from 1,683€

Excellent 4.8rating (34)

Assistant in a Giant Tortoise Breeding Center

location
2 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Excellent 4.8  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate

Highlights

  • Work eye-to-eye with endangered Galapagos Tortoises by becoming a member of the research and zookeeping staff.
  • Take responsibility for taking care of and measuring the shells of tortoises.
  • Work directly with the public to educate tourists about giant tortoises.
  • Spend 2-12 weeks living and volunteering in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

About the program

Work with national park staff in tortoise care, from new babies to adults. Work with public education of visitors to the Breeding Center.

Role Overview

Since the discovery of the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises have been exploited by almost every group of people who have visited (whalers, pirates, and scientists), as well as the people who live there.  Between 100,000 to 200,000 giant tortoises were removed and killed in two ...

About the program

Role Overview

Since the discovery of the Galapagos Islands, giant tortoises have been exploited by almost every group of people who have visited (whalers, pirates, and scientists), as well as the people who live there.  Between 100,000 to 200,000 giant tortoises were removed and killed in two centuries.  From hunting, to habitat alteration, to the current biggest threat - the introduction of animals now acting as predators and competitors, the giant tortoise population was almost wiped out on Isabela Island.  The Giant Tortoise Breeding Center was started in 1990 in attempts to recuperate the giant tortoise population through its program of breeding, care, and reintroduction to the wild, as well as through education programs for tourists and local people.  These reptiles, emblematic of the Galapagos, are imperative to the unique Galapagos ecosystem.  The Breeding Center depends on volunteers to work with caretakers, experts, and educators to repopulate this species.

As the Galapagos Tortoise Center conservation volunteer, you will work with staff the Galapagos National Park at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island. You will work primarily outdoors in the shaded tortoise enclosures.  This will include:

  • Feeding and caring for the tortoises, as well as maintaining their enclosure.
  • Assisting the zoo keepers.
  • Working directly with the public to educate tourists about giant tortoises and to also inform them of the rules and regulations designed to keep the tortoises safe and the habitats intact. 
  • Building New, and Improving Existing, Infrastructure: renovating a classroom for program use, maintaining, and painting the center.

  • Providing Education: local schools participate in field trips to the center, instilling stewardship for the environment in the nearly 600 K-12 children who attend school on the island; creating a junior park ranger program that promotes scientific learning while promoting a sense of ecological agency and care among young people.

Requirements:

  • Basic to intermediate level of Spanish.
  • A genuine passion for animal conservation.
  • An ability to openly communicate rules and regulations to tourists as well as follow instructions. 
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team.
  • Flexible schedule that accounts for the day to day needs of working with a local institution.
  • Physical ability to work outdoors with potentially high sun, element, and temperature exposure.
  • All equipment is provided, but make sure to bring closed-toed shoes and clothes you can get dirty
**Wasps are attracted to the plants that you will prep and feed to the giant tortoises. Those with a severe wasp allergy should reconsider this project.

Accommodation 

Accommodation is provided by one of our carefully selected host families or in our volunteer housing. In both types of housing, volunteers have their own room, a fan, bed, desk, dresser, and bathroom, as well as warm water and drinking water.  In our volunteer housing, breakfast is not included, but you have access to our fully equipped kitchen facilities to cover your needs. Lunch and dinner is provided at your choice of various restaurants in town, which are usually open-air seating with local cuisine. You simply sign for your meal and we’ll pick up the bill at the end of the month. 

Our host families have experience with outside culture and international living and provide an amazing immersion experience. All host family houses are nearby the IOI offices and the local schools in the beach town of Puerto Villamil. Homes are fairly simple, clean, and welcoming. You will have breakfast and dinner with your family. Lunch is at the above mentioned restaurants.  

We at IOI pair you with your host family, and we are available at any time to help if any issues arrive with  the restaurants, your host family, the volunteer site, if you get sick and need to visit the doctor, etc.

Participation Fee

The program fee is necessary to cover your cost of living and logistics. Our overhead is covered by other means so 100% of any funds that exceed your direct cost will go towards the project you participated in.

