The Galapagos Islands offer more than just an ecological adventure. They provide the perfect setting to help students make connections between academic subjects and the world.
Envoys is proud to offer an innovative educational program that approaches learning through an inter-disciplinary pedagogical method. Through a blend of classroom instruction, interactive activities, real-life adventures, and focused reporting, students expand their knowledge in both the sciences and the humanities. They learn to connect academic subjects with the beauty of nature–all while having fun! Given the historical context of Darwin’s research, the Galapagos Islands provide the perfect context for these connections to form.
Envoys students pursue rigorous research projects as part of our trip. Students identify their project theme and research questions through a process of consultation with school leaders, academic experts, development practitioners, and business professionals.
Potential project themes for the Galapagos Islands include:
- Tensions between economic development and conservationism
- The concept of “World Heritage” for history, science, and culture
- Dynamics of environmental ecosystems
[Envoys] knows kids extremely well…they know how to be cool with them while still commanding authority and establishing ground rules…I was incredibly impressed with the protocols established and put in place by Envoys.Micah M., Traveling Faculty Friends Seminary Peru 2015
With its emphasis on empathy and general intelligence in planning, Envoys has quickly emerged as a premier global program provider. They are well worth the attention of any of our schools.Paul Miller Former Director of Global Initiatives,NAIS
Envoys was at the top of their game from start to finish. What initially interested me was their focus on curriculum during pre-departure meetings and the program itself. Envoys cares deeply about the experience of the participants and faculty. [They] constantly ask for constructive criticism and make changes when necessary.Joe Vogel, Executive Director Global Education Benchmark Group
Envoys carefully constructed an educational trip for students that purposefully engaged them to think, reflect, act, and enjoy. The travel logistics were always well-planned, and I had peace of mind knowing that my teen-aged daughter was in safe, responsible, and caring handsAlice T, Parent Deerfield South Korea, 2015
I could not have been more satisfied with the performance of Envoys throughout the entire process of planning and executing this trip. All Envoys staff demonstrated the utmost professionalism and dedication, as well as knowledge and competence. I am so glad that [we] chose to partner with Envoys!Rick S, Traveling Faculty Hingham Japan 2015
The team at Envoys did their very best to ensure that the the “i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed.” The staff was also quick to respond to any and all questions that arose prior, during and after the trip. My husband and I greatly appreciated the time Envoys took to provide preparation tips as well the planned activity schedules to help make our child’s South African trip a safe and memorable adventure”Regina J, Parent Dalton South Africa 2014
We had an amazing program. It was a biology teacher’s dream and Felipe and his crew couldn’t have been more thorough and professional to work with. Thanks for all of your efforts to organize an unforgettable experience for us all.Gerry, Traveling Faculty LCC Colombia, 2016
As a parent I felt the experience was well orchestrated and managed by Envoys. As a participant my daughter loved the whole experience; it is something she will treasure for the rest of her lifeLinda T, Parent Hingham Japan 2015
I don’t think it is possible to pull a trip like the Amazon and the many activities that you directed without the sense of purpose you have, without your drive for experiential learning for teenagers. All our experiences with the envoys team were amazing!Angela, Traveling Faculty RoundSquare Colombia 2015
It was not only the good times with our friends or the relationships we built but how we were after we came back, returning to this agitated society with a new view of ourselves and not just our impact on the world, but the world’s impact on us.Gabriela, Student Deerfield Colombia, 2014
The individuals we worked with, without exception, were all professional, courteous, patient, and greatly attentive to detail. As stated above, Envoys is flexible and works hard to make sure that if you have custom aspects to a trip that you want to add, they will work hard to make it happen for you.Adam H, Faculty Belmont Hill Japan 2016
I can honestly say that this was the best 10 days of my entire life. I feel as though I have grown as a person, and that I have made lifelong connections. This experience changed my life, so thank you very much to the entire Envoys staff!
Eliza C, Student Hingham Japan 2015
Every single person working for Envoys is excellent and committed to the kids and their experience, not just during the trip, but before and after. We would recommend Envoys to anyone looking for a high quality and enriching summer experience.Amy G, Parent Envoys Malawi 2014 & 2015
The Envoys staff has been amazing. I have bonded with each of them in different ways and they made the trip to Colombia nicer that I expected. Envoys helped me open myself up to interacting with the locals wherever we traveled!Illeana G, Student Deerfield Colombia 2014
My goals were to learn about post-conflict Colombia and step out of my comfort zone. These were fulfilled each and every day through activities, reflections, and first-hand experience.Julia D, Student GEBG Colombia 2016
I was incredibly impressed by the care taken by Envoys. Before we even hit the ground, there was an emphasis on comprehending impact on our destination’s environment that I appreciated..Throughout the trip, our Envoys leaders made sure that we continued to be conscious of impact. That awareness of cause and effect is something that often gets lost when traveling, and Envoys did not allow it to. During this trip, there was never a moment I did not feel safe and cared for nor a moment where I did not feel I was learning something!Keylee S, Student Dalton South Africa 2014
“Many student groups participate in ‘Voluntourism’. This trip did not attempt that, but rather funneled the collective energy of each member into meaningful, mutually beneficial cultural interactions..Thank you so much for this unforgettable and transformational experience.Altana, Student Friends Seminary South Africa, 2016
The Envoys staff were very open about sharing their first-hand experiences, which was a game-changed in terms of learning about post-apartheid South Africa. Also, having everything planned to the T made me feel very safe. I knew that I was in good hands.Gio H, Student Friends Seminary South Africa 2016
The Envoys Staff were exceptionally committed to us and to the goals of our trip. They were thoughtful, kind, caring, friendly, with great sense of humor, yet serious in their connection to the ethos of professional development that was our trip’s purpose. I was struck over and over again by how they literally RAN to be in the right place to respond to any given situation.Constance, Traveling Faculty Friends Seminary Colombia 2016
Day 1 & 2 (Arrival)
We land in Quito. Following a thorough health and safety briefing, we set out to explore the city.
