All Posts

Flintridge Sacred Heart Ecuador 2023

April 4, 2023

Yesterday we met at the airport at 7:00 AM and were tired but very excited. Our flight was a connection in Houston, then we flew for 5 hours to reach Quito at around 1:00 AM. We were extremely tired because of both the strenuous flight and the busy school week but happy to finally arrive in Ecuador. We settled in our hotel and went straight to bed.

Our breakfast today was from 8:30-9:00, then, we had a group activity and some orientation given by our leaders and left the building at 10:00 to go on a Gondola ride. As we drove, our tour guide Luis told us about Quito´s extensive and interesting history. The view from the gondola was amazing! As we rode up the mountain, we got a view of beautiful Quito. A short hike further up took us to a swing that had an even better view, which was thankfully very clear. Fields of grass and flowers sprawled over the mountain and we even got to take pictures with some llamas.

Our next stop was a traditional lunch, starting with a soup called fanesca. It, along with our entree and dessert, was delicious. However, it began to downpour as we ate. Our tour guides gave us some ponchos and we ran back to the bus to go chocolate tasting. We tasted various kinds of artisanal chocolates, and we all rushed to buy a few bars afterwards. We then went to explore the basilica del voto nacional, an impressive neo gothic construction. Though we only toured the outside, the architecture was amazing. Our tour guide pointed out various gargoyles on the sides of the basilica and explained their meanings. We continued walking around Quito and saw other churches and prominent buildings. We even went to Plaza de la Independencia , where we saw the Ecuadorian White House! Luis told us that the guards outside the whitehouse wore the same uniforms as the Ecuadorians who fought the Spaniards for their independence.

After that, we went to the Mercado artisanal where we did a bit of shopping. We had originally planned for only 30 minutes, but ended up extending it to 45 because we were having so much fun! We then went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. then went out to dinner and had Empanadas, fries, and blueberry and soursop juice. After our meal, we walked back to the hotel to shower and rest for our early morning tomorrow.

Stay tuned to hear about our adventures at Quilotoa as we hike and explore a new area!

-Written by Madeline and Abigail

April 5, 2023

Ever wanted to see the amazing view of a dormant volcano 3,900 meters high? Well, read this to find out more about our hike to Quilotoa. It was breathtaking and stunning! The small lake in the dormant volcano was shining in the sun and was as blue as the sky. It was comforting to be surrounded by fresh air, animals and new types of plants we’ve never seen before!

We woke up early in the morning around 5 am and left the building at around 6 am which may seem tiring but honestly it really wasn’t! The trip to Quilotoa took 3 hours but it didn’t feel like 3 hours at all! The view around us was amazing, we had time to rest and sleep and we were able to communicate with our peers around us. We had stops along the way and were able to use the bathroom, buy snacks and so much more! When we arrived we then hiked around Quilotoa and encountered several llamas, pigs, dogs and a bunch of other animals which surrounded us. We stopped by several spots during our hike and took the most breathtaking pictures ever! We were able to take pictures of the dormant volcano’s crater as well as pictures with the llama and the scenery.

After the hike, we had lunch and let me just say…It was AMAZING! We had a nice refreshing strawberry drink as well as traditional beef and quinoa soup as well as grilled pork and mashed potato rice. After lunch we walked around the area and bought a few souvenirs which were not only cute but very affordable! After getting our souvenirs we then went onto the bus and started to head back home.

Once again, the trip back took 3 hours and was very relaxing and comforting. We were able to rest and regain our energy after the tiring but beautiful and adventurous hike. After resting for several hours and arriving at our hotel, Andino. We then got ready to head out once again and ate till our heart’s content! We had refreshing lemonade and ate pomodoro pasta and grilled chicken with some salad on the side. Once again, the food amazed us and the drinks were astonishing.

If this wasn’t exciting enough just wait for the adventures which await us tomorrow.

-Written by Chloe and Amy

April 6, 2023

We started our day at 8:30 am having fruits and pancakes for breakfast, we check out the hotel and then we boarded our bus and drove in to go to a kindergarten for indigenous children next to a local food market where their parents work during the day.

We arrived just in time for helping the teachers feed the 1 to 3 year old kids, we fed them beans and bananas and afterwards we were split into groups and did different activities with them such as singing, playing, face painting and many other things!!! It was very fulfilling to see the kids so happy to spend time with us. As we were leaving we had quite an experience getting the bus out of the school located at the busy entrance of the local market. There were alot of people in the street and it got a bit chaotic, but Jorge, our skilfull driver, managed to gratefully exit the school. We then drove for an hour to lunch by the equator. We ate fritada with llapingacho, which are fried pork and potato tortilla, and other really good traditional foods. After lunch we took a tour on the equator line. We stood on the line and experienced the unbalanceness caused from the different pulls of gravity. We also tried to balance an egg on a nail on the equator line which was very difficult. We also got to learn about the indigenous people. It was a very interesting and fascinating experience. We shopped at the stores and bought some hand made souvenirs. We then took the bus and drove for 40 minutes to our hotel. The hotel is spacious and we were welcomed by three dogs. There is a playground, a garden and many rooms. We had a delicious pizza dinner party. Through this we got the experience to bond as a community. Be ready to hear about our next adventures in the Galapagos Islands, one of the most unique places in the world.

