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Conservation Work in Galapagos Featured

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Location:  Galapagos, Ecuador
Type of Assignment:  Conservation and sustainability
Project Duration:  Minimum 2 Weeks
Activities:  Conservation work at the biological reserve.


The Organization

How is the Organization involved with the community?

The project promotes biological conservation through scientific research, technical training, educational programs, community development, sustainable natural resource management, and the direct protection of forest ecosystems.

Activities are divided into several areas such as:

  • Conservation of the biological and cultural diversity.
  • Development of biological research.
  • Teaching appropriate agricultural methods to the indigenous communities in Ecuador (outreach).
  • Management of natural resources.
  • Promoting the use of non-timber products.
  • Development of models of reforestation.
  • Management and community welfare.
  • Promoting environmental education.

Background to the project and its aims?

The highland forests of the populated Islands in the Galapagos chain have been greatly altered due to the introduction of exotic and invasive species of animals and plants. Highland conservation, development and poverty issues have been severely neglected by conservation, development and government agencies. As a result of the lack of fruit and vegetable production on the Galapagos Islands, boats from the Ecuadorian mainland unload fruits and vegetables to hotels, restaurants, and markets on a daily basis. Quarantine regulations are consistently ignored and at least two exotic and/or invasive plant or faunal species enter the islands each day.

The local population, lacking most governmental services and suffering high unemployment levels, is almost completely excluded from working in and benefiting from the tourism industry; tour operators do nearly all their business from their boats, ignoring business possibilities with local Galapagueños.

What are the daily volunteer activities in the project?

Volunteers will work on both the habitat restoration and agricultural components while at the reserve. Foundation staff will lead volunteers on various destination hikes to a nearby lagoon, native forests, beaches, and local villages to explain the ecological and human dynamic of Galapagos. Opportunities to work on group research and monitoring projects are available.

The volunteer activities are organized on a weekly basis and have emphasis in certain areas of interest. A typical week for a volunteer consists of the following activities:

  • Day 1: reforestation with native and endemic species in the reserve and in local farms (collecting seeds, classifying seeds, nursery work, out planting within the reserve or nearby reserve, help maintain reforestation lines, etc.)
  • Day 2: environmental education with local people and schools.
  • Day 3: station maintenance (trail maintenance, sign elaboration for trails, basic construction activities, help clean fresh water supply, help in kitchen, etc.)
  • Day 4: organic agricultural activities and vegetable production (help maintain and secure food production for the station).
  • Day 5: guided hike throughout reserve and/or nearby related areas (learn about biodiversity themes, natural history, & ecology.)

Program Details

Quick facts about the trip:

Project duration:  Minimum 2 weeks
Project Location:  Galapagos, Ecuador
Airport of arrival:  Quito (UIO)
Activities:  Conservation work at the biological reserve.
Working hours: Monday to Friday, 7-8 hours a day.
Requirements:  Volunteers must be in good physical condition. Certificate of the following vaccines: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever.

What's included:

 Accommodation:  The project station has two houses with 11 bedrooms, as well as resting areas. Separate from the houses you have the dining and the kitchen. The accommodations are rustic, with room for groups of up to 35 people. The reserve has electricity, but there is no internet or telephone access.
The accommodation in Quito upon arrival is also included the first night before travelling to the project location. It will be at a host family and includes three meals, laundry service, and internet access.
 Meals:  3 meals per day 7 days a week.
 Airport pickup: Included when arriving in Quito as well as transportation to host family house. In San Cristobal Island (Galapagos), the pickup is not included in the program fee.
The project Station is located 45 minutes from the airport, and the truck charges USD 20 divided by the number of people that take the truck.
Pre-departure Orientation and Onsite Training::  Volunteers receive a comprehensive workshop on being a volunteer in the project, safety and security in the destination country, culture shock, and pre-departure preparations.
Support::  24/7 during your volunteering time.

What's not included:

Flights, visas, insurance.
Flight from Quito to Isla Baltra on the Galapagos Islands(range US$400-$550).
Entrance fee into the Galapagos National Park (US$ 100) and INGALA fee (US$ 10).
Other optional activities not included in program fee:

  • Spanish lessons (USD 8/hr for a one on one class, USD 5 in a group).
  • Visit to indigenous Amazon communities.
  • City tours and trips to surrounding areas.


Program Duration Cost (USD)
2 weeks 992.00
4 weeks 1,579.00
6 weeks 2,064.00
8 weeks 2,545.00
10 weeks 3,023.00
12 weeks 3,509.00
16 weeks 4,468.00
20 weeks 5,432.00
Additional weeks 358.00 per week

All Registration Fees are included in the prices above.