June 22, 2022
Hello from the Quito Airport! We have had an amazing wrap-up to our trip exploring Ecuador and the Galapagos! After our last update, we boarded a plane and took off for Santa Cruz Island, the most populated island in the Galapagos archipelago. The airport was on the nearby Baltra island so we took a boat a little way to our first home in the Galapagos. This boat ride first showed us the beautiful blue water of the islands. On this first day we visited a tortoise sanctuary. Here we got to see huge protected tortoises and went on a walk to see them up close. Afterwards, we headed to the city area of the island where we stayed for the night.
The next morning we packed up our bags for San Cristobal island. Before taking a boat, we hiked together to Tortuga Bay Beach, where we got to see beach iguanas. Morgan and Eva posed for a great picture with some of the iguanas! On the beach, we all played frisbee and enjoyed the clear waters. Brennan and Yates were skilled in their frisbee throwing skills and started teaching others in our group! Then on the way back Ben got a great video of a shark swimming in a wadepool. We later took the boat ride — a bumpy ride through the waves. Despite the waves, Georgia and Jenna persisted and continued to make a vlog for their fans. We arrived a few hours later to San Cristobal, our final destination of the trip.
We started our first full day in San Cristobal with a beach to go surfing. Elizabeth quickly got up surfing! Alston, Jenna, Yates, and Ben also got some great surf runs in. Peter also spent some time on the beach getting some great pictures of the sea lions. Afterwards, we took another tortoise hike. Here we got to see some baby and adolescent turtles growing! Anna was smiling the whole time! Afterwards we headed to a farm on the island where we ate lunch. Before eating, Alex and Yates played a great game of 2v2 soccer with Martín, one of our guides, and I. Meanwhile, Alston and Will played each other in pool. We then picked up our gear to go snorkeling. We first went to a beach known for its sea turtles. We all saw so many sea turtles. Ben especially loved snorkeling and was the last one to come in. On the beach we sat next to big sea lions sunning on the beach. These cute creatures kept us company all throughout the island!
We spent our final full day snorkeling! We took a boat out to our first snorkeling site. Before jumping in, the whole group boarded a dinghy and hiked throughout a protected island and got to see the iconic blue footed boobies and other unique birds. Afterwards we jumped in and got to see upclose some amazing sea lions! It was crazy how close some of the sea lions would get to us, spinning and swimming around us! Afterwards, we went to a beach to swim. Alex bravely jumped off the boat and swam the short distance to the beach. We later snorkeled again in the afternoon and got to see more sea lions, turtles and fish. We ended the day and our trip with an amazing banquet dinner. Today we flew back to Quito for all the kids to fly back to the US. Taylor and I had an amazing time meeting everyone and an awesome trip overall with them in Ecuador + the Galapagos!
All the best!
Will and Taylor
June 16, 2022
Hello from the beautiful country of Ecuador! We have had a blast getting to know each other and exploring everything that Ecuador has to offer! We are headed to the Galapagos tomorrow, but first must update you on everything that has happened since!
On the way to the community service portion of our trip, we stopped in heliconias to hike up the Pimpilala waterfall. We strapped on our harnesses and helmets and headed to the base of the hike. We immediately started trekking through a stream, over logs, and through little waterfalls on the way to the great, big Pimpilala falls. Throughout the trek, Morgan fearlessly led the group and was the first to traverse up the waterfall and repel down it. Her bravery pushed others to conquer their fears and reach the top of the falls. Peter and Ben were some of the first boys to reach the top of the falls, followed by Georgia and Jenna who absolutely crushed it.
After the incredible hike, we drove down to the river and hopped into our motorized canoes that took us to our lodge where we stayed for community service. The lodge was nestled up at the top of a gigantic hill with a great view of the river and the jungle. The kids found a bunch of hammocks with the best view, and then we had Moonup and headed to rest up for the start of community service.
During community service, Will and I were continuously impressed by the kids’ work ethic and willingness to help. As soon as we got to the school, all of them grabbed steel wool and were ready to get down to business. At the back of the school building, Alston was scrubbing layers of old paint off of the building when at least five local kids swarmed her to help. Instead of doing the work by herself, she separated her steel wool, gave some to the kids, and they danced, jumped, and scrubbed together with smiles on their faces. On the top of the building, Yates and Brennan were hard at work scrubbing moss and other debris off the side of the roof. Meanwhile, Alex was running around on the soccer field being chased down by kids trying to get the ball from him, and Will was being tackled by at least another dozen kids. After lunch, a massive soccer game broke out where Eva, Elizabeth, and Anna sprinted down the soccer fields with kids on their backs and shoulders. Jenna and Georgia were sporting their newest braided updos, and Ben was hauling bamboo to help build a new goal. After a long hot day, we returned to our lodge and nestled into the same hammock spot to rest until dinner.
The next day, we woke up early and headed to our rafting section down the raging Jatunyacu River. Alex and Yates were throwing backflips off the rafts like pros and Peter was perfecting his Oar slap. Brennan jumped into the opposing boat and tackled Carlos into the water, and Elizabeth even rode a wheelie. The rapids were wild and the water was cold, so the group was excited to head to the hot springs next. In the hot springs, everyone tried out the hottest and coldest pools and continued to jump from pool to pool. We finally arrived back in Quito and can’t wait to take off to the Galapagos tomorrow!
<3 Will and Taylor
But first, here are some shout-outs from your kids!
