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The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of mainland Ecuador and is considered one of the world’s leading locations for wildlife viewing. Its isolated landscape is home to a wide range of animal and plant species, many that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Charles Darwin visited the islands in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos’ species later inspired his theory of evolution.
This project has been instrumental in the conservation of these ancient animals that were very close to extinction. At one time a quarter million of these giants roamed these South American islands, but over time that number diminished to around 3,000. Several factors were responsible for the decline, beginning with sailors and settlers hunting them for food.
As a volunteer on this project, you will be working closely with the Galápagos National Park in their efforts to continue to conserve this indigenous species! During your time at the tortoise center you will be a full time member of the center’s staff aiding in the conservation and care of these fascinating ancient creatures. Volunteers participating during the months of December to May must choose to work at either the tortoise breeding center (as described above) or with sea turtles. Sea turtle nest monitoring tasks include walking the beach while looking for nests, turtles and hatchlings. Actual sightings may be rare.
Tortoise center tasks may include:
Sea turtle conservation tasks may include:
A typical day: Your schedule is based on 20 hrs/week and can be extended to a regular 40 hr work week.You will work from Monday – Friday, from 7.30AM – 11.30AM. This may change depending on the tasks at hand.
Internet: WiFi is available.
Laundry: Laundry facilities are available.
Accommodations: You will stay in a private room, either in a shared volunteer house or nearby host family. This is assigned based first on availability and then on your preference and in some cases it could be both. Both accommodations have western – style flush toilets and shared common areas, including a kitchen and dining room. Volunteers can also choose to stay with a host family. At your homestay you will also stay in a private room with western – style flush toilets.
Food: At the volunteer house: Lunch and dinner is provided at your choice of various restaurants in town. Breakfast is not included, but you have the use of an equipped kitchen for cooking. Homestay: You will have breakfast and dinner with your host family. Lunch is provided at your choice of various restaurants in town.
Volunteers are required to apply for a volunteer visa before their trip at the closest Ecuadorian Embassy. This could take 4 weeks to process depending on the embassy, so if you’re planning to travel soon please apply ASAP and we can help you with the process immediately.
COVID-19 Entry Guidelines for Ecuador. Updated on April 10, 2022 and subject to change:
All passengers entering the country and Galapagos Islands, over 16 years of age, must present:
Anyone who enters Continental Ecuador by international air must present the digital “Traveler’s Health Declaration” when boarding the plane.
Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:
The Galápagos Islands are one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations for wildlife viewing. Made famous by the scientist Charles Darwin, these South American islands are home to species that many people are familiar with, such as the blue-footed booby birds and giant tortoises. There is much to be seen on a trip to these islands, and a few suggestions are listed below.
Also located on the island, Darwin Lake is a saltwater lagoon that has twice the amount of salt of the surrounding ocean.
From the cliffs surrounding Darwin Lake, volunteers can take a panga ride to Tagus Cove where there is the opportunity to see, and even snorkel with, indigenous marine life such as Galapagos penguins!
For volunteers who wish to island hop, Isla Santa Cruz, to the right of the island, is an excellent choice. Tortuga Bay is one of the most popular and beautiful beach destinations in all of the Galápagos Islands and is located in southern Isla Santa Cruz. There are sharks, marine iguanas and occasionally flamingos in the Bay.