Ecuador Highlands/Beach Impact Adventure 10-Day | University of Vermont

Starting at $2,695

Trip Dates: June 19 – 28 2020

On this 10-day adventure, you will experience the true Ecuadorian culture as you make your way from colonial Cuenca, to spending quality time with the communities of Oña as you work alongside them on your impact projects. You will see the amazing landscapes as you road trip through the Andes to the coast for some relaxation and adventure in Montanita and the famous Silver Island (aka the Little Galapagos).

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About the trip


On this 10-day adventure you will experience the true Ecuadorian culture as you make your way from colonial Cuenca, to spending quality time with the communities of Oña as you work along side them on your impact projects. You will see the amazing landscapes as you road trip through the andes to the coast for some relaxation and adventure in Montanita and the famous Silver Island (aka the Little Galapagos).

An impact adventure is the best of both worlds, an incredible travel adventure combine with an impactful service project. During a portion of your trip, you will go off the beaten path to rural villages where we have partnerships with local communities. During this time you will work alongside the community to help increase access to clean water, education and health services. Don’t worry, no specific skills are needed to partake in the project, just a big heart, and a positive attitude!




  • Explore colonial Cuenca
  • Spiritual hike to sacred Incan prayer location with the Saraguro People
  • Homestays
  • Life-changing Impact project
  • Learn to salsa dance
  • See Cajas National Park
  • Visit cocoa farm
  • Learn to surf
  • Snorkeling at the Little Galapagos
  • Whale watching (June – July during humpback migration)


The central part of a Vivid Roots Impact Adventure is the “Impact” portion of the trip. For this trip you will be working in Oña where we have partnered directly with the local government and community leaders. You will work alongside the community to help increase access to education, water, health services through multiple initiatives.

Donation for Impact Project – To pay for the materials for the project you will work on, we ask that each guests donates or fundraises $250. This small donation will change many lives. When you arrive you will see the materials that your donation funded and your volunteer labor will help complete the project.

If you have questions about the donation, please let us know!

What's Included:

Accommodations: 9 Nights Hotels

Clean, safe, and comfortable private rooms. You’ll share rooms with one or two other Impact Adventurers. (Upgrade to your own private room if you want!)

Meals: 18 Meals

Breakfasts 9 / Lunches 5 / Dinners 4


All group transportation is included. Private vans, buses.


You will be accompanied by professional guides throughout the trip. Our Vivid Roots adventure guides are not only professional and knowledgeable but also all around incredible humans who you’ll surely value from the get-go.


  • Salsa Class
  • Cuenca Tour
  • Saraguro Indigenous Cultural Immersion Experience
  • Sacred Incan Hike
  • Chocolate Farm
  • Cajas National Park Hike

Add-on Optional Extras

  • Surf Classes
  • Pottery Class
  • Hot Springs
  • Biking Tour
  • Paragliding
  • And More!

Additional Things To Think About


We can help you book your flights and get you a great deal. Just ask us for a quote!

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is required for all trips. Policy’s start around $75. (Don’t worry, we can help with this too!)

Airport Transportation

There are public taxis shuttles and uber available or we can book a private driver who will be waiting with your name on a sign to take you to the hotel for $50, to take you to the airport for your departure.

Private Room

You will be sharing a room with 1 or 2 other guests. If you would like your own private room, no problem just add $350.


To save your spot on the trip, just make your $500 Deposit. We can work out a payment plan with you. Must be paid in full 6 weeks before departure.

Impact Project Donation

To pay for the materials for the project you will work on, we ask that each guest donates or fundraises $250. This small donation will change many lives. We can give you everything you need to fundraise so you can make a HUGE impact in the community you will be helping!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ecuador safe?
What about flights?
Can I customize my trip?
Are there payment options?
What is Vivid Roots?

