Summer Volunteer Program in the Galapagos (Ecuador)
97% Rating
(19 Reviews)

Summer Volunteer Program in the Galapagos (Ecuador)

Come experience one of the most pristine natural environments where conservationists are working to protect this unique ecosystem.

Program Highlights
- Volunteer to restore the habitat of native Galapagos wildlife
- Snorkel with sea lions, turtles and blue-footed boobies nearby
- Wander the cobblestone streets of colonial Quito

Locations
South America » Ecuador » Galapagos
South America » Ecuador
Length
1-2 Weeks
Timeframe
Summer
Language
English
Starting Price
$2,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Includes: All meals and purified water, Lodging in GLA Home-Base, All excursions and activities, 24-hour emergency hotline, Airport Transportation, Local Transportation, Pre-departure Orientation, Travel, medical and evacuation insurance, Phone call home upon arrival.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Growth
    95%
  • Support
    95%
  • Fun
    92%
  • Housing
    93%
  • Safety
    97%

Program Reviews (19)

Default avatar
Ella
Female
15 years old
St,Paul Minnesota
Other

GLA Galapagos

10/10

This summer I spent two weeks with amazing staff, students, and guides on the beautiful islands that are the Galapagos. This experience was my first time traveling alone, and i have to say it couldn't have been better. Everyday we would do community service work, with purpose and pride, just like the staff had taught us. We also got to experience the culture and beautify of these islands though many fun activities like hiking, snorkeling, beach walks, spending time in the town, and more. The staff had extensive knowledge and were more than willing to answer questions, goof around, and participate with students. Future participants be aware, you will come back changed. Seeing one of the last places on earth that is virtually untouched will change you, it changed me. To see how elegant nature is without human interaction has made me want to fight even more to protect it. I cam home wondering what more I could do, and swear of the impact my everyday actions have. This trip will change you, and 100% of that is for the better.

How can this program be improved?

It's far too short. I would love to spend even more time with these amazing people in such an amazing place.

Default avatar
Kate
Female
New York
Other

Global Leadership Adventures: Galapagos

10/10

I travelled to Ecuador and the Galapagos in 2016 with Global Leadership Adventures, and truly had the most memorable time. I was incredibly nervous to embark on the journey to South America without my family, but ultimately it was the best decision. My group of 20 students immediately clicked, and we became like family within days. The mentors were so knowledgeable, and always willing to help us out in any way we needed. Our in-country experts (tour guides, naturalists etc.) were such genuine people, always eager to answer our many questions and teach us more about their beloved country. Some of my favorite memories from my trip include: summiting the Sierra Negra volcano on a 14 mile hike (8 long, hours), snorkeling right next to baby (and adult) sea lions, cooking authentic Ecuadorian foods and spending long nights sharing stories and playing games in the hammocks at our homebase. I also really enjoyed the fact that I was able to practice my Spanish skills, everyday! I absolutely adore Spanish class in school now, because it always reminds me of the amazing experiences I had while traveling with GLA! I loved my trip so much that I travelled with GLA again to Bali this past summer, on their Land of Discovery program! Don't have enough great things to say about their organization.

How can this program be improved?

Make it longer! While 2 weeks was perfect for my first trip, I only wished I could have stayed there for more time!

Default avatar
Dawn
Female
48 years old
Wisconsin, United States
Newman University

From Fear and Trepidation to Relief and Satisfaction

10/10

It was with great anxiety that we sent our daughter last summer (2016) on her Global Leadership Adventures trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands for the Preserving Nature's Wonders program. But it was soon apparent that it was the very best decision we could have made for her! Communication was immediate and sufficient throughout the trip. We were able to speak with our daughter on several occasions, most importantly when they first arrived safely in Ecuador. The excitement and pure joy we could hear in her voice was music to our ears and the enjoyment the group was having was evident in the daily updated blogs the program provided. But we still were not prepared for the incredible transformation we witnesses when we picked her up from the airport. The shy, quiet 16 year old we had dropped off just two weeks prior, was now confident and full of self-esteem! And oh how happy she was! The only sadness felt was that she had to say good-bye to the friends she had made and have come to mean so much to her. It has now been nearly a year since she had this incredible experience and she is still in daily contact with many of these new friends. I am so proud of the service work she completed on this trip and how it has changed her into a thoughtful, thinking young person who truly has compassion for the world around her.

