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Ecuador + Galapagos 3B • July 8-July 21, 2023

Final goodbyes from Ecuador!

July 21, 2023

How is it our last day together? This trip and our time together has flown by. Time really does fly by when you’re having fun! Our past few days in Quito and Baños have been amazing and we cannot wait for y’all to hear of our experiences first hand.

We woke up in Banos on day eleven ready for our day of adventures. After one of our favorite breakfasts, we hopped in a trolley to head to our morning activities. These included a cable car ride, waterfall hike and swing at the end of the world. Bryce conquered his fears on the cable car ride and the swing and Katherine made some new friends. It was great practice for our zip line and climbing the next day. After this, we had a lunch of delicious tacos. Bram especially loved these tacos, claiming them to be one of the best meals on the trip! We then played a little basketball tourney as a group. The underdog team of Amalie, Isabel, William T, Ella and Doug played exceptionally well, winning the first game. Gia, as always, impressed us with her basketball skills. It started raining, but that didn’t stop us or our enthusiasm. This was a highlight afternoon for us all before our salsa dancing lessons. We took another trolley boppin with music to the lessons with the whole group singing and dancing together surrounded by beautiful mountains and luscious scenery. William H, Bram and Watts really looked the part with their sunglasses and matching shirts for salsa. Their moves were unmatched. I cannot wait for them to show y’all what they learned! Bevin and Davis perfected the “flavor” part of the dance, bringing us all laughter. Amalie and Doug were our salsa king and queen, winning the group dance off. After lots of laughs and dancing, we ate a delicious buffet for dinner. Every member of the group was part of the clean plate club, enjoying every aspect of the meal. It was delicious! We then danced around the fire to our favorite songs. After this fantastic night, we headed back to the hotel for Moonup under the stars led by our LODs, Kate and William H. We then headed to bed for a much deserved nights rest.

Day twelve was a day that pushed most everyone out of their comfort zone in the best way! After another delicious breakfast, we hopped on our bus to go to our morning of zip lining and climbing. Though everyone was a little timid at first, we got each other through and motivated each other to accomplish the tasks at hand. Davis propelled on the zip line with his best bird impression, lightening the mood and bringing and smile to everyone’s faces. Kate truly conquered her fears of heights and completed something she said she would never normally do. We could not have been prouder of everyone for pushing themselves and doing so with such optimistic outlooks!! We then got back on our bus for our journey back to Quito. We relaxed and reveled in the view of the gorgeous Ecuadorian landscape surrounding us. We arrived back in Quito and swam in the pool and hot tub before dinner. We enjoyed a traditional Ecuadorian meal at together on our last night. Our last Moonup was a memorable one for sure, reflecting on our time together and the family we have gained on the trip. It was a bittersweet night! We ended the night with one massive group hug before heading to sleep.

We began our last day together with breakfast at our hotel before hopping on a bus to a hummingbird sanctuary. We learned lots of interesting facts about hummingbirds. We then went to hot springs! Davis, Caroline, William H and Bram had lots of fun with the cold pools. We were very impressed!! After this, we headed back to the hotel to pack up and play frisbee and some ERS. We then headed to the airport, had one last meal together of KFC and said our incredibly sad goodbyes.

We are so thankful for this group and our time together!! We are now one big family and our experiences will be remembered forever. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity and entrusting us with your kids! Ecuador and Galapagos will always hold a special place in our heart!! We love you all!! Ciao!

-Isabel and Harry


Hola from Banos, Ecuador!

July 18, 2023

Time has flown by the past few days and we could not have enjoyed our time in the Galapagos more. It was bittersweet leaving the islands as we reminisced on our busy days that held such wonderful memories. This group could really not be closer, and we know this bond will last well beyond our last days together in this beautiful country.

We woke up on day seven, ate breakfast at our hotel and hopped in trucks to go to a local eco farm for our morning activities. We spent time getting to know the family and hearing about the farm and its purpose. We were able to feed chickens and ducks, try spicy peppers, plant corn, milk cows and help clean a greenhouse. The peppers pushed us out of our comfort zone with the spice for sure, but each person handled the it with sugar, water and grace. Our teamwork really showed through this morning and we were able to tackle each task with positive attitudes! We then had a delicious local lunch on the farm with their fresh ingredients. Katherine especially loved the rice while Bevin discovered her love for dried strawberries. After this, Davis led the group in their favorite game he has taught and we headed to a beautiful beach for a swim and some rest. After some r&r at the beach, we went back to our hotel to shower up before dinner. We went to our favorite sushi restaurant for dinner! Bram had us all laughing per usual, always making us belly smile. We were so proud of the group for trying new foods tonight. Ella even tried something we’d never had, Wok. It was so yummy! The restaurant must have known we were coming because they played our favorite songs. Gia and Davis’ rolls were set on fire at the table, giving us all a show. Safe to say it was a great dinner! We then walked outside to watch local dancers perform. After that we headed back to the hotel for Moonup under the stars. Our LODs, Kate and William T, led us in one of our more serious Moonups bringing us closer as a group. The group also surprised Harry and I at Moonup with a jar of honey after we’d been talking about missing honey in our coffee. This goes to show the thoughtfulness and genuine nature of this crew and we are so lucky to have them! We then went to bed ready for the next day.

Day eight, sadly our last day on the islands, began with another breakfast at our hotel. After breakfast, we walked to town and got on our personal boat for our morning hike and snorkel at Isla Lobos. After our brief, but peaceful boat ride looking at the blue sky and clear water, we arrived. On this hike we saw blue footed boobies, frigate birds, marine iguanas and sea lions. Before getting back on the boat, William H plunged into the water off the rocks. Of course the group had to join, starting an impromptu swim with sea lions dancing around us! This was so cool! We then headed back to the boat to gear up for our snorkel. With beautiful conditions, we were able to see various fish, of course more sea lions and eagle rays. This was followed by some relaxing on the front of the boat. The whole group laid there together soaking up the sun and the view. It was a picture perfect moment for us all. We then headed back to town for a pizza lunch and had some time to explore the shops. Kate and Isabel last minute decided to go on a short run blasting Tswift through town which was so fun. That evening we had our awaited cooking class where we made homemade Ceviche and empanadas! Bryce, or “Doug,” was the pro empanada maker while William H and Bram showed off their vegetable chopping skills. The meal was delicious. We were so proud of everyone for eating the ceviche. Because of Watts’ love for tuna, he especially loved it. After our cooking class we walked to get ice cream, watch the sea lions and go back to the hotel for Moonup. Bram and Caroline led us in a powerful Moonup, and we headed to bed.

We were able to sleep in a little on day nine before our flight out of San Cristobal back to Quito. We had awaited empanadas for breakfast and then made our way to the airport. After a smooth check in and security process, we got to our gate. Harry taught Amalie how to play “fifteen” on the guitar while we waited to board. Caroline also learned some Nirvana. They are some quick learners. Katherine’s sudoku and naps kept us entertained on the plane again. We found Bram, Davis and Doug in a pile sleeping on each other in their row. Everyone was tired and this was a great afternoon to catch up on sleep! We then arrived in Quito and headed to our hostel for some swimming and then went to dinner. Moonup followed this and then we headed to sleep ready for our horseback riding and adventure to Baños the next day!

Day ten started with an early bus ride to Cotopaxi for our horseback portion of the trip! The group could not have been more excited for this and it did not disappoint. William H was thriving on his horse with a constant wide smile on his face. The views of the Ecuadorian foothills were amazing. Between the fog, luscious grass and flowers, it felt like we were in a movie. We finished our ride and got back on the bus to go to Banos. After getting yummy ice cream upon our arrival, we played basketball in the park. Kate killed it again playing with the boys! We then headed back to the hotel before our dinner. We had Indian cuisine for dinner which the whole group enjoyed. We then had our first Moonup in Banos under the stars, reflecting on the trip and our time with each other.

We have had the best time so far with this group and we know our last few days together will be so fun. Time has truly flown by. Ciao for now!!

-Isabel and Harry

Hi mom and dad, thank you so much for sending me on this trip. I have had so much fun and met so many new people from all around the country. Can’t wait to see you! -William T

Hi Mom and Dad! I am so thankful that you gave me this opportunity to come on this amazing trip! I have had so much fun and met so many people. I love you guys so much, and I can’t wait to see you! -Kate

hey mom and dad Ty so much for letting me go on this trip, this has been the best one yet!💛 -Caroline

hi mom and dad! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. I’m having the BEST time!!! I love you guys! -Ella

hi guys!! I miss y’all like crazy! This trip has been so fun, thank you soooo much for letting me come on it!!! can’t wait to see y’all soon! Love you! -Amalie

Hi! Thank you so much for sending me on this trip! I’m having so much fun. -Katherine

Hola! Thank you so much for sending me here! I am having so much fun and I love you! -Bevin

hey guys! Thanks for sending me away:) love you -Gia

Hola parents thank y’all SOOO much for sending me on this amazing trip. Love y’all SOOO much ❤️ -Bryce

hay mom and dad i miss y’all so much I can’t wait to see y’all. Im have so much fun today we are going horseback riding. Love you and can’t wait to see you.💙 -Bram

hey I miss y’all a lot but I’m having so much fun. Thank y’all so much. We are driving to horseback riding. Love y’all. -Davis

Hey mom and dad! Having so such much fun in Ecuador and had a blast in the Galapagos love y’all -William H


Greetings from San Cristobal Galapagos!

July 14, 2023

Greetings from San Cristobal Galapagos! Wow have we had the best past few days together! We have now explored three islands in the Galapagos and have had amazing experiences on each one. With beautiful weather and plenty of activities, we are enjoying each other and the trip so much!

Day four was our highly anticipated busy day on Isabela Island. It began with breakfast at our hotel as a group before heading out to our volcano hike. We listened to our favorite songs, mostly sponsored by William H and Bryce’s country selection, as we absorbed the rainforest like landscape of the Galapagos. We arrived at the beginning of our hike and off we went. The weather was a bit rainy, which only added to the unforgettable nature of the hike. Kate and William T came fully prepared with their rain pants and wore them at the perfect time, making us all jealous! Harry and I were so proud of the group for making it up the mostly uphill trek, and even prouder of their attitudes during it all. Our enthusiasm was high even in the early hour of the morning! Though the rain and fog did slightly inhibit our view of the caldera, we got to see some rare birds and other wildlife we would not otherwise have seen. After getting our steps in, we headed back to town for showers and lunch. The group has decided to begin food vlogs discussing each of our meals, and Bevin led this lunch vlog with her taste testing and reviews. She had us all laughing! Then we headed down to the beach for our surfing lessons. Gia was pumped for these and had us all in awe of her board skills. This group by far had the most amazing surfing skills. This afternoon was a fun one in the bright sun! After a quick moment of rest following surfing, we made our way to dinner before our soccer and basketball games with local teams. These games were a highlight for us all. We even discovered some hidden talents. Ella absolutely carried our soccer team displaying hard skills and faking out the very talented members of the other team. Bryce, or “Doug,” his new nickname given by the group, put in a very admirable effort during the game. We couldn’t have done it without him. I think William H was constantly running during both soccer and basketball, never failing to be there for the pass or shot. This was a special night of not only bonding with each other, but also with the local community that we will never forget. We then got some much-deserved ice cream and headed back to the hotel for Moonup and a good night’s rest!

