Welcome to the GAIAS blog!

This blog was created in December 2011 to help future students get an "inside look" into what it's like to study in this unique place.

On the Home Page you'll find all the blog posts in the order they were saved. Scroll around to see what previous students had to say about their experiences here! Some posts were written specifically for this blog while others are pulled from blogs that students had already been keeping. You can also see posts on specific topics by viewing the labels on the left hand columns.

Also check out the different tabs for more information on studying here!


Packing List

Ecuador Suggested Basic Packing List for Quito/Galapagos Track:
written by students who studied in fall term


-       Paperwork:
o      Passport
o      Travel itinerary
o      Important medical documents
o      Yellow fever vaccination proof for Tiputini (rainforest) trip - (however, you can get the vaccine in Quito for cheap)
o      Copies of visa, passport, travel insurance, etc
o      ID
o      Credit card
o      Debit card
o      Cash ($10, $5, $1 are helpful in Quito and necessary in Galapagos)

-       Clothing*:
o      General:
§       2 pairs of nicer jeans/khakis (more necessary in Quito than Galapagos)
§       Shorts for Galapagos (at least 2 pairs)
§       Skirts and dresses for women (1 below the knee for Quito, 2-3 any length for Galapagos) and extra bottoms for men
§       Short-sleeve shirts (8-10 as a mix of t-shirts, nicer shirts, tank tops, etc)
§       Long sleeve shirt (1-2)
§       Sweater/sweatshirt (1 heavy, 1 lightweight)
§       Pajamas (2 pairs)
§       Underwear (2 weeks worth!)
§       Socks (1weeks worth)
§       Hat
§       Bathing suit (bring 2 if you plan to swim frequently)
o      For excursions especially:
§       Quick dry or lightweight pants suitable for several hiking trips (1-2 pairs)
§       Fleece jacket
§       Warm gloves for trips in chilly weather (35-45 degrees F)
§       Warm hat
§       Rain jacket with hood
§       Long socks for boots (2-3 pairs)
-       Footwear:
o      Sneakers
o      Hiking boots or rain boots for excursions (can buy $10 high water boots for the rainforest or other excursions in Quito)
o      Flip flops/sandals for Galapagos (2 pairs)
o      One pair of dress shoes
o      Keva sandals or other rugged/closed toe sandals for excursions in Galapagos

-       Toiletries:
o      Toothbrush/toothpaste
o      Floss
o      Body and/or face lotion
o      Deodorant
o      Shampoo
o      Conditioner (especially for the salt water in Galapagos)
o      Soap/body wash
o      Razors (bring extras)
o      Shaving cream
o      Aftershave
o      Brush/comb
o      Tissues (small pack recommended – it has a myriad of uses including as spare toilet paper)
o      Nail clippers/file
o      Make-up
o      Hair accessories (including hair ties)
o      Feminine products (tampons are expensive and tampons with applicators are hard to find in Galapagos)
o      Sunscreen (expensive in Galapagos – bring at least 2 large bottles)
o      Chapstick (with SPF)
o      Insect repellent (for excursions, 1 bottle)
o      First aid kit
§       Bandaids
§       Alcohol pads
§       Small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
§       Afterbite for insect bites/stings
§       Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
§       Tweezers
§       Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine.
§       Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle)
§       Motion sickness pills (if needed)
§       Benadryl
§       Cough drops (a few)
§        Prescription medicines in their original bottles (it can be difficult to acquire some prescription medication in Ecuador and hard or impossible to ship. Make sure you bring enough!)
-       Other:
o      Sunglasses (can be purchased in Quito for $5 at the market)
o      Hand sanitizer
o      Headlamp (preferred) or flashlight which is required for some excursions, with extra batteries
o      Camera (with batteries, charger, memory card, computer cord, etc)
o      Book
o      Jewelry (including a watch)
o      Backpack for day trips on excursions
o      Travel alarm clock (with batteries)
o      Laptop (with charger, cords to connect camera/ipod, etc)
o      Spanish-English dictionary
o      Notebook/paper and pens
o      Beach towel (will cost around $10 for a thin one in Galapagos)

*Notes on clothing:
  • In Quito both men and women dress more conservatively. Women may draw unwanted attention in shorts or above the knee skirts/dresses. Both men and women generally dress fashionably when going to dinner, clubs, etc. In Sept the weather is warm (around 70 degrees during the day) but it often cools off and rains in the afternoon. Layers work well here.
  • The market in Quito sells lightweight cotton pants for $5 that are popular with students as well as cheap shirts.
  • In Galapagos shorts, tshirts, and dresses are normal. People rarely dress formally even for a nice dinner. The weather in Oct-Dec is warm shifting to hot (80s in the day 60s at night). When the sun is out shorts and tank tops are best but a sweater/pants are good for cloudy days or at night.
  • Bring more clothing appropriate for the Galapagos since you will be there 3x as long. You don’t need fancy dress shoes or khaki pants there. You will probably have class on the beach at least once and wear open-toed shoes most days. 

-       Clothing:
o      Rain pants 
o      Workout clothes (1-2 sets)
o      One formal outfit in case of an invitation to a wedding/funeral/nice dinner, etc
o      Beach cover up/sarong
-       Ziploc/plastic bags for wet items
-       Sewing kit (small pocket size with safety pins, needle, buttons/snaps, thread)
-       Superglue
-       Pocket knife
-       Deck of cards/travel games
-       Underwater camera (for Galapagos)
-       Small duffel to bring on 2-8 day excursions
-       Mask/snorkel and flippers for snorkeling in Galapagos (provided on excursions, can be rented for around $5 day for use around the island)
-       Plastic water bottle
-       Ipod/CD payer with headphones
-       Journal
-       Wetsuit
-       Bandana
-       Hair dyer
-       Hair straightener/curler
-       Nail polish/nail polish remover
-       Gift for both host families
-       Condoms
-       Musical instrument (guitar, ukulele, etc)
-       Video camera/Flip camera with batteries, cords, etc
-       Small bottle of sunscreen for traveling/excursions/etc
-       Lock (key or twist) for lockers in Galapagos or for hostels when traveling

-       Fancy or expensive jewelry or extra electronics (theft is a risk in Quito)
-       Bringing too much stuff (there is a weight limit of 44lbs on the flight to the Galapagos – extra items will need to be shipped or stored in Quito)
-       Too many credit cards/forms of ID (you’ll receive a student ID and an Ecuadorian ID upon arrival) 

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