• Ecuador
    • Galapagos
1 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Year Round
Guesthouse Host Family
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30)
Travel Type
Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
What’s Included?
Cost includes full room and board, permits, Transient visa, local coordination and training at respective facility, local transport, full access to our facilities, National Park certificates, etc. — everything minus personal expenses, travel insurance, and your airfare to Galapagos.

Where does the money go?
100% of your contribution is used to sustain your volunteer project, 0% is used to sustain the organization’s overhead.

*To safeguard our host local community, staff and other participants, IOI requires all participants to be fully vaccinated within the past 12 months. If by your project start date it will have been 12 months since your full-scheme vaccination, you will need to show proof of a COVID booster.*
What's Included
Accommodation Airport Transfers Equipment Meals Visa Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Travel Insurance
Apr 08, 2022
Feb 20, 2022
38 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI) is located on Isabela Island, in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Founded in 2006, IOI’s vision is to help establish an ecologically sustainable and socially stable local economy in the Galapagos by supporting education, conservation and social development. We have made some incredibly positive and impactful contributions to the local community and we are able to continue doing so with the help and support of volunteers that want to make a real difference.

At IOI Galapagos we have 6 different volunteer positions available:

1. Ecotourism Volunteer (Galapagos National Park)
2. Community English Education Volunteer
3. Giant Tortoise Breeding Center Volunteer
4. Turtle Nest Monitoring Volunteer
5. Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer
6. Social Media Volunteer

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Galapagos Islands.
  • Conservation.
  • Service Learning.
  • Full immersion.
  • Cultural knowledge.

Popular Programs

Adding soil to a raised garden bed

The farms of Isabela Island are starting work in greenhouses to optimize production year-round in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. The highland town of Tomás de Berlanga is about 10 miles uphill from the coastal part of town, on the side of Volcano Sierra Negra, the highlands are fertile, lush lands with rich volcanic soil - perfect for agriculture! Volunteers will learn local techniques for sustainable tropical agriculture and will help to create food sovereignty.

Teaching in the Classroom

As the Community English Education Volunteer, you will have the opportunity to work with students, teachers, government workers, and community members. In this program you will have the choice between formal and applied teaching opportunities.

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Program Reviews

9.75 Rating
based on 12 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 12 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great time with Turtle nest monitoring / Eco Tourism

I spent one week in the Turtle Nest Monitoring team and one week in the Ecotourisn Team. For me it was a perfect mix of both activities. I felt very welcomed from the first second on, I was blessed with a wonderful caring family and I don’t want to miss this great time on Isabela Island. You can feel and see that IOI really cares about nature and the community, to be a part of this was a great experience. The mix of working, spending the time with your family, have time to explore nature by yourself or with other volunteers was so much fun and overwhelming. I hope I can stay in contact with many of them. Even if I immediately learned that my Spanish was very rusted, I am more than happy I have chosen to stay with a local family - people and so caring, openminded, friendly and thankful! There are so many things you can do - from snorkeling to biking, diving, hiking…. You will love this beautiful landscape.

What was your funniest moment?
The first moment I met my family and learned that they don’t speak one single word in English. I asked myself why I am doing this, but we laughed so much and really had a great time, you will learn so much things - one of it is that you can communicate even with no great Spanish skills, it will work!
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience

I spent 3 weeks on the Tortoise Breeding Centre programme ran by IOI a few weeks ago. The experience was amazing. It was so much fun working with the Giant Tortoises everyday, you really got to know some of them and learn their characters. The working day was 8am - 12 which meant we had the entire afternoon to snorkel, relax on the beach, surf or just stroll around. I have to mention the accomodation is beautiful too :)
All in all I would throughly recommend this programme. I booked through Working Aborad and they were also amazing. I will definitely be back.

26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Once-in-a-lifetime Experience

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 a far cry from our usual jobs in the city, and felt a little bit like being a zoo keeper; feeding the tortoises, clearing the enclosures, cleaning the ponds, supporting park staff with daily tasks and more.

What a privilege to contribute to the conservation of these endangered species - every day we felt like our work was valuable, and I loved sharing my newly-acquired tortoise knowledge with visitors to the park.