Day five approached quickly with our earliest morning boat ride back to Santa Cruz Island. We arrived on the island and immediately had a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant. We got some rest and headed to a tortoise breeding sanctuary where we learned about conservation projects on the island and saw the body of Lonesome George. The group was very engaged, and this experience only added to our knowledge of tortoises. We will be tortoise pros after this trip! We then grabbed some recommended popsicles before our hike to Los Grietas. Los Grietas is a beautiful swimming hole between two rock formations. After our walk there, we were ready for a rewarding, cold swim. Watts especially loved his majestic jumps off the dock! Caroline had a special photographic eye during this being sure to capture the perfect shot underwater. We headed back to the hotel for a yummy dinner on the island, Moonup under the stars and sleep.

It is crazy to think today was day six of our time together. Today was mainly a snorkel day, and we were so lucky with everything we saw! The day began with a boat ride to our final stop on the islands, San Cristobal. Harry and I’s personal favorite island, we were so excited to arrive here with the kids. Upon our arrival we went to our outfitter’s office to grab snorkel gear, coffee and snacks and then headed to our first snorkel spot. We finally got to really swim with sea lions, turtles, various fish, and eels. William H even spotted a beautiful lobster, something many of us had never seen in the water! After our first snorkel, we walked to lunch. The walk ran parallel to the beach, passing vibrant blue water with bright sunshine. We felt like we were walking through a painting! After our lunch, where Bram had us all laughing with his food time lapses, we went to our second snorkel spot at La Loberia. We had never seen as many sea turtles as we saw this afternoon. It was truly a dream. After this, the group took a siesta on the beach with our favorite music playing in the background. We then went to our new hostel to get ready for dinner. Davis had us all laughing at his impersonations at the dinner table. We truly feel like a family eating dinner together, the table always full of laughs and random conversations. We all agreed Katherine, Amalie and Davis could be siblings and then decided we all somehow look alike. One big, happy family! We had a special Moonup tonight with our LODs, Katherine and Davis, bringing us closer. Harry played us songs as we all sang along. We heard Amalie’s beautiful voice for the first time tonight as she sang Kacey Musgrave’s “Rainbow” while Harry played guitar. It is safe to say we will want her singing for us for the rest of the trip! After various songs and genres, we headed to sleep after a rewarding day. We are eager for our day on a local eco farm tomorrow and wrapping up our time in the Galapagos!

This group clicked instantly, and it has been a blessing to watch each person blossom. We have so much yet to experience with everyone both in the Galapagos and mainland Ecuador. With the laughs and special moments, we have already had in the first six days, we cannot wait for what is to come. Adios for now!!

-Isabel and Harry


Hola from the Galapagos!

July 11, 2023

Harry and I have had the best first few days with this crew and it has been a delight to get to know everyone. We could tell from our first moments at airport pick up that this is a special group, and we were not wrong!

Our first night together began after picking up the kids from the airport. We got into our bus and headed to our hostel. We ate some comfort pizza and then had a large Moonup under the stars. Harry played us some songs and we all got to know one another. We then headed to bed eager to go to the Galapagos the next morning!!We woke up early on day two to head on our way to the Quito airport after a yummy breakfast at the hostel. We played lots of card games as a group while we waited to board, and Katherine got the whole group into Sudoku. It’s safe to say no one was bored on the flight because of these two things! Caroline also drew some amazing sea lions which we were very impressed by.

We then landed in Galapagos in awe of the tropical yet desert landscape. El Chato Tortoise Reserve was our first stop where we saw endangered large tortoises and learned about them and their environment. Davis wowed us all with his GoPro skills during this while Bram was sure to begin capturing the trip with his vlogs, making us all laugh throughout our adventure. We had lunch there and then headed to our next hotel. We all took in the new environment and landscape on the bus listening to some Bob Marley, requested by Gia. It was exactly what we needed. We then took a minute to get settled in and then went to an amazing dinner on the beach. Davis said he had some of the best fish he’s ever had. Bryce got the seafood pasta which made us all jealous. Everyone has been loving the local seafood and cuisine which has made us proud. After dinner, Harry played us Zach Bryan songs requested by William H and we talked amongst the stars. This was a full travel day, but a rewarding start to our two weeks and we were so proud of the attitude and excitement the group showed!

