Falcons Visit Ecuador and the Galapagos


FWCD students enjoyed their stay in Ecuador and the Galapagos.

Carolina Zamorano, Features Editor

After three gate changes, one layover, and around seven hours of flight time, 24 Country Day students — along with Middle School Spanish teacher Cristina Szmigiel, MS English teacher Jackie Rains, MS Humanities teacher Michael Parker and Athletics Administrative Assistant Lisa Parker — arrived in Quito, Ecuador on May 30. 

Chronicling their journey on the @fwcd_ecuador2022 Instagram account, friends and family back home were easily able to keep up with the students’ adventures in Ecuador and the Galapagos, which included snorkeling, swimming with sharks, hiking up to a volcano, shopping at the Otavalo Market, playing on beaches, and visiting the Equator.

On the first day of the trip, the group visited the Equator. Here, students played balancing games, visited the Intiñan Site Museum, and saw Quito’s Old Town. 

The next day was the visit to Otavalo market, about two hours from Quito, where students bargained and bought from local sellers. 

“I loved seeing the kids have fun bartering in Spanish,” Rains said.  

Later that day, everyone had the opportunity to try fried guinea pig, a popular Ecuadorian dish. On the way back to Quito, they stopped at the Cuicocha Crater Lake.

“We were supposed to hike around, but it was raining so we only got to take pictures.” Sophia Marcincuk ‘25 said. “It was so pretty.”

In the Galapagos — where they traveled to the next day — the students helped plant native plant species and saw giant tortoises.

They then traveled to Isla Isabella, where they saw seals and iguanas up close, visited even more giant tortoises, and snorkeled. A day later, they hiked up to the Volcan Sierra Negra, an active volcano on the island that last erupted in 2018. 

After Isla Isabela, students traveled to Santa Cruz, where they visited the Charles Darwin Research Station. 

In the Galapagos, students swam with different kinds of reef sharks.

“[The most memorable part of the trip for me] was getting to experience different cultures,” Nola Gibbs ‘25 said.

Another one of the most memorable parts of the trip was that students who study Spanish at school got to practice it in real-world situations throughout the entire trip.

“Practicing Spanish was totally different than I thought it would be,” Marcincuk said. “The conversations are more random than you would have in a Spanish class, so I had to come up with answers on the spot.”