How can this program be improved?

As a parent, the only thing I can think of to improve upon this program would be more frequent communication through the blogs. However I do understand how busy the days and nights are on a trip such as this and realize that the updates can sometimes be difficult. It was exiting to get the new blog updates, but also reasurring that all was well with our daughter!

Default avatar
Maggie
Female
17 years old
Wisconsin, United States
Other

Truly the Experience of a Lifetime

10/10

I was fortunate enough to travel to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands though Global Leadership Adventures on the "Preserving Natures Wonders" trip during the summer of 2016. This program was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was unique in that I was able to surround myself in one of the worlds most special ecosystems as I snorkeled with sea lions, sea turtles and many tropical fish, saw countless crabs and iguanas, and was able to meet the Galapagos tortoises up close. What made these experiences with the animals and nature of the Galapagos even more impactful, was the fact that I was able to volunteer and help the land I was visiting. On this program everyone was very kind and I am still friends with many of the other kids that I met to this day. Our mentors were very helpful and made sure that everyone felt and was kept safe throughout the trip. Post program, I was impacted mostly by the friendships I had made and the knowledge that I now had regarding conservation and the importance of it. Some useful tips that I have are to bring snacks along if you have any dietary restrictions. I am vegan and the program was very accommodating so I didn't miss out on many of the delicious foods that they served, but bringing along snacks was very helpful. Another tip is to bring a camera along and to keep a journal because there are so many memories that will be made on a trip like this, and since many activities are packed into one day, it is easy to lose some of them. I took many pictures and journaled every day so now I have something to look back on.

How can this program be improved?

I honestly cannot think of many things that I would change about this program. It really was a good experience for me, traveling went smoothly, my group was great, and we all had tons of fun in our two weeks.

Default avatar
Patti
Female
52 years old
Princeton
University of Pennsylvania

Parent Review

10/10

I sent my two daughters on Global Leadership Adventure's "Preserving Nature's Wonders" trip last summer, and I could not have had a better experience with them. I was a little nervous about the idea of sending my two young girls out of the country without either parent, but GLA eased all my worries. From the very start, we had helpful staff keeping us updated on the necessary preparations for our trip. GLA made the entire process really easy and helped me feel better about the trip. My girls were safe the whole time, and they had incredible mentors with them on the trip. They both came home with a new outlook on the world, and I know GLA has truly changed their lives. I highly recommend this program to any parent and teenager looking to volunteer abroad.

Default avatar
Serena
Female
17 years old
CT
Other

Galapagos 2016

10/10

My experience with Global Leadership Adventures has been one I'll remember forever. The program that I was a part of (Galapagos) was very well structured. We got to kayak, snorkel, climb volcanoes, and more. We were always busy and had a great itinerary full of service and adventures. There was never a moment when we were bored. We cleared out invasive species, talked to the locals and the children, and played a ton of soccer which I made a fool of myself doing so, but it was all part of the fun!
The food was amazing and the housing conditions were rustic but an adventure. The staff was great - they were all so fun and relatable but were able to be great role models as well.
My parents were very reluctant to let me go on this trip when I proposed the idea. They had never sent one of their kids to a foreign country alone before. However, they became much more comfortable with the idea after talking to the welcoming and assuring staff who were more than happy to explain everything about the trip, from safety to fun.
I still miss this trip- one of the best experiences ever of my life. Would definitely recommend!! GLA offers such a friendly environment.

