Travel to Central America and participate in conservation volunteer work in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Release your inner Charles Darwin by supporting the work of conservationists at the Galapagos National Park. You’ll do this by studying, protecting, and preserving plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.
The Galapagos Islands are renowned for their incredible biodiversity. Unfortunately, its plants and animals are under threat from invasive species and the impact of humans. We have an official partnership with the Galapagos National Park to help protect the environment. We are the only volunteer organisation allowed to work here, so this is truly a unique opportunity for you.
You’ll get involved in plenty of practical activities at the park, like wildlife surveys, planting saplings, and caring for Giant Tortoises. You’ll live on San Cristobal island, and stay in shared accommodation with other volunteers. Seize the opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime in the Galapagos!
Children aged 3-14 must be accompanied by at least one adult paying full price
We offer discounts for families and groups of friends travelling together. Call us on 1 212 244 7234 for more info.
When you apply you only pay $295, which comes off the total price.
Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 1 212 244 7234 to see if we can offer a discount.
Completely flexible dates
Anyone aged over 16 can join
What's included in the price?
Food (three meals a day)
Travel and medical insurance
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival
Transport to and from your work placement
In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff
Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team
Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources
A supervisor/mentor at your work placement
Training and workshops from our experienced local staff
Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns
Access to our local office with internet connection
Certification of project completion
Access to our alumni services and discounts
Visa support and advice
Fundraising support, including your own personalized fundraising website
Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor
Personalized MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination
A free cultural awareness course
Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch
Support to help you complete registration or internship documents, if applicable
What's not included?
Visa costs (where applicable)
What will I be doing as a conservation volunteer?
You’ll focus on supporting the work of local conservationists at the Galapagos National Park. Here are some of the tasks you can expect to do during your placement:
- Assist at the giant tortoise breeding centre in the Galapagos National Park
- Remove alien plants and reforest indigenous vegetation
- Monitor and survey local animals
- Participate in community conservation education programmes
- Assist with beach clean-ups
Your activities will be divided into four main categories:
Conduct surveys to monitor wildlife species
Throughout your stay, you will work at the giant tortoise breeding centre. This species is one of the most fascinating, and famous, animals found on the Galapagos. You will help:
- Feed the tortoises
- Clean their enclosures and pools
- Take biometric data, like measurements
- Conduct population surveys
You will also assist with sea lion monitoring and bird surveys throughout your time with us. This is important work, as it helps us keep tabs on their numbers. You may also get the opportunity to participate in a marine iguana census. You’ll count individuals, note the composition of the population, and identify breeding sites.
Help control invasive animal species
Alien species are a problem in the Galapagos, as the ecosystem has no natural predators. These foreign species are preying on the island’s animals, which is a big issue. You will assist with controlling invasive species and protecting indigenous animals from these introduced predators throughout your stay.
The Galapagos petrel, a marine bird, is one of the native bird species that we have been monitoring and assisting. Unfortunately, the petrel population is under threat because of a rising number of alien rats on the islands. Rats attack nesting birds and eat their eggs. In response to this, Projects Abroad and the Galapagos National Park Agency got a special poison designed to attack the rats’ immune systems. This poison does not affect other animals and helps control the rat population.
Our volunteers monitored the petrel breeding population and we are thrilled to see that their numbers increased by 10% in 2017. We can link this directly to the fact that rat numbers have dropped by 40%.
Assist with the eradication of introduced plant species
Alien plants are one of the greatest threats to the endemic species and ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands. Eradicating these species is crucial to help indigenous plants thrive. You’ll remove plants such as guava, avocado, and raspberry plants, and replace them with indigenous species. We grow the indigenous plants in a nursery in the park.
Help with community clean ups and education programmes
You will assist with beach clean ups throughout your stay. By removing the litter from local beaches we protect local animals from unnecessary dangers and keep the natural environment as clean as possible.
You may also need to help with the weighing of this collected litter. We weigh the rubbish to try and identify the areas of the island that collect the most rubbish. This also allows us to see whether the amount of litter on the island is increasing or decreasing.
During your stay you may also get the chance to participate in the conservation education programme. This will involve running workshops at local schools to raise awareness about the natural environment and the importance of conservation.
Where in Ecuador will I be working?
You will live in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a town on San Cristobal Island in Ecuador. Part of the Galapagos archipelago, San Cristobal is the main island and is located about 1,000km from Ecuador. The safe and relaxed coastal town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is renowned for the large population of sea lions that live harmoniously with the locals. This small, lively town is an ideal base from which to explore the Galapagos.
You will work both in the Galapagos National Park, and in smaller areas on the island. We are the only volunteer organisation to have an official agreement that allows us to work within the Galapagos National Park.
The idyllic Galapagos Islands are renowned for their gorgeous scenery and plethora of wildlife. The ideal destination for anyone with a love of biology, science, plants and animals, these famous islands are home to a large number of species that occur nowhere else in the world. Photo opportunities abound here, so be sure to bring your camera along!
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring Our Impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Meet the team in Ecuador
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