Just 600 miles west of Ecuador pop up the wonderful Galapagos Islands, formed over the last hundreds of thousands of years due to regular volcanic eruptions that continue today. Only 5 of the 50+ islands in the chain are inhabited, and each are being faced with unique challenges. The islands are quickly becoming over populated and the increased tourism is negatively affecting the islands’ natural resources.

Even before Charles Darwin, a Spanish pirate named Diego de Rivadeneira dubbed the Galapagos “Las Islas Encantadas” (the Enchanted Islands). Between the islands’ ample endemic wildlife and rare species, volcanic peaks, and gorgeous landscapes, you may find a short-term volunteer trip here is not enough!

While there are a few different options for the types of programs you can volunteer for in the Galapagos Islands, most people head that way to help in conservation efforts, as the islands’ current ecosystem is in critical need of attention. The Galapagos is one of the natural wonders of the modern world and volunteers’ work will contribute greatly to the survival of these beautiful islands.


Due to the recent severe degradation of the Galapagos wildlife, volunteers are needed to participate in conservation work; this type of volunteering can vary from replanting native species to the island to for reproduction purposes or working directly with animals, such as sea turtles and sea lions, to help maintain the population and keeping sea turtles safe, or working with sea lion conservation efforts. Volunteers would be responsible for contributing to the planting of new crops and helping with general maintenance of these biological reserves.


While volunteering in the Galapagos, you can opt to help out at a community day care or nursery center. These organizations exist to aid both disadvantaged children and their mothers, especially those who have suffered from domestic violence. Volunteers contribute in keeping the facilities in good care and helping serve meals (some of these nursery centers help over 100 people daily). Volunteers are also needed to have fun with the children and lead activities. Your efforts will make a positive impact on the lives of people for whom poverty is faced everyday.

Teaching English

Many public schools do not have the resources available to teach its students proper English. Most of these classes are multilingual, so if you are a Spanish-speaking volunteer, you will also have ample opportunity to use your language skills in the field! The Galapagos Islands’ educational facilities are very basic, and the availability of quality teachers is low. Volunteers are needed in Galapagos to work alongside local teachers in an effort to help children improve their conversation skills, and provide creative language lessons to students.

Volunteering Tips

Whether you are in the middle of a career break, at the onset of your next big move, or just feeling called to take a step away from your current life in search of more meaning, a volunteer abroad experience is a worthwhile investment of your time and energy. Most individuals walk away from their program feeling having gained new practical skills and lessons that will make them armed for life’s tougher hurdles down the road.

If you have always been enchanted by these islands and desire to know them in a deeper way than from your cruise ship deck, a volunteer abroad program in Galapagos will make a great fit for you. Tap into your inner explorer and head out into the Pacific for an adventure of a lifetime!

Health and Safety of Volunteers in the Galapagos Islands

Routine shots are recommended for all volunteers in the Galapagos Islands. Be sure to visit your doctor between 4-8 weeks before your begin your trip. While there, be mindful of the water you are consuming and avoid using tap water at all times in possible (even when brushing your teeth!) No one wants to be hugging the toilet bowl instead of enjoying the island life, after all.

Crime is not a large problem in the Galapagos, though it is always recommended to be mindful of your belongings to avoid being pickpocketed. The greater danger lies in your proximity to wildlife; be respectful of animals, especially those with their young - swimming too close to the seal colony does not bode well for bulls with their harems. Sharks are generally not a problem around the islands but always take caution.

Contributed by Megan Lee | Header photo by David Berkowitz

Volunteer Programs in the Galapagos Islands

Displaying 1 - 15 of 24 programs
Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in the Galapagos
8.92 •12 reviews

Projects Abroad has been providing volunteer placements in the...

Pacific Discovery
Pacific Discovery | Ecuador & Galapagos Summer Program
Multiple Countries
10 •4 reviews

Be prepared to fall in love with Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands on...

Discover Corps
Galapagos Islands: Family Volunteer Vacation with Discover Corps
10 •1 review

Swim with friendly sea lions, snorkel with sea turtles, watch iguanas...