What People Are Saying About The Trip

  • Ella Elizabeth

    We have went on two impact adventure tours with Vivid Roots. Last year we went to Guatemala, and we had an amazing, life changing experience.
    We made memories and friendships that will last a life time. This year, Ecuador had a little something extra. It was an absolutely phenomenal trip that far exceeded any expectations we had. We grew on existing friendships that were created on the previous trip, and made a few new friends as well.
    We loved the home stay experience. We formed deep connections with strangers that we didnt know was possible. Our hosts were incredibly loving and generous. We will forever consider them family.We had an intense, spiritual moment while hiking in the Andean mountains.
    I dont want to say more and spoil it for anyone else – but seriously – YOU NEED to experience this!!
    We got engaged on this trip! It was the most perfect proposal, and I wouldn’t have it any other way than in the beautiful country of Ecuador, surrounded by the people we love.We can’t thank the VR team enough for organizing such a special trip. We loved every minute of the journey, and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone! Viva el Ecuador! We can’t wait to go back!

Day 1: Arrival in Guayaquil

Arrival day! You will land in the bustling coastal city of Guayaquil. This day you will get settled in and meet your guides and the crew you will be traveling with for the next 10 days!

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Exploring Colonial Cuenca

Get the day started early with a transfer from the coast to the highlands in Cuenca!

Cuenca is one of the oldest, and most well-preserved cities in Ecuador. It is a short drive from the airport to the hotel. You will have this day to acclimatize as Cuenca sits at 8,399 Ft (2,550 meters) above sea level. Your guide will take you on walking tour of the city and recommend some activities and sites to see if you have time.

 Visit the amazing viewpoint Turi and then tour the famous Panama Hat Factory. In the afternoon you will have free time to explore the city on your own where you will have many options for activities and sites to see. Cooking class, pottery class, hot springs and more! In the evening we will gather for a special group dinner.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Dinnner

Day 3: Experience the Indigenous Community of Saraguro

Rise early for breakfast and then hop on the bus for a scenic two-hour drive south to the indigenous town of Saraguro where we will meet a local guide who will teach us about her community and the thriving indigenous culture for the day. In Saraguro you will hike to the “Pucara” a very special ritual place where the locals go for spiritual purposes. Then visit a local family and have a traditional lunch. Then continue to Oña to meet your host family where you will stay for the duration of the impact project.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Day 4: Start Impact Project In Oña!

This is the first of two days that we’ll be working alongside the local community to increase access to clean water, education, and health services. Depending on the needs and requests from community leaders, we may be working in a school or possibly a health center in a surrounding mountain village. We typically work from 8 am to 5 pm with a break to get out of the sun and enjoy some local cuisine.  Once we get to a good stopping point for the day, you’ll head back to share a meal with your host family!

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Day 5: Continue Impact Project In Oña

You will finish up the project and then head to back to Cuenca in the evening to get some rest and stay overnight before the day of hiking and a drive to the coast.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch

Day 6: Cajas National Park & Local Cocoa Farm - Scenic Drive to the Coast

Rise early and begin heading to the coastal town of Montanita. On the way, you will stop at the scenic Cajas National Park just outside of Cuenca for a nice hike. Then check out a local cocoa farm where you will learn first hand how chocolate is produced! For those who on the 7-Day trip, you will be dropped off at your hotel in Guayaquil so you can catch your flight the next day. For everyone continuing on, you will continue to Montanita.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch

Day 7: Enjoy The Beach In Montanita!

Wake up on the beach in beautiful Montanita! By now you have had a busy week so you will have a day to relax and have some free time. If you don’t feel like just lounging on the beach, you can explore the town. There are plenty of activities, such as surfing, paragliding, scuba diving and more!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Puerto Lopez and Silver Island (Little-Galapagos)

Leave in the morning to Puerto Lopez where you will take a boat to the Silver Island AKA The Little Galapagos where you will be able to see some incredible sea life such as sea lions, the blue-footed booby, and humpback whales! Weather permitting, you will spend some time in the water swimming and snorkeling! After this awesome day of adventure, you will head back to Montanita.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Dinner

Day 9: Free Day in Montanita - Surf, chill, explore!