To book you need to pay a Reservation Deposit.
That deposit WILL BE DEDUCTED from your program fee.

What’s Included          

Cost includes food, full room and board, permits, Transient visa, local coordination and training at respective facility, local transport, full access to our facilities, etc.—everything minus personal expenses, travel insurance, and your airfare to Galápagos.



Typical day

Schedule

Schedules are based on a 25 hr/week commitment, and can voluntarily be extended to a regular 40hr/work week. Typically Monday-Friday 7:30AM-12:30PM.  May be subject to change depending on the tasks at hand.

After breakfast with your homestay family or in our volunteer housing, you will start ...

Typical day

Schedule

Schedules are based on a 25 hr/week commitment, and can voluntarily be extended to a regular 40hr/work week. Typically Monday-Friday 7:30AM-12:30PM.  May be subject to change depending on the tasks at hand.

After breakfast with your homestay family or in our volunteer housing, you will start the morning at 7:30, cleaning the tortoise enclosures and feeding the many tortoises at the center.  Work directly with park staff to learn about tortoise care, help in the incubation and hatching center, and interface with visitors to the center.  

You will finish work around 12:30 and may have lunch in one of the restaurants we partner with - you choose where you want to go, sign in, and at the end of the month, we pick up the tab.  Enjoy local cuisine and spend the afternoon exploring, adventuring or relaxing on the beach. There are always things to do in the afternoon and evening, from playing volleyball or soccer, to learning to cook local recipes with your host family (if you choose to stay with one), to watching the sunset from the beach.  



Free-time activities

On Galapagos you can live a Pacific Island life. This means you can choose between a lot of free time activities including surfing, soccer, beach volley, etc.

Free-time activities

On Galapagos you can live a Pacific Island life. This means you can choose between a lot of free time activities including surfing, soccer, beach volley, etc.


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (intermediate level) or Spanish (basic level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

Requirements: - Basic to intermediate level of Spanish. - A genuine passion for animal conservation. - An ability to openly communicate rules and regulations to tourists as well as follow instructions. - Ability to work independently as well as in a team. - Flexible schedule that accounts for the day to day needs of working with a local institution. Physical ability to work outdoors with potentially high sun, element, and temperature exposure.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:30 - 12:30

What's Included

What's Included

Services by IOI - Empowering Galapagos

Cost includes food, full room and board, permits, Transient visa, local coordination and training at respective facility, local transport, full access to our facilities, etc.—everything minus personal expenses, travel insurance, and your airfare to Galápagos.

The program fee is necessary to cover your cost of living and logistics. Our overhead is covered by other means, and thus, 100% of any funds that exceed your direct cost will go towards the project you participated in.

Accommodation

Accommodation is provided by one of our carefully selected host families or in our volunteer housing. All our rooms have a private Bathroom, warm water, a fan, a bed, and a desk/dresser. Many of the host family housing include A/C. 

Food & Beverages

In our volunteer housing, breakfast is not included, but you have access to our fully equipped kitchen facilities to cover your needs. Lunch and dinner is provided at your choice of various restaurants in town. You simply sign for your meal and we’ll pick up the bill at the end of the month. 

Our host families have experience with outside culture and international living and provide an amazing immersion experience. You will have breakfast and dinner with your family. Lunch is at the above mentioned restaurants.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Airport Pickup at Baltra Airport

An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Baltra Airport (GPS) in Galapagos Islands. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

Arrivals are on Mondays and departures are on Saturdays or Sundays. Project staff will pick you up and drop you off on these days. Please ensure this works with your travel plans.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 1,683€
3 weeks 2,178€
4 weeks 2,673€
5 weeks 3,168€
6 weeks 3,663€
7 weeks 4,158€
12 weeks (max. stay) 6,633€
Average fees 697€/week

Program fees

697€ per week 2 - 12 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

2 - 12 weeks

Deposit

The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.


Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with IOI - Empowering Galapagos during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

IOI - Empowering Galapagos

Excellent 4.8 rating (34 reviews)

Non-profit

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by

Monique

Spoken languages: English, Spanish

About the project

We empower isolated communities to grow in a sustainable way. To that end, we run projects in Conservation, Education, and Social Development.

