Hop across three beautiful and amazingly varied Islands, lend a hand with worthwhile volunteer projects, learn about the local traditions and culture, and experience life in one of Latin America’s most sought after destinations!
Week 1: Santa Cruz - Sightseeing and Conservation Volunteer Work
Not just the second largest of the Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz is also a large dormant volcano, but travellers may rest assured it hasn’t erupted for over a million years and its capital, Puerto Avora, is the most developed urban centre of the Galapagos.
Your journey will start your adventure in the quiet rural area of Santa Rosa. About a 20-minute journey from the capital, you can visit it by taxi at around US$10; in the meantime, your neighbours will be local farmers and cattle herders.
During your first week you will visit several must see destinations including the Charles Darwin Station and Breeding Centre, and set off on a trip to Tortuga Bay Beach. If your trip happens to be between March and November, you will be able to visit the Los Gemelos and Primicias ranches, where you may catch a glimpse of the Galapagos Giant Tortoise!
To round off your week, you will spend some time working with the local community in Santa Rosa. Your volunteer work will be a vital part of ensuring the Island’s continued protection through sustainable development initiatives. Conservation work will vary but areas you can get involved in may include; removal of foreign plant species reforestation, organic farming and the care of domestic animals.
Week 2: San Cristobal - Environmental, Community and Social Volunteer Work
Your second week will be spent on San Cristobal Island based at a biological station. The programme that you will be assisting with is located approximately 45 minutes away from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital city of this island or ten minutes away from El Progreso.
Consistent with past work, one of the objectives of the programme is to develop the technology to reconstruct native habitat in the highlands on San Cristobal, and to serve as a centre for similar projects in the highlands on other populated islands in the Galapagos chain. The programme has established a Plant Conservation Centre for the production of native plant species for this work.
In order to restore habitats, the reserve is dedicated to eradicate invasive species of plants in order to plant native trees and vegetation. The reserve is currently implementing a biological corridor to demonstrate the different native vegetation at different gradients of the island. In addition, the foundation works collaboratively with local landowners to develop clean agricultural alternatives for the production of vegetables and fruits to sell to local universities, restaurants, and hotels.
As a volunteer, you will be able to lend a hand with social, community and environmental projects, which will benefit the local people and wildlife. Requirements are subject to alternation according to what is needed at the time of your stay but duties may include; reforestation, restoring native and endemic species in the reserve and in local farms such as collecting and classifying seeds, assisting in the plant nursery, environmental education with local people and schools, reserve maintenance or getting involved with organic agricultural activities and vegetable production.
Week 3: Isabela
Isabela is home to a large proportion of the Galapagos’s impressive array of species, including wild tortoises, rare birds and fascinating marine life. Isabela’s formidable size and geography have given rise to several sub-species of tortoise who were unable to leave the Island, these wonderful creatures can now be found wandering slowly and peacfully throughout Alcedo, Wolf, Cerro Azul, Darwin and Sierra Negra.
Your home for the third week of your trip will be the south-eastern port village of Puerto Villamil. If you head in a south-western direction you can wander along a boardwalk that leads through mangroves and saltwater lagoons which are home to flamingos and a host of other brine hungry creatures.
The last week of your trip is yours to explore the wonders of the Galapagos, in such magnificent destination this is the ideal opportunity to make the most of the many tours and extra activities locally.
(More details of your weekly and daily itineraries be found by clicking on the Itinerary tab).
What’s Included in the Programme
- Pick up transfer on arrival
- Two nights in Quito on arrival plus breakfasts (hostel accommodation)
- Orientation in Quito
- Transfer from hostel in Quito to airport for the Galapagos flight
- All breakfasts and some lunches and dinners in Santa Cruz
- Breakfast and dinner in Isabela (minus first night)
- Shared volunteer accommodation on all Islands (see Accommodation section)
- Return flights from Quito to Santa Cruz
- Boat transfers: Santa Cruz - San Cristobal, San Cristobal - Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz - Isabela
- One night accommodation in a hostel in Quito on arrival from Galapagos
- All meals whilst staying at the biological station in San Cristobal
- Transfer from hostel in Quito to airport for return international departure
What’s Not Included in the Programme
- International flights
- Personal travel insurance
- National Parks entrance fee ($110) to enter the Galapagos
- Lunch and dinner in Quito at the first two nights hostel accommodation
- All meals during your stay in San Cristobal hostel and first night in Isabela
- Return boat transfer from Isabela to Santa Cruz (approx. $30/$35)
- Return bus transfer to Baltra airport on Santa Cruz (approx. $15)
- Tours to other protected islands, including fishing
- Any activities over and above your planned itinerary
Please Note: You will need to budget $110 to pay the park entrance fee as you pass through customs. This is required by all visitors to the islands and cannot be included in the programme cost. You will also need to budget around $30 for return transport from Isabela to Santa Cruz.
Prices and Durations
Galapagos Experience - 3 weeks £2,389