This is another opportunity to relax and take in everything on your final day of the adventure. If you don’t feel like just lounging on the beach, you can explore the town take a surf class, or do anything your heart desires. At the end of the day, you will pack up, jump on the bus and head south a few hours to Guayaquil to prepare for your departure the next day.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10: Time To Say "See You Later"

Time to say your goodbyes, this day you will catch your flight home! If you would like to extend your adventure, just let us know and we can help arrange something!

Meals Included: Breakfast

Not enough?

If you want to extend your adventure, maybe see more of highlands? The Amazon Jungle? Or even head over to The Galapagos, we can help you extend your stay, just ask!

Impact Location: Oña, Azuay, Ecuador


Water, Education, Health Services

Volunteer Hours:

10+ Volunteer Hours


Oña is in a small municipality in southern Ecuador that is comprised of more than 20 smaller communities spread out in the mountains.

Project leader:

Paul Zhañay. Paul works for the local government and is our primary point of contact. He works with the community leaders to assess and understand their individual needs, and acts as a collaborative facilitator of the projects.

Project Examples:

Building bathrooms, implementing water systems, health service projects for people with special needs and disabilities.

What will I do?

As a volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity to get your hands dirty on the project you helped fund, primarily through manual labor. This could consist of painting, planting gardens or trees, basic construction, clean up and more!

Where will I stay?

In Oña you will be staying with a local family in the main town. These families are amazing and you will surely feel welcomed and safe in their homes. Homestays in Oña is something that guests have said is their favorite part of the trip.

What will I eat?

You will eat breakfast and dinner with your host family and lunch will be provided by the locals!

What’s My Impact?

Your impact expands far beyond the scope of the specific impact project you work on. Each project completed will empower the communities to improve their quality of life and support them to plan for a brighter future. There is no doubt the things you learn during this process will highlight the common thread that connects us all and change your life forever.



Project Leader:

Project Leader

Everything you need to prepare for your trip!

Hello, all of you awesome, do-gooding, adventurers! This page is full of information that will help you prepare for your upcoming trip. Please follow the steps below and be sure to complete the On-boarding form and sign the waiver at the bottom of the page!

Here is what will be covered:

Step 1: Passport

Step 2: Flights

Step 3: Traveler Insurance

Step 4: Vaccinations

Step 5: Fundraising

Step 6: Traveler Agreement

Step 7: On-Boarding Form

Step 8: Volunteer Training

Step 9: Packing & Final Preparation


On this page, you will find all of the details about preparing for your trip to Ecuador. This page will be updated once your trip has a confirmed minimum number of travelers.


Step 1 – Passports:

Make sure that your passport is valid through your return date. If it will expire before then, click the link to explore options for renewals. If this applies to you, please contact Dylan ([email protected]) to let him know so he can help answer any questions. Click here for more info on US Passports.

Step 2 – Flights:

For your trip, you will be flying into Guayaquil (GYE) and flying out of Quito (UIO). You may arrive earlier or stay longer than your trip dates but you must arrive on the first day of your trip (see itinerary and trip dates).

We can help you book your flights, please just reach out to [email protected].

Step 3 – Travelers Insurance:

1) The coverage should start the day you begin to travel, and extend through the day return home.

2) We recommend using World Nomads, but you are welcome to explore other options with similar coverage. The policy should cover:

  • lost baggage
  • trip cancellation
  • trip interruption
  • injury

Step 4 – Vaccinations:

Ecuador does not require any vaccinations to enter its country but there are a few that are recommended, such as: Hepatitis A & Typhoid. It is best to talk with your doctor or reach out to your local travel clinic and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get an appointment set up, some seasons of the year are busier than others and it can take multiple weeks to get in to see them.

For more information from the CDC regarding traveling to Ecuador here

Step 5-8 will be updated on this page once your trip is confirmed to depart with the minimum number of travelers.

Travelers Agreement: