Galápagos Islands Conservation: Every Explorer and Naturalist’s Dream!

This is a two-week program.

Program location

Formerly a fisheries-based economy with very few locals living mostly for subsistence, the Galápagos evolved to be a Wild West for sea cucumber and lobster trading before turning into one of the foremost Ecotourism destinations on the planet. While being one of the best preserved places in the world, with 95% of its pre-human, original biodiversity still intact, pressures from tourism are increasing. IOI and its volunteer programs help the Galápagos to continue on their path to sustainable development where both quality of life is ensured and the unique environment is preserved, today and for future generations. You will be stationed in a community on the south coast of Isabela Island in the Galápagos, seven hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador. Isabela is one of the four inhabited islands of the famous Galápagos, and is the largest island in the archipelago and is home to only 4000 people. The majority of its residents live in the port town, and a small minority live permanently in the highlands on Sierra Negra Volcano as full-time farmers. It is a beautiful island, boasting beaches that stretch miles along rocky, rugged coastlines, and teem with exotic wildlife. In the last fifteen years, Isabela’s economy has converted from one driven exclusively by its fisheries, to one that is sustained mostly completely by a nascent eco-tourism. We work directly with a local NGO to provide volunteer opportunities around conservation and education efforts designed to protect the area’s still thriving but threatened natural habitats.

Work Project

At our project headquarters, you will be introduced to our ongoing projects to choose which you would like to participate in, from working on tortoise and sea turtle conservation, community English education, sustainable farming and urban agriculture, etc. The specific activities involve things such as feeding and caring for the tortoises, assisting park rangers with zoo-keeping related activities, cataloging nesting patterns and nest size, 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, lowers cost to local consumers, increase local income, and increase the nutritional content of the food available in Isabela. You will have the opportunity to work with students, teachers, government workers, and community members. You will have the choice between formal or applied teaching opportunities, including assisting classroom English teachers with classroom management, lesson planning, and leading activities; Working with International Baccalaureate students completing their degree requirements in English as a second language; Teaching job related language skills to naturalist guides, English teachers, and biodiversity protection officers in their work setting; and helping to design and run continuing education programs for community members to practice conversational English.

Sample itinerary

Your day will begin with breakfast from 7:00 to 8:00 am, work will take place from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm each work day, followed by lunch from 1:30-3:00 pm, then free time to enjoy the area before an early dinner. Our country director and a staff of three do the training, and onboarding. Everything is within walking distance, and bicycles are provided for those who want to use them. You will be walking or cycling to our headquarters every day.

This is a two-week program.

Accommodation

As a volunteer you will have the option to stay at our volunteer house, or with a host family. In both cases you will have a private bedroom and bathroom with a fan or air conditioning, hot water, dresser, desk and chair, and potable water. In our volunteer house you will share apartment-style living spaces including a kitchen for breakfast, living room, and porch, hot water and AC. In our 3/2 and 2/2 apartments you will have a private bathroom in most cases, or share the bath with max one other person. There are up to 6 people in one volunteer house or homestay, either way is same cost. Staying in a host family, you will have the chance to learn how local people live, try local dishes, and practice or learn some Spanish. This unique opportunity facilitates the interchange of culture, language and tradition with the aim to provide a memorable experience and deepened understanding for both parties. Often deep and long-lasting relationships evolve.

This is a two-week program.

Meals

You will organize your own breakfast in our fully equipped kitchens. Both lunch and dinner are provided at your choice f 12 specified restaurants in town. At conclusion of your meal, you sign, and we pick up the bill at the end of the stay. If staying at a homestay, your host family will provide lunch and dinner daily.

Leisure/Culture activities

Your coordination team will provide you with a list of culture and leisure activities you can do in your free time, such as beach time, surfing, nature hikes, sunset watching, cycling, practice Spanish, getting to know the locals. Cabo Rosa Tunnels, kayak in Tintoreras, rapel in Los Trillizos volcano, scuba dive at Tortuga islet, Concha Perla, Sierra Negra Volcano, sulfer mines, marshlands, Poza de los flamencos and more!

Cost: $1,650 per week

Cost covers meals described, accommodation, work permits, local coordination and training, local transport, access to all our facilities, medical insurance. You will be required to pay a $100 entry fee to Galápagos in cash at the airport.

Arranging your airfare

Guayaquil is the standard gateway

Fly from Quito to Guayaquil to Baltra Airport (Santa Cruz) or to San Cristobal Airport. After that, get to Isabela Island by either:

  1. Inter-island flights to Isla Isabela: Two airlines operate between the islands from Santa Cruz or San Cristobal to Isabela Island: Emetebe and FlyGalápagos
  2. Inter-island ferries to Isabela Island: If you want to go to from San Cristobal to Isabela on an inter-island boar, also called ferries, you will have to take 2 speedboats. First, one that goes to Santa Cruz and then you’ll wait for the ferry that goes to Isabela.
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