Default avatar
Thomas
Male
56 years old
Katy, TX
Texas A&M University

Galapagos 2016

10/10

Our daughter went on the GLA trip to Galapagos in July 2016. It was truly a remarkable fun-filled adventure that enriched her leadership and social skills and provided an acute awareness of our fragile environment. Snorkeling amongst the sea lions, turtles, climbing volcanoes and learning about exotic species such as the giant tortoise were just some of the highlights. The program attracts outstanding, intellectual students from around the globe whom our daughter still stays in touch with.

As a parent, I was particularly impressed with GLA's organization and caliper of their trip leaders. We felt safe and secure on trip arrangements and it was comforting to receive daily briefings and photos from the students.

The GLA program is second to none on their organization, adventure and mentorship.

How can this program be improved?

Shorten overland travel between sites or increase the length of the trip.

Default avatar
Rebecca
Female
19 years old
New Jersey

Life Changing Experience!

10/10

Last summer I spent two incredible weeks in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands on Global Leadership Adventure's "Preserving Nature's Wonders" trip. I went on this trip along with my sister and we both had a wonderful time. Before the trip, GLA staff helped what could've been a very stressful process run smoothly. The connected me with a program to book my flights with ease, and I had all the information I needed to prepare for my trip. Once I was in Ecuador, my mentors were both friendly and knowledgeable about the islands. I never once felt unsafe. I got the opportunity to get involved in very rewarding service all while exploring one of the most unique places on earth. I worked alongside giant tortoises and snorkeled next to sea lions and sea turtles. This is an experience unlike any other, and if you are a student who is interested in sustainability, preservation, or animals, this is the trip for you!

Response from Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Thank you for sharing your takeaways from your volunteering experience in Ecuador and the Galapagos. We're so glad you and your sister had an amazing time and made lifetime friends and memories with GLA.

Default avatar
Sarah
Female
18 years old
KATY

Best experience ever!

10/10

Last summer I went on GLA's Galapagos 2-week summer program. It was an amazing life-changing experience! I met many new friends and learned so much about the environment and what it takes to conserve our fragile earth. Through this experience, I have become more conscious about my environmental impact and how I can make a difference. I highly recommend this program to any student who is willing to go out of their comfort zone in order to expand their horizons about the world and how you can make a difference!

Default avatar
Oriana
Female
16 years old
El Paso, TX

Amazing Experience

10/10

Traveling to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Global Leadership Adventures was a truly awesome experience. The stories and memories I have from this trip are ones I will appreciate forever. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone considering volunteering abroad. I met so many great people and I learned a lot about myself. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to volunteer with GLA because it helped me learn what it is like to travel overseas and abroad for a couple of weeks, and I always felt safe.

How can this program be improved?

The only way this program could be better was if it was longer.

Default avatar
Maggie
Female
19 years old
New York City
Other

Galapagoing to have fun!!!

10/10

After going on three adventures with GLA (Guatemala, Galapagos and Costa Rica), I can say that if you’re looking for a physically challenging, rewarding and purposeful program, the Galapagos adventure is the one for you.

Galapagos was the most culturally immersive program and I got so much out of it. The local guide was very knowledgable, and I not only learned about the Galapagos Islands and their history, but also that of Ecuador as well.

At the home bases, I truly felt welcomed. Everyone always had a smile on his/her face, and it was a great start to every day. The food was amazing everywhere! We snorkeled at some pristine locations where nothing could’ve made my experience better; we were lucky enough to even see a sea turtle lay her eggs!

The service on this program was pretty tiring, yet so enjoyable that I was always motivated to keep going further than our goal. The best thing about the service was when the locals would join us and help out, demonstrating just how close a community these small islands are. When leaving the islands, I felt like I just came out of a dream. I couldn’t believe I was able to bike, kayak, hike and swim next to all of these exotic animals and gorgeous landscapes.

After the program, I definitely felt changed and more confident about myself. Many times I thought that I couldn’t handle something, but I was able to overcome my fears. I made many strong friendships with people around the world from this program, including the mentors, directors and locals, who were a big part of my experience and truly made it the adventure of a lifetime for me.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I would change about this program is the length. While GLA says “14” days, it is really “10” days when you’re actually in Quito or an island, and not traveling. I would have rather preferred 21 days, but it is what you make it and I was able to create forever lasting memories in the end!!

