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South America Inside

Conservation on the Galapagos Islands

San Cristobal Island, Ecuador

Help to restore habitats and native species, eradicate invasive plants and give environmental education to children and adults.

The project

The project is located on the Galapagos Islands and its dedicated to the conservation of local habitats, flora and fauna. The islands are home to 500 native and endemic plant species. You can enjoy some beautiful weeks on the Galapagos Islands thanks to this project.

50 hectare of native vegetation, that is the Biological Station in the highlands of the San Cristobal Island. The only project on the islands that combines environmental, community and social support, all for a better sustainability of the islands. Farming activities and the introduction of invasive plants and animals from the mainland limited the native highland forests.

The Biological Station was founded on San Cristobal Island in 2005. Since its opening, the station's field lodging and plant nursery have been constructed. The founders have also steadily worked towards the goal of reforestation through habitat re-composition and agro-forestry activities. One of the main objectives of this station is to develop methodological practices for natural system reconstruction that will serve as a model for similar projects in other reserves.

Volunteers have begun reforestation work, replacing exotic, invasive plants with native species. Furthermore, volunteers collaborate with local organizations in Hippo therapy to promote environmental conservation among young children from the island as well as motivate community members to plant local, rather than introduced, vegetation. Plans include the construction of a native plant corridor from the dry forest portion of the lowland reserve to the moist forest located in the highlands.

Your tasks at the project

Contribute to the conservation of local habitats, flora and fauna and make a difference in the environment and community. This project allows you to spend a few weeks on the beautiful Galapagos Islands while volunteering.

Your volunteer work will have a positive impact on the local communities, battle invasive species, and you help adapt to the changing environment and its challenges. You work in reforestation and you help to replace exotic, invasive plants with native species.

Furthermore, volunteers collaborate with organizations such as the Instituto Nacional del Niño y la Familia (INFA), or the National Child and Family Institute, to promote environmental conservation amongst young children from the island, as well as to motivate community members to plant local plants rather than introduced vegetation.

On a daily basis you will have to do the following tasks: eliminate introduced/invasive species, restore native and endemic species, assist in community projects, and work in organic agricultural projects.

Climate

Average of 25° C (77° F) year round. Rainy season from January to May. Remaining months of the year only very little rain.

Recommended packing list

  • Sun protection
  • sturdy shoes and sandals
  • towels and bathing suit
  • snorkeling mask (if possible)
  • garden gloves
  • rubber boots and rain gear
  • mosquito repellent
  • reusable water bottle

Please note

There are no special vaccinations required, but be sure to check in with your doctor for additional advice. If you are interested in joining this program with your family, please keep in mind that the youngest family member should be at least 14 years old.

Typical day

Nature takes over when working in a place such as this, so you will get up early each morning to start work and usually have a break in the middle of the day to relax and recuperate, before continuing with the work in the afternoon. Volunteers should be prepared to work Monday through Friday from around 8:30 am to 12:00 pm, and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm (schedule subject to changes). Daily work could include any of the following: eliminating introduced/invasive species, restoring native and endemic species, assisting in community projects, and working in organic agricultural projects.

In addition, the project mentors children from INFA, the National Child and Family Institute, working with them in the Hippo therapy program, gardening, environmental education, and fieldtrips to the Biological Station. Hippo therapy, often known as equine-assisted therapy, is a type of physical therapy using a horse to address functional limitations, impairments, and disabilities in individuals with neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction. 

With the movement of the horse, an individual is able to passively experience the motion, which is believed to help simulate and stimulate human movement. The therapy’s primary purpose is to develop balance, body awareness, and muscle tone by responding and interacting submissively to the horse’s movement. The hippo therapy program works with disabled children from the local community on Galapagos Islands.

The days are long and hard, so volunteers should be prepared for hot and physical, yet rewarding, work. Volunteers are free to explore the port town and discover the island’s many tourist attractions in the evenings after work and on the weekends.

Details on Arrival

This program starts on any day of the week and you can enroll at any time, with at least 4 weeks' notice.

Free-time activities

After a long day of hard work, evenings are quiet and volunteers usually spend them lounging in hammocks, chatting, listening to music, writing or reading. In your free time you can also go swimming, hiking and play sports. It's possible to do diving and snorkeling.

The local volunteer coordinators are always available for assistance and guidance for the volunteer projects and spare time activities. There are times when there are only two or three other volunteers, while on other occasions there are large groups, so be prepared for the variety of people that you will meet and work with.


Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Hiking
Museum/Opera
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

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). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (basic level) and English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
There are no special skills requiered but be aware that the work is physically demanding.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at South America Inside are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by South America Inside.
Services by South America Inside

  • Consultation of our experienced staff
  • Translation of application documents
  • Placement in Volunteer Work Project
  • Orientation session on arrival
  • Orientation kit
  • Local support
  • 24h-Emergency Number
  • Accommodation in Volunteer House (dormitory)
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival on San Cristobal Island
  • Advisery concerning adequate travel insurance
  • Flight booking service (optional and for free)
  • Certificate of participation
Please note
Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own toiletries and towels, as well as food and drinks. One advantage of living on the station is the abundance of fresh fruit, milk and coffee from the surrounding areas. It is however necessary to purchase purified drinking water. The nearest town, El Progreso, is a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute taxi ride. The port town of Baquerizo Moreno is 20 minutes away in taxi. In both towns, you have access to the internet and the opportunity to make international phone calls.

Airport Pickup at San Cristobal Airport

A member of the staff from the project will come to pick you up at the airport in San Cristobal and take you to the project.

Accommodation

You live and work at the volunteer house at the station. A full-equipped kitchen, bathroom and showers with hot water are available. In each bedroom there is space for up to four volunteers. The beds have sheets and mosquito nets. Cleaning and maintenance supplies are provided for the up keep of the house. 

Dorm Room
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is San Cristobal Airport (SCY) in San Cristobal. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador.
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.
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$650.00
3 weeks
$840.00
4 weeks
$1,030.00
5 weeks
$1,220.00
6 weeks (max. stay)
$1,410.00
Average fees
$280.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in San Cristobal Island/Ecuador between 2 weeks and 6 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. South America Inside will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Ecuador.
Deposit (15%)
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 (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with South America Inside during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Americas South America Ecuador San Cristobal Island, Galapagos
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