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Communities

One of the highlights of PEDAL trips is the community stay. We have partnered with local indigenous communities in each region that we visit in order to give our program participants an truly authentic and unforgettable experience. Our goal is to promote mutual respect and understanding between our students and the peoples we visit, while lending our time, skills, and energy to help advance those communities. We have witnessed deep cross-cultural relationships form during this section of our trips, and students usually report the community stay and service work as the most rewarding part of their PEDAL experience.


Keep reading for a brief introduction a few of the communities that we work with here in Ecuador.


Sinchi Warmi—Amazon

Sinchi Warmi is an association of Kichwa women in the Amazon region. In their native Kichwa language, Sinchi Warmi means “strong brave women”, and that is exactly what they are. These women (and a few men) are dedicated to promoting and preserving the values and traditions of their indigenous lifestyle while working tirelessly to improve their community and natural surroundings. Sinchi Warmi now consists of an eco hostel in the jungle, a restaurant, and an aquatics center—all designed and built entirely by the women of the community. Numerous activities and excursions are offered at Sinchi Warmi for PEDAL participants including a chocolate making hands on demonstration, jungle hikes, artisanal craft making, shaman demonstrations, traditional dance performances, day or multi day boat excursions into the jungle, and fishing. The Sinchi Warmi community is an incredible example of community building, cultural preservation, and intentional balance between humans and the environment. After a visit with this brave, strong women, you will leave with both friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.


Tsachilas—Coast

The Tsachila people live in the province of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, located between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. Men of this ethnic group are easily distinguished by an elaborate head decoration that they create by shaving the temporal areas of their heads and shaping the remaining hair into a helmetlike feature using a mixture of grease and achiote sap. Many Ecuadorians consider the shamans of the Tsachilas to have secret healing knowledge of the rainforest that surpasses that of western medicine. The main economic activity of this community is agriculture, community tourism and cultivating tropical fruits and cocoa.


Yunguilla—Andes Cloud Forest

Yunguilla is a Ecuadorian community located on the outskirts of the Pululahua Volcano Crater. The community consists of 50 families working together to conserve the environment with reforestation projects and traditional and subsistence organic farming practices. They have also pooled their resources to produce homemade cheeses and marmalades. This is an incredible example of teamwork developing sustainable practices. Volunteers have the opportunities to milk the cows, help with cheese production and harvest fruits. Students also learn about species of birds from the local experts on a bird watching hike tough the rainforests. Homestays are available.