Travel Magazine

Project of the Week: Ecuador Projects

By Frontiergap @FrontierGap
Ecuador is such a great country and we’ve got so many amazing projects out there, from environmental conservation to community teaching. So great is our selection that it proved too tricky to pick just one as project of the week. Therefore, this week we’re going to give you a little taste of a few options open to you in this wonderful country. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming summer discounts on Frontier’s Ecuador sustainable agro ecosystems, medical and child care projects…why not bag yourself a bargain of a summer adventure? Photo courtesy of TomekY Visiting Ecuador Despite being the second smallest country in South America, Ecuador is bursting with natural diversity and exciting culture. One of the country’s charms is that in one day you can travel from the Amazon Basin, through cloud forest, glaciated Andean volcanoes and tropical forests before watching the sunset on the sands of the Pacific Coast. Ecuador is a nature lover’s dream destination with the exotic jungles brimming with strange and bizarre wildlife and on top of all that the Galapagos Islands are just a short trip away. Adrenaline junkies won’t be disappointed either with world class mountaineering, trekking, horseback riding and surfing all on offer as well as a trip to stand on the equator line. Frontier Projects Sustainability is a huge aim for the modern world and now countries around the globe are seeking new ways to become more sustainable. A large part of moving towards a more sustainable future is developing and improving agricultural methods and practices to protect future food supplies and ensure global food security. It is because of this that Frontier has set up several projects in Ecuador focused on alternative farming practices and sustainable development where Frontier volunteers have the chance to be involved in vital as well as enjoying the rich culture of Ecuador. Frontier volunteers enjoying marshmallows around the campfire. Organic Farm and Restoration Project: On our Organic Farm and Reforestation Project our volunteers get to work on an organic farm in the stunning northern Andes. Whilst on the project volunteers learn about organic agriculture, agro-forestry, animal management and the conservation of native forests. Frontier’s volunteers are absolutely essential to the work being carried out – helping the local community to develop sustainable agriculture projects as alternatives to the environmentally destructive agricultural and industrial practices currently being used. Volunteers also assist in the running of the community’s essential reforestation activities – which will help to improve water supply, control erosion, improve soil quality, restore biodiversity to the region and help combat global climate change. Sustainable Agriculture Project: Our Ecuador Sustainable Agriculture Project provides volunteers with the amazing opportunity to be involved in developing vital agricultural techniques. Volunteers both work and learn on an organic farm which pioneers alternative agricultural techniques and renewable energy sources. Whilst on the project our volunteers not only get involved with the day to day running of the farm but also have the unique opportunity to assist in eco-tourism and education projects in the surrounding communities. The farm also operates as an environmental school for children and receives many community and student groups who come to learn about alternative farming techniques and renewable energy sources such as biogas, solar power, composting systems, worm culture, water recycling, reforestation, forage systems, permaculture and organic farming methods. Volunteers will be involved in giving classes at the environmental school and creating artwork as well as activities such as planting and harvesting crops, creating vegetable gardens, sowing seeds and helping to feed and care for the animals.  Teaching and Farming Project: The life of the local community in the area is seriously under threat from the developing world with industrial development and environmental pressures now making subsistence farming practices more and more difficult. This project offers volunteers the opportunity to work with the generation of tomorrow providing local children with the skills they require to protect their future. Volunteers work on a farm that operates as an environmental school for local children providing a comprehensive general education along with ecological and sustainable agriculture programmes which demonstrate alternative farming techniques. Whilst on the Teaching and Farming Project volunteers help with the running of the environmental school giving lessons in English, art and sport as well as creating artwork and translating and preparing information for pupils and visitors to the farm. Not only this but whilst on the project you will be able to gain knowledge of the Spanish language and Ecuadorian culture. Galapagos Islands Community Development and Agriculture Project: Made famous by Charles Darwin the Galapagos Islands are one of the most ecologically important places on Earth. The islands are brimming with strange and beautiful wildlife. The project offers a combination of community tourism and volunteer work which focuses on supporting the local indigenous communities of these islands. There are a wide range of tasks to be carried out ranging from community development and education, therapy for disabled children and conserving the environment. Volunteers on the Galapagos Islands Community Development and Agriculture Project will be involved in activities to support local highland families by helping with livestock rearing and horse care, milking, wild blackberry control, fence maintenance, seedling and plant care, and tree planting. In addition volunteers can teach English and other subjects in the local school and have the chance to make a long lasting difference to the local community. In our amazing summer discount we’re reducing these projects to an amazing £999 for four weeks. In addition to this, we’ve got some great medical and child care projects in Ecuador which will also be featured in our summer deals. Top places to visit Montanita: Photo courtesy of Mariaflorine Montanita is a surfing hot spot – the beach break is surf-able most of the year hitting its best at December through to May and attracts a steady stream of travellers. For experienced surfers the waves produced by 2 to 3 meter swells at la punta at the north end of the beach provide the big thrills. Around Carnaval season each year international surf competitions are held at Montanita bringing surfers from all over the world to the fantastic Ecuadorian shores. For some Montanita, with its brilliant surf and Rasta vibe, is an intoxicating place and those that visit merely to catch a few waves find themselves settling up their bills after weeks or months. Photo courtesy of putneymark Quito: Spread across a spectacular Andean valley and flanked by volcanic peaks, the magnificent city of Quito has unsurprisingly been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978. Quito’s historic center or ‘old town’ as it’s known is a magnificent maze of colonial splendour and with the recent sprucing up and restoration of the city’s historic buildings and theatres Quito is now looking better than ever. Visitors can enjoy the bustling streets and markets whilst the sound of Ecuadorian tunes fill the air. Parque Nacional Yasuni: This glorious national park encompasses luscious tropical rainforest and is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The National Park is said to be the most biologically diverse spot on the planet with scientists explaining that it is at the center of a small zone where amphibian, mammal, bird and vascular plant biodiversity all reach their maximum levels within the Western Hemisphere. The Yasuni region is home to several uncontacted indigenous tribes including the Tagaeri and the Taromenane. Unfortunately the Yasuni National Park is currently threatened by oil extraction, illegal logging and unsustainable hunting. (See YASUNÍ AND THE TRUE VALUE OF THE ENVIRONMENT) Photo courtesy of karenandbrademerson Recipe: Llapingachos A nice simple recipe for you this week and the great thing is it’s quick, easy to make and goes with every meal – its Ecuadorian Potato Cakes. These are super tasty so why not try knocking yourself up a batch: Ingredients: 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced 4 tablespoons butter 2 medium onions, finely chopped 2 cups Munster cheese, butter, or oil Salt Procedure: - Boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain and mash. Heat the butter in a skillet and saute the onions until they are very soft.- Add the onions to the mashed potatoes, mixing well. Shape the potatoes into 12 balls.- Divide the cheese into 12 parts and stuff each of the potato balls with the cheese, flattening them as you do so into cakes or patties about 1 inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.- In enough lard, butter, or oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan, saute the potato cakes until they are golden brown on both sides.By Hannah JonesTo find out more about volunteering opportunities in the Central or South America with Frontier head to our website.

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