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  • Animal Science
  • South America
  • HS

Ecuador & Galápagos: Biodiversity Journey


Track a tapir and Andean bears in a cloud forest. Study primates and rainforest ecology in the Amazon. Then get ready to explore the Galápagos, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world.

Tropical ecosystems exhibit an amazing degree of biodiversity and species richness, and this program brings you into the heart of it all - the Andes Mountains, Amazon Rainforest and the Galápagos Islands. Conduct biological surveys while you track Andean mountain bears, jaguars and the elusive tapir. Head into a remote part of the Amazon jungle where the world's most biodiverse region is right at your fingertips.

Snorkel and explore the pristine islands of the Galápagos Archipelago, home to the widest array of flora and fauna on the planet. From the mountains and rainforests all the way to the sea, you'll be working with organizations that are leaders in the ecological research field and have a behind-the-scenes look into the world's most dynamic natural wonders.

June 22 - July 11 HS20 days$6,880Available
Earn & Learn
Ecuador & Galápagos: Biodiversity Journey Earn & Learn

Earn & Learn

Broadreach combines your thirst for fun and adventure with tangible skill development, real-world educational opportunities and a genuine commitment to service. While on program, you’ll earn documented community service hours and even college credits. It’s what we call “Earn & Learn,” and it’s what you’ll take home as evidence of your many accomplishments.

Ecuador & Galápagos Biodiversity Journey offers 3 natural science college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students earn 15 hours of documented community service.

  • No experience required, but students must be 16 years old to go on this program


Course Description

On this three week course, students study animal and plant biodiversity, as well as cultural approaches to conservation and sustainable practices. Students participate in lectures, discussions with local stakeholders, field activities, as well as ongoing service work at locally-based research stations. Students learn overland survey techniques for mammals and birds. Additionally, students learn survey techniques while snorkeling through the Galápagos Islands, shadowing researchers in the Amazon rainforest, and hiking through the Andes mountains for a comparison of three ecological zones, all with differing challenges, each in different stages of development.

Course Objectives
  • Effectively communicate the principles of conservation biology and recognize these principles within the context of Ecuadorian ecosystems
  • Describe the biochemical nature of the environment, and explain the inter-linkages between Andean, Amazonian and Galápagos ecosystems
  • Understand the potential benefits provided by the three eco-environments, as well as the threats to those environments
  • Understand some of the reasons why the threats to Ecuadorian resources are difficult to control in political and environmental contexts
  • Explain a historical perspective of environmentally protected area programs in Ecuador and identify existing issues
  • Perform and understand standard monitoring methods


Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. In Ecuador, work closely with researchers to collect data as a part of ongoing research projects and perform trail maintenance at these remote research sites. These projects give you the opportunity to use the methods learned in your studies to make real life scientific contributions.

  • Collect ecological data with partner organizations and universities
  • Build trails and perform trail maintenance at a reserve in the Andes Mountains
  • Perform biological surveys at the reserve to help maintain the region’s ‘natural reserve’ status
  • Assist with maintenance of a local farm in the Galapagos

15 Service Hours

3 College Credits

Ecuador & Galápagos: Biodiversity Journey Itinerary


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Our journey begins in the bustling city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, where you spend the night in a little hotel and then head to Papallacta, soaking in the local hot springs while you learn about the adventures to come and begin to get to know one another. After spending some time acclimatizing and preparing for your upcoming journey, we head to a biological reserve that Broadreach helped build, located just a few hours from Quito. It’s a challenging, yet rewarding, hike to this beautiful site located in the cloud forest that is teaming with an abundance of wildlife including Andean spectacled bears, jaguars and over 300 bird species. While there, help maintain the trails and conduct biological surveys to collect information from the site to support its environmental protection status.

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It’s an adventure in itself just getting to our next stop, a research station deep in the heart of the Amazon jungle where few people have ventured before. Experience the thrill of scenic open-air bus rides and river boat rides before arriving at our destination. As we glide down the river, witness nature untouched by man and more species of birds, monkeys and butterflies than you’re able to count. Maybe you’ll even spot a pink river dolphin! Once we settle in, you can explore the labyrinth of research facilities and jungle cabins at the station. See a whole new perspective on the Amazon as you ascend into the trees and wander through the canopy’s walkway system, interacting with animals that can’t be seen from the jungle’s floor. Your time in the Amazon deepens your understanding of rainforest ecosystems and leaves you in awe of its immense biodiversity.

high school study abroad in Ecuador

Spend a few days in the capital city of Quito enjoying the incredible culture of Ecuador and her people. Explore open air-markets and soak in the view from the top of the Basílica del Voto Nacional. Walk the picturesque cobbled streets of the Old Historic District of Quito, taking time to stop at local shops, haggle for souvenirs and sample the local delicacies.

