Rainforest Biodiversity in Ecuador

Program Facts

Program Type: UA Faculty-led

Credit Type: UA Direct Credit

Level of Study: Graduate , Undergraduate

GPA: 2.5

Class Eligibility: Graduate , Junior , Senior , Sophomore

Language of Instruction: English

Program Open To: UA and Non-UA Students

Explore Rainforest Biodiversity in Ecuador

*Available Winter 2023*

Spend your winter break in the Amazon rainforest exploring one of the world’s most biodiverse regions! Experience biodiversity and conservation efforts at Ecuadorian field stations hosted by indigenous peoples through this 10+ years running program. Want to stay longer? Extend your program by 9-days to include the iconic Galapagos Islands and their surrounding marine habitats.

December 27, 2023 - January 10, 2024

We will conduct multiple excursions in the area guided by locals to observe plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and many other unique features of this amazing forest. Each student will be given the opportunity to develop and implement a unique academic field project. Subjects can include biodiversity and other topics, working with a local tribe to understand their relationships with the environment, and investigate the conflict of natural resource extraction (oil) in one of the last untouched rainforests on Earth.

Students will enroll in 3 units of the following course credit:

RNR 495F/595F: Rainforest Biodiversity (3 units)

Galapagos Islands Program Extension (Dec. 18 - Dec. 26, 2023): Available for an additional cost of $3,870

Investigate the famous Galapagos Islands during the 9-day program extension. The islands inspired Darwin and are a National Park today. Galapagos offers iconic wildlife only found here. We will likely encounter giant tortoises, marine iguanas, seals, sea lions, and many bird species. We will also explore some of the marine habitats around the islands which are equally incomparable and protected. No additional credit is offered for this program extension.


Suggested reading for this program: Savages by Joe Kane



Dr. Hans-Werner Herrmann
Research Scientist and Instructor, Wildlife Conservation and Management School of Natural Resources and the Environment
hwh@u.arizona.edu (Link sends an email)


Contact your program coordinator (David Wray, davidwray@arizona.edu) with any questions

Located in the Amazon rainforest near the Equator, the Yasuni National Park region is considered to have among the world’s greatest biodiversity. After arriving in Quito, the capitol of Ecuador, we will travel to the Amazon rainforest. Once in the rainforest, we will travel to field stations which will function as base camps for the majority of the coursework. We will be surrounded by the Amazon jungle with opportunities to see abundant wildlife such as macaws, monkeys, caimans, and possibly tapir.

Good To Know

LGBTQ+ Equality Index rating: Ecuador rates 63/100 (with 100 being the most equal) on Equaldex’s LGBTQ+ Equality Index.

Global Peace Index rating: Ecuador ranks 97/163 in the Global Peace Index. The lower the score, the more peaceful the country.

Language Spoken: Spanish

Comfortable rustic cabins and at one location tented lodge with showers and toilets and an extensive network of well-maintained trails in the pristine rainforest. Hotels and guesthouses in Quito and other towns.

For more information, use the following links of interest:

"After this trip, I can truly say that I learned a lot about the many facets of biodiversity. Whether it was about the ultra specific niches some of these organisms inhabit, the competition amongst them, biological phenomena, the struggle for evolutionary success, human-animal interactions, complex conservation issues we are facing, and much more. Being in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world accelerated the learning tremendously." - A. Dito, Winter 2017

"I can read and listen to topics related to the Amazon, but nothing compares actually being there and hiking every day in the Amazon. I got to experience what a conservation biologist does firsthand and compose scientific research in a sophisticated manner. Personally, I had an experience of a lifetime that is incomparable to my other college experiences." - Participant, Winter 2016

"Staying in the Amazon Rainforest was the experience of a lifetime and something I could not have done without the help of this program. I learned an incredible amount about the biodiversity." - C. Pijanowski, Winter 2016

"The faculty at the UA and field station and Hans-Werner have truly made this the trip of a lifetime. My skills as a scientist have drastically improved and this experience provided me with the tools to continue in undergraduate research this semester and beyond." - A. Michaels, Winter 2016

Term: Winter
Application Deadline: October 16
Start Date: December 27
End Date: January 10

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