Central & South America 18 Weeks

Our longest and most varied programme, this 4.5 month adventure is packed full of incredible experiences in 4 diverse countries – Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Peru.

Living in the heart of very different rural communities, you’ll immerse yourself in the traditions and culture of the local people and make a measurable difference to improving their quality of life through our projects. We listen to the needs of each community so you’ll be working on the areas that are a priority for them. You’ll be getting involved in a wide range of projects across each country, including improving community infrastructure, renovating schools, working on cultural heritage projects and protecting native plants and wildlife.

Your journey will begin in Nicaragua where you’ll surround yourself with sun, sea, sand, and the chilled vibes of our camps here. Discover the characterful colonial towns of Leon and Granada as well as the monkey-filled island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. Take in Costa Rica’s diverse variety of both flora and fauna and enjoy the unbelievably green and wildlife rich Monteverde.

In Ecuador, you’ll journey from the Pacific coast to deep in the Amazon rainforest, and can try to spot the toucans whilst being surrounded by fields of bananas and cacao. Enjoy Peru’s colourful culture in the cities of Cusco and Arequipa and explore the breathtaking scenery of the Colca Canyon, Moray and Lake Titicaca. To top off this unbelievable adventure you’ll trek to the unmissable Machu Picchu, the perfect end to your trip.

CRNECUPER4.5M

Central & South America 18 Weeks

$7,975 per traveller


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The impact you will make

01

Reforestation (Lost Canyon)

The dry forest area around Camp Lost Canyon is home to a variety of endangered tree species. We will help to protect these native plants by getting involved in reforestation efforts within the local community, planting seedlings and ensuring the threatened plants continue to thrive in the area. Additionally, we do some social projects within the small forgotten community.

LostCanyon-Reforestation-Project2

Activities May Include

  1. Seed collection & harvesting
  2. Tree planting
  3. General maintenance
  4. Occasional construction when needed
02

Community Improvements & Turtle Protection (Xolotlan)

The coastal community near Camp Xolotlan is one of the poorest in Nicaragua. You will help to improve the standard of living for the local people by working on community infrastructure projects such as building classrooms, community housing and sanitation facilities. You’ll also get involved in turtle conservation efforts to help protect these amazing creatures.

Xolotlan-Project

Activities May Include

  1. Laying foundations
  2. Mixing cement
  3. Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
  4. Turtle nesting site protection
  5. Beach clean-ups
03

Wildlife Protection (Caño Negro)

Though Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, it holds 6% of the world’s biodiversity. However, the diverse flora, fauna and animal species are under threat from human activity. Your work here will help to protect the local wildlife through conservation efforts with the community.

Guanacaste-WildlifeConversation-Project

Activities May Include

  1. Habitat protection
  2. Wildlife monitoring
  3. Tree planting
  4. Educating locals on conservation
04

Marine Life Conservation (Costa)

The waters surrounding Ecuador are home to a vast array of marine life including green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles, all of which are now endangered due to human activity. You’ll support a village close to an important turtle nesting site by cleaning and protecting the local beaches and helping to safeguard the habitat of the marine life in the area.

Supper On Camp Costa Beach

Activities include

  1. Beach patrols & clean ups
  2. Environmental education workshops
  3. Digging foundations
  4. Laying bricks
  5. Plastering, painting and decorating buildings & signs
05

School Improvement (Esmeraldas)

The school in the Chura community consists of just 3 classrooms to serve primary and secondary students. Our work here is mainly focused on improving these educational facilities – repairing the classrooms which are beginning to fall apart, constructing a toilet block for the students to use instead of a hole in the ground, building playground equipment and constructing another classroom for the growing number of students.

03 08 2017 2 The health center at Camp Esmeraldas is looking AMAZING

Activities Include

  1. Plastering and mixing cement
  2. Painting educational murals
  3. Building playground equipment
  4. Installing flood defences
06

Reforestation (DonBiki)

As the community develops, they cut down more trees to sell the wood and have spaces for crops. The Shiwa palm (native to the community and especially important as fast-growing contacuro trees grown within this palm) has suffered the most from this deforestation and we aim to replant more of these. As well as reforesting with Shiwa, we will be reforesting with medicinal plants, and aiming to engage the younger generations in learning about these and the other plants that surround them.

