Summer Volunteer Program in the Galapagos (Ecuador)

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Program Highlight!

A full spectrum of Chinese adventure awaits, as complex as the country itself. Hike the Great Wall of China and experience Mandarin immersion and language classes on our China: Mandarin Service Adventure program!


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

Questions & Answers


based on 22 reviews
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
  • Program Selection 9.3
  • Pre-departure Help 8.7
  • In-program Support 9.3
  • Impact on Student 8.7
  • Value 9.3
Showing 16 - 22 of 22
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The adventure of a lifetime!

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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One of the Most Influential Trips of My Life

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
Yes, I recommend this program
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If You Like Man-Eating Spiders...

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.

No, I don't recommend this program
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this trip was the most amazing experience of my life!

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ecuador and the Galapagos

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Best Experience Ever

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Volunteer to preserve the environment in Galapagos!

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!

Yes, I recommend this program

About Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

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...