How does the popularity of superfoods impact resources, water, and food sovereignty in Andean communities? Travel to the highlands of Ecuador to explore food security and justice in rural indigenous farming communities. Meet local leaders, food producers, and youth making an impact on food systems in the region.

The deadline to apply was May 17.
Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Session A 3 weeks

Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

June 16–July 6

15–19 The deadline for Session A has passed. Please email our Admissions team with any questions at [email protected]

$5,875 – includes all in-country expenses

Session B 3 Weeks

Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

July 14–August 3

15–19 The deadline for Session B has passed.

$5,875 – includes all in-country expenses

  • Session A
  • Length
    3 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

  • In-Country Dates

    June 16–July 6

  • Ages
    15–19
  • Application Deadline
    The deadline for Session A has passed. Please email our Admissions team with any questions at [email protected]
  • Price

    $5,875 – includes all in-country expenses

  • Session B
  • Length
    3 Weeks
  • Training Dates

    Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

  • In-Country Dates

    July 14–August 3

  • Ages
    15–19
  • Application Deadline
    The deadline for Session B has passed.
  • Price

    $5,875 – includes all in-country expenses

About the Project

Project Type

Pod-based. Maximum enrollment is 20, with two spots reserved for students from Ecuador.

Climate

Cool and dry. The terrain is mountainous. You’ll definitely need a jacket at night!

College Credit

Get two college credits for this project! Find out more here.

Slang

achachai = how cold!

Service Hours

Earn 30 service hours!

Food

Potatoes, cuy (guinea pig), choclo con queso (corn with fresh cheese)

Terrain

High altitude in the Andes mountains

Crops

Potatoes, Andean tubers, quinoa, Andean corn, barley, and onions.

Citizens

Ecuatorianos

Cosmovisión

Learn about the way indigenous Andean cultures understand the world.

Cajas National Park, Azuay, Ecuador

Andean Culture

Cañar and Azuay Provinces

Through visits to farms, communities, and national parks, experience Ecuadorian agricultural practices and the connection between rural and urban areas via food production. Understand the impact of agriculture on indigenous communities, ancestral cultures, and traditional medicine. Hear from community members and learn about cosmovisión, the way in which the indigenous culture understands the world.

 

Partner Agencies

We have two main partner agencies on the La Sierra project.

The first is located on Cerro Cabogana, an expansive farm where vegetables are grown according to the cycles of the plants and their seasons using the lunar calendar. They also produce dairy products while taking care of the animals responsibly. You can enjoy horseback riding, beautiful views of the city and the countryside, and hikes to waterfalls and mountains.

Our second partner is an organization led by three indigenous women who have built an enterprise focused on community-based tourism. Unlike other forms of community tourism in the province and the country, this organization focuses on the correlation of the four natural elements of earth, air, water, and fire while weaving in Andean wisdom and its influence on agriculture, gastronomy, medicine, language, music, architecture, and spirituality.

Earn 30 service hours while volunteering!

 

Example Activities

  • Volunteer with a group of organic family farms
  • Hike to sacred indigenous sites and learn about Andean agroecology, food, medicine, and spirituality
  • Meet llamas at Cajas National Park
  • Explore the historic center of Cuenca
  • Take part in a pampa mesa, or communal meal

A Day in the Life

Days 1–6

  • Wake up and have breakfast in small groups
  • Morning: Rotating schedule of activities, including Spanish classes, orientation, explore topics like indigenous history and Andean culture
  • Lunch outside
  • Afternoon: Rotating schedule of activities—Spanish classes, briefing, etc. in small groups
  • Free time to explore the grounds
  • Dinner in small groups
  • After Dinner: free time, fun group activities

 

Day 7–End of Project

  • Wake up and eat breakfast as a group
  • Morning: volunteer on a community service project, take part in fun intercultural and leadership activities
  • Lunch outside
  • Afternoon: travel to a lagoon worshiped by the Incas, participate in a cooking class, and volunteer on an organic farm. Interact safely and respectfully with local community members and take part in fun activities led by the group!
  • Dinner
  • After Dinner: fun group bonding, free time to relax

Program Pillars

Ethical Service

Learn how to create ethical service initiatives by working with–not for–a community, engaging local organizations and partners, and evaluating the impact of your work. AMIGOS works with trusted local partners that are passionate and committed to working with our volunteers on community service projects.

Cultural Humility

Cultural humility is a process of both self-reflection about your own culture as well as learning about other cultures. You will examine your own beliefs and cultural identity and gain an understanding of how structural racism has impacted societies and the roles that communities can take to lead systemic change.

Leadership

Learn, grow, and discover your leadership potential! Explore your sense of purpose and start to establish your personal goals and values through introspection and inquiry.

This project is full.

Join the Waitlist

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Practice Spanish

AMIGOS programs provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture. Volunteers report increased fluency in Spanish after completing our program. Activities go far beyond the classroom — you’ll lead activities in Spanish, learn local slang, and increase your confidence with real-world practice. You will not believe how fast your Spanish improves when you use it in conversation every day!

Have an Adventure

Travel to must-see spots in your host country! You’ll travel as a group to experience unique destinations like volcanoes, ancient ruins, national parks, and historical sites. You’ll get to see these places from the distinct perspective of someone who has spent time in that country and learned about the culture firsthand. Plus, you’ll bond with their fellow volunteers and have fun!

Travel with Trust

AMIGOS is the industry leader in health and safety management. Our staff is prepared to help you with any situation that may arise. Each volunteer receives a personalized emergency plan, as well as support from local staff teams and a professional 24-hour On-Call Safety Team of travel specialists, doctors, and mental health specialists. A Health and Wellness Coordinator is on staff with the group throughout the duration of their stay. AMIGOS also has an established network of vetted medical clinics and hospitals throughout the region.

Find out more about AMIGOS programs

Join an online info session!

RSVP HERE

I learned so much about my host country and really made strong bonds with everyone in my group. I tried new things like milking cows and bioconstruction, went on excursions, and I really want to go again next year!

-Emma, La Sierra Volunteer, 2021

Program Requirements
Apply Now

Field Notes

La Sierra: La Granja Learnaya

La Sierra, Ecuador


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Arrival in La Sierra

La Sierra, Ecuador


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About the Area: La Sierra 2022

La Sierra, Ecuador


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