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Keen on living on the Galapagos Islands? 6 Volunteering opportunities

The Galapagos Islands are a destination which is considered a luxury destination. Doing a cruise or an island hopping trip here might be a costly thing to do.

But there are always ways to get to know a destination in a more affordable way and also to immerse in the culture of a country. The Galapagos Islands are mainly a destination for conservation voluntary options with a few other options available. Volunteering opportunities on the Galapagos Islands doesn’t have to be costly if you know whom to contact and you do not go through an agency.

I want to share with you some projects I came across during my stay on the Galapagos which might help you to find a suitable volunteering position.

Hacienda Esperanza

About the work:
As a volunteer on the Hacienda Esperanza you will work directly in the nursery for the national park in a farm. You will help with restoring the natural habitat of Galapagos. Work will be executed on weekdays.

Necessary skills:
You do not have any certain skills but should have an interest in conservation and learning about the local Galapagos culture. It is important to have a willingness to work hard.
Of course some knowledge in Spanish is an advantage as Jose and Eduardo do not speak much English. Nonetheless, I got to know people working on the farm who didn’t speak any Spanish.

Where to apply:
You can apply directly on their website

Price:

  • $200 per week
  • $700 per month

Payment will be made on arrival at the hacienda.

What’s included:
The price includes your accommodation in La Soledad on San Cristobal Island Galapagos which is situated in higher areas of the island, as well as three meals per day during the weekdays.

How much time do I have to stay:
You must stay at least a week.

Volunteering at Hacienda Esperanza

Volunteering at Hacienda Esperanza (Source)

Hacienda Tranquila

About the work:
When working on the Hacienda Tranquila, you work in conservation. Possible tasks include reforestation, community work and work for achieving self and community sustainability.

Have a look at their website to learn more about each of the tasks and find information on a typical day on the farm.

Necessary skills:
No skills needed but you should be able to work physically.

Where to apply:
You can apply over the website of Go overseas or contact the Hacienda directly on their website.

Price:

  • Application fee: $80
  • 2 weeks: $350
  • 4 weeks: $600
  • Additional week: $150

What’s included:
Accommodation and food is included in the price.

How much time do I have to stay:
You must stay at least 2 weeks

Hacienda Jatun Sacha

About the work:
You work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week. Type of work includes mainly the reconstruction of natural habitats and farming.

Jatun Sacha also offers different volunteering programmes in other parts of Ecuador.

Necessary skills:
As in most projects, you don’t require certain skills but must have an interest in conservation, biodiversity, ecology and nature.

Where to apply:
Have a look at their website and write an application. The application should contain information on you experience in conservation activities, reasons for applying and your desired participation dates.

Price:

  • Application fee: 67$
  • 2 weeks: $541
  • 3 weeks: $784
  • 4 weeks: $1021 etc.

What’s included:
With Jatun Sacha you take part in an orientation meeting in Quito, receive three meals a day and accommodation. The farm is pretty far away from the island’s capital Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. A lot of people volunteering here, go to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno during the weekends. This accommodation as well as getting down to the port is not included in the price.

How much time do I have to stay:
You must stay at least 2 weeks.

Volunteering at Jatun Sacha

Volunteering at Jatun Sacha (Source)

Workaway/HelpX

About the work:
Workaway and Help X offer different kind of jobs. The most important sector of the Galapagos Islands is tourism, so the easiest way to get a voluntary job is probably in a hotel or tourism operator.

Workaway and HelpX tend to be booked out for months ahead, so in case you know you want to go to the Galapagos Islands apply on Workaway some time ahead.

Necessary skills:
You should be able to speak some Spanish if you want to work in the tourism sector. English is a must and other languages are a huge advantage for you as you can help more clients.
And of course if you already have experience in the tourism sector that’s a great plus as well but definitely not necessary.

Where to apply:
For Workaway and HelpX opportunities, look at their websites and apply directly there. Your application will be forwarded to the corresponding person.

Price:

  • Registration Workaway: 23€ per single person/ 30€ per couple for a two years membership
  • Registration HelpX: 20€ for a two years membership

What’s included:
That completely depends on the project. Read the description on the website and ask questions if you have doubts. Sometimes it includes accommodation and all your food. Sometimes it only includes accommodation.

How much time do I have to stay:
That again depends on the project but in general, you might have to stay at least a month as you have to learn what to do and it doesn’t make any sense to show it to you and then you’re already leaving again.

Generally speaking the longer you can stay, the easier you’ll find a job.

Projects Abroad

That’s by far the most expensive option you can choose to volunteer on the Galapagos Islands. Nonetheless, I want to present this option to you as apparently a lot of people use it. During my stay on the San Cristobal there were always about 30 volunteers helping at Project Abroad.

About the work:
You can choose among projects in conservation (but I’d recommend you to simply choose one of the Haciendas above as it’s a lot cheaper), Teaching English, dance, theatre, music, arts or sports in the school.

Necessary skills:
There are no special skills are required.

Where to apply:
Apply on the website of Projects abroad.

Price:
Prices for Project Abroad start from $2,215.

What’s included:
You live in a host family and get food and accommodation for free. You’ll get picked up from the airport. Your insurance on the island is included as well as an orientation and 24/7 support.

Apart from the project fee, you have to pay for flights and visas yourself.

How much time do I have to stay:
You must stay at least 2 weeks but most people even stay 3 months.

Care volunteer work Projects Abroad

Care volunteer work (Source)

Speculative applications

As Workaway and HelpX opportunities are limited, you could try to write speculative applications to find a suitable volunteer position on one of the islands.

Type of work:
That’s totally depending on your skills and desires. You can write applications for everything you’d like to do. Nonetheless, the main industry of the Galapagos Islands is tourism.

Necessary skills:
As mentioned above in the Workaway/Help X paragraph, speaking Spanish is a huge advantage and English is a must when working in tourism. Depending on the job you’re applying to there might exist additional required skills.

Where and how to apply:
If you write a speculative application, find out the e-mail address, at best the name of the boss of the company and write an e-mail including information on:

  • How you found the company
  • Why you want to work for them
  • Why are you suitable for the job

And don’t forget to include your CV.

Price:
This is by far the cheapest option as you do not have to pay any intermediation fees. Prices for flights from the Ecuadorian mainland to the Galapagos Islands vary from $400 to $550.

What’s included:
Make sure to clarify what is included beforehand and get a small contract which lists what you are supposed to do, your working hours as well as what you receive as an exchange of your work.

How much time do I have to stay?
Again, the longer you can stay the easier it is to find a job. It is unlikely you find something for only two weeks.

Further Reading

Here are some further posts which might be very helpful for you if you visit the Galapagos Islands:

3 thoughts on “Keen on living on the Galapagos Islands? 6 Volunteering opportunities

  1. Pingback: 2.5 months on the Galapagos - The video

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