Anna- Hi guys!! I am having SOOO much fun in Ecuador and I can’t wait to be in the Galapagos!! I’m super excited to see you guys and also tell Anna I miss her!!! And happy early Father’s Day dad!!!
Eva – HI! I MISS U!! I’m having a lot of fun and can’t wait to lay out the beach in the Galapagos!! See y’all soon and def need chicken minis on the way home from the airport! Also happy early Father’s Day!! Love y’all!
Morgan – Hi! I miss you all and I can’t wait to see you guys when I get back home! I’m having a great time and am looking forward to going to the galaps soon! P.S Happy early Father’s Day dad!
Alston – Hey guys! I am having the BEST time in Ecuador! We are about to go to the Galapagos, which will be so cool. Miss you guys sooo much and cannot wait to see you soon! Happy early Father’s Day dad! Love y’all!
Jenna – Hey fam. I am having some crazy experiences fosho and have made some good memories already. We r still in Ecuador but I am so stoked for the galaps! We saw the biggest spider and I almost pooped my pants. I miss u guys so much and love u. Also happy Father’s Day!
Georgia – heyyy! I MISS YALL. I have seen a lot of cool things and tried lots of new things. I need bojangles or Chick-fil-A asap!!!! I’m excited to go to the Galapagos tmr though. I can’t wait to talk to y’all on Tuesday and see you Wednesday and tell you all about it. I miss and love you. Also Happy early father day dad!!!
Peter – Hey mom and dad I miss you guys. We have seen lots of awesome things. We head to the Galapagos tomorrow and I’m really excited. I’m having a blast! I miss dak and can’t wait to see you all. Also happy Father’s Day dad.
Ben – hey mom and dad I miss you guys! Peter and I have made some new friends and are having a good time! The food is like if flik made everything out of bananas… I’m having lots of fun and I miss Hazel and Nick, Will, and Alex! Can’t wait to see you guys and see you guys soon! Also happy Father’s Day.
Yates – Hey I miss u guys a lot, Dad can u text me a pic of my boarding pass out of atl(ps two things, can u pick me up in your car so my car is at home so I can peel and get food. Also can u make sure I’m on Alston flight at 930 I think.). Thanks. Having fun love u both! Happy Father’s Day dad!!
Will – Hey guys, having lots of fun here. Miss y’all and can’t wait to see the cousins at the beach. Go Celts!!!! Happy early Fathers Day too!!!!
Ale x- Hey guys, I’m having lots of fun here. We’re about to go to the galaps. I’m totally gonna ride a sea lion. See y’all soon peace.
Brennan – What’s goody, eccydoro is definitely the most epic place I’ve ever been and it’s a blast. I’m definitely gonna need some chipotle the second I hit the US, Can’t contain my excitement for the Galaps for sure gonna ride a tortoise. See you In a couple days. Warriors in 6 fosho
June 12, 2022
Buenas Dias from Ecuador!
We are having a fun time here exploring Ecuador. Our adventure started when we arrived as a group in Quito and immediately started bonding with a pizza dinner and our first moon-up of the trip, which ended it with singing happy birthday to Brennan for his 16th birthday! There, our first leaders of the days, Elizabeth and Will were appointed.
We had an early morning the next day, as we drove to Cotopaxi National Park, where we donned ponchos to ride horses through the Andean highlands! Before our ride, we played multiple bonding games, including a boys vs girls conga line team race. During the conga line, Will took a detour through a puddle, but continued to push through and help the boys team to victory. During lunch we all tried granadillas, a new type of fruit for all of us! Peter also surprised the group at lunch with his impressive Spanish speaking skills, as he socialized with the individuals working on the ranch. We then started to suit up for the horseback ride. Yates was especially prepared as he sported his dad’s fashionable rain pants from college! We then galloped via horseback up the mountain to see a beautiful snowcapped view. Everyone had a wonderful time getting to know their horses. Alston nicknamed her horse Remy short for Remington in reference to Ratatouille, Alex named his Maurice, and Ben and his horse, King Julian, had a great bond — King Julian even followed Ben out of the stable as we were leaving! After warming up with hot tea, we all boarded our bus and headed to Banos, Ecuador, a beautiful city known for its amazing waterfalls. Once we got to Banos, we ate a wonderful dinner and stayed for the night.
Our next day, we had a great breakfast coupled with great coffee and fruit juices before going out to see some of Banos greatest sights. During the daylight, we were able to see how amazing and beautiful the landscapes around us were. After breakfast, we loaded up in our open-air bus to take a tour of the nearby waterfalls. We first arrived at a cable car over a huge canyon, before proceeding on to a huge waterfall. Everyone braved the chilly water and got to splash behind the waterfall! Morgan and Anna were rocking their Moondance shirts and got a great Moondance photo with Taylor. After the waterfall we headed north, to a swing up in the mountains. Everyone had a blast, even Will who conquered his fear of heights. That evening, we went, explored a local market, and had the opportunity to taste some exotic juices and Guinea pig. Morgan ordered a blackberry juice like one we had a breakfast, and it was a hit! Also, at the market, Georgia bought an Ecuadorian ukulele and got a matching bracelet with Jenna. All of the boys got matching ponchos which they have sported throughout the streets ever since. Our leaders of the day, Eva, and Ben led a fantastic moon up that night before we all went to bed.
We are now heading into the jungle for our community service portion of the trip! We are so excited to keep exploring Ecuador and make many more memories!
Will and Taylor
June 10, 2022
Hello Ecuador + Galapagos Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Quito. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!