Ecuador possesses incredible topographic diversity, which drives its many interesting habitats. It is bordered by Pacific coast on the west and Amazonian jungle in the east. The country is transected by the Andean mountains which give rise to cold, arid highlands. Just 1000km off of Ecuador's coast are the Galapagos Islands. The island chain and its inhabitants are renowned for inspiring the first concepts of biological evolution. Although this truth is only partial, the Galapagos Islands are a remarkable place to observe first-hand the postulates of evolutionary theory. It is home to many endemic species, and the Charles Darwin Research Station. Ecuador is a fantastic place to learn and reinforce any concepts related to biology, evolution, ecology, and scientific method. While students learn, they'll have the opportunity to hike mountains, trek through the amazonian jungle, swim in the south Pacific and see endemic wildlife that has been shaped by geographic isolation and time.
The land where the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mohave deserts meet. Each with their own unique and distinguishing features. Experience the infamous red rocks of Sedona, gaze upon the Grand Canyon, and catch a chill on a northern Flagstaff cliff-side. Shaped by water and volcanic activity this landscape is both mountainous and carved by deep caverns. Bike through a completely new environment and learn how animals and plants persist in these arid regions. It's easy to push yourself to your extremes in a regions with such topographical diversity and dramatic temperature fluctuations.
California: where cutting edge industry and tourism meet extremes of the natural world and the city spills onto the ocean. California has so much to offer as an educational adventure destination. Experience the fast-paced buzz of Silicon Valley and tour through Apple and Google's facilities. Skateboard from Santa Monica to Venice Beach. Have some friendly competition on Muscle Beach, before heading into Culver City - home of Sony Picture Studio and the birthplace of blockbuster films. Once you're tired of the city-scapes, head north on the Pacific Coast highway. Catch a roller coaster ride in Santa Cruz, before making a stop in Monteray Bay. Here you can explore the state-of-the-art Monteray Bay Aquarium and, if you're lucky, hop on a research vessel to shadow scientists as they carry out their work. Head further still and catch a glimpse of the once-near-extinct California Condor. Along the highway you may find hoards of sun-bathing elephant seals, with young bulls sparing in the surf, preparing for the mating season. End your journey in the company of giants in Redwood National and State Parks. Resource extraction and management activities (freshwater, fossil fuel and fisheries), combined with its technology industry and soaring population, make the west coast a great place to discuss resource management, city development and infrastructure, with respect to environmental protection and conservation. All of this, while experiencing the best of what the coast has to offer.
Explore the ruins of ancient civilizations in the heart of Mexico. Its long history and many preserved historical sites will help you and your students travel through time. Perhaps even get the chance to partake in traditions that are thousands of years old (i.e. Dia de Los Muertos), while tasting local fruits and traditionally prepared foods. Its tropical forests are awash with life and its cities are full of history. Mexico's wealth of plants and animals makes it a great place to learn about biodiversity. It is also home to a vast network of enchanting subterranean caverns and inland cenotes: all hiding quietly beneath the forest floor. Mexico is a great location to discuss the rise and fall of past human empires, while exploring new habitats and practicing a new language.
Visit the tropical forests of Central America's bridge nation. Panama contains a man-made waterway (canal) that serves as a trade hub connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a great location to discuss politics, global trade affairs and the transport of goods. It's also a great location to learn about geographic barriers, and what bridging them means for animal populations on a geologic time scale. It is also an ideal place to discuss and realize the threat of invasive species as a result of human trade activities. As this country is rich in flora and fauna there are numerous plant and animal interactions to observe, all while experiencing the vibrant culture of this trade influenced region of the world.
Explore the many parishes of beautiful Bermuda. This island has a long history of settlement and military infrastructure development due to its isolated northern location. Its shores have seen Portuguese, Spanish, British and West Indies merchants and soldiers, making it an ideal location to discuss socio-political events and military history. This archipelago is home to many endemic and rare plants and animals. Realizing this, its government may have been one of the first in history to implement legislation to protect its wildlife hundreds of years ago. It possesses phenomenal research facilities such as the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (formerly the Bermuda Biological Station for Research). On the leisure side, Bermuda's pink-coral beaches are world renowned. Its reefs are home to giant groupers, parrot fish, sea turtles, and pods of migrating whales (in the right season). Bermudian's sense of community and history is strong, and reflected by the whole country coming together once a year during Cup Match: a cricket competition that is filled with dance, food and celebration. Bermuda is a great place for an educational adventure. It's a country full of history, gorgeous scenery, great food and wonderful people.
Explore one of the many gullies and river systems of tropical Barbados. Duck under orb weaver webs, catch a glimpse of a passing mongoose, while following a procession of green back monkeys in the canopy. Round out your day by catching your first wave at Freights Bay, next to a curious hawksbill sea turtle. Try quenching your thirst with fresh coconut water. Taste your first bread fruit, pudding and souse, and eat some local flying fish. Snorkel through the Atlantic Ocean's most productive ocean habitats; all in the midst of a vibrant and powerfully proud culture shaped by adversity and emancipation. Home to the McGill University's Bellairs Research Institute, Barbados has been a valuable place to investigate ocean currents, geomorphological phenomena, coastal marine habitats and the animals therein. There is so much to be gained from the incredible cultural and tropical landscapes Barbados has to offer. And true to it's major agricultural crop, sugar cane, Barbados is one of the Caribbean's sweetest islands.