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Environmental Conservation Volunteer Program in the Galapagos Islands

Environmental Conservation Volunteer Program in the Galapagos Islands

Purpose
Conserve unique & fragile ecosystems
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 2-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
4 - 6 hours a day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+
Accommodation
Homestay
Program fees
From AU$2247 for 2 weeks
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are passionate about working in the outdoors, while also developing their interests in Environmental Conservation. You’ll also need a conversational level of Spanish speaking for this project.

Project details

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!

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.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #13: Climate Action

Climate change affects everyone, everywhere. 2010 - 2020 was the warmest decade ever recorded and Carbon Dioxide levels have risen to an all-time high. In order to keep global temperatures below the Paris Agreement’s 2 degree Celsius limit, we must take action to educate communities, conserve nature and promote sustainable solutions.

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

Volunteer requirements

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.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

MB
Michelle Barnes
12 Jun 2024

I went on several trips to places around the world this year, but nothing touched my heart and soul as much as volunteering in Galapagos Islands did. I have spent this year travelling because I am getting older (I am 54 years old) and I am seeing more friends and family suffering from health conditions that prevent them from doing the things that they said they would get to some day.

It is more than just a vacation where you do something different. It is living in and being part of a community. It is making a positive impact while experiencing personal growth.

I am so proud of all the younger volunteers and interns who are doing this now rather than waiting. I wish that I had done something like this sooner.

...
DT
Deborah Thornton
24 May 2024

It was interesting to be part of a program to monitor turtles and to see what is done to help protect these animals. The people I met as part of this were great and it was nice to have a group of colleagues with whom I could discuss things. The local team was great and my host Mum was a very good cook, providing us with a delicious variety of food.

...
PN
Patrick Neve
21 May 2024

Through IVHQ's thorough advice pre-departure and the local team's support on the ground, I gained a much better understanding of how volunteer programs work as well as knowledge about Green Turtles. My host family were fantastic and it was hard to say goodbye! The meals were one of the highlights, with lots of different traditional dishes. I would advise anyone thinking of volunteering to embrace the different culture and food and make the most of the volunteering work itself. It’s not all glamorous and some work is hard and tedious. But it’s for a short period of time and it adds a lot of value.

...
JH
Jenny Holm
22 Apr 2024

This was my first time traveling solo internationally. I felt safe the entire time supported by the confidence in having specific people I could call or reach out to at any time, though I never needed to. I was extremely nervous about taking this plunge and am so incredibly happy I did. The local people and fellow volunteers are now some of my closest friends. If you are hesitant, DON'T BE! We never regret the things we try; only the ones we don't. It was an absolutely amazing experience and I am grateful I actually did it - instead of continuing to say "one day".

...
AT
Alexandra Todd
02 Apr 2024

I had the most memorable time. The best way to get to know the Galapagos is through volunteering - I feel that volunteers really make a difference on this program.

...
CP
Carol Pochardt
02 Apr 2024

I was nervous about going to a new isolated place, with limited language skills. The IVHQ and local team made it easy, and I made so many new friends while making a positive impact on an endangered species.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

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

Location

Volunteer Abroad in the Galapagos Islands with IVHQ

Location

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

Weekdays

​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.

Weekends

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

Volunteers are accommodated in a homestay with a local family, which is an incredible and unique cultural immersion experience. Volunteers can expect to share a twin room with one other volunteer or have their own private room if there is capacity; each bedroom has its own bathroom.

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.

Meals

Volunteers 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.

There is filtered water available in the local teams office 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.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$520) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
2 weeks $1,420 Equivalent to $101/day
3 weeks $1,940 Equivalent to $92/day
4 weeks $2,460 Equivalent to $88/day
5 weeks $2,980 Equivalent to $85/day
6 weeks $3,500 Equivalent to $83/day
8 weeks $4,540 Equivalent to $81/day
10 weeks $5,580 Equivalent to $80/day
12 weeks $6,620 Equivalent to $79/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$520) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • 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.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Transient visa (for all volunteers aged 18+ - this visa is specific to Galapagos National Park only)
  • Local pickup
  • Return ferry from Santa Cruz to Isabela island
  • Accommodation
  • 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

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Transit Control Card
  • Water taxis
  • Bus transfer from airport to ferry dock
  • Return bus from ferry to the airport when your program finishes
  • National Park Entry Fee (only required for volunteers under the age of 18)
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit the Galapagos Islands

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

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.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal
Population 2,500 on Isabela Island and 33,042 across the Galapagos Islands
Languages Spanish
Currency US Dollar (USD)
Time zone UTC-06:00

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.

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