Lead-Adventures Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
Volunteer Programs in Ecuador from $160
8.6 •5 reviews

Lead Adventures works with a local group of companies that, as part of...

A Broader View Volunteers Corp
Volunteer Abroad in Ecuador - 25 Social and Conservation Programs
10 •10 reviews

Ecuador may be a small country, but it has a lot to offer visitors...

Kaya Responsible Travel
Kaya Volunteer Programs in Ecuador
8 •1 review

Volunteer or intern in some of the world's most fantastic locations...

Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI)
Volunteer in the Galapagos with IOI
9.8 •10 reviews

Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI) is located on Isabela Island...

Ecuador Volunteer Foundation
ECUADOR VOLUNTEER | High Impact Programs in Ecuador
9.8 •10 reviews

Ecuador Volunteer Foundation offers high impact volunteer programs...

Global Crossroad
Volunteer in Ecuador - Lowest Fees & Trusted Since 2003
9.5 •2 reviews

From the highlands of the majestic Andes, Ecuador is calling you! Come...

Working Abroad Projects
Galapagos Community & Conservation Volunteers
9.4 •5 reviews

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a variety of environmental...

Spirit Cultural Exchange
Make a Difference - Volunteer in Ecuador
10 •4 reviews

With Spirit Cultural Exchange, you can work alongside Ecuadorians and...

VISIONS Service Adventures
VISIONS: Galapagos High School Service Program

600 miles west of mainland Ecuador, you'll find an enchanted place...

Volunteer BaseCamp
Volunteer Abroad - BaseCamp Ecuador
10 •2 reviews

Since 2003, Volunteer BaseCamp has been working with volunteers and...

The Volunteer Bay
Meaningful & Affordable Service Learning Programs in Ecuador
10 •1 review

Ecuador is definitely the best place to visit today. It's not just...

Lead-Adventures Ecuador & Galapagos Islands
LEAD Adventures | Family Volunteer Program

With this flexible option, you and your family can pick and choose...

Other Volunteer Programs in Ecuador

Not enough options in the Galapagos Islands? Check out other volunteer opportunities in Ecuador!
  • International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
    Affordable Volunteer Programs in Ecuador from $270
    9.13 •38 reviews

    Trusted by 110,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer...

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    Welcome to the scintillating country of Ecuador - the place which...

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    Ecuador may be the smallest country in South America but boy does it...

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    Amigos de las Americas - Ecuador: Santa Elena
    10 •1 review

    Venture into rural, coastal communities around the beautiful province...

  • Carpe Diem Education
    Carpe Diem Education | South America Semester: Spanish Immersion & Conservation
    Multiple Countries
    9.8 •10 reviews

    Trek to the sprawling Incan ruins at Machu Picchu and try your hand at...

  • Global Citizen Year
    Global Citizen Year - Gap Year Program Ecuador
    9.81 •21 reviews

    Global Citizen Year is a non-profit social enterprise forging a new...

  • Love Volunteers
    Make a REAL difference in Ecuador - From just US$369!
    10 •3 reviews

    Join Love Volunteers in Ecuador for the volunteer experience of a...

  • United Planet
    Volunteer Abroad in Ecuador with United Planet for 1-52 weeks
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    United Planets Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your group...

  • Global Volunteers
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    Guide, mentor, and tutor children living in poverty to give them a...

What People Are Saying

Once-in-a-lifetime experience working at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre on Isabela Island. IOI put us under the care of the Galapagos National Park, and we worked for 6 weeks at the centre. It was...

Feeding Otoi leaves to the Giant Tortoises

This is by far the best voluntary project I have ever done. It was truly the best experience because I was actively involved and could see how projects abroad help with conservation in San Cristabol...

digging holes to plant trees in San Cristabol

Visiting the Galapagos has been a lifelong dream of mine. I was traveling solo so I searched for a program that would give me some structure in an unfamiliar country but also enough freedom to explore...

sea lion population monitoring

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