Conservation in the Galapagos
Conservation is the key word in The Galapagos. As naturally beautiful as they are, the islands have suffered from the introduction of plants such as blackberry bushes, guava trees and elephant grass which now choke the natural environment, threaten the local birds and make it impossible for the giant tortoises to live in the wild.
The Galapagos Islands belong to Ecuador in South America. You will be located on San Cristobal island. These two brothers and their family want to clear their hill top land of all the invasive species and reintroduce the native plants such as scalesia and otoy, opening it up for eco-tourism and restoring it to its natural habitat so that the giant tortoises can again live there and thrive off the natural habitat.
Spend your first week in Quito in the mainland at the Spanish School
We recommend that all our volunteers spend their first week in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, on the mainland and attend the Spanish School where they will have one-to-one Spanish lessons with native teachers. This will help get your Spanish up to speed and prepare you for your placement. All the volunteers stay with Spanish speaking families and practise their Spanish at home so this is a wonderful opportunity to really develop your conversation skills as well as volunteering in an interesting project. Whilst in Quito, there are many interesting sights to take in providing you with a wonderful opportunity to see more of Ecuador.
What you will be doing
The work suits volunteers who are physically fit, love nature, enjoy a challenge and want to make a difference.
The walk from the Volunteer Bunk House up the stoney pathway to the hill top setting is challenging yet breathtakingly beautiful. Volunteers normally work from 7am to 1pm and spend the afternoons exploring or relaxing in a hammock.
The location is quiet and rural but there are some opportunities to mix with the locals. Nearby is a community centre in the old school where you can socialise, play volleyball, football and have a BBQ mostly at the weekends. Don’t forget to ask to be taken to the local house which opens up as a bar with TV and pool in the evenings!
This is a total immersion project where your Spanish language skills will help you integrate with this lovely family and rural community and make the most of your experience. Sometimes, you might need to travel by horse to the location where you will be working!!!
The work consists of:
– Clearing the land of the blackberry bushes, guava trees and elephant grasses
– Helping collect new endemic species from the National Parks nursery and plant them in the cleared areas
– Help out at the National Parks nursery with the seeds and plants
– Help out at the fruit farm
– Help clear and maintain pathways
– Help maintain the property
– Make a data base of plants and animals in the area and their importance
– Help out at the local school assisting with the teaching of English and other subjects.
– Help the groups that come to camp on the hill top location by putting up the tents and taking up the food
Why volunteer help is needed
This family do not get any financial or physical assistance from the National Parks for clearing the land and it is essential to do this in order for the native flora and fauna to survive. The cleared land is of great interest to visiting