Encounter Ecuador

Montañita y Whales foundation


day 1 Saturday

Pre- night in Guayaquil

After landing in Guayaquil, you will be driven to a comfortable hostel, where you can check into your dorm and meet fellow travelers. Here, will also receive a virtual meet and greet with one of our team members, who will explain and provide all necessary information to you and will be your contact person throughout this exciting journey through Ecuador.

day 2 sunday

Arrival in Montañita

On your second day, you will be transferred to the bus terminal where you will take a bus on your own account to Montañita. After an aprox. 3-hour bus drive you will arrive in Montañita, the most well-known and enjoyable surfing location in the country. Here, you will check into a hostel where you will once again be staying in a comfy dorm.

Because of the good waves, Montañita is one of the most important places in whole Latin America to host the surfer tournaments. It is part of Santa Elena province and it attracts a young crowd, but visitors from all ages come to enjoy the beach and the many bars and stalls you find selling street foodor fresh juices.

The coastal climate is usually warm and dry. Overall, it is the perfect place to unplug, sit back and enjoy the ocean with a fresh juice in your hand.




Classes and activities

You will begin this entertaining educational process on Monday when you meet your teacher and classmates at school. From Monday through Friday, you have 4 hours of Spanish instruction and 1 hour of surfing instruction scheduled every day; Saturday is your free day to surf and unwind. The program ends on Sunday. Get ready for your volunteer work and trip endeavors.

Included: Pre night Guayaquil, orientation meeting

(online), transfer pickup to hostel & to bus station, administration fee, 7 nights Hostel – Shared Room, with breakfast, Spanish classes (20 hrs.), 5 surf lessons.

Excluded: Personal expenses, flights, meals not mentioned above, transportation to Montañita and to Puerto Lopez, public buses.

Day 9 Sunday

Transportation to Puerto Lopez

In the afternoon, you’ll say farewell to Montañita and go to Puerto Lopez by bus on your own account. Upon your arrival in Puerto Lopez (Sunday) the Project Coordinator will be waiting for you to give you an orientation about your accommodation and explore the village. You will also have a presentation about the program schedule and its purpose on knowing the demography, population, behavior, and social grouping of the humpback whales that migrate each year between mid-June till mid-October to the Machalilla National Park, off the coast of Puerto López.

The Project Coordinator will inform you in advance about the daily work schedule and what is going to be needed for each task.

Gaining experience in field research with cetaceans is not easy but this project has been doing a great effort on it. In general, whales and dolphins are difficult to study in the wild and natural state. There are few places in the world where you can find a great concentration and abundance of certain species of whales and dolphins. This is your opportunity to assist in the field, where you will watch the whales, learn from specialists and help and support research and conservation projects of other marine mammals in Ecuador.



Once you arrive at the project, you will have a briefing by the Foundation Director. During your stay at the project, you will be involved in two different types of tasks. The ones while on a whale watching vessel, and the ones done at the center. All days are different and organized on spot considering the daily needs and weather conditions.

You will be trained in security on the boat and also in research techniques, including behavioral, demographical, biopsies, and acoustic data collection, as well as photo identification.

There are different research trips with different routes and durations. Once at the pier you will go on a 2-3 hour whale watching trip and will have 1 to 2 hours upon return to have lunch and rest. In the afternoon hours, there will bedata analysis sessions using the pictures and data collected on that day. Depending on the day, instead of data analysis, we will be working on the photo-identification catalogs or on other activities. This data is analyzed in the center and shared with the staff.

On day 22 it’s time to say goodbye to this meaningful project and go back home or to plan your further travels. It’s possible to extend the project by adding more weeks and/or book an extension to Galapagos or other projects.

The start dates of this program in 2024 will be;

  • Saturday 02 March
  • Saturday 13 April
  • Saturday 11 May
  • Saturday 27 July
  • Saturday 21 September
  • Saturday 09 November

things  to consider

What is included?

    • Project donation
    • Local support volunteer coordinator
    • 13 nights accommodation in dorms – the accommodation is located walking distance from the project
    • Breakfast
    • 8 hours of Spanish classes
    • 8 whale watching trips and 2 days to analyze the recollected information
    • Transport to the different project tasks

    What is NOT included?

    • Transportation to project
    • Extra tips or personal expenses
    • Not mentioned meals


    more experiences in ecuador

    Looking for more inspiration? have a look at the experiences below:


    We know our destinations, volunteer programs and language schools by heart. If you dream about experiencing Latin America the real way, helping and learning together and creating a positive impact, we can help you do that!