fly via MIA. Depending on the desires of other participants, the number of students traveling on the recommended route can vary greatly.
    • Alternate Itineraries – As students come from all over the U.S. and world, it is not required that students book on our preferred itinerary.  For non-U.S. based students, those looking to use frequent flier miles, or others who are not booking with TRC Travel Center or on our preferred flight itinerary, please contact our office prior to booking to ensure you are arriving and departing Ecuador at appropriate times.
    • Internal Flights – Students attending our Ecuador/Galapagos journey should be aware that the in-country flights (our transportation to get to the Galapagos and to the Amazon) are not available through Leah. These flights are best booked with in-country agencies, so GoBeyond organizes and pre-pays for these flights on our families’ behalf. Once all arrangements have been made, families are invoiced to reimburse these fees. Typically these additional flight costs are $800 for Ecuador/Galapagos students.
    • Airport Assistance – Our office team actively monitors and supports our participants on travel days. We suggest that students travel with a cell phone, as this can be useful for communication to and from the program. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers onsite airport assistance…
      • Preferred Itinerary (Outbound flight, MIA to UIO) – In some instances, particularly for the first session of the summer, GoBeyond has a group leader who flies with the students on the preferred itinerary at the start of the trip. When a group leader is not able to travel with the students on this outbound flight, GoBeyond will typically hire a representative for the MIA airport who is responsible for helping troubleshoot any flight/connection issues that may arise.
      • Preferred Itinerary (Inbound flight, UIO to MIA) – On occasion, particularly for the last session of the summer, a group leader will return to the U.S. on the preferred flight with the students. If a staff member is not able to return with the students, GoBeyond will not typically hire an in-airport representative for MIA. This is due to the lack of an onsite representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

Air transportation to and from the program, including in-country flights, is not included in the GoBeyond tuition fee. Please contact Leah for sample itineraries and an estimation of the international flight cost. For more information on airport assistance, please contact our office. We will be glad to let you know what type of support we typically offer for your journey (specific plans will only be available nearer the travel date).

Travel Docs & Vaccinations
Skip the stress and plan ahead

GoBeyond cannot apply for passports or visas on a student’s behalf, but we can provide the information you need to do so yourself. At the time of writing, students traveling on U.S. passports do not need a visa but must have 6+ months of passport validity after the departure date from Ecuador. For the most up-to-date and thorough information, please visit travel.state.gov. Students traveling on non-U.S. passports should verify passport and visa requirements for your nationality by contacting your local Ecuadorian embassy or consulate.

GoBeyond understands that families have varying opinions on vaccinations. Some greatly desire the precaution; others prefer to avoid possible side effects of certain medications such as anti-malarials. Coupled with the fact that each student has unique medical considerations known best by his or her doctor, GoBeyond does not supply medical advice. We recommend that all families refer to the expertise of the CDC (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel), their health care providers, and/or a travel clinic.

Tuition
GoBeyond tuition fees cover the following:
  • All in-country journey accommodation, meals, and ground transportation
  • Full-time service adventure staff, local guides, and tips
  • All group activities including service projects and materials, sight-seeing trips, and educational excursions
  • Physical and monetary donations to our partner organizations

Not included in the GoBeyond tuition fees are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, health and travel insurance, medical and evacuation expenses, personal spending money, e-mail, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc. As students come from all over the world, air transportation, including in-country flights, is not included. Please see the Flights tab for more details.

OUR 6 WEEK PROGRAMS

Any two consecutive journeys can be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between journeys, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each journeys and subtracting the 5% extended course discount (this discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program ActionQuest). GoBeyond and ActionQuest enrollment for any two journeys in the same summer will be considered as a single extended program in the event of withdrawal or dismissal from the trip at any time.

Itinerary
Living in the moment

Though the fundamentals of our journeys do not change, specific journey logistics evolve over time. It is typical for our community service partners to not choose our project areas until late spring/early summer, thus the final touches of our itineraries are not always set until then. The journey overview portions of this page should give families a basic understanding of the kinds of activities we do on the journey. We also suggest last year’s Trip Updates if you need more descriptions. For the most up-to-date information on our expected itineraries, feel free to Contact our office.

With that in mind, we encourage all participants to “live in the moment” while on the journey. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. Your journey country may not be as efficient, orderly, and/or timely as you are use to. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

Service Hours
Service Hours & Letters

After the completion of summer, all students (U.S. and non-U.S. students alike) receive a GoBeyond service letter reflecting their participation on the journey.* The GoBeyond service letter describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead. Typically, our letter is accepted by most high schools/colleges as proof of community service participation. If your school needs a specific form signed or evaluation filled out, please make sure to bring this on the trip so a staff member can assist you.

* Note: Presence alone does not necessarily earn students the community service hours. GoBeyond reserves the right to deduct hours due to non-participation and/or early dismissal. Participants who work hard and participate in all journey activities will receive the full number of service hours available for their journey.

  • Flights
  • Travel Docs & Vaccinations
  • Tuition
  • Itinerary
  • Service Hours
  • How To Book Flights

    GoBeyond students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is of vital importance. For this reason, we strongly suggest that students book flights with our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: leahctn68@hotmail.com). Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Since we have no ability to access or modify flight bookings that are not purchased through Leah, GoBeyond cannot be responsible for the coordination of flights not booked through TRC Travel Center.

