Trips with Intention for Families
Join Hands with Tandana in Otavalo, Ecuador!
Go beyond your typical travel or volunteer experience on a "Trip with Intention" with us to highland Ecuador. These trips provide individuals and groups an exciting opportunity to connect with community members and contribute to their projects - all the while learning about the local Kichwa culture and enjoying the region’s majestic natural beauty.
Upcoming Trips with Intention for Families:
July 22-29, 2024
"You will go home absolutely overwhelmed by what you saw, who you met, what you've learned, and how your heart has expanded. You will be inspired to exceed your own expectations of yourself." - Jim, volunteer from Montana
Why a Trip with Intention
Experience life and the natural wonders of highland Ecuador
Be immersed in the indigenous Kichwa culture and traditions
Make friends with community members and learn from each other
Help dreams become reality
Leave with unforgettable memories
What You’ll Do
We call them "Trips with Intention" because each one is based around the projects our friends want to partner with us on in their communities - from painting schools and gardening to installing clean water systems. Most days are spent working hand and hand with the community to accomplish these projects, building intercultural friendships along the way. No special skills are required, just a willingness to learn, help, and have fun.
We also organize interactive cultural and sightseeing activities to fully immerse participants in the highland region. Trips often include a traditional cooking class at Kawsaymi Cooking School, hikes to natural wonders like the Peguche waterfall, and visits to the world-renowned Otavalo market, one of the largest indigenous markets in Latin America.
What Participants Say
"The part of this trip I valued the most was being able to interact and get the know the community members themselves. Our group was able to see how they were such generous and hard-working individuals, and their emphasis on community and making sure everyone feels included was unparalleled." - Kelly, volunteer from Massachusetts
"It is impossible to describe how impactful of an experience a Tandana program is. It is incredible how close you feel to the community members and the people you are traveling with. It is an unforgettable and life-changing experience."
- Magdalene, volunteer from New York
"I value the connections that I made with community members, Tandana staff, and my team. My favorite memories of this trip all include enjoying the company of others." - Kayla, volunteer from South Carolina
Where You’ll Be
We work primarily in communities of the Quichinche parish, which is just outside the market center of Otavalo in the Ecuadorian Sierra. This enchanting area is only two hours by bus from Quito, but offers a rural atmosphere and connection to the land very different from life in the capital.
The father and mother volcanoes, Imbabura and Cotacachi, stand guard over the valleys and hills where indigenous Otaveleño and mestizo families grow their sustenance. Diverse in their customs, residents are united by their need to work together to improve their communities.
Cost: $1,379 for double occupancy, $153 additional for single occupancy. The trip fee covers all the basic expenses (food, lodging, transportation, activities) from when you land at the Quito airport until we drop you off there. Discount available if paid in full by check at least 6 weeks prior to program start - $1,350 for double occupancy, $150 additional for single occupancy. (We provide one airport pickup on the first evening, and one bus back to the airport, on the last night. If your plans require different pickups or drop-offs, you will need to cover those on your own). Airfare is not included, and you'll want to bring extra money for personal expenses.
We also offer Participant Financial Assistance.
Did you know that your trip with Tandana is a net zero-emission trip? Click here for more details.
Arrive in the evening and settle in. We provide one bus to pick up the group from the airport and bring you to Otavalo.
Receive a thorough orientation and plan lessons and activities. Get to know Otavalo through a scavenger hunt.
Assist at Tandana's summer school program, providing English conversation and a fun activity. After class, play soccer with local students. In the afternoon, participate in a cooking class at Kawsaymi cooking school.
Older volunteers start work on improving the school building. Younger ones focus on English conversation and games with local students. In the afternoon, enjoy a boat ride on Cuicocha Lake.
Older volunteers continue work on improving the school building. Younger ones focus on English conversation and games with local students. In the afternoon, learn how to make bread with a local family.
Scroll down through the story map below to learn about the communities we partner with and see their locations on a map.
Generating Change Venture Frequently Asked Questions
The CDC recommends vaccinations against Hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria and measles. Yellow fever is recommended for other parts of Ecuador but not necessary in the mountains where we work. Vaccinations are up to your own discretion.
Do I need vaccinations to go on this trip?
I've heard about the Zika virus. Should I be concerned for my health?
What are the accommodations like?
Tandana's participants are provided lodging at a wonderful facility right in Otavalo, Ecuador: La Posada del Quinde. Rooms all have private baths, comfortable beds, and outlets with the same electricity as the U.S. Wi-fi is available in the common area. Breakfast each day is a treat that offers fresh local fruits and juices, excellent coffee and a selection of hot breakfast items to start your day off right. The garden and patio area are an oasis with a view of 2 inactive volcanos. And the location is perfect for market shopping just 4 blocks away.
Will my electronic devices work in Ecuador?
Yes, Ecuador uses the same electrical currents and plugs as the United States does, so you don't need a special adapter.
What kind of clothing, etc. should I pack?
We will send you a "welcome" packet about a month before your departure, which includes a suggested packing list.
It's not necessary to speak Spanish in order to do good work and have a good time on this trip. You'll learn the important basics during orientation, and Tandana staff will be able to translate for you.
What if I don't speak Spanish?
Who leads the groups of volunteers? Who do I turn to when I need help?
All of Tandana's volunteer programs are led by a team of Program Coordinators who have first-hand knowledge of the region, speak both Spanish and English, have expertise in experiential education and group leadership, hold WFA (Wilderness First Aid) or other certifications that have prepared them to handle emergencies, and are caring and capable individuals. Our permanent local staff is always on hand to help with translation, activities, logistics, and anything else to make sure the volunteers' experience is the best it can possibly be. See here for bios of some Program Coordinators.
Please email your question to us at info [at] tandanafoundation.org, and we'll answer it as quickly as we can.
What if I can't find the answer to my question on the FAQ page?