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Conservation Volunteer - Galapagos (Local Flight Included)

Conservation Volunteer - Galapagos (Local Flight Included)

From {{totalPrice}} EUR Extra expenses at the destination
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?
From 1748 EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?
Duration
22 days
Starts in
San Cristobal
Ends in
San Cristobal
Group size
It is possible that there are periods where volunteers work alone as this is a unique destination and we cannot guarantee that other volunteers will be around during your stay.
Galapagos has a unique, but fragile eco-system that faces many challenges like the spreading of invasive plant species that destroy the local habitat. Different conservation initiatives require both hands-on work and assisting in long-term research projects that support our main goal of restoring and maintaining a balance between nature and human activities.
As a volunteer you get to contribute in many ways. The tasks vary from helping to control and eliminate invasive plants to collecting plastic at the beaches and recording research identifications in the laboratory. In addition, volunteers can assist with environmental awareness workshops and courses in the local schools to educate the children and youth.

Volunteer Activities
The daily activities depend on the planning of the coordinators, but usually include:

Controlling invasive species
Reforestation work with endemic plants
Planting seeds in the nursery
Water management projects
Maintaining organic gardens and supporting local farmers
Beach cleaning
Assisting at Galapaguera (tortoise breeding center)
Environmental education at the local schools and library

Since we work with various entities and authorities, volunteers should be flexible and open-minded towards new tasks and activities. The more work you put into the project, the more rewarding it is! Show initiative, work independently and don’t be afraid of working hard. They need all the help you can give them.
Itinerary

Conservation Volunteer - Galapagos (Local Flight Included)

About Your Location

San Cristobal is the fifth largest island in the archipelago of the Galapagos and has the second largest population. This small island is separated from the main island by a narrow stretch of rough waters. There is a trail where marine iguanas (lava lizards) are often seen. Blue-footed boobies nest (in season) upon its rocky shores, while sea lions rest and play.

All the projects are located on San Cristobal island. The schools, library as well as volunteer accommodation are located within Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the provincial capital on the southwest point of the island. The projects in the highlands are located within a 20-30 minute drive from the town.

Controlling Invasive Species

Volunteers receive an introduction on how invasive species on the island are controlled. The most common ones are blackberry, guayaba, and supirosa. They cover extensive areas of the islands and represent a real threat to the native and endemic flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. They are found throughout privately-owned lands and the National Park area. With your help we work to control invasive species in the area of El Socavon and collaborate on projects and research for methods of permanent eradication.

Activities
Eliminating invasive plants
Reforestation using endemic plants
Creating new trails
Helping in the gardens
Assisting with small ecological constructions for example building a composting toilet
Helping at the Galapagos Park Greenhouse

Beach Cleaning

In the ocean, plastic pollution threatens all kind of wildlife species including sea turtles, whales, and other animals. In fact, scientists estimate that more than half of the world’s sea turtles and nearly every seabird on Earth have eaten plastic in their lifetime. Help us to remove plastic from the beaches and surroundings and be part of the conservation of our oceans and animals. All plastic collected is classified in order to be analysed within a research project to determine where it comes from and what type of plastic it is.

La Galapaguera - Giant Tortoise Centre

This is a semi natural enclosed area where the purpose is to maintain and increase the population of the San Cristobal species of Galapagos tortoises. It is about 1415 square meters. Eggs that are found around the national park and also within this natural enclosed habitat are moved to the incubator (which is a small building at Galapaguera) and after hatching, the tortoises remain in enclosures to protect them from natural enemies until they are around 6-7 years old and no longer have natural enemies. At this time they are either released within the enclosed area to different parts of the island to naturally repopulate.

Activities
Feeding and cleaning
Trail maintenance
Weighing/measuring tortoises when necessary

Environmental Education

Even though people on the Galapagos reside in a unique place in the world, and conservation is a major concern for the Galapagos National Park, environmental education and awareness is not being prioritised within the educational system. That is why we support local schools as well as do training, organise workshops, events and summer courses to educate children and youngsters for the awareness of their impact on the fragile eco-system. Volunteers can assist with running educational activities in form of art, photography, sports, music and dance and also help out in the local library.

