Explore the highlands around Cuenca, Ecuador, and dive deep into food security and justice in rural indigenous farming communities. Discover how Ecuadorian agriculture is based on ancestral cultures, specifically regarding the importance of superfoods and indigenous medicine. Meet local leaders, food producers, and youth making an impact on food systems in the region.

Length Training
Ages Application
Gap Semester: Ecuador 8 weeks

Training in Cuenca upon arrival

Spring: February 15–April 12, 2022

17–22 Apply by October 15 for a $500 discount! Final deadline: December 15, 2021

Program fee $12,475

Need-based financial assistance is available! Apply by November 15, 2021. Apply by October 15 for $500 off your program fee!

  • Gap Semester: Ecuador
  • Length
    8 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Training in Cuenca upon arrival

  • In-Country Dates

    Spring: February 15–April 12, 2022

  • Ages
  • Application Deadline
    Apply by October 15 for a $500 discount! Final deadline: December 15, 2021
  • Price

    Program fee $12,475

    Need-based financial assistance is available! Apply by November 15, 2021. Apply by October 15 for $500 off your program fee!

What to Expect


  • Pod of 20 students, two spots reserved for students from Ecuador
  • 8-week session
  • Communal living in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Robust health and safety protocols


What You’ll GET

  • Volunteer with small organic farms in the Cañar and Azuay provinces near Cuenca
  • Network with local officials and community organizations who promote sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, youth leadership, and indigenous rights
  • Excursions to national parks, Incan cultural sites, and Andean communities
  • Mentorship through coaching, supervision, and support
  • Spanish classes tailored to your level
  • Earn 120 service hours
  • College credit is available through the Gap Year Association and Portland State University for a fee of $1,700. Email Admissions at [email protected] for more information.


What You’ll Need

  • Age: 17–22 (high school graduate)
  • Interest in food security, indigenous rights, or community service
Start an Application

Apply Now

About the Program


Session Dates

February 15–April 12, 2022


How to Apply

Start your application here!

The deadline to apply is December 15, 2021. Apply by October 15 for a $500 discount!


Fees and Financial Assistance

Program fee: $12,475
Need-based financial assistance is available! Apply by November 15, 2021. Apply by October 15 for $500 off your program fee.


What’s Included

All expenses in Ecuador are covered, including:

-Accommodation, including excursions
-Three meals per day
-Private group transportation throughout the entire program
-Medical supplies like hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning products
-Entrance fees at sites we visit
-24/7 On-Call Safety System


Join an online info session!


Cosmovisión in the Andean Highlands

Cosmovisión is the way in which the indigenous culture understands the world. The way agriculture and food production have developed in Ecuador are rooted in ancestral cultural systems and practices, which has important implications on food security today. In this program, we’ll meet food producers, local organizers, and young people making an impact on food justice and indigenous rights in their communities.



Ready to Apply?

Click here!


What does it mean to live with a pod?

On this program, you’ll be living with a group of fellow gap volunteers from the U.S. and Ecuador. You’ll share responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, and planning activities. The pod will travel together on excursions and day trips. Certain health and safety precautions will be required when interacting with anyone outside the pod. This is for their health and safety as well as your own.


How is the program staffed and what is the ratio of staff to students?

The program will be led by a Project Director assisted by Project Coordinators and a Health & Wellness Coordinator. The number of students in the pod is 20 maximum, so the ratio will be close to 1 to 5.


What are some of the activities I might take part in?

Visit an organic farm drawing from ancestral Andean knowledge of agroecology, gastronomy, and traditional medicine
Hike to high peaks overlooking pristine lakes in Cajas National Park
Stroll through Cuenca’s historic center
Learn how to prepare land for planting on a local family farm
Take part in a traditional celebratory pampa mesa style meal
Explore Ingapirca, the largest-known Inca ruins in Ecuador
Ride horses in the Yunguilla Valley


Do I have to be enrolled in college to participate?

No, you do not need to be enrolled in college or planning on enrolling in college to join. This program is open to all students ages 17–22 who have graduated high school, regardless of college plans. You should have an interest in Spanish, food security, indigenous rights, or Latin American culture and a commitment to your community.

Explore All Programs

Click here

“The things you will learn and experience and the relationships you will build will remain with you through the rest of your life.”

—Emma, AMIGOS Gap Volunteer

Program Requirements
  • Age: 17–22 and high school graduate
  • Interest in food security, indigenous rights, sustainable agriculture, or community service
  • Elective participation (AMIGOS does not accept court-mandated participation)

Get Social With Us!

We can't wait to see photos from this summer! Remember to follow and tag our main account here @amigos_americas when you share your photos! We'll re-share them all to our story 👀

And, for a special chance to be featured on our social media, shoot us a DM if you've got a great photo to share!

Hey Amigxs! We are so excited to announce our 2021 Video Contest!

Ready to show off your video skills? Got a great soundtrack in mind? Did you catch your Project Director doing Zumba on camera? We want to see!

Create a video about your AMIGOS experience and get entered to win an AMIGOS swag package, a $50 Amazon or REI gift card, and get featured on our social media. Email your finished product to [email protected] by September 15th to enter!

Buenas Suerte!

AMIGOS is proud to support the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 31st Anniversary. On July 26th, we celebrate this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. #ADA31 #ThanksToTheADA

To celebrate with us:
You can visit these resources and organizations to learn more about the ADA and its history:
- ADA National Network
- American Association of People with Disabilities (AADP)

And, you can follow these activists on their social media pages:
- Dominick Evans, Twitter and IG @dominickevans
- Anita Cameron, Twitter and IG @adaptanita
- Annie Segarra, Youtube Channel Annie Elainey
- Alice Wong, IG @disability_visibility

Bienvenidos a casa, Amigxs!

The Welcome Home Party for Session A volunteers and parents is on Sunday, July 25th. Want to come? RSVP here: https://amigosinternational-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEqcuqqrzgsE9B0aDNLwPuRLqgdPhNGVAAr

Meet Joselin, the Project Director on the La Costa, Ecuador Project this summer!

"Hello from la mitad del mundo, Ecuador. My name is Joselin Hernandez and I will be your Project Director.
I am from Nicaragua. I have studied Teacher Training and Tourism Management. Some of my hobbies are dancing, swimming, learning languages, brewing kefir, and natural building.

I believe in the transformational power of traveling and how being exposed to different cultures and worldviews can open up new paths in life, as well as self-awareness and leadership skills. Hence, I dedicated my career to facilitate educational travel experiences for youth. I have been working in the field of international education for more than 10 years now. I have run programs ranging from 2 weeks to 1 year in length and worked directly with students on the field, as well as in managerial roles. I have mostly been assigned to programs in Central America, DR, Ecuador, and some parts of the USA. I worked in Ecuador for 3 years, and It truly became a second home for me, it is a place very close to my heart."

Follow along with their project at @amigoslacosta!

Updates from the field: La Sierra Session B Arrival!

Volunteers in La Sierra, Ecuador, had their first full day together as a project! They spent the afternoon getting to know each other through games and icebreakers, exploring the surrounding area, and bonding in mentor groups!

Keep up with their project on @amigoslasierra

Hey AMIGOS alumni — follow us on TikTok @Amigos_Americas!

Got a story to share with us? Head to our profile, and duet our most recent TikTok with your best AMIGOS story, a favorite photo, or your best memory (don't forget to tag us!)

Not on TikTok? Shoot us a DM instead!