Meet your organization

Who we are
IOI is a non-profit organization that designs educational adventures to empower isolated communities to grow in a sustainable way. We strive to help establish ecological sustainability and social stability in our host communities. As such, our mission is to provide international education programs that support the education, conservation, and social development of isolated communities by assisting local institutions in sustainably handling the human-environmental intersection. 


What we do

  • We develop and implement our outreach projects with local institutions to ensure their sustainable implementation. Our projects address pressing conservation, education, and social development needs. Our partners include the Galapagos National Park, the Biodiversity Protection Agency, the local school system, and the provincial government.
  • We provide volunteer opportunities in conservation, education, and social development, providing our participants with life changing experiences, and our local partners with funding, expertise, and (wo)man power on site.
  • We immersive study abroad programs in which students spend up to 3 months studying the local environment and learn the local culture. All our programs are based on cultural integration and service learning.

Where we work
We work in the community of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island in
the Galapagos, Ecuador. Our 5k beach is right across the street and the Volcano Sierra Negra is basically in our backyard. From Marine to Mountain, snorkeling to camping, nature is at our doorstep!

Our history
Since embarking on our journey in 2006, IOI has evolved into a mature and recognized organization with an innovative design of merging educational travel with conservation and community development. We began in Galapagos and, after 10 years of experience, have expanded to Cuba and Costa Rica.

Vision and Mission
We Empower Isolated Communities to Grow in a Sustainable Way. It is our Vision to help establish ecological sustainability and social stability in our host communities.  Our mission is to provide international education programs that support the education, conservation, and social development of isolated communities by assisting local institutions in sustainably handling the human-environmental intersection.

Who are we looking for
We are looking for adventurous volunteers ready to travel to remote parts of the world to make an impact on conservation and education projects. Our volunteers should be flexible, understanding, and respectful of the local cultural context. Depending on the position, we ask that our volunteers are physically able to work outside, sometimes in extreme weather conditions (think the tropics!) and be able to work on a team and individually.

Why choose us..

  • It's a unique opportunity to gain insight and firsthand experience in the the world of hands-on conservation and environmental management
  • All of our locations are unique and have exceptional beauty and biodiversity.
  • Our sites are slow lane kinds of places. If you need a break, this is your ideal escape.
  • You will learn Spanish and immerse yourself in the community--you'll finish your time volunteering feeling like a local!

34 reviews · rating4.8

I stayed 3weeks on Isabella volunteering in the tortoise centre. Volunteering and visiting the Galapagos Islands were both on my bucket list so not only a lifetime achievement for me but I'm happy to say I loved every minute of it. Mornings are spent at the tortoise centre - learning and working ...
I would recommend this volunteer experience because you get to know the Galapagos and specially Isabela, in a whole different way and meet lovely people while doing so. Howere, for that you get thud insanely expensive so you must consider that you want to spend that ...
Isabela is the place one looks for but seldom finds! It' s unspoilt by mass tourism. Working in the giant tortoise center was very rewarding. We worked hard in the mornings as the pens need to be raked, the troughs cleaned and filled with fresh water, the beasts were fed - and their appetite knows ...
My 3 weeks of this volunteer project were amazing. All the people are very kind. My family was amazing, they took me as a new familymember and they did great activities with me. Also the other volunteers, the people from IOI and from the breeding centre were very nice. I made a lot of unforgettable ...
Rosetta Justina Nardoianni rating5

2023 at Assistant in a Giant Tortoise Breeding Center

Very warm welcome from IOI Volunter. First day, city tour of Isabela Island where I was shown the different restaurants approved with IOI and where I could take my meals with a card with my name and photo. The meals were all delicious. First day of work described by the manager of the Breeding ...
I would recommend this volunteer experience with Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI) because you will feel fulfilled by the work you do and you get to visit these beautiful islands with support, so you don't feel ...

Location

Americas > South America > Ecuador > Galapagos

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Contact Monique
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English, Spanish

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