IMG_0246

Activities Include

  1. Collecting seedlings
  2. Planting trees
  3. Educating community on importance of protectingrainforest
  4. Learning about indigenous plants
07

Water Collection (Chilli Urku)

The community at Camp Chili Urku lies on a ridge which runs through the jungle and therefore doesn’t have much running water. However, there is a perfectly good source of water: rain  (it is the rainforest after all). We are working to build rainwater harvesting tanks with toilets, showers, and a washing area for clothes in each of the houses. We also plan to build a reservoir above the village to provide a central communal supply of water.

IMG_1849

Activities Include

  1. Digging holes for septic tanks
  2. Constructing washing areas in houses
  3. General maintenance
  4. Establishing rainwater reservoir
08

Schools Improvement (Colca)

The small community near our Camp Colca sits on the edge of the mighty Colca Canyon at 3,600 metres above sea level. Due to its remoteness and relatively harsh environmental conditions, the community here is very poor. You’ll help by continuing many varied projects to improve the lives of this charming community.

peru expedition

Activities Include

  1. Laying foundations
  2. Mixing cement
  3. Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
  4. Planting food crops
09

School Improvement (Titicaca)

The communities surrounding Lake Titicaca remain some of the poorest in Peru. The remoteness and inaccessibility of this region means that there is little or no help available from surrounding regions. You’ll help by continuing to build community facilities and a classroom for the villagers as well as restoring the school greenhouse.

peru expedition

Activities Include

  1. Laying foundations
  2. Mixing cement
  3. Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
  4. Landscaping
010

Toilet Building Project (Moray)

The small rural community in Moray is extremely poor with no basic sanitation or sewerage. We are helping to construct toilet blocks in each of the houses in the village, providing families and vulnerable elderly residents with proper sanitation facilities.

Moray-toilet-project

Activities Include

  1. Laying foundations
  2. Mixing cement
  3. Plastering, painting and decorating buildings
  4. Helping to install pipes
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Camp Lost Canyon

More information on Camp Lost Canyon will be coming soon, check back here for updates in the next few weeks.

CostaRicaCamp

Camp Xolotlan

More information on Camp Xolotlan will be coming soon, check back here for updates in the next few weeks.

CostaRicaCamp

Camp Caño Negro

A peaceful natural haven, Camp Caño Negro is based near the waters of the wetland national park and you can spot caiman basking on the banks of the water in the morning.

Location: Guanacaste, situated in the northwestern region of the country

Accommodation style: Dormitories with bunk beds typically in wooden cabins

Power: Mains electricity and US plug sockets

Phone signal: Reasonable signal

 

CostaRicaCamp

Camp Costa

Camp Costa is a wonderful camp set within a sleepy fishing village along the Ecuadorian coast. Only a short walk away (300m) you’ll find a quiet golden sand beach overlooking the warm and sunny Pacific Ocean. Here you can kick back, look out to sea and you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins, sea lions and even humpback whales cruising past.

The camp is located within the village where the locals are so friendly and welcoming that it will become your home away from home in no time. The football pitch is next door so you can challenge some of the locals to a friendly game after a hard day’s project work.

Location: 160 km (4 hours drive) from Guayaquil International Airport

Accommodation: Traditional buildings & tents with comfy mattresses & bedding. Flushing toilets & long drops, cold showers & sinks

Power: Mains electricity. US standard plug.

Phone Signal: No

Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. toast, cereal,  and fruit for breakfast; fish with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit

Signature dish: Ecuadorian ceviche, breaded prawns & patacones (fried plantain)

If you’re feeling brave: Try live lemon ants or chontacuro grubs!