Default avatar
Ananya
Female
17 years old
Houston

My Experience in the Galapagos

10/10

This summer, I visited Ecuador and the Galapagos for 2 weeks with GLA. It was a truly rewarding experience- I met so many amazing people that I bonded with, and I did a lot of things (such as volunteer in a giant tortoise preserve) that I could not have done anywhere else in the world.
A highlight of my trip was swimming with sea lions. In the Galapagos, wild sea lions would approach us and swim circles around us while we were snorkeling. Even though it happened pretty frequently during our snorkeling expeditions, playing with wild sea lions never stopped being amazing.
Going through this program is a great experience, and I would recommend it to everyone. The Galapagos is beautiful and wild and completely unparalleled, and this program allows us to experience it to the fullest.

Default avatar
Sam
Male
19 years old
Connecticut

The adventure of a lifetime!

10/10

I returned from this trip 3 days ago, and I miss it so much! It was the most amazing experience, with the most amazing people, in the most amazing place! There was a perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. We snorkeled, kayaked, hiked, explored, and of course did community service. We also had plenty of free time to read, relax on the beach, and spend time together. Meanwhile, I always felt safe and secure. The food was great, especially the fresh fruit. The mentors and guides were friendly, informative, and all around awesome! The islands themselves are out of this world! You get face to face with the wildlife, and the landscape is amazing. The lodges we stayed at are run by local families, and they were perfect in helping us submerge ourselves with the culture. This trip was certainly out of my comfort zone, but it was worth it! I'm a different person now, and I would completely recommend the Galapagos trip, as well as any other GLA trip.

How can this program be improved?

A longer trip! It flew by, and it was so hard saying goodbye to everyone at the end of the 2 weeks.

Default avatar
Gillian
Female
19 years old
New Jersey

One of the Most Influential Trips of My Life

10/10

This trip is fantastic to say the least. I have gone on two GLA trips, one in the Galapagos and the other in Thailand. My first trip was the Galapagos when I was 14 years old. The trip was amazing. The staff makes sure to keep you active and interested at all times. We had the opportunity to interact with the people in the area, living in a local family's home, playing soccer with a local girls team, and our amazing local staff. Our local staff had a vast knowledge of the area and could answer every single question we had about almost anything. The living situations were a little tight and rustic, yet that is what one should expect in order to get the full experience of the Galapagos. From snorkeling to hiking to soccer to mule riding to deserted beaches the fun was endless. GLA made sure we were always safe and we were able to always call our parents and email them whenever we needed to. I completely recommend this program for anyone who likes nature and isnt scared of a couple of bugs.

How can this program be improved?

Note: if you are scared of bugs, the Galapagos in general is not a recommended destination

Default avatar
allie
Female
19 years old
Boston, Ma

If You Like Man-Eating Spiders...

6/10

If you like man-eating spiders, this trip is the place for you! Don't get me wrong, the galapagos is one of the most beautiful place in the world, i loved the the animals! but GLA made my experience more miserable then it had to be. Going to equador, you have to go with the mind set that you will NOT under any circumstances stay in a somewhat nice place, but i did not know it was going to be THIS bad. our first night on the galapagos was on san cristobal and the accomodations were the most horrific and discusting thing i have ever seen. the floor was just rocky concrete, and 6 people to a TINY room. there were no sheets, and only one person could move between the broken bunkbeds at a time. there were "ventilation systems" which were spaces between the tin roof and rotting walls, which the GIANT spiders would crawl in. there were only 3 DISCUSTING bathrooms to share between the kids, concealers, guides, and the family that lived there. the people who we stayed with did not take care of there dogs and did not feed them at all. i had to sneak my food into zip log bags to keep the dogs alive. (if you do go, please make sure to feed the dogs!). and mud EVERYWHERE!!! Also, when we were supposed to be painting schools and taking care of the turtles (like they advertised) we had to walk 2 miles up a muddy hill to help a farmer get rid of his plants. they gave us machetes and cutting down the things were fun, but then we had to build a path of rocks, shoveling the rocks into potato sacks, and carrying them up the mile long mountain on our backs. also, the kids were not nice but that cannot be helped and can change with every trip. during the boat ride between islands we got DRENCHED since it was going so fast and the back was open. it was a 2 hour ride. we had to push our suitcases to the front so not all of our stuff would get wet. the guides were FANTASTIC!!! it is a really beautiful place, but until GLA fixes their program, i would not recomend it.

