The Galapagos Islands are an outstanding area of scientific interest made
famous through Charles Darwin and his theories on the evolution of species. They are a
magnificent and remote archipelago situated 600 miles from the mainland of Ecuador. Not surprisingly, volunteering in the Galapagos is a popular
destination for our career break and gap year volunteers.
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
18,000 humans inhabit five of the islands (San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela,
Floreana and Baltra) and 97% of the islands' total area is designated as
Animals and plants once somehow 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
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 theory of evolution. The Galapagos have been declared
a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. They offer some of the most interesting places
in the world for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Tourists pay a park entry fee in addition to an inflated price for a boat
cruise to the different islands. Most of this money, however, is kept by the
private tour operators and the islanders rarely benefit. Most of them are
dependent on fishing and farming. They often struggle to make ends meet.