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We bid the Amazon goodbye and head to the most incredible archipelago on Earth, the Galápagos Islands. This cluster of volcanic islands is nestled just under the equator, over 5 million years old and best known for its vast number of endemic species. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this marine reserve is full of countless species to behold: lumbering giant tortoises, brightly colored iguanas, foot-high penguins, albatrosses, blue-footed booties, sea lions and more species of animals than you can count. Snorkel among pods of sea lions, schooling fish, seahorses and frogfish. Maybe even spot a whale shark or two. There is no better place on the planet to study the world’s abundant flora and fauna. Spend your last night on program under the stars at a rooftop restaurant and celebrate all the amazing things you and your new friends have experienced and learned.

Galapagos summer science program for teens
  • Trip Highlights

  • Hike to a research station nestled in the cloud forest in the Andes Mountains
  • Venture to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest
  • Research wildlife from treetop observation stations
  • Collect data to help protect Ecuadorian flora and fauna
  • Take in the incredible sites of historic downtown Quito
  • Explore the natural wonders of the Galápagos Islands
Ecuador & Galápagos: Biodiversity Journey Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Connor C. from Laguna Beach, CA

This trip has turned out to be informative yet fun. The instructors on this trip balanced fun with academics to the point where each complemented each other. The academic aspect allowed us, as students, to apply what we learn to the environment around us by creating an immersive experience. All in all, Broadreach has found the formula to making learning stick with young adults, and I highly reccommend Broadreach to anyone wanting to have a fun time or experience different walks of life.

Juliana Brandt from Corona del Mar, CA

Broadreach helped me find a new group of friends I would have never met any other way. Our trip ended about a year ago and the eight of us still talk on Facetime, text everyday, and have visited each other across the country. We continue to encourage one another, give advice, and catch up on what’s new in our lives. Along with the amazing group, this experience helped me find what I really love to study and how to apply it to the real world. I cannot express how important this trip was to me and how much it has helped me grow. I really encourage anyone thinking about going on a trip to try it. You never know how it will change you, and how much you will learn. I’m writing this based on my experience and because I love what I did. It pushed me past my comfort zone. Thank you Broadreach for an amazing adventure.

Emily W. from Raleigh, NC

I absolutely loved my trip. My favorite place that we went was probably the Galapagos. We saw things that I never could have imagined seeing, like whales, sharks, baby sea lions, and more. I learned a lot about Ecuador’s ecosystems, but also about myself and my own strengths. This experience was so worthwhile and honestly changed my perspective on the world around us.

Laurel Huntley from Wichita, KS

It was one of the most memorable things of my life. I met wonderful people, I experienced life changing things, I went places few people have been before. Trekking through mud, swimming in the river, snorkeling with sea lions, getting bruises from the tumbles, and a little banged up but having the absolute time of your life. It is amazing. Truly amazing.

Sarah F. from Raleigh, NC

Basically, if you are deciding whether or not to go on a trip: Do it! Take me, I was the youngest, smallest, and most anxious person on mine, and by the end I fell in love with everyone and we were all a large family. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Go on a Broadreach trip!

Olivia S. from Seven Lakes, NC

Visiting Ecuador through Broadreach has taken me to areas I would never have sought out before. I would not have persevered alone through an hour long hike up a mountain. Without my group or instructors I would not have managed to climb a waterfall or swim in open ocean water with sharks.

Ecuador & Galápagos: Biodiversity Journey FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the tuition cost and what additional expenses should I expect?

Tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodations, and activities from the time you arrive in country. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200 depending on the program), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. Finally, for our high school trips that offer college credit, you can elect to receive an official Lesley University credit transcript for approximately $180 per credit hour. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

How does travel work?

For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.

How does Broadreach address safety?

Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.

Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $339-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.

Who will my instructors be?

Broadreach instructors are highly experienced, passionate, energetic and supportive. The average age of our instructors is 28 years old, and depending on the program, they meet specific qualifications (a Master’s degree in the subject area, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification, foreign language fluency, Wilderness First Responder certification, etc).

Do your programs accommodate food preferences or food allergies?

We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.

Can I contact Broadreach alumni families for more information?

Absolutely! Just call our office and we can put you in touch with past participants who have joined the programs that interest you. Our alumni families are happy to share their first-person experiences.

How does payment work? Is the deposit or tuition refundable?

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot, and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is non-refundable and is due 4 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).

What do the academics involve? How do college credits work? What if I don’t take the program for credit?

Academics will vary by program but usually include journals, discussions, lectures, research projects, and a midterm and final exam. We expect all of our students to participate fully in the academic course work on our programs, regardless of whether they have chosen to take it for official college credit.

We partner with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA to offer college credit for our academic high school and college programs. Those credits are widely accepted at colleges and universities all over North America, and we can often let you know if an alumni student has transferred those credits to a specific school in the past. For more details, click here.

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts– please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please call our office for more information on applying.

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