Bienvenidos a Iltaquí

The following post features student writing.

¡Bienvenidos a Iltaquí!

Today we were welcomed to Iltaquí with a bienvenidos fiesta thrown by the people of our village. We began the party when locals of various ages came together to play a soccer game with us. We also spent hours playing various games with the kids including tag, hide and seek, cops and robbers, and manhunt. After a speech by the town president the group gathered around to watch the local kids participate in contests—including musical chairs and feeding each other blindfolded. We then joined a traditional dance where locals played musical instruments. The night was ended with a delicious dinner of rice, beans, chicken, and salad prepared by our cooks Jenny and Cecelia. This was overall a great way to begin our stay in Iltaquí! We can’t wait to get to work tomorrow and build deeper connections with the community!

– Rebecca & Callie

Equators & Eagles

The following post features student writing.

Hola! This is Zach and Maya. Yesterday we had an exciting day in Otavalo. On the way there we stopped at the equators—apparently there are multiple verisons of the equator…who knew?

We also visited a Condor Reservation and were able to see a vast variety of birds including a bald eagle.

Later, we went to China Town for some high quality Chinese food. It was a good time and bonding experience.

Today we went to the Otavalo Mercado and negotiated some prices with the locals. We used our Spanish to save money and it’s safe to say we did well.

Then we went on a hike to a waterfall and it was not small. Then we had lunch and ate chicken soup and lentils and rice. Also of note: We have seen an absurd amount of stray dogs. Don’t worry, though, because we have avoided touching them.

We are writing this on our way to our host village, Iltaqui. We are excited to start the next step of our trip. ¡Hasta luego!

– Zach C. & Maya L.

Exploring Quito

The following post features student writing.

Today, June 28, was our first real day in Ecuador. The group woke up around 8:30 still exhausted from our long travel day. We woke to a nice home-cooked breakfast and set off on our first day in Quito.

We went to a beautiful park and played some games along with discussing the Putney trip guidelines. We then walked to a big orange “Quito” sign for some group modeling shots. We then went to a restaurant that had the most spectacular view of the city.

After lunch we went to La Basilica, the largest church in Ecuador. We walked on the roof of the church and climbed to the top for yet again another breathtaking view of the city.

We learned about the art and history of the place and then… just as we thought the views couldn’t get any better…we went to a dinner with a view overlooking the entire city at night!

After a good dinner we went back to our hostel for a further overview of our trip and a great end to an even greater day. Everyone can’t believe it’s only been 24 hours since we met. We already feel like family! And can’t wait for what’s next!

– Alex B.

The group has arrived

We’ve received word from the leaders that the group has arrived in Ecuador.

Hello from Vermont!


We have just finished up a beautiful weekend in Vermont, putting together the final details of our impending trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. We are so excited to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Quito, a city built upon an ancient empire; hike up to the base of a glacial volcano named Cotopaxi; wander through the artisan markets of Otavalo; island hop and explore the incredible biodiversity of the Galápagos, both on land and in the water; and most importantly, work in our scenic host village, Iltaquí, alongside a kind and beautiful community. We hope you are as excited as we are to begin this adventure!

In the meantime, take some time to read about Ecuador and the culture you are about to become a part of. And here’s a little pro tip: try not to pack your whole closet—trust us, less is more!

¡Nos vemos pronto en Quito!


Zack y Emma


Welcome to Putney! This blog is where friends and family can follow along on the group’s adventures through periodic updates, photos, and stories from our leaders and students in the field. While we hope for a blog update once or twice each week, internet access is often limited so posts may be less frequent.   

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Have a fantastic summer!