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  • Locations: Cuenca, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Budget Sheets: Fall
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Adviser: Cornell, Jodi Program Director: Haynes, Cindy, Schrock, Denny
Housing Options: Hotel/Tourist Lodging Language of Instruction: English
Host Country Language: Quechua, Spanish Online Course Catalog Available: No
Sponsor: Iowa State ISU Course: HORT 496
Program Description:
Flower Vendor

Program Description:
Natural ecosystems and horticulture of the Ecuadorian Andes with a focus on high altitude ecosystems, commercial horticultural production systems for export, public gardens, and production and preservation of native food and medicinal crops. The rich human history of Ecuador will be interwoven with contemporary issues in society and horticulture. 

Epiphany Parade

Program Directors: Dr. Denny Schrock , Dr. Cynthia Haynes

Course Information: Hort 496, 3 credits for Fall 2017


Program Cost:
Program fee: estimated at $3024.00 (includes airfare, in-country transportation, entrance fees, several meals, lodging, CISI insurance)
Out of pocket costs: depends on personal spending habits: recommended $150 for incidentals (snacks, souvenirs, etc.); some meals: recommended $150, $105 study abroad fee charged by the office in 3224 MU; US passport $135 (if you don't already have one).  If you are a first time traveler in CALS, contact to find out how you can have the cost of your passport reimbursed.

White Orchid

Proposed Itinerary for Ecology, Culture, and Horticulture of the Ecuadorian Andes

DAY 1: TUESDAY, NOV. 14 – Travel from Des Moines to Quito
Arrival in Quito. Pickup from the Quito airport and transfer to the Hotel - Overnight in Quito

DAY 2: WEDNESDAY, NOV. 15 – City tour + Capilla del Hombre + Botanic Garden
After breakfast, we’ll visit the Capilla del Hombre, a mystic and modern museum displaying the works of Ecuador’s most famous painter, Oswaldo Guayasamín. Afterward we’ll have a city tour of the colonial part of Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the first city in the Americas to be named a World Heritage Site. After the tour of Quito Old Town, we’ll visit the Quito Botanic Garden at Parque la Carolina.

DAY 3: THURSDAY, NOV. 16 – Mitad del Mundo, Tabacundo rose plantation
Day tour near Quito –Mitad del Mundo / Visit a rose plantation in the Tabacundo region. Most of the roses in this area are grown for export to the U.S. cut flower market. We’ll also head to the Middle of the World monument, which lies just a few km north of Quito directly on the Equator and has various exhibits to explore.

DAY 4 – FRIDAY, NOV. 17 – Otavalo, Organic Farm Visit and Peguche
Visit Tierra Viva Organic Farm in Puembo to see organic agriculture, fertilizers and biofactory extracts from microorganism, in addition to growing plants and raising chickens and eggs – Transfer to Otavalo – Visit Peguche, a small community known for its musical instruments, weaving techniques and spectacular waterfalls. Visit a home garden with medical plants.

DAY 5 – SATURDAY, NOV. 18 – Otavalo, Cotacachi, Sigchos
After breakfast free time (1 hour) in the Otavalo Indigenous Market called Plaza de los Ponchos. Saturday is the largest market day with a lot of handicrafts and different woven products with many colors. Then we go to Cotocachi to visit the Cotacachi Ethnobotanic Garden, a honey cooperative and the Sumak Mikuy dried fruit cooperative. During free time in Cotacachi shop for leather goods, for which the town is famous. After lunch transfer by bus to Sigchos in Latacunga province. Along the road enjoy the beautiful landscape and views of Cotopaxi Volcano. Dinner included.

DAY 6 – SUNDAY, NOV. 19 – Visit Quilotoa Lake + Transfer to Riobamba
Early in the morning we leave for Quilotoa Crater Lake which is in the parish of Zumbahua and is part of the The Ilinizas Ecological Reserve. Located at 3,800 meters above sea level, the lake has an emerald green color and varies according to season. After lunch we leave for Riobamba. Dinner included.

DAY 7 – MONDAY, NOV. 20 – Riobamba + Nariz del Diablo + Ingapirca + Cuenca
Early in the morning transfer to Alausi a little town where the Devil’s Nose Railway Station is located. We will board the train for the most exciting stretch of the train route: the descent from Alausí to Sibambe by the ravines of the Nariz del Diablo (Devil’s Nose). This descent is possible thanks to a series of zigzags on the steep mountainside. The most adventurous travelers go on top of the train. It’s the only stretch of the Trans-Andean Railway that still works. In the past, this railway connected the Coast with the Andes (Guayaquil-Quito). Box lunch. Afterwards, we will visit the most important archeological Cañari-Inca Complex of Ecuador: Ingapirca, which means “Wall of the Inca.” The complex has patios, terraces, temples and a fortress. We will be able to visit the site museum and admire the stone fortress that has stone walls that perfectly match one atop of the other, without having any type of mortar in between. Continue on to Cuenca for overnight.

DAY 8 – TUESDAY, NOV. 21 – City tour Cuenca
After breakfast we’ll leave on a city tour of Cuenca, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its rivers, orchards, and gardens, it is known both for its natural beauty and colonial charm. Churches, plazas, balconies and beautiful architecture abound among the rich traditions and infinite contrasts of the Ecuadorian Sierra. On the tour we’ll visit such sites as El Barranco (the cliff), where houses seem to hang above the banks of the Tomebamba River, the blue-domed New Cathedral, as well as some of the museums and parks that add to the beauty and interest of this city. We’ll finish the tour visiting the Museo Pumapungo and their ancestral garden with local plants. (Free afternoon.)

DAY 9 – WEDNESDAY, NOV. 22 - Visits with University of Cuenca - Nabón
Visits in Canton Nabón to see agroecological production and ancestral agricultural production techniques. Arrangements in association with the Univ. of Cuenca.

DAY 10 – THURSDAY, NOV. 23 – Visits arranged by the University of Cuenca
Visit the University of Cuenca Research Farm in Romeral. See production techniques for apple, cherimoya and coffee. Visit Ecuaflora for orchid production. Arrangements in association with Univ. of Cuenca.

DAY 11 – FRIDAY, NOV. 24 – Visit Ecuagenera / Farewell Dinner
In the morning meet faculty and students from the University of Cuenca. After lunch visit Ecuagenera, one of the most important nurseries in Ecuador in the production of orchids. Its located in Gualaceo.
Farewell dinner.

Fly from Cuenca to Quito. Depart Quito near midnight for overnight flight to U.S.

DAY 13 – SUNDAY, NOV. 26
Arrive US, with return flight to Des Moines.

Potato Vendor

Important Note Regarding Missing classes: Please note that participation on some travel courses require you to be away from campus for some school days. The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences tries to minimize the number of days missed for this purpose, but in some events, the inflexibility of the travel schedule prevents us from working completely within our breaks. Should you choose to enroll in a travel course that requires missing some class(es) on campus, you will need to contact your instructor directly to inquire whether or not arrangements can be made to make up this class work and/or exams. The CALS Study Abroad office can provide you with a letter explaining the dates of the trip. However, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor to determine the potential impact on your grade before signing up for a Study Abroad program. The instructor is responsible for determining the impact of any absence from class.

This program is currently not accepting applications.