Volunteering in Galapagos allows you to get close to nature while living in a small welcoming island community.
The Galapagos is an amazing archipelago of 13 main islands 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Some 25,000 people inhabit five islands (San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana and Baltra) and 97% of the islands’ total area is designated as National Park. It has UNESCO world heritage status for the unique species of birds and animals that have adapted to life on the islands.
Our volunteer opportunities in the Galapagos are in three islands of San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz.
Sadly 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. Breaking the cycle of poverty is a priority. Volunteers can help teach English, help coach sport in the secondary school, or volunteers can work with young children in the kindergartens.
For those interested in nature and conservation, volunteering in Galapagos is a dream come true. The conservation projects are reliant on international volunteers to help preserve the unique flora and fauna made famous in Charles Darwin’s the Origin of Species. The animals have no natural predators so close encounters with them are common.
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.
Galapagos Islanders live a refreshingly simple life. As a volunteer on Galapagos with Outreach International you will be hosted in a local family stay, live as an islander, get insight into the joys and challenges of island life and contribute to the future of this special location.
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.
See all of our Galapagos Volunteer projects that you can participate in.
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.
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 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.
My fondest memory will be just being in such a beautiful place surrounded by so many amazing people, my family, other volunteers, tourists and locals! To be honest there are too many amazing memories to recount!Teaching in Galapagos
The islands have different characteristics due to their location in the ocean currents (resulting in different temperatures and foodstuffs) and their topography. Take your time to visit different islands and experience the full variety of wildlife.
The abundance of wildlife means you have a unique opportunity to swim with a diverse range of marine wildlife; from turtles to sharks, and from penguins to great shoals of tropical fish. Whether with a tank on your back or just with a snorkel and mask, the Galapagos are one of the best locations for swimming with nature.
All the 3 main islands have beaches, some large some small, but all with a unique charm and with wildlife close at hand. For a special treat on San Christobel, take a swim with sea lions off the beach before breakfast.
Darwin’s paper ‘Origin of the Species’ remains the foundation of the theory of evolution. Visit the Darwin centre on Santa Cruz to get up to date on the research and conservation activities continuing on Galapagos.