General Travel Planning
You will need a valid passport to enter Ecuador. US citizens do not need a special visa. Your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of travel. If you have less than 6 months left on your passport, the US will not let you board the flight to leave. This is the Eric Miller Rule.
Going to Quito was the traditional start to the Mission when the airport was in Quito itself, but in 2013 the airport moved outside the city, about 45 min trip to the hotel. It is about 2 hrs or so to the city of Ambato from the airport. For 2020, we are planning that everyone will travel to Ambato on arrival.
The most common flights that everyone takes arrive late evening on Friday the 7th and leave on Sat/Sun late night early AM at the end of the week. The bulk of volunteers will arrive on these flights. These are typically the American Airlines flight out of Miami that arrives in the afternoon and another around 11pm, Delta arrival around 11:30PM, and sometimes LAN, COPA, or United flight arriving around 11pm-12AM.
Transportation from the airport:
We will work on this as we did last year, but essentially if you are flying at an off time separate from the bulk of the rest of the volunteers, you should expect to be taking a taxi or other transportation. We can't ask the Rotarians to provide individual transport for each separate person. Most people arrived on the preferred flights on Friday night, so we grouped them together and arranged for large buses to leave at once.
At the end of the week, there will be a Friday night party and most people leave the following day to either head back to Quito for the day or leave from Ambato later in the day and go to the airport from Ambato. The transportation will depend on how many people decide on what they would like.
I would suggest you arrange for your flight departure and then decide what you would like to do on Saturday. Most people leave from Quito airport Saturday / Sunday around midnight and take the red-eye flight back to the USA.
If you return to Quito for the day, you can sightsee, shop, or relax. You may consider getting a room at the Hilton for Saturday itself so you have a base camp for the day and then leave for the airport when appropriate that evening. For the past few years, this is what I have done and it is nice to go shop, eat lunch, take a nap, and relax while waiting to leave for your flight that evening. Through the concierge, we arrange for paid travel to the airport.
You could also leave from Ambato if we can arrange transportation.
As far as Ambato goes, we all stay at the Hotel Florida. This year, I will collect all the volunteers roommate requests and give that to the hotel instead of us individually getting our own reservations.
A few people will need to stay at the overflow hotel in Ambato if we get too many volunteers. Hopefully that won't be the case this year, but please be flexible.