During the afternoon, we set out individual learning goals for developing language skills, learning about the Galapagos environment, understanding the scientific and human history of the islands, interacting with native Galapaguenos, and sharing our adventure with those back home.
Working with Envoys staff, students will identify how they will separate themselves from the “educated tourists” and take personal responsibility for making this trip a life-changing experience.
Day 3 (Puerto Ayora)
We rise early for our morning flight to the Galapagos Islands! We land on the island of Baltra, an old U.S. military base during the Second World War and now one of the main gateways to this amazing archipelago.
After a very short ferry crossing, we head by bus to our lodge, located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The afternoon is spent exploring the town of Puerto Ayora, meeting with local hotel owners and fishermen. We leave by private bus for a short hike and nature exploration around Santa Cruz’s caverns. Students learn about native, endemic, and invasive species of both fauna and flora. During the evening we begin our review of the islands’ unique “human history,” beginning with their discovery by the Bishop of Panama in 1535.
Day 4 (Puerto Ayora)
Today is our “Tortoise Day!” An interactive lesson on the breeding, feeding habits, species, and lifespans of these icons of the Galapagos sets the stage for our day.
We then head to the Tortoise Breeding Center, started in the early 1970s by the Galapagos National Park in an effort to restore the population of giant tortoises in the archipelago. At the center, students learn about conservation efforts and spend time bonding with these magnificent creatures. Students conduct interviews with current park rangers and conservationists, getting another viewpoint of the islands.
The afternoon is spent visiting a local organic farm and learning about efforts to introduce sustainable and non-invasive agriculture to the islands. Visiting the farm also gives us a chance for a short hike into the forest, along the migratory path of the famed Galapagos giant tortoise!
During the evening we hike to Tortuga Bay, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. The sunsets here are breathtaking!
Day 5 (Puerto Ayora)
We rise early for a private boat trip to the Plazas Islands, located approximately 30 minutes from the northern shores of Santa Cruz. While traversing the island and exploring the rocky coast, we encounter colonies of blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, sea lions, and the amazing land iguanas!
We return in the early afternoon and relax in the town. During the evening, students compose the first of their “stories for home,” focusing on explaining their experiences in the Galapagos to a specific member of their family.
Day 6 (Puerto Ayora)
Our journey through the archipelago continues with a boat ride to Isabela: one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos. Shaped like a sea horse, Isabela is the largest of the islands in the Galapagos and is located on the westernmost boundary park. This will be home for the next two days.
Day 7 (Isabela)
After an early wake-up call, we head to Sierra Negra Volcano. Our hike up to the top will offer a once-in-a-lifetime landscape of black lava fields, volcanic cones, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, students are able to experience “field lessons” from Envoys staff and local guides on the unique geology of the islands.
We return in the early afternoon and enjoy the soft sandy beaches at the coast of Puerto Villamil. During the evening, students work on another “story for home,” writing a few paragraphs of a news article or college application essay on the events of the day.
Day 8 (Isabela)
The goal of the morning is to find the green sea turtles that swim around the underwater volcanic wall located in front of the town. With our snorkeling gear and the help of our local guide, we spend time in the ocean and hopefully have a chance to see the endemic penguins of the Galapagos. Later that day, we get a taste of the history and culture of Isabela at the Wall of Tears which was erected by convicts in the first half of this century when the area served as a jail. Many prisoners died during the construction work, giving the structure its infamous name.
During the evening, students meet individually with local businessmen and guides on Isabella to get a final set of perspectives on the islands.
Day 9 (Isabela)
We return by boat to Puerto Ayora and from there to Baltra, where we will take our flight back to Quito.
During our final day in Quito, we come together to engage in a dynamic negotiation activity. Using the knowledge gained from interviews and interactions with the Galapagos citizenry, students prepare alternate plans for the future regulation of the tourist and fishing industries in the islands. Using a set of techniques drawn from the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation, Envoys staff empower students to conduct principled negotiations while advocating their plans.
Day 10 (Travel)
During the morning, students return to the learning goals that they set for themselves and reflect on their progress, making plans for maintaining connections to the Galapagos after they return home.
Finally, we spend time discussing the impact of the trip on our views of ourselves and the world, crystallizing the changes that have taken place and setting goals for continuing to learn.