Safety is a good question, and a matter we take very seriously. In our experience Ecuador is one of the most safe and friendly countries in the world visited by VESA.
VESA staff members meet the designated Group Flight at the arrival hall of the airport, where they are accompanied to our hostel. Our VESA staff members are with the volunteers in the village overnight and the whole group stay in the same hostel together.
The students are supervised and accompanied on all volunteer work, activities, overnight accommodation and in country transportation by a VESA rep.
As with all our programs, safety of our participants is our #1 priority.
We are aware that for some of our participants this may be their first experience abroad or even away from their families. Should you have any queries or need any assistance while on program there will always be someone nearby to help and you should not hesitate to ask any question at all. We are definitely there to make our volunteers have the best possible experience.
VESA closely monitors all political, civil and environmental situations in Ecuador. Should we deem that the area is unsafe for travel we will readjust the program accordingly.
Please visit your government’s travel website for further information on travelling conditions throughout the South Pacific.
Students on the VESA programme will always be accompanied by members of our staff who are all qualified Senior First Aid technicians.
In Ecuador, volunteers will, at all times, be accompanied by VESA staff members and local experts. On tour both staff members as well as a local qualified jungle guide will travel with you.
During the volunteer week, there is free Wi-Fi available in town.
There is no opportunity to use internet or phone for the four days on the jungle trek.
A lot of international providers seem to work in Ecuador however you must set up international roaming for this and it is quite costly to make and receive phone calls and texts.
There is internet and Skype at our accommodations in Banos.
All accommodation and food is included in the cost of the program. However, if you wish to buy that special necklace for back home, then you will need to bring along some cash.
At Quito International airport on arrival there are ATMs for you to take out local currency, the US Dollar, for drinks, snacks and souvenirs. It is extremely important that you alert your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling overseas so that they do not put a hold on your card. A quick phone call is all it takes.
VESA will be sending all participants detailed travel information approximately 45 days prior to departure. This will include information on the Volunteer Project, the village you will be staying in, packing lists, and other valuable tips.
No vaccinations are mandatory except for Australian residents, however VESA strongly recommends that you speak to your medical practitioner about any further immunisations you may need.
Australian residents returning home within 6 days of travelling to Ecuador will require a Yellow Fever vaccination. A Yellow Fever certificate may be asked for at customs on your return home.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date. Pack a travel health kit, especially as you will be travelling away from major city centres. There is a risk of yellow fever in this country. There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country. Anti-malarial medication may be recommended. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
No visa is required for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, People’s Republic of China or the United States for travel to Ecuador.
For citizens of all countries please check your VISA requirements with your local Ecuadorian consulate.
If you are travelling to Ecuador via the US, an electronic travel authority (‘ESTA’) is now required for all visa waiver countries including Australia and New Zealand for travel to or transit through United States of America.
ESTA applies to travellers to the USA from Visa Waiver countries, including Australia New Zealand and the United Kingdom. For citizens of all countries please check your US VISA requirements with your local US consulate.
Sure, not a problem! All we ask from our participants is that you come with an open mind and a desire to make a difference. Please note however that the majority of our participants are university students and range in age from 18 – 24 years old.
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See what you'll be doing each day on the Amazonas Explored project.