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Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening Volunteer Program in the Galapagos Islands

Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening Volunteer Program in the Galapagos Islands

Want to support sustainable farming initiatives by volunteering in the Galapagos Islands? International Volunteer HQ’s Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening project aims to create food sovereignty, lower the island’s carbon footprint, and boost income for the local community. As an Agriculture volunteer, you’ll get to learn sustainable farming practices that are better for the health of both people and the planet. You’ll also be based in the lush highlands in a tropical climate, which makes for a rich and abundant setting to develop your agriculture and gardening skills!

  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from £1218 for 2 weeks
  • Includes accommodation, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Support sustainable farming initiatives in the lush tropical highlands

  • Discover nature and wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth

  • Stay in a local homestay or volunteer house in Puerto Villamil

Key information

Support sustainable farming practices
Based in the Tomás de Berlanga highlands
Homestay or volunteer house accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Fully hosted experience from £1218 for 2 weeks
Durations from 2 - 12 weeks
Witness unparalleled wildlife
4 - 6 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are able to speak Spanish at a conversational level, are passionate about agriculture or gardening, and have an interest in learning about farming in a tropical climate. You should arrive ready to get your hands dirty and prepared to work outside.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Most of the local population on Island Isabela depend on tourism and fishing to support themselves however, the objective of this project is to create food sovereignty and to create alternative income sources by supporting sustainable tropical and urban agriculture initiatives.

Volunteers will learn local techniques for sustainable tropical agriculture and will help to create food sovereignty, lower the carbon footprint of island life, lower waste from shipping materials, which in turn lowers cost to local consumers, increase local income, and increase the nutritional content of the food available in Isabela.

The farms of Isabela Island have begun working with greenhouses to optimize production year-round in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Volunteers will work in the highland town of Tomás de Berlanga, which is about 10 miles uphill from the coastal part of town. Located on the side of Volcano Sierra Negra. The highlands are fertile, lush lands with rich volcanic soil - perfect for agriculture. Your specific tasks will depend on the time of the year you volunteer as well as the needs of the project. This project has a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks.

Volunteer work duties may vary but generally include:

  • Soil tilling in preparation for tree planting
  • Assist in planting local sustainable crops
  • Assist during harvesting season
  • Invasive species eradication programs
  • Livestock feeding in relevant farms
  • Assist with the implementation of water efficient irrigation systems
  • Greenhouse construction
  • Prepping for farmers market
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 Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening volunteering in the Galapagos Islands with IVHQ?

As a Sustainable Agriculture volunteer in Galapagos, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Helping create food sovereignty for local people
  • Lowering the carbon footprint of the island
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Learning local techniques for sustainable tropical agriculture
  • Immersing yourself fully in the local culture
  • Discovering the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands

Volunteer requirements

Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program and can only participate on the Sustainable Agriculture & Gardening, Teaching English and Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring projects. Volunteers under 18 will also be required to provide IVHQ with a parental/guardian consent form and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team.

Volunteers 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.

All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check to IVHQ.

Are you eligible to volunteer?

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

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

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Volunteer Abroad in the Galapagos Islands with IVHQ


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.


  • USD
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 £1218 Equivalent to £87/day
3 weeks £1664 Equivalent to £79/day
4 weeks £2110 Equivalent to £75/day
5 weeks £2556 Equivalent to £73/day
6 weeks £3002 Equivalent to £71/day
8 weeks £3894 Equivalent to £70/day
10 weeks £4787 Equivalent to £68/day
12 weeks £5679 Equivalent to £68/day
  • 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.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £282) 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 GBP.
  • 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 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

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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How to get started

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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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