The Spanish schools in Ecuador
In Ecuador we work with a school in Quito that has branches in Otavalo and Pedro Moncayo. This school offers both private and group lessons. They also offer a travelling classroom with one or two weeks of group lessons. You will travel through the jungle and will have daily group classes. The ideal mix of experiencing the jungle and learn Spanish at the same time! In Pedro Moncayo you can combine the Spanish classes at the same time with voluntary work which is quite unusual since in most cases you’ll first have to reach a certain level of Spanish before you can start voluntary work. So if you don’t much time but like to study Spanish, volunteer and see a lot of the country Ecuador is a good choice; you can combine all schools. The school also has a voluntary work coordinator who can inform you about the numerous possibilities for voluntary work in Ecuador.
The school is not very big and therefore, has a more personal feel. It is managed by Mrs. Rosario and is located in the centre of Otavalo. Private classes are offered of four hours a day and there are some afternoon activities arranged.
The host family
You will stay with a host family where you will receive three meals a day; including laundry service.
You will be picked up at the airport and brought to a host family in Quito where you will stay one night. The next day you will be brought to Otavalo in a taxi bus. This trip will take about an hour and a half.
Included in the standard package in Otavalo
- Private or shared lessons of 4 hours per day, five days a week. Including voluntary work if you wish.
- Study material.
- Registration fee.
- Accommodation with a local host family with three meals a day, during the study period from Sunday to Saturday.
- Transfer from the airport to the family in Otavalo, possibly with a one night stay in Quito.
|Ecuador||Classes||hpd||1 wk||2 wks||3 wks||4 wks||extra week||extra night||transfer|
|Quito / Otavalo||private||4||$ 334||$ 584||$ 830||$ 1050||$ 232||$ 19||included|
|Quito / Otavalo||group||4||$ 306||$ 526||$ 773||$ 937||$ 205||$ 19||included|
The volunteer work
There is a choice of three volunteer programs and for all programs applies: On Saturdays you'll work a few hours more and Sundays your free to relax, make trips to nearby Indian villages or visit Otavalo.
Organic Agriculture program: daily activities will include working with the animals (cows, pigs, guinea pigs and even llamas), organic farming in the 13 cultivated hectares, and some tree nursery work which forms part of the organizational reforestation activities of the community.
Teaching program: There are various schools and local organizations providing the challenge of improving the level of education of both children and teenagers. You will work as a teacher or assistant, helping in numerous subjects, from mathematics, through to English. This program has a minimum of one month, and you will live in the community where you work.
Cultural exchange program: for those with more time, a month or more. The first week is passed at the hacienda as detailed in the “organic agriculture program”, followed by three weeks (or more) living and working alongside your host family in a rural community. In this way you will learn about the culture, the customs and the daily life of farming communities; the challenges, the difficulties and the achievements.
COUNTRY INFO ECUADOR
Ecuador is a small but very diverse country. You can encounter the Indians of the Andes at one of the many colourful markets, the black population on the coast or one of the many indigenous tribes in the Amazon. Nature wise it has over 30 mostly active volcanoes, mountain peaks with eternal snow, jungle, beaches and, of course, the Galapagos Islands! The republic of Ecuador got its name because of its position on the equator. The backbone of the country is the mighty Andes with its colourful Indian population.
To the east of the Andes is the jungle of the impressive Amazon and on the west side is the Pacific coast with palm trees, cocktail bars and salsa music. A visit to the small town of Otavalo, which has one of the biggest handicraft markets of South America, is definitely worthwhile. One can also sit on top of a train and ride through the jungle or climb the most active volcano, the Cotopaxi.
Absolutely unforgettable will be a visit to the world famous Galapagos Islands that lay in the Pacific about 1000 kilometres of the Ecuadorian coast. This is where Darwin discovered his revolutionary Theory of Evolution. It is very easy to come into contact with the unique animals that live here. Whilst swimming one can play with seals and at the same time penguins will shoot by you. For me, personally, this was nature wise the absolute highlight of eight months of travelling in South America.
A Return flight Quito - Galapagos is about $380. A boat trip of five days that goes to several islands is best booked once you are on Galapagos. It costs about $275 including bed and meals. The entry fee for Galapagos is $100. All in all it is quite expensive but it will be an absolutely amazing experience. Ecuador is an ideal country for people who, after their Spanish course, wants to see and experience a lot in a short period of time.
- Climb volcanoes: the highest volcano is the Cotopaxi (5897 m.).
- Horseback riding
- River rafting
- Salsa dance courses
- Take a ride on top of a train right through the jungle for instance from Alausí.
- Visit the jungle from Misahuallí.
- Visit an Indian market in an Andes town.
- Visit the Galápagos islands if you have the budget for it (about $1000 for one week).
- Visit a less well known and therefore more traditional Indian village.
- Voluntary work: loads of voluntary work available. Volunteer in Ecuador
- Transport: public bus (chicken bus) or a minibus for tourists on roads between 'highlights'.
- Advice: if you do not have much time skip the Pacific coast of South America as it is not particularly beautiful and the weather is often bad because of the cold 'Humboldt-stream'.
CITY INFO: OTAVALO
Otavalo has 29.000 inhabitants and is located at a comfortable altitude of 2550 meters in a valley between the two extinct volcanoes Imbabura and Cotacatchi. Ever since pre-Inca times there has been a huge weekly market on Saturdays run by the Otavaleños, a group of indigenous people who have developed a unique brand of textiles and crafts that are now sold all over the world. Just out of town, also on a Saturday, is a cattle market which is not aimed at tourists and thus an excellent opportunity to see local folklore.
The clothing of especially the women of Otavalo is very typical; wide skirts and embroidered blouses, beautiful necklaces and bracelets, all very colourful. The surrounding area is filled with spectacular scenery including several lakes and the vast Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve. The South American musicians to be seen playing music in Europe on the streets or at train stations, dressed in poncho's and rope sandals, are mostly Ecuadorians from the area around Otavalo.
- Visit the Saturday market where one can buy almost everything. The market dates back to pre-Incan times. (Cheap woolen handmade sweaters).
- Visit the animal market, also on Saturdays.
- Go to a peña with met live music.
- Visit small Indian villages just outside of Otavalo such as Quinchuqui, Ilumán or Peguche.
- Walk to Lago San Pablo at the foot of the volcano Imbabura.
- Visit Cotacachi (special leather handwork) and the Laguna Cuicocha; a lake in the crater of a volcano. You can make a boat trip on the lake.
- Horseback riding.
- Mountain biking.
The rainy season in Quito and Otavalo lasts from October to May with a lesser period in December and January. On the coast it lasts from January to April. The temperature varies with the altitude. The jungle, as is to be expected, remains hot and moist throughout the year.
Come with Adiós Travel to learn Spanish in Otavalo, Ecuador.