Environmental Conservation Volunteer Program in the Galapagos Islands
Want to help preserve and protect one of the most incredible and biodiverse National Parks on our planet? Join International Volunteer HQ’s Environmental Conservation project in the Galapagos Islands, every eco volunteer’s dream! As an Environmental volunteer, you’ll help protect the island’s unique and fragile ecosystems through a variety of conservation, restoration, sustainable tourism, and community development activities. You’ll be rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in alongside park rangers, working on trails, visitor sites, and other facilities, as well as collecting data and promoting conservation initiatives!
- Programs start every Monday
- Affordable fees from AU$2335 for 2 weeks
- Includes accommodation, meals, orientation and 24/7 support
Help conserve the Galapagos National Park and support sustainable tourism
Discover nature and wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth
Stay in a local homestay or volunteer house in Puerto Villamil
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
As a volunteer you will be working in the Galapagos National Park visitor site helping with the success of conservation and community development projects and supporting ecosystem conservation and restoration activities. The Environmental Conservation project in Galapagos is operated in conjunction with the Galapagos National Park support and maintenance program. The aim of the project is to support Galapagos National Park staff in maintaining and improving visitor sites, facilities, and information signs.
During this project, volunteers will be involved in a variety of conservation efforts and assist with tasks according to the needs at the time. Volunteers will support ecosystem conservation and restoration activities and the maintenance of visitor sites, trails and protected areas. Some tasks will require the use of basic tools (shovels, hand tools, etc.) and volunteers may also complete data entry using data points collected from tourism activities.
Your specific tasks will depend on the time of the year you volunteer as well as the needs of the project. You’ll work closely alongside park rangers and other volunteers to promote ongoing conservation work. This project has a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks and a conversational level of Spanish language ability is required.
Volunteer work duties may vary but generally include:
- Invasive species removal programs and protecting endemic species
- Replacement and maintenance of information signs
- Assist with promotion, dissemination and development of sustainable tourism projects for the Galapagos National Park
- Assist with translation and design of educational and / or promotional material for tourists
- Maintenance of visitor sites, trails, and protected areas
- Clearing brush and weeds
- Cutting new trails
Volunteers possessing Acrobat Illustrator design skills and experience would also be an asset to the Environmental Conservation project. The national park is always in need of assistance in redesigning material related to maps, signs, and other visitor information. If you possess these skills, please include this information in your application. You will need to bring your own laptop and software if you wish to contribute in this capacity. However, it’s important to note, the local team will not be responsible if any damage is sustained to these items while on the project.
Why do Environmental Conservation volunteering in the Galapagos Islands with IVHQ?
As an Environmental Conservation volunteer in Galapagos, you’ll be adding value to the environment and local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Helping protect the Galapagos National Park
- Educating tourists on conservation initiatives
- Practicing your Spanish
- Gaining conservation and sustainable tourism experience
- Immersing yourself fully in the local culture
- Discovering the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands
Volunteers on this project must be 18+ and must speak fluent English. It is recommended that volunteers have a basic to intermediate level of Spanish in order to communicate with fellow workers, the local community and homestay families.
Galapagos Islands photo gallery
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
The IVHQ Galapagos volunteer program is based in Puerto Villamil, a small port village located on the southeastern edge of Isabela Island in the Galapagos Islands. This is where orientation and general administration is carried out by our local team. Volunteer placements are located within walking distance around Puerto Villamil with the exception of the Sustainable Agriculture project, which is a 30 minute bus ride outside the village to the highlands.
Arrival and orientation
The Galapagos volunteer program begins every Monday and you need to arrive on Isabela Island on your Monday chosen start date.
After you have registered for the program, please book your travel into Seymour Galapagos Ecological Airport (GPS) on Baltra Island. From here you can either catch a ferry boat to Isabela Island (this ferry trip is included in your program fee) or take an island hopper plane from Baltra Island to Isabela Island with EMETEBE airlines (this flight is not included in your program fee).
Most volunteers arrive in mainland Ecuador on Sunday and spend this night in either Quito or Guayaquil. On Monday they then travel from mainland to Baltra Island, and then onward to Isabela Island. When you arrive on Isabela Island you will need to walk a few minutes up from the pier to the ABG (Biosecurity Agency) office where you will be met by a member of the local team who will transfer you to your accommodation (also included in your program fee) and then have a small town tour. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and begins from your Monday arrival through the morning of your last Sunday.
