IOI - Empowering Galapagos

Galapagos Giant Tortoise Breeding Center Assistant

Galapagos, Ecuador show on map

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 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

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, and thus, 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, visas, local coordination and training at respective facility, local transport, full access to our facilities, etc.—everything minus personal expenses 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 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.  


Details on Arrival

Arrival days are Mondays

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.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
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) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level) and Spanish (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
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

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
50+

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if IOI - Empowering Galapagos cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by IOI - Empowering Galapagos.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
IOI - Empowering Galapagos (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by IOI - Empowering Galapagos

Cost includes food, full room and board, permits, visas, local coordination and training at respective facility, local transport, full access to our facilities, etc.—everything minus personal expenses 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. 

Bedroom (Single)
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?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. 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.
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)
3 weeks (min. stay)
$1,700.00
4 weeks
$2,000.00
5 weeks
$2,300.00
6 weeks
$2,600.00
7 weeks
$2,900.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$4,400.00
Average fees
$467.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Galapagos/Ecuador between 3 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. IOI - Empowering Galapagos 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 {project.name} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas South America Ecuador  Galapagos, Av. Conocarpus y Pinzón Artesano

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