When you volunteer abroad with MEDLIFE in Ecuador, you have the option between visiting Tena and Riobamba. If you are unfamiliar with Ecuador as a whole and are having trouble deciding which city you should choose, here are some things to consider first.
1. Location and Surroundings:
Tena is located in the Amazon rainforest region of Ecuador, offering unique opportunities for volunteering in environmental conservation and wildlife projects. It provides access to lush rainforests, rivers, and diverse ecosystems. Riobamba, on the other hand, is located in the central highlands of Ecuador and is surrounded by picturesque mountains and volcanoes. Consider whether you prefer the tropical rainforest setting or the mountainous landscapes.
2. Culture and Lifestyle:
Tena and Riobamba have distinct cultural characteristics. Tena is known for its indigenous communities and a vibrant Afro-Ecuadorian presence. It offers opportunities to learn about indigenous traditions, arts, and cuisines. Riobamba, on the other hand, has a strong indigenous heritage and colonial influences, with a mix of modern amenities. Consider the cultural experiences you are looking for and which one resonates more with you.
Consider the accessibility of both destinations. Tena is located in the Amazon region and may require more effort to reach, with options including flights to nearby airports and then ground transportation. Riobamba, being in the central highlands, is more easily accessible by road or train from major cities like Quito or Guayaquil.
4. Language Considerations:
If you have a preference for learning or practicing Spanish, both Tena and Riobamba offer opportunities to immerse yourself in the language. Tena may have a higher presence of indigenous languages due to its proximity to indigenous communities.
Consider your budget for traveling with MEDLIFE. Accommodation, food, and travel fees can vary between Tena and Riobamba. Tena, being more remote and focused on ecotourism, may have a range of budget-friendly options. Riobamba, as a larger city, may have a slightly higher cost of living.
6. Personal Preferences:
Think about your personal preferences and what you hope to gain from your SLT experience. Do you prefer a more remote and nature-oriented environment, or do you prefer a city with access to amenities and cultural activities? Consider your comfort level in different environments and the type of experience you are seeking.
It is important to note that while you are on your Service Learning Trip, a majority of your time will be spent in the field in our partner communities. The time you will be spending in the city is when you are off-duty and on your own personal time.
Ultimately, the choice between Tena and Riobamba as a volunteering destination depends on your individual priorities and preferences. It may be helpful to read reviews from past volunteers as well as reach out to the MEDLIFE team to book an appointment and discuss your choice with them. You can also research the Service Learning Trip experience in Tena and Riobamba on our website.