Default avatar
Alexa
Female
19 years old
Pittsburgh, PA

this trip was the most amazing experience of my life!

10/10

I went to the Galapagos for two and in this period of time GLA did an amazing job of providing education, service, adventure, and self-growth. Everything we did on the trip was absolutely amazing. Some of my favorite memories include painting a school for the children, snokeling a the famous breath-taking spot called Kicker Rock where we swam with sharks, fish, rays, and sea lions, and visiting the tortoise breeding center. One thing I am most grateful for is that I made so many strong friendships with kids all of the US that I still maintain months later. GLA successfully helped me develop into a more independent, confident, mature, educated young adult and I have no regrets or complaints about my trip!

Default avatar
Eselland
Female
19 years old
Mass

Ecuador and the Galapagos

9/10

This trip honestly made my summer last year, so much so that all my friends from the group and I talk about going back someday, or at least getting together again. The trip was just what I wanted, exploration of the Galapagos Islands and worlding to maintain a stable environment for the wildlife and people. As an added bonus, every night the 15 or so kids on my trip would gather around either hammocks or chairs, depending on where we were that night, and talk about the day, the rest of the trip, or our lives back home.
The day was never boring, though most of the time extra busy, but in the end I wouldn't change anything about the day to day activities. It wasn't your typical taking photos of the animals, you were embraced by the people and the culture, expecially during the homestay. The animals were, of course, amazing to look at, and what made it better was that at the end of the service days we could see the progress we had done that we knew would directly aid the wildlife.
I've already gotten one of my friends to go this year, and I just hope she has as amazing of an experience as I did. The friends I made are true, and we all joined together to experience something amazing. Whether it was playing soccer with the locals, dancing on the beach, or climbing up a volcano, I would go back and do it all again if I could.

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing it would be shorter boat rides from island to island. 2 of said boat rides were 4 hours long, even though we were going at incredible speeds. It's just an incredible distance to cover. Anyone who is prone to seasickness should bring some dramamine! I took that on the 2nd ride, fell asleep, and was perfectly fine.

Default avatar
ajmaster77
Male
19 years old
Chicago, IL
Other

Best Experience Ever

10/10

I had never traveled outside of the United States prior to going to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Global Leadership Adventures. The experience was great! GLA really takes care of its students before going to the country and once you are there. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of nature and sustainability I had not seen before. The meals were great and able to accommodate any dietary needs. You are not only able to do community service but also travel around the islands and experience the true natural beauty of some of the most pristine islands left on the planet. Sign up today!

Default avatar
eghuntress
Female
19 years old
Rochester, NY
Other

Volunteer to preserve the environment in Galapagos!

10/10

GLA Galapagos is literally the best thing I've ever done. The community service is so great--probably my favorite part of the trip. It's such an incredible feeling to accomplish so much with just your hands. Most of the work we did was removing invasive plant species such as blackberry and elephant grass from a mountaintop to restore it's native state and ability to sustain wildlife. The family we were helping out was so inspiring as well--their work is actually so innovative and progressive that they've now been recognized and supported by the national park! Of course, after a long morning of work, the beach hopping, horseback riding, kayaking and more make the trip pretty great too. The price is pretty high but don't be turned away by it! I raised all the money for tuition and airfare--it's possible and SO worthwhile! Sign up today!

About The Provider

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With a history and heritage in global education, Global Leadership Adventures packs our itineraries with leadership development, volunteering and the delight of taking learning off the beaten path. Our unique program design produces what many students call a life-changing experience, not just a spring break

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