LEAD ADVENTURES PROGRAMS
What types of projects are available?
We offer programs in the following areas:
- Animal Welfare
Are all the projects run by Lead Adventures?
Our programs are run by Lead Adventures and some are run by our partner organizations. Each project, organization and foundation has a director or coordinator that is directly responsible for the volunteers’ work.
Is experience necessary to work at any of the projects?
Some programs request specific prior experience in the program’s area or field of work, some do not. Please refer to each individual program description for details.
Who is responsible for the volunteer within the project?
The volunteers are given specific instructions by the program coordinator and Lead Staff about the safety procedures of each program. Volunteers are responsible to follow all safety instructions given. The project coordinator will look after the volunteer’s safety, as long as the volunteer follows all instructions. Lead Adventures is not responsable or liable for the volunteers while they are working at the project.
What are the volunteer’s responsibilities at the project?
The volunteer is responsible to comply with with all of the assigned functions given by the project’s coordinator and to follow all instruction given. All programs are open to suggestions and new ideas from the volunteers to help improve the project.
Is there a minimum amount of stay to sign up for a project?
Most programs require a minimum stay of two weeks. Galapagos Experience Program the minimum stay is 10 days Please refer to the program “Dates” section for more details.
Is there a maximum amount of time to stay at the project?
Most programs have a maximum stay of up to 12 weeks. Please refer to the program “Dates” section for more details.
APPLICATION PROCESS AND AVAILABILITY
How can I apply to Lead Adventures volunteer programs?
You must contact Lead Adventures at info[at]lead-adventures.com. A staff member will send you an application for you to fill out and will guide you through the application process.
When should I apply for a volunteer program?
We recommend applying 3-4 months in advance of your intended program. This will give you enough time to go though the application process, confirm availability for the program you want to be part of, book a flight ticket and more.
How long does it take to process my application?
The application process takes approximately 1-3 weeks depending on the program.
Are all the projects available year round?
Most programs are available year round. For specific details on availability please refer to the “Dates Section” of each program description on the website.
How many spaces are available in each project?
Most of our projects have a capacity of 20 volunteers at the same time. The exact number depends on the project. Some have a higher capacity than others.
STARTING AND ENDING DATES
When should I travel to Ecuador?
Most programs require the volunteer to arrive on Sunday. The orientation session takes place on Monday morning and the volunteer begins work on Tuesday. For some programs the arrival day is different. Once you have booked your program a Lead Staff member will give you your arrival and starting day information in detail specific to your program.
When will my program be over?
Most programs end on Friday or Saturday. For some programs the ending day is different. Once you have booked your program a Lead Staff member will give you this information in detail specific to your program.
How can I pay for my program?
We recommend you to pay your 150 USD deposit (non refundable), in order to secure your spot, via PayPal as it is the fastest option. We will not add the PayPal fee to this deposit payment.
For full or final balance payments you have the following options:
Option 1: If you want to use a credit card we use PayPal. We will send you a money request via email for you to follow the instructions. Cost to you: A 5% fee will be added to your final invoice as charged by PayPal to us.
Option 2: You can wire the money directly to our bank account in Ecuador.
Please notice: INTERDECO Cia. Ltda. is the legal name of our company in Ecuador. Lead Adventures is our trademark. Please go to your banking institutions and request an international wire with the below data. Normally your bank will charge you a fee for this transaction.
Cost: Ask your banking institution, usually between 25-50 USD.
Option 3: We have a bank account in the US with Bank of America in the name of Omar Enrique Torres. You can make an electronic transfer from your bank to this account or a regular deposit and save the cost of an international wire if you are within the US or Canada.
Cost: Usually FREE between US/Canadian banks, please confirm with your banking institutions.
Who will arrange my flight to Ecuador?
It is the participant’s responsibility to arrange this.
Which airport should I book my flight into?
Quito International Airport “Mariscal Sucre”.
When should I arrive to Ecuador?
Participants must arrive to Quito on Sunday unless otherwise noted. All programs start on Monday of each week.
Who will meet me on arrival to Quito’s airport?
A person from Lead Adventures will pick you up at the airport.
What should I do if my flight is delayed?
You need to call Lead Adventures representatives as soon as possible to the phone numbers provided. This will be given to you on your acceptance letter. Notifying Lead Adventures, give them adequate time so that they can re-schedule the pick-up transfer accordingly to the participant’s new arrival time.
Can I arrive earlier than when the program begins?
Yes, you can definitely do this. However it will be at your own expense. Lead Adventures can help you coordinate accommodation and the airport pick up transfer. Please let a Lead Adventures representative know about your early arrival.
What entry documents do I need?
All tourists need a valid passport and an entry form-tourist card which is provided by your air carrier. This will be available at either the ticket counter when checking in for your flight to Ecuador or once on-board.
Do I need a visa?
Citizens of Canada, UK and USA do not need to obtain a visa for stays up to 90 days. If you are of a different nationality, please check with Lead Adventures Staff and your local Ecuadorian Embassy. For stays longer than 90 days, you must obtain a 6-month Tourist visa (12-IX) at your local Ecuadorian Embassy. Lead Adventures will provide you with more information about visas and immigration if needed.