On Tuesday, orientation is hosted by our local team in Galapagos and runs for half a day, after which you will be taken to your placement. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Galapagos – Introduction to Galapagos, Galapagos Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Galapagos, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
Volunteer schedule example
A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your specific placement and the current needs of your project. A typical daily schedule might be as follows:
|7:00 AM||Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation and walk to project (except for Sustainable Agriculture volunteers).|
|8:00 AM||Volunteers join local placement staff and begin work on your project.|
|12:00 PM||Finish up at the placement and head home to clean up and relax.|
|1:00 PM||Lunch at one of the participating restaurants in town.|
|2.00 PM||Volunteers have the afternoon free to explore the island, do some local snorkeling or take a surf lesson. Alternatively, if previously discussed with local placement staff, return to the placement to volunteer an afternoon shift.|
|7:30 - 9:00 PM||Dinner with your homestay family or at one of the restaurants in town. After dinner you will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as you wish.|
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Isabela Island and other Galapagos islands such as the nearby Santa Cruz.
There is a dive site with great diving from Isabela, hike active Volcano Sierra Negra, snorkel site Tuneles and see the lava tunnels, visit islet Tintoreras, snorkel local dive spot Concha de Perla with turtles, seals, rays, etc., kayak the bay, rent a bike and visit the ‘Wall of Tears’ along the stunning coastal route passing lagoons, mangroves, and giant tortoises in the wild.
Accommodation and WiFi
Most volunteers will be accommodated in a homestay with a local family, but there is also the option of a small volunteer house. Volunteers can expect to share a twin room with one other volunteer or have their own private room; each bedroom has its own bathroom. In the volunteer house there is a cleaner that comes a couple of times every week, but volunteers need to be responsible for keeping the shared house and communal spaces clean and tidy.
Once registered if volunteers would like to be accommodated in the volunteer house please let your Program Manager know as this is subject to availability.
Isabela Island is very remote and it is important that volunteers are aware that internet reception is very spotty. There is WiFi in the office and in a few restaurants/cafes in town. Visitors cannot purchase a SIM card in Galapagos, only residents. Volunteers can purchase a SIM card on the mainland before traveling to the island, or use an international phone plan that covers them abroad. The Internet is too poor to expect to watch Netflix or have video calls while on the island.
The meals provided vary depending on the accommodation type you are placed in. Volunteers in a homestay are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Breakfast and dinner are provided at the homestay and volunteers can expect fresh fruit, fried eggs, bread and cooked green plantains. Lunch is provided at local associated restaurants and volunteers will have a variety of menu items to choose from. Lunch and dinner meals will include protein (meat, fish), rice and some veggies (varied depending on the season) and meals often start with a soup and include a natural drink.
For those who choose to stay in the volunteer house, breakfast is not included so volunteers are responsible for providing their own breakfast and can do this using the fully equipped kitchen. Both lunch and dinner is provided at local associated restaurants and volunteers will have a variety of menu items to choose from. Lunch and dinner meals will include protein (meat, fish), rice and some veggies (varied depending on the season) and meals often start with a soup and include a natural drink.
There is filtered water available in the local teams office, volunteer house and in homestays and volunteers are requested to bring a reusable water bottle with them.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know so we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please make a note on your application so arrangements can be made. However, it is important that volunteers should not expect to eat as they normally do at home.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|2 weeks||AU$2335 Equivalent to AU$167/day|
|3 weeks||AU$3190 Equivalent to AU$152/day|
|4 weeks||AU$4045 Equivalent to AU$144/day|
|5 weeks||AU$4900 Equivalent to AU$140/day|
|6 weeks||AU$5755 Equivalent to AU$137/day|
|8 weeks||AU$7466 Equivalent to AU$133/day|
|10 weeks||AU$9176 Equivalent to AU$131/day|
|12 weeks||AU$10886 Equivalent to AU$130/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$541) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: national park entry fees, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, spending money, public transportation and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Program Fees for the Galapagos Islands program are non-refundable once inside 30 days of the program start date. Any changes or cancellations within 30 days of the program start date are subject to a US$500 late change/cancellation fee.
Check what's required to visit the Galapagos Islands
Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Essential country information
|Capital||Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal|
|Population||2,500 on Isabela Island and 33,042 across the Galapagos Islands|
|Currency||US Dollar (USD)|
Weather and climate: Galapagos can be divided into three Climatic regions. The Pannonian Plains in the north have a continental climate of cold winters and hot summers, the mountainous Dinara Region in Central Galapagos has an alpine climate and the Adriatic coast, where our volunteer program is based, enjoys a Mediterranean climate of cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.