Ecuador Tour 2017

ECUADOR! Including Island of San Cristobal (Galapagos)

June 25 - July 9. The group will be split in two. Half will depart late June 25, and arrive early July 8. The other half will depart late June 26 and arrive early July 9.

Cost: $3800. This includes the previously mentioned possible $100 increase. 

$150 will be needed for some meals.

PAYMENT PLAN:

$500 deposit due by November 1.
$1100 by January 6
$1100 by March 1
$1100 by May 1 

All deposits are non-refundable.

Homestays
As each year, we try to get homestays in at least one city for the boys. Homestays are by far the most unique cultural experience the boys can have, so we do our best to make this happen each year. Many boys' best memories of tour are from the time they spent with their homestays. All boys are paired with at least one other boy from the choir for homestays. We have not secured homestays for this tour yet, but we have a contact who is working on it (in the city of Quito) and we will let you know when it is confirmed.

Zika
As Zika continues to spread around South America and the US, we have received confirmation from all of our Ecuador contacts that the areas we are visiting have no major Zika concerns. We will be staying in the Highlands (center of the country) and Galapagos. The Highlands are at higher altitude (obviously), so mosquitos are not an issue. The Galapagos National Park has specific systems in place which have kept Zika to a minimum. In addition, we will be visiting at a time when the temperatures will range from 50-70 degrees, and in their dry season. Again, all of our contacts have expressed that they are not concerned about Zika and our visit to Ecuador.

Vaccines
As is the case for many countries we visit, the following vaccinations are recommended by CDC:
All routine vaccinations
Hepatitis A
Typhoid
The Typhoid vaccination lasts 3 years. If you've received it in the past three years, you do not need it again. Otherwise, you should get it again. 

Passports
All passports must be valid until February 2018. If it is not, or if you do not have one, start the application process NOW. It takes time to process, and we will need all passports in our hand by February 20, 2017. If you will need your passport after February for some kind of overseas trip, e-mail Jeff Smith (jsmith@phillyboyschoir.org) to make arrangements.

Communication
As always, we have a strict policy that boys and parents are not to contact each other at all during tour. There is one basic reason for this: homesickness. Occasionally boys get homesick on tour, and we have various ways of dealing with it – the best way is usually to just get their mind off of it…as soon as they can start focusing on things besides their parents, they’re over it and having a great time. If they are permitted to call or e-mail home, it will only increase their homesickness, and sometimes that homesickness can spread to the other boys when they see how sad their roommate is! Therefore, the following are prohibited: phone calls, e-mailing, facebook, texting, faxing or any other direct communication. Cell phones are also prohibited on tour. In the past we have dismissed boys from the program due to a violation of these rules. Similarly, we cannot allow any parents to visit us during tour. If any parent shows up at a concert or somewhere else on tour, we will send their son home with them and he will be dismissed from choir. We want to do everything we can to ensure a great experience for the boys; preventing homesickness is critical, and this rule will help prevent it. If you have a relative or friend who lives in the country we visit, we can arrange a time for that relative or friend to meet us – contact Jeff to work it out; the homesickness has only been a problem in the past with a parent or sibling visiting the choir.

Insurance
The tour this year will include a health insurance package. We will also ask you to give us your personal health insurance information. Should anything happen on tour that requires medical attention, both insurance policies will help us cover the expenses. The insurance does NOT cover cancellations. If you wish to purchase cancellation insurance, you will need to find and purchase it on your own.