Social: Open sided chill out space with hammocks, volleyball court & football pitch. Bamboo gazebo and fire pit on the beach

 

camp costa

Camp Esmeraldas

Camp Esmeraldas lies on the shores of the Esmeraldas River, the principal water system of the north. The lush forests of the area are home to many birds including toucans, owls and parrots as well as howler monkeys.

The community of Camp Esmeraldas is predominantly of Afro-Ecuadorian decent and from Manabi province who earn their living from cattle and cacao farming. Our work here focuses on helping improve the infrastructure of the community on both sides of the river; the school is in desperate need of refurbishment and we are also working on a medical centre.

Location: Approximately 7 hours drive from Quito, in the green province of Esmeraldas

Accommodation style: Tents in the main camp, and hammocks in Chancama (not every group goes to Chancama)

Power: Three American plug sockets in dining area

Phone signal: None due to remote location. We use a satellite phone to communicate internally.

Signature dish: Encocado de pescado – which is fish from the river cooked in a coconut based sauce which is creamy and delicious.

Social area: Shaded area with lots of cushions and a few hammocks and a chill out zone with more hammocks outside

Gappers-at-camp

Camp Donbiki

One of our newest camps, the incredible Camp Donbiki offers a unique jungle experience. Situated in the heart of the Ecuadorian rainforest, its located next to a wonderful river, so you can be lulled by its peaceful sound as you go to sleep.

You’ll be welcomed by the friendly community here as they teach you their local customs and knowledge of the rainforest, including the traditional use of medicinal plants. You’ll work alongside them to help protect and restore the indigenous trees and improve the community facilities.

Location: In the Arajuno area of the Pastaza province

Accommodation style: Jungle lodge with bunk beds

Power: Two American plug sockets in each room

Phone signal: Very limited

Signature dish: Maito de tilapia or Maito de pollo – Fish or chicken cooked inside a banana leaf with palmito (roots of a type of palm) and yuca (root veg) and rice.

Social area: The end of each cabin has a chill out space with cushions and there is a small dining room. Lots of open space in camp to enjoy your jungle surroundings.

Web-feature-image

Camp Chilli Urku

Experience true off-grid lifestyle in Camp Chilli Urku. Situated in a remote area of the rainforest, to arrive at the camp you’ll trek for a couple of hours through the jungle – the journey is well worth it. Surrounded by endless green, you will truly feel at one with nature as you fall asleep in your hammock listening to the sounds of the rainforest.

Location: In the Arajuno area of the Pastaza province

Accommodation style: Hammocks in a wooden house up in a hill

Power: There is no power in the camp but we have solar lights charging every morning

Phone signal: Very limited due to the remote location

Signature dish: Maito de tilapia or Maito de pollo – Fish or chicken cooked inside a banana leaf with palmito (roots of a type of palm) and yuca (root veg) and rice.

Social area: Big dining room and open space to enjoy incredible views of the rainforest

Web-feature-image

Camp Colca

Camp Colca is a wonderful camp set in the heart of a humble and friendly community on the edge of the great Colca Canyon, the world’s second deepest canyon (and only by a couple of metres!).

This very special location is peaceful and offers you a feeling of space and remoteness. The camp’s elevated position (3,600m) offer spectacular views and encompass some big sweeping landscapes, from the surrounding alto plano desert, to Inca terracing and huge jaw-dropping mountain ranges.

The village is very charming, with little adobe buildings everywhere and donkeys strolling along the dirt roads. Camp Colca is sure to transport you to another world making you feel like part of the community in no time.

Location: 200 km (5 hours drive) from Arequipa Airport

Accommodation: Traditional buildings & tents with comfy mattresses & bedding (including thick blankets!). Flushing toilets, cold showers & sinks

Power: Mains electricity. US standard plug / European round 2-pin plug

Phone Signal: No

Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. toast & cereal for breakfast; stew with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit

Signature dish: Alpaca en jugo – Alpaca cooked in fruit juice

If you’re feeling brave: Try Sangrecita – a powdered black pudding!

