In March of 2011 we took a group of students to the nearby Amazon basin. The day started with a two hour trip, by bus to the city of Tena where we jumped in canoes and traveled down the Rio Napo for a few kilometers. We then took a short hike around the jungle acquainting students with the differences in ecology between the Amazon rainforest and the Andean cloud forest where they live. After the hike we hopped back in the canoes and took a tour of a Quechua museum learning about old traps the indigenous used for hunting.
The day ended with a tour of a Quechua village run by women who are trying to preserve their culture and home. They began catering to tourists as a form of making a living without having to harvest wood from the surrounding forests and a way to pass on cultural traditions to the younger generations. The women performed a traditional dance, prepared a the "chicha" a traditional drink, and lastly gave us a tour of their village.
All of this just two hours from where our students live!