-Written by Sofia and Rose

April 7, 2023

We woke up at 3am to catch a 6am flight to the Galápagos. We were greeted by heat and humidity. We took a snack break before a short bus ride to the ferry port. We took the ferry across the channel to the Island of Santa Cruz where we were greeted by a seal lion. We loaded our bus and drove through the highlands of the island. We looked at the twin craters covered in vegetation. We ate lunch at a restaurant next to tortoises. We then took a walk around the area and got a close up with the tortoises which was a very rememberable experience. We learned about how to identify the age and sex of the tortoises. We also walked through lava tubes which were beautiful. There was no light in the tube, so we had to on our head lamps to see the water dripping from the rocks. We took our bus to our hotel on the other side of the Island. We checked into our beautiful hotel and rested for a little while before going to our first amazing meal in the Galápagos. Some of us enjoyed the swimming pool in hotel’s pretty garden. After dinner we went to our hotel and ended the day with some activities to help bound as a community.
It was so great to finally arrive on the Galápagos. Come back tomorrow to see what else we do in the amazing islands of the Galápagos.

-Written by Sofia and Rose

April 8, 2023

The first thing we did was take a scenic hike to the beach. During the hike we learned about many different ryped of plants and animals. For example, we learned about the Palosanto tree which repeled mosquitos due to its potent scent. The tree is used to make incense by locals and buisnesses to prevent the mosquitos from that area. Once we arrived at tbe beach, we were greeted by a beautiful white sandy beach and huge waves from the ocean crashing onto the shore. After we set down our items we saw many iguanas under the shade hiding from the blazing sun. There was also some iguanas going for a swim in the lagoon. There wer also many small fish, and a varatiey of birds. We also went kayaking and saw many sea turtles swimming in the bright blue water. There was also sharks jumping out of the wster. We ended our beach adventure with a nice ride leaving Tortuga Beach. After, we went to a turtle breeding center. There we learned all about a turtle called Lonesome George, the last of his kind. Scientists tried to find him a mate of his kind but were unsuccessful. Scientists tried to get him to reproduce for 40 years before he died. We even got to see him. There we also saw adorable baby turtles. We learned about baby turtles and how one can not differentiate between male and females while they are young. Next we went to a bunch of cute shops where we could buy all kinds of souvenirs.

– Written by Alanna and Marisol

April 9, 2023

The whole group woke up around 7:30 for breakfast at the hotel. Soon after we drove to the boat and snorkeled. We got to see so many fish in the crystal clear water. We went on the iguana island and walked around and saw all the interesting creatures as iguanas and seagulls. Then we got a really good lunch on the boat, it consisted of ceviche and fish and rice. After we were all really tired and rested on the way back to santa cruz island. We all as a group went shopping in the local town and had an amazing dinner. We are so lucky to be fed the way we are here in the galápagos.

-Written by Houston and Lilly

April 10, 2023

We woke up around 5:00 AM to finish our packing and catch our bus at 6:00. We left to the ferry then went on the boat to make it to Isabela island. This boat ride took about 2 hours, and after it we were all exhausted. It was a short ride to Campo Duro the ecolodge we were staying at. Here we got a tour of where we were staying and were able to see the various plant trees in the area. After we settled in and got situated in our tents we left for lunch. It was very good, and we all enjoyed it a lot. Next we went to a tortoise breeding center not far from where we were having lunch. Here our tourguide Carlos told us all about tortoises and how the breeding center helps to keep them safe. Here we were starting to feel the heat and humidity around us. We had originally planned to visit the Wall of Tears and take a hike, but we decided that it was better not to because of the intense heat and because of how tired we all were from the early morning. We all decided that it woulf be a good idea to go to the beach. Here we had the option to swim in the water or to go snorkeling once again. We made our decisions and each went to where we wanted to. We both chose the option to snorkel and saw many types of fish, a sea turtle, and a family of Sting Rays. We then returned to the ecolodge where we had a yummy dinner and got ready for bed.

-Written by Abby and Madeline

April 11, 2023

We left the campset at 8.00am, and headed off to the sierra negra volcano it was about a 2 hour hike up and 2 hour hike down. At the top we were able to see the amazing view of a volcanos crater. On our way back down, it started pouring! It was so refreshing after our long but rewarding hike. We saw many different plants and animals. Our tour guide was actually the first person to video tape the volcanos lava flow. We came back to the ecolodge to grab our swimsuits and headed out to lunch. We walked around town for a bit and bought some delicious coconuts. We ended our day with some beach timeand enjoying the beautiful sunset. We had an assortment of meats as our dinner with an appetizer of wonton chips.

-Written By Chloe and Amy

April 12, 2013

Today the group had a long day of traveling. We woke up early at 4:30am to leave Camp Ecolodge at 5:00am. We took a bus to the boat that sails to Santa Cruz. After 2 hours we go to Santa Cruz and we’re all pretty hungry so we all go breakfast together. Soon after, we left for the airport. Our tour guide for the Galapagos Islands, Sandra, was with us until we got to the airport. We flew into Quito once again with a connecting flight from Guayaquil. We checked into a hotel for just a short night and all had dinner together, talking about the fears we conquered during our 2 week long trip.