Day three began with a boat ride from Santa Cruz Island to Isabela Island. Our LODs, Amalie and Bram, set the spirits high as we approached our early morning. We were able to get some nice sleep on the boat. Watts may have gotten a bit of water sprayed on him, but he was a trooper and enjoyed the ride. Upon our arrival on Isabela, we headed straight to our first snorkel spot where we saw penguins, sea turtles and sea lions. We also can’t forget the marine iguanas which are literally everywhere on the island! We then ate lunch where we all tried a local fish and plantain appetizer which we enjoyed. After this, we walked along the beach stopping to look at different animals and sites on our way to a tortoise breeding center. Kate shared her love for Taylor Swift on this walk and we had some Swiftie convos discussing her new release! While we walked, Davis spotted around ten flamingos which we had the chance to get super close to. This moment was rare and so cool! When we made it to our destination at the tortoise center, we saw tortoises of all ages and sizes. With plenty of questions for our guide and action from the turtles, we learned a lot and had the best time here.

After some rest time at the hotel, the crew finished up the afternoon at the beach. Everyone played games in the water, including Bevin’s “down by the banks,” which we all knew some variety of! Ella had the biggest smile on her face while on the beach which was infectious to the whole group. We had the happiest afternoon, able to settle in and enjoy the crystal clear blue water. Dinner tonight was, as William T said, one of the best of the trip. We enjoyed rice, chicken, beef, beans and sauces. We then concluded the night with yet another Moonup under the stars, with plenty mentions of Chick fil a. It is safe to say we all miss chicken minis!!

We have had the best start to our adventures with this group and cannot wait for the rest of our time together. With this crew’s laughter and excitement, we know it will be nothing short of amazing. We are eager for our exciting day tomorrow of hiking, surfing, and sports. Ciao for now!

-Isabel and Harry

 

Here are some shoutout’s from your kiddos:

Hi mom and dad! I miss you guys so much but I’m having so much fun. Love you -Bevin

Hi mom, dad, and family!! I miss y’all so much and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Tell Oscar I say hi! Love ya! -Amalie

Hola mom, dad, Sofi and Livi!! Y’all would love it here!!! Miss and love everyone so much. Tell moj I say hi!!! -Ella

Hola mom and dad! C’est très amusante. See u soon -Gia

Hola! I am having so much fun swimming see u soon -Katherine

Hola parents I’m having a great time see u in a week! love you -Bryce

What’s up fam! Hows Bermuda? Love you -William H

Hey mom and dad how is it without any kids home? I’m having a great time! See you soon love you -Watts

Hay mom and dad it is amazing here. Thank you so much for sending me on this trip. I miss y’all so much hope you like your quiet time. -Bram

Hey Mom and Dad!! I miss you guys so much, and I can’t wait to see u! Tell Bantly, Gus, and William that I said hi! Thank you guys so much for sending me on this trip; I am having so much fun! I love you all! -Kate

Hi Mom and Dad! Thank you for sending me on this trip and I hope you have a fun time in the Bahamas. Pet Georgia and Tarheel for me. I love you! -William T

Hey mom and dad. And mary and Sydney. It’s really cool here and a lot of fun. Tell the dogs I said hi! Love y’all and boobies. -Davis

Hey mum and dad, I’m having an amazing time here and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Tell the Chonkers hi! Love you! -Caroline


Arrived Safely in Quito!

July 9, 2023

Hello Ecuador + Galapagos Families!

We heard from our leaders and the group has landed safely in Ecuador! 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!

-Moondance HQ


Students

  • Amalie
  • Bevin
  • Bram
  • Bryce
  • Caroline
  • Davis
  • Ella
  • Gia
  • Kate
  • Katherine
  • William
  • Watts
  • William

Staff