We were close to nature the whole time, seeing flamingos, marine iguanas and mangroves on our walk to and from work, then working every morning next to the giant tortoises. In the afternoons we were free to enjoy Isabela island, from hiking the volcano to surfing the beaches and snorkelling offshore. Highly recommended.

What would you improve about this program?
An improvement for IOI could be more education for the volunteers (currently any education you acquire about the Galapagos wildlife is self-led), a little more on-the-ground organisation, especially when you first arrive.
23 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Turtle Walk Program Review

Not really sure the impact my 3 weeks in the turtle walk program made and feel like I could have stayed in the Galapagos for less money, but without hesitation I give this program a 10/10 and highly recommend to anyone wanting to be more than just a tourist. Walking a beautiful beach every morning / afternoon with purpose is a wonderful feeling. With IOI you are instantly plugged into a local and volunteer community and can see first hand the value of all the different programs, which are efforts I gladly support. I deeply miss the splendor of this island and applaud the efforts of IOI!

What would you improve about this program?
Some additional pre-program reading material with a more in depth description of the nature and value of the work would have been useful.
Having some bicycles for the volunteers would have been a nice touch as well.
27 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Social Media on Galapagos

I was doing the social media volunteering on Isabela island. This included the follow-up of different activities and documenting them for online purposes. As a ioi-volunteer you are also allowed to access areas that are forbidden for the public as for instance at the breeding center, which gives you a deeper insight of the work going on there. Further, i was also able to go up to the highlands for helping there a family with coffee harvesting and stuff, which was interesting and fun to do. If you plan to stay for a longer period, then you will also need to think about own projects I guess, my time was two weeks only which was fair enough to follow up the daily activities.

29 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Working with giant tortoises is definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

It seems that dreams are there to be made. My dream was to go to the Galapagos Islands to work with giant tortoises and discover this unique and wonderful place. So I gave the means to realize my dream and left for the adventure.

During one month, I had the opportunity to feed the tortoises at the breeding center, to see the birth of baby tortoises and even to measure them. Despite the prejudices about the slow speed of the turtles, taking care of giant tortoises is not that easy but always brings great moments and memories. Moreover the way to take to go to work is already an amazing experience as I met everyday about 15 flamingos, many marine iguanas and other lizards or birds on my 30 minutes walk.

I really enjoyed my free afternoons to visit the islands, to go on excursions around the island and to simply relax on the beach. This a very good rhythm that allowed me to discover a new culture and a new place while gaining professional experience in a wonderful environment.

The staff was great, always ready to help me. Living in a host family was a very nice experience as well to learn more about their culture and improve my Spanish skills. Working with giant tortoises is definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I once ate an avocado icecream. I actually wouldn't recommend it but it's always funny to try new things!
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I was able to volunteer for six weeks through IOI at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, and it was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. IOI was extremely supportive and helpful leading up to my arrival and made every effort to ensure I had the best experience possible. Transitioning into life on Isabela was a breeze with the help of IOI and the welcoming community, and I was so sad to leave. Working with the giant tortoises was an adventure every single day, and I was able to work alongside the staff in taking care of the tortoises and collecting data for the National Park. The things I learned through this program translated so well into my university classes upon returning home, but the hands on experiences enhanced my education far more than my university lectures ever could. The staff at the breeding center were so knowledgeable and such amazing people to work with every day. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to anyone, and I hope I will have the opportunity to return in the future!

25 people found this review helpful.
Response from Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI)

Delaney, thank you for the wonderful review. We're elated to hear you had such a good time, learned a lot, and want to come back. When you do, we got a 20% discount waiting for you (and all other returning volunteers and students) - hopefully soon!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Island Adventures

Volunteering at the hospital on Isabela Island in the Galapagos was one of the more enriching and rewarding experiences I've had. I was welcomed by the hospital staff and given many opportunities to help and observe the different healthcare procedures within the hospital. I felt fortunate to be trusted with many hospital tasks that I might not have had the opportunity to do back in the States. I gained valuable experiences in healthcare fields abroad and also learned a lot about community health by being immersed in such a small island population. I had an amazing time on Isabela and made livelong friends in the most beautiful and adventurous location possible. The Galapagos Islands gives you a sense of fearlessness that allows you to enjoy each day for what it is and grab all opportunities laid out for you. By volunteering through IOI I was able to enjoy this feeling and gained memories that I hope will stay with me for a lifetime.

25 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers