Galapagos

  • Volunteer in Galapagos doing hands on conservation in the most incredible setting
  • Volunteer to teach English in primary and secondary schools
  • Work with young children in a kindergarten
  • Sports coaching project ideal for a gap year student
  • A unique experience awaits on these remarkable islands

Volunteer in Galapagos. The place that time forgot. An island adventure that allows you to get close to nature while living among a welcoming island community.

The Galapagos comprises an amazing archipelago of 13 main islands, six smaller islands and many further islets, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Some 25,000 humans inhabit five of the islands (San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana and Baltra) and 97% of the islands’ total area is designated as National Park.

Galapagos volunteer

Animals and plants once migrated across the sea. Over the course of time they adapted themselves to Galapagos conditions and came to differ from their ancestors on the mainland. Many of them are found nowhere else in the world.

Remarkably, there are no predators on the Galapagos Islands, so the animals are fearless. This makes close encounters with them a daily occurrence. Charles Darwin recognised this in 1835 and his observations played a substantial part in his formulation of the paper Origin of the Species. The Galapagos have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The convergence of three major oceanic currents brings an incredible mix of marine life to Galapagos. They offer some of the most interesting places in the world for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. Visitors can expect to swim with sea lions, turtles, penguins and sharks, walk among nests of frigate birds and blue-footed Boobies, and study both marine and land-based iguanas up close.

Yet the impression you get as a hosted tourist is deceptive. Most of the locals still live with very basic facilities and low income. The significant income generated from tourism does not trickle down to the majority of island residents. According to the 2010 census, just over half the population of Galapagos (52%) is in poverty, compared to about 60% on the Ecuadorian mainland.

We offer Galapagos volunteer opportunities in the three islands of San Christobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz. Volunteers can help teach English, a priority for the islanders as they try and break the cycle poverty. Volunteers can work with young children in the kindergartens or help coach sport in the secondary school.

For those interested in nature and conservation, volunteering in Galapagos is a dream come true, with projects reliant on international volunteers to help preserve the local flora and fauna.

Galapagos is a remarkable destination suitable for students, under 18s, gap year volunteers, nature enthusiasts and those wanting to volunteer as part of a holiday.

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    Country
    co-ordinator

    Julio



    Julio is a qualified teacher working in one of the schools Outreach International supports and he coordinates our volunteer activities on a particular island. Julio lived and trained in Guayaquil before moving to Galapagos 10 years ago.

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    Country
    co-ordinator

    Paulina Ratti



    Paulina qualified as special needs teacher and language therapist from the University of Guayaquil. She has lived in San Cristobal on the Galapagos all her life and has been supporting our volunteers since 2006. She is a well known island character, recognised locally for her brightly painted wall murals. She lives with her husband in Baquerizo, the town on San Cristobal.

  • Monika Outreach Coordinator in Ecuador

    Country
    co-ordinator

    Monika Montes



    Monika is superbly connected throughout Ecuador and has been working with Outreach International since 2003. She lives with her two teenage children in central Quito and plays host to many of our volunteers who work in the city. Monika’s passion for volunteering is reflected in her commitment and level of support that she provides. She speaks fluent English and is a qualified Spanish tutor.

Volunteer gallery

Things to see and do

Language

The national language is Spanish. English is not spoken widely, although businesses and tourist areas will have some English speakers. Volunteers benefit from speaking Spanish and we offer intensive language lessons as part of a volunteer placement.

Visa

Volunteers can use a 90 day tourist visa available on entry to Ecuador. For those staying over 90 days, for volunteering or for personal travel, an extended visa will be required in advance of your travel, available from your local consulate. Note that Galapagos has additional entry permit fees that apply.

Currency

The currency for Ecuador is the US dollar. You may see some ‘local’ versions of US dollar coinage locally, but this is all legal currency. Credit cards can be used in major centres on the mainland, but outside of the cities and on Galapagos the use of cards may be very limited.

Be Aware

As a small island community Galapagos is virtually free of crime and offers a welcome respite to the normal concerns of international travel. The major concerns are to take precautions from the sun/heat, and always be aware of your surroundings - with the islands having few distinctive features, it is well known for even veteran travellers to get lost too easily.