What is the language spoken in Ecuador?
The official language is Spanish.
Can I take Spanish Lessons prior to my program?
Sure! You can take Spanish Lessons at our partner Language School located only two blocks away from our office. During your Spanish Lessons you can stay at a home stay and truly experience the Ecuadorian culture and practice your Spanish skills!
What currency is used is Ecuador?
The official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. The bills are the same as US bills. The coins are also the same as used in the US, as well as similar Ecuadorian coins. Most shops and restaurants will not accept bills over $20, so it is worth having small currency denominations on you.
Can I use my ATM/debit card and credit card?
Yes. You can use your ATM in most places around Ecuador to debit money. Credit cards are accepted at supermarkets, pharmacies, stores, restaurants and big shops. Most ATMS and credit card companies will charge a small service fee for international usage.
Will I have access to the Internet while in Quito?
Absolutely! You will have plenty of access to the Internet in Quito. So keep an eye out for the nearest Internet café, or ask one of our onsite staff.
Can I make an international phone call from Quito?
Internet cafes will offer low prices on international phone calls. In Quito there are plenty of phone cabins where you can make international phone calls at low rates.
What type of accommodation is included in my program?
Depending on the program volunteers will live in a homestay, hostel, residence or volunteer house. At all these accommodation rooms are shared. You can upgrade your accommodation to a single room depending on the program you are part of for an extra charge.
Where are the hostels located in Quito?
The hostels that we work with are located in the “Mariscal” area of Quito. This is the tourist district of the city where Internet cafes, tour operators, restaurants, pubs, banks and other services are found.
Where are the host families located in Quito?
The host families are located in good residential areas in the north area of the city.
How are the accommodations at the project?
For those programs not located in Quito, accommodations are usually in a volunteer house or shared rooms. Rooms are usually shared between 3-5 people.
What are the bathroom facilities like?
Bathrooms are western style toilets rather than a squat style. A shower with hot and cold water is available at most locations- depending on the program. In most cases volunteers share a bathroom/toilet with the host family or other volunteers.
Where can I do my laundry?
Depending on the program you choose there are a few different options; you can do laundry at your host family, take your laundry to a local laundrymat or do it manually at your program.
Do I need to bring a voltage converter for my battery charger or computer?
Output is 120 volts at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Ecuador with a device that does not accept 120 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Outlets in Ecuador generally accept two types of plug, either the American style plugs with two perpendicular flat blades above a circular grounding pin, or a Japanese style plug with two perpendicular flat blades (these are the most common ones).
What is the local cuisine?
Vegetables, rice, potatoes and meat compose most traditional Ecuadorian meals. Also fresh fruits are consumed daily along with freshly prepared soups. Within the community and program, meals depend on the availablity of resources that the project has.
Can you supply vegetarian meals?
All of our programs can supply vegetarian meals.
Is the running tap water safe to drink?
We recommend volunteers to purchase bottle water for their consumption.
SAFETY AND HEALTH
Is it safe to travel in Ecuador?
Yes, as long as you follow normal precautions just as you would do at home. Take special precautions at bigger cities such as Quito, Guayaquil and others.
Are there frequent accidents with volunteer within the projects?
There have been no serious accidents with volunteers in the projects. Using common sense and taking the cordinator’s advice seriously helps to prevent accidents. We recommend all volunteers to follow all of the given safety procedures at the project.
Do I need specific vaccinations prior to traveling to Ecuador?
All our programs are in locations where no vaccinations are needed. These areas have no risk of malaria or yellow fever.
Do I need a travel insurance?
Yes, you will need a travel insurance for all the time that you are traveling.
If traveling to the Galapagos Island, do I need to pay an entrance fee?
Yes. All tourists need to pay a $130 fee to enter the Galapagos National Park. You must pay $20 in Quito’s airport when departing to the Galapagos (INGALA card) and $110 on arrival to the Galapagos.
Does my program include a transfer to the airport upon departure?
Yes, your arrival and departure pick ups are included.
What is the climate like in Ecuador?
Ecuador’s climate varies with its regions. The highlands have a temperature of 13ºC-25ºC, the Coast 23ºC-36ºC, the Amazon 23ºC-32ºC and Galapagos from 22ºC-36ºC depending on the time of the year.
What type of clothing should I bring?
Depending on the location of your program you will need lightweight clothing (coast, Amazon and Galapagos), rainwear (Amazon and Highlands), warmer clothing for the evenings such as a light jacket and/or light sweaters (Highlands). Also a comfortable pair of walking shoes is highly recommended.
When are Ecuadorian Holidays?
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Mar-Apr: Holy Thursday
Mar-Apr: Holy Friday
May 1: Labor Day
May 24: The Battle of Pichincha
Aug 10: Independence Day
Oct 9: Independence of Guayaquil
Nov 2: Day of the Dead
Nov 3: Independence of Cuenca
Dec 6: Independence of Quito
Dec 25: Christmas Day
Dec 31: New Year’s Eve