Social: Chill out zone with fireplace

 

camp colca

Camp Titicaca

Camp Titicaca arguably offers the most spectacular views of any camp. Located on the shore of lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake (3,800m above sea level), you’ll be rewarded with gobsmacking views of the lake and surrounding mountains from your accommodation the minute you wake up!

The camp itself is situated in the heart of this small and charming lakeside community where you’ll get the privileged opportunity to spend time with the Aymara people – one of the world’s most ancient civilisations – and learn about their extraordinary way of life.

Location: 380 km (7 hours drive) from Cusco/Arequipa Airport

Accommodation: Brick & adobe buildings with comfy mattresses & bedding. Flushing toilets, warm bucket showers & basins

Power: Mains electricity. US standard plug / European round 2-pin plug

Phone Signal: Yes

Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. toast, omelette for breakfast; fish with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit

Signature dish: Chicharron de trucha – Lake trout, battered & fried

If you’re feeling brave: Try algae from the lake!

Social: Chill out spaces with wood burning stove, camp fire, volleyball court, lake beach

 

camp titicaca

Camp Moray

Camp Moray is situated on a beautiful high plateau (3,600m) close to the world famous Sacred Valley of the Incas.

This unique wilderness camp gives you a true taste of what it’s like to live in the Andes, with spectacular mountain views across the valley and a real feeling of space and remoteness, allowing you utter peace and a chance to get away from it all.

Location: 50 km (2 hours drive) from Cusco Airport

Accommodation: Tents with comfy mattresses & bedding. Flushing toilets, warm bucket showers & basins

Power: Generator (between 06:00 – 10:00 & 16:00 – 20:00). No power sockets

Phone Signal: No

Meals: Three healthy, well balanced and tasty meals a day e.g. bread & cereal for breakfast; chicken with veg for lunch/dinner & fruit

Signature dish: Cuy dorado – guinea pig

If you’re feeling brave: Try the above!

Social: Large social/dining tent, camp fire, volleyball court

 

camp moray

Sample Itinerary

Day 01

Welcome to Nicaragua

Welcome to Nicaragua! Arrive into Managua where you will be met by a member of our Camp Nicaragua team.

Day 02

Travel to Camp Lost Canyon

Today we head to Camp Lost Canyon (approx. 4 hours). The journey is a smooth ride along the side of Lake Xolotlan (also called Lake Managua).

Day 04-06

Project Work

Our project work here focuses on environmental restoration where you will be planting native endangered tree species in a dry forest. Additionally, we do some social projects within the small forgotten community.

Day 07

Leon

We head over to the colonial city of Leon, an up-and-coming destination for young tourists and backpackers.

Day 08-13

Project Work

Back to projects at Camp Lost Canyon.

Day 14-15

R&R in Managua

Explore the capital city of Nicaragua. Although it doesn’t have a centre, there are lots of interesting areas including Los Robles, Bolonia, and Puerto Salvador Allende which lies on the edge of Lake Xolotlan. You could also use your free time to take a short trip to Volcan Masaya peer down into the open caldera.

Day 16-21

Camp Xolotlan

Time to hit the beach! Our camp lies right by the sea, a few kilometres from the community in which we work. Your projects will include developing the infrastructure of the community which is clearly in poverty, as well as turtle and mangrove conservation.

Day 22

Leon

A second visit to Leon for another short break in this city full of character.

Day 23-27

Project Work

Back projects at Camp Xolotlan.

Day 28-29

Granada

A weekend break in Granada, a sprucier colonial city and again another up-and-coming tourist destination. The city lies on the shore of Lake Cocibolca (also called Lake Nicaragua) and has some cheap but great food.

Day 30-31

Boat to Ometepe Island

Today we embark on a two-day trip to Ometepe. The island consists of two volcanos which protrude out of the lake, surrounded by freshwater sharks. The island is home to lots of wildlife, including a significant monkey population.

Day 32

Bye bye Nicaragua. Hello Costa Rica!

