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White water rafting
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Eco tourism
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Tour Operators : eco tourism in Ecuador

Gap Adventures South America
Eco Tourism and Volunteer Work
In many ways Ecuador is the ideal place to work in nature conservation, combining huge bio-diversity with indigenous communities. Choose your project according to your interests and do take up references first. A few of the opportunities are free, many not. Volunteering is likely to be more expensive on the Galapagos, and you will have to add the cost of getting there and Island Tax.
For readers accounts on volunteering, it is worth looking through the trip reports at South American Explorers.
James worked with Jatun Sacha on restoring shrimp farms at Bunche near Muisne during in his gap year -read more on his blog. As you can see, it was a tough time!
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  • Andean Bear Conservation Project -monitoring and protecting the rare spectacled bears of Ecuador. Volunteer opportunities. Loads of info about these beautiful creatures.
  • Asociación Ecuatoriana de Ecoturismo -ASEC fue fundada en 1991, por un grupo de empresarios, conservacionistas y catedráticos con una clara visión del desarrollo de la actividad en Ecuador y en el mundo. La misión de ASEC es: Promover la Armonía entre el Turismo, la conservación y la sociedad.
  • Ceiba -Foundation for Tropical Conservation -run the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve and the Lalo loor Dry Forest Reserve.
  • Cofán Survival Fund (CSF) -a non-profit organization dedicated to the survival of the Cofan indigenous culture and its rainforest environment.
  • CRACYP -Rural Reforestation and Progress Network Corporation -a not for profit organisation that facilitates reforestation and sustainable rural development in communities in the foothills of the Western Andes in Ecuador. On their companion site,, tahey offer homestays with local families. 
  • Eco Volunteer Up -non-profit organization run a group of Ecuadorians who work with volunteers on forestry conservation, and supporting rural communities.
  • Ecuador -Tandachina, is a non-profit organization that offers volunteer work opportunities abroad in social, environment, educational and community areas around Ecuador.
  • Fundacion Natura -La Fundación Ecuatoriana para la Protección y Conservación de la Naturaleza, NATURA, es una organización no gubernamental, sin fines de lucro y de asociación voluntaria, creada el 25 de julio de 1978 para la conservación del ambiente. This is the most significant Ecuadorian organization working in this field.
  • Global Vision -volunteer for expeditions, conservation projects and TEFL with this UK/USA charitable trust.
  • Jatun Sacha -a nonprofit private Ecuadorian nongovernmental organization dedicated to the conservation, investigation, management of ecologically important habitats, and environmental education and community development. Volunteer to work on biodiversity conservation at one of a number of biological stations in Ecuador.
  • New Era Galapagos -volunteer with projects on the Galapagos Islands -NEGF is based in San Cristobal and was started in 1996 by a partnership of resident conservationists and volunteer American English teachers.
  • Piedra Blanca Ecotourism Project -community-run ecotourism -nature-based, minimal impact, educational eco-tours provided by local people near San Luis de Pombil.
  • Ricance -nine Quichua-Communities in the Sumaco Biosphere Reserve on the Upper Río Napo offering an eco-tourism program and possibilities for cultural exchange.
  • Rio Muchacho -Guacamayo Bahía tours is a tour agency in Bahía de Caráquez which is dedicated to Responsible tourism, and environmental work.
  • Runa Tupari - Unión de Organizaciones Campesinas de Cotacachi (UNORCAC) is an organization representing the rural and indigenous people in the canton of Cotacachi. They offer tours and trekking, staying in native lodges in Imbabura Province.
  • Sinchi Sacha Foundation - Sinchi Sacha means "Powerful Jungle" in the native quichua language. Sinchi Sacha Foundation is a non-profit NGO interested in the sustainable development of society through the promotion of handicraft production, eco-tourism projects with a communal component, environmental education and the empowerment of the community.
  • Volunteer Abroad -volunteer programme offers the opportunity to teach and nurture children in Quito.
  • Volunteer Ecuador -new horizons volunteer program -in operation since 1997, they help integrate local Ecuadorian help organizations with volunteers world-wide.
  • Yachana -Marc is a Professor of History, Division of Social Science at Truman State University and has written widely on the social history of Ecuador -extensive information on native peoples of Ecuador.

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Before You Go: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Gap Year
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