      • Preferred Itinerary – Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from Quito, Ecuador (UIO) via Miami (MIA). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that students can fly together as a team. Please bear in mind, however, that GoBeyond has no control over the number of participants that choose to fly via MIA. Depending on the desires of other participants, the number of students traveling on the recommended route can vary greatly.
      • Alternate Itineraries – As students come from all over the U.S. and world, it is not required that students book on our preferred itinerary.  For non-U.S. based students, those looking to use frequent flier miles, or others who are not booking with TRC Travel Center or on our preferred flight itinerary, please contact our office prior to booking to ensure you are arriving and departing Ecuador at appropriate times.
      • Internal Flights – Students attending our Ecuador/Galapagos journey should be aware that the in-country flights (our transportation to get to the Galapagos and to the Amazon) are not available through Leah. These flights are best booked with in-country agencies, so GoBeyond organizes and pre-pays for these flights on our families’ behalf. Once all arrangements have been made, families are invoiced to reimburse these fees. Typically these additional flight costs are $800 for Ecuador/Galapagos students.
      • Airport Assistance – Our office team actively monitors and supports our participants on travel days. We suggest that students travel with a cell phone, as this can be useful for communication to and from the program. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers onsite airport assistance…
        • Preferred Itinerary (Outbound flight, MIA to UIO) – In some instances, particularly for the first session of the summer, GoBeyond has a group leader who flies with the students on the preferred itinerary at the start of the trip. When a group leader is not able to travel with the students on this outbound flight, GoBeyond will typically hire a representative for the MIA airport who is responsible for helping troubleshoot any flight/connection issues that may arise.
        • Preferred Itinerary (Inbound flight, UIO to MIA) – On occasion, particularly for the last session of the summer, a group leader will return to the U.S. on the preferred flight with the students. If a staff member is not able to return with the students, GoBeyond will not typically hire an in-airport representative for MIA. This is due to the lack of an onsite representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

    Air transportation to and from the program, including in-country flights, is not included in the GoBeyond tuition fee. Please contact Leah for sample itineraries and an estimation of the international flight cost. For more information on airport assistance, please contact our office. We will be glad to let you know what type of support we typically offer for your journey (specific plans will only be available nearer the travel date).

  • Skip the stress and plan ahead

    GoBeyond cannot apply for passports or visas on a student’s behalf, but we can provide the information you need to do so yourself. At the time of writing, students traveling on U.S. passports do not need a visa but must have 6+ months of passport validity after the departure date from Ecuador. For the most up-to-date and thorough information, please visit travel.state.gov. Students traveling on non-U.S. passports should verify passport and visa requirements for your nationality by contacting your local Ecuadorian embassy or consulate.

    GoBeyond understands that families have varying opinions on vaccinations. Some greatly desire the precaution; others prefer to avoid possible side effects of certain medications such as anti-malarials. Coupled with the fact that each student has unique medical considerations known best by his or her doctor, GoBeyond does not supply medical advice. We recommend that all families refer to the expertise of the CDC (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel), their health care providers, and/or a travel clinic.

  • GoBeyond tuition fees cover the following:
    • All in-country journey accommodation, meals, and ground transportation
    • Full-time service adventure staff, local guides, and tips
    • All group activities including service projects and materials, sight-seeing trips, and educational excursions
    • Physical and monetary donations to our partner organizations

    Not included in the GoBeyond tuition fees are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, health and travel insurance, medical and evacuation expenses, personal spending money, e-mail, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc. As students come from all over the world, air transportation, including in-country flights, is not included. Please see the Flights tab for more details.

    OUR 6 WEEK PROGRAMS

    Any two consecutive journeys can be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between journeys, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each journeys and subtracting the 5% extended course discount (this discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program ActionQuest). GoBeyond and ActionQuest enrollment for any two journeys in the same summer will be considered as a single extended program in the event of withdrawal or dismissal from the trip at any time.

  • Living in the moment

    Though the fundamentals of our journeys do not change, specific journey logistics evolve over time. It is typical for our community service partners to not choose our project areas until late spring/early summer, thus the final touches of our itineraries are not always set until then. The journey overview portions of this page should give families a basic understanding of the kinds of activities we do on the journey. We also suggest last year’s Trip Updates if you need more descriptions. For the most up-to-date information on our expected itineraries, feel free to Contact our office.

    With that in mind, we encourage all participants to “live in the moment” while on the journey. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. Your journey country may not be as efficient, orderly, and/or timely as you are use to. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

  • Service Hours & Letters

    After the completion of summer, all students (U.S. and non-U.S. students alike) receive a GoBeyond service letter reflecting their participation on the journey.* The GoBeyond service letter describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead. Typically, our letter is accepted by most high schools/colleges as proof of community service participation. If your school needs a specific form signed or evaluation filled out, please make sure to bring this on the trip so a staff member can assist you.

    * Note: Presence alone does not necessarily earn students the community service hours. GoBeyond reserves the right to deduct hours due to non-participation and/or early dismissal. Participants who work hard and participate in all journey activities will receive the full number of service hours available for their journey.