Today we say goodbye to Nicaragua and cross the boarder into Costa Rica. The crossing by land is a little slow but worth the wait when you arrive to Camp Guanacaste.

Day 33-40

Camp Guanacaste

In this beautiful camp, our projects focus mainly on wildlife conservation.

Day 41-42

Monteverde

Enjoy two free days in the cloud forest. Almost every publicity photo you ever see of Costa Rica is taken in Monteverde. It has an incredible diversity of wildlife and a lot of adventurous activities for you to try out in the canopies.

Day 43

San Jose

A five-hour trip to San Jose to spend the night before your flight the following day.

Day 44

Chau Costa Rica. Hello Ecuador!

We will say our final goodbyes before transferring you to San Jose Airport, a few hours before your departure. You arrive into Guayaquil and will be met at the airport by a member of our Camp Ecuador team before being transferred to your accommodation in the city (approx. 1-hour transfer)

Day 45-50

Camp Costa

We travel down the coast to our awesome Camp Costa. You’ll be welcomed by our wonderful camps staff who will show you around the projects, community and camp.

Over the next few days you’ll get stuck into projects in the local area. The waters surrounding Ecuador are home to green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles, all of which are now endangered due to human activity. You’ll support a local village close to an important turtle nesting site by promoting turtle conservation to help safeguard the future for these wonderful animals.

Day 51-52

R&R Weekend

This weekend you’ll have the chance to explore more of your amazing surroundings. We’ll head up the coast to the small beach town of Puerto Lopez – from here you are able to book a boat tour of Isla de la Plata, home to blue footed boobies, turtles and the Frigate bird.  Depending on the time of year you may also be able to spot whales, or you might just want to relax on the beach and enjoy a few days off. We’ll head back to Camp Costa in the late afternoon giving you some time in the morning to explore the town before we head off.

Day 53-56

Back to projects

Back to the project work in Camp Costa.

Day 57

Relax in Canoa

In the morning, you will head to Canoa, a relaxed undeveloped fishing village with a cool hippie vibe and a marvelous beach near Puerto Lopez. We’ll spend the night here, giving you a chance to chill out and soak up the laid back atmosphere.

Day 58-64

Camp Esmeraldas

The journey to your next camp is around 5 hours. Camp Esmeraldas lies on a community on the banks of the Rio Esmeraldas and is the core of a disparate set of communities along the banks of the river. You’ll be welcomed by the friendly community here, and will spend the next few days working on projects to help support this community. Your work could include improving the local schools and community facilities or building flood defence systems to safeguard the village.

Day 65

Camp Chancama

Today we will journey to Camp Chancama, in the middle of the rainforest. To get there we will ride a boat to the other side of the river and walk around one hour through the rainforest to the camp. You will be doing project work in this community too.

Day 66-70

Back to Camp Esmeraldas

Back to the project work in Camp Esmeraldas.

Day 71-72

Explore Quito

In the morning, you will head to the buzzing capital city of Quito. You have a chance to explore the city, visit the old town on a City Tour and go to the artisanal market to buy handcrafts.

Day 73-76

Camp DonBiki

You transfer to Camp Donbiki in the middle of the rainforest. The camp is located next to a wonderful river, so you can be lulled by its sound when you go to bed. Get ready for the humidity and remember to pack your bug spray and sun cream.

This is our first year in the community so you will be some of the first volunteers to visit here and will be getting involved in establishing new projects.

Day 77-80

Jungle trek to Chilli Urku

Head off on an adventurous trek through the jungle to get to Camp Chili Urku. This community is formed by Kichwa families that have lots of history. This amazing camp offers a real off-grid experience as you spend the next few nights sleeping in hammocks right in the heart of the jungle.

Day 81-84

Back to Camp Donbiki

You will head back to Camp Donbiki to continue with project work.

Day 85

Quito

We transfer back to Quito.  Where you have an overnight before you leave from Quito airport.

Day 86

Bye Ecuador. Hello Peru!