Organic Farm

Finca Mandinga is the only farm on the island that manages a production system using the farm's resources to maximise soil fertility and biological activity and, at the same time, to minimise the use of non-renewable resources by not using synthetic pesticides. Through this approach they protect the environment and human health. As a volunteer you will learn how to maintain an agro-ecological model, how to use different tools on the field and learn about the sustainable design of the farm. Products of the farm include coffee, oranges, limes, grapefruits, lemons, papayas, carrots, lettuce, arugula, kale, tomatoes, bananas, cassava and different typical products of the area.

Activities
Preparation of organic compost
Weeding
Coffee planting and harvesting
Preparing land and trees for orchard planting

Weekly Schedule & Activities

Working hours are Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 12:00.

Typical Weekly Schedule
Monday: Control of invasive species
Tuesday: Library Casa de la Cultura
Wednesday: Control of invasive species
Thursday: Help on the farm Finca Mandinga
Friday: Beach cleaning

Please note that the work at this project is mostly physical, and the weather can vary greatly but it is often hot and humid. We try to keep the weekly schedule as diverse as possible so the flexible schedule of activities varies in relation to the weekly needs and requirements of the projects including additions such as events and workshops. All work is part of a larger project plan which will be documented and explained to you by your coordinator.

If you want to contribute even more to the project, you can share your ideas with the volunteer coordinator of the project - volunteer initiatives are always highly appreciated! It will make your time as a volunteer even more worthwhile both for the project and your own personal growth.

Evenings & Weekends

Afternoons and weekends are free. On the weekends you have enough time to explore the Galapagos Islands that with its wonderful flora and fauna are a dream for many travellers! Spend your freetime at the beach, snorkel with sea lions, turtles and rays, learn how to dive, go mountain biking in the highlands, take Spanish lessons, visit the different islands or take a cruise around the archipelago (all activities at an additional cost that is paid locally). Ask our coordinators for tips on what to do!

Public Holidays

The project is closed on the following public holidays:

2019
24-26 Dec

2020
22-25 Feb
10-12 Apr
1-3 & 25 May
10 Aug
9-11 Oct
2-3 Nov
24-25 Dec

Local Flights

Your return flights between Quito and the Galapagos are included in the price.

Mandatory Volunteer Requirements

Minimum age of 18
Police Clearance Certificate
Color copy of passport
All foreigners entering Ecuador are obliged to have a valid health insurance
Basic English
Basic Spanish is an advantage, but not required

Volunteer Introduction Week in Quito

If you have the time, we highly recommend starting with an Introduction Week in Quito so you will go well prepared to your project. This first week gives you an idea about life in Ecuador, shows highlights of the city and its surroundings, includes 20 hours of Spanish Group lessons, an in-depth volunteer preparation including language specifics, and other fun elements such as a private salsa lesson, a city tour, and visit to the Equator.

Saturday: Airport transfer and accommodation in Student House in Quito
Sunday: Free day
Monday: 4 hours of Spanish classes. Afternoon homework time. Welcome cocktail in the afternoon.
Tuesday: 4 hours of Spanish classes. Afternoon homework time. 1 hour of private Salsa classes in the afternoon.
Wednesday: 4 hours of Spanish classes. 2 hours of practical volunteer introduction with Spanish terminology according to the project chosen.
Thursday: 4 hours of Spanish classes (eg. market visit, museum visit, etc.) to use the Spanish language in a practical situation. Afternoon homework time.
Friday: 4 hours of Spanish classes. 2-hour city tour through the Old Town of Quito with a Spanish teacher.
Saturday: All-day tour to Cotopaxi
Sunday: Start of volunteer program

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.

Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.

How Long Should I Volunteer?

Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities. Every volunteer will be given a certificate of appreciation at the end of their stay as a symbol of volunteering stay.
Summary

What’s included?

Activities

We organise free activities during your volunteer project so people get to know each other, including:

Picnic in the highlands
Cooking class
Conservation classes with the coordinators
Identification of marine species, birds and plants of the island
Free use of snorkel equipment to enjoy the underwater marine life of Galapagos

Accommodation

Accommodation in Quito
The first night's (arrival day Saturday) accommodation in Quito is in a shared twin or triple room or in a private room at the volunteer house, which is located in the lively neighbourhood La Mariscal surrounded by restaurants and bars. The house has a spacious living room with a TV, DVD and a comfy sofa, a big table to eat with all your housemates and a great kitchen that is fully equipped for you to cook your meals. You will also be staying at the volunteer house if you choose to participate in the Intro Week in Quito.

Accommodation in San Cristobal
Our volunteer house is located in Divino Niño neighbourhood, a 5-minute walk from the beach. The house has space for 7 volunteers in total divided into two shared bedrooms. The first floor has a room with capacity for 4 people and has two bunk beds. On the second floor there is another room with 3 beds.

The volunteer house has a shared bathroom, an equipped kitchen, living/dining room, and a small rock garden. Free WiFi is available throughout the volunteer house. Sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, towels and cleaning services are included. There is no air-conditioning but we have fans.

If you would like a single or double private room you will stay in a nice hostel which is 5 minutes walking distance from the volunteer house. Here you will be in a private twin room with en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning. There is hot water most of the time. There is a shared well-equipped kitchen where you will be able to cook your own meals and a common area where you can eat or chill or do homework. There is also a terrace where you can relax and watch the sun set. Bed linen and towels are included, as is the cleaning services several times a week.

Local transport

Arrival with Intro Week
Arrival transfer from Quito airport to your accommodation is included with Intro Week, if you choose that option.

Getting to the Project
Our Galapagos project costs include the return flight from Quito to Galapagos.
When you arrive at Quito airport you will have to pay your $20 INGALA card.
Once you arrive in San Cristobal, you will first have to pay your National Park Entrance Fee. Please go to the line of foreign visitors and pay USD $100.00 (not included). Please take into account that this amount can only be paid cash.
On arrival in the Galapagos, a driver will be holding a sign with your name on it and drive you to your accommodation, the volunteer house. There one of the coordinators will meet you for an introduction meeting.
Local transportation to and from project sites is included when they are not in walking distance.

Flight Back to Quito
The return flight to Quito from the Galapagos is on Saturday. Do not book any onward international flights until Sunday.

Meals

Meals are not included in the program but there is a small kitchen in the volunteer house and a slightly larger kitchen in the hostel, there are also lots of great restaurants and cafes nearby. On the Galapagos almost all items are more expensive than the mainland, and as you will be cooking for yourself, it would be wise to do some advance shopping in Quito for products such as:

Rice/pasta
Canned products
Any sweets or savoury products you might like
Cereals
Packaged and vacuum sealed cheese and meat products

While shopping, please take into account that you are not allowed to take fruits, vegetables, meat, seeds, etc. You can purchase fruit and vegetables at the local market or shops. Remember to check your baggage allowance before you start shopping for the essentials.

Please be aware

Climate
The climate in the Galapagos is hot most of the year. The weather can change, however, it is often quite hot and sunny. June to December is the cool, cloudy dry season, and December to June the warm, sunny rainy season.

What to Bring
Obligatory Items:
Rubber boots (if you leave your boots at the project at the end of your stay, they are donated to the local community)
Gardening gloves
Insect repellent
Sunscreen

Recommended Items:
Comfortable shoes, sandals, T-shirts, short & long sleeved shirts, warm jacket, shorts, swimwear, bath & beach towel
Toiletries
Rain gear
First-aid kit
Reusable water bottle
Snorkel equipment (we have masks and tubes available free of charge)

Visa Requirements
When you arrive in Ecuador you will get a T-3 visa stamp, which will allow you to be 90 days within the country. Do you plan on staying longer than 90 days? Check with your local Ecuadorian embassy which is the best visa for you and what are the current requirements. Take this into account when buying your ticket, as the airline may refuse you to board the plane if your flight leaves after 90 days and you do not have a visa.

Vaccinations
Remember to check the required and recommended vaccinations. Do not forget to bring your original yellow fever certificate and vaccinations booklet as it may be checked on border crossings.

Money Matters
In Ecuador we use US dollars and the easiest way to get them is an ATM. If you want to bring dollars in cash, make sure to get small notes with the highest denomination being $20. Not many stores accept $50 or $100 notes.

Donations
If volunteers would like to bring donations to the project, please let us know. We will get in touch with the project to see what is most needed at that moment. Don’t give donations directly to the project without consulting the coordinator.

Conservation Volunteer - Galapagos (Local Flight Included)

Price from {{totalPrice}} EUR
Flight tickets are not included. Our travel advisors will gladly help you find the cheapest flights. The price above is based on 2 adults traveling together.
What's included?