Say your goodbyes to Ecuador as we transfer you to the airport in time for your flight to Peru.

Day 87

Welcome to Peru

Welcome to Peru! You will arrive into the ancient beautiful white city of Arequipa, where you will be met by a member of our Camp Peru team and taken to your accommodation in the city. You will have a day to relax, acclimatise to the altitude and explore the bustling city. Arequipa has some great bars and restaurants and is a very popular stop for backpackers from around the globe.

Day 88

Travel to Camp Colca

Today we kick off the epic road trip (approx. 4 hours) to Camp Colca. The journey ascending into the Andes is wonderful. You’ll be sure to see Alpacas and Vicuñas on the way, as well as climbing to almost 5000masl before dropping down on to the sides of the canyon.

Day 89-92

Project Work

Our project work here focuses on improving infrastructure at local schools. In addition, you will be working in collaboration with the wider community on a number of micro finance initiatives designed to promote sustainable livelihoods.

Day 93

Cruz del Condor

3-4 hour Trek to Cruz del Condor to view the magnificent condor bird (the largest flying bird in the world). The viewpoint over the canyon is truly breathtaking.

Day 94-98

Project work

Back to projects at Camp Colca.

Day 99-100

R&R in Puno

Relax and take advantage of the lovely coffee shops in the small plazas of Puno, and try some of the interesting local dishes such as algae from the lake.

Day 101-105

Camp Titicaca

Today we hit the road and head to our stunning Camp Titicaca! We are working on a number of community initiatives at Camp Titicaca including primary school development, a greenhouse initiative to promote nutrition and food security and ICT lessons for school children and other members of the community.

Day 106

Uros floating islands

Boat trip day taking in the amazing man made Uros floating reed islands and lunch on Taquille.

Day 107-110

Project work

Back projects at Camp Titicaca.

Day 111

Chill out in Cusco

Today we embark on the 8-hour journey to Cusco. Your first visit to this amazing city will give you the chance to try some of Peru’s fantastic culinary offerings.

Day 112-115

Camp Moray

A two-hour journey takes us to Camp Moray, a beautiful tented camp above the Sacred Valley. Projects here are varied but largely focus around the local primary school. You will work with us on a number of initiatives to improve infrastructure and provide safe and productive learning environments for local children. In addition to the projects in the school, we are building a toilet for each house in the community to improve sanitation.

Day 116

Hike to Moray

Today we embark on a half-day walk above the Moray ruins where you will get an incredible view of the ancient Inca science laboratory – one of the most interesting ruins in the whole of the empire.

Day 117-119

Project work

Back to projects in Camp Moray

Day 120-121

Cusco

We return to the beautiful city of Cusco. The next day will be spent getting ready for Machu Picchu. We will deliver a briefing to let you know exactly what to expect from the next five days.

Day 122-126

Machu Picchu trek

Tick this amazing adventure off your bucket list.

Day 127

Farewell meal

Last minute shopping in Cusco and a final meal with your team.

Day 128

Departure day

We will say our final goodbyes before transferring you to Cusco Airport, a few hours before your departure.

Please note:

This itinerary is for example purposes only and is subject to change.

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Top up your trip

Add some extra adventure to your time in South & Central America. All of our top ups are bookable through our friendly travel advisors.

PADI Scuba Central America

Costa Rica and Nicaragua boast incredible beaches and abundant coral reefs full of colourful marine life, so why not take the opportunity to explore this underwater paradise! Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced...

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PADI Scuba Ecuador

Explore the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and it’s really impressive marine life by booking one of our diving activities. We offer everything from a basic fun dive to internationally recognised career courses. Most diving...

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What's included

Food
Drinking water
Accommodation
Pre-travel support from dedicated UK team
In-country support from dedicated local team
In-country airport & activity transfers
All project costs & materials
Orientation & language lessons
Machu Picchu trek
24-hour emergency support
Camps t-shirt

 

Don’t forget… flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations. Please note, you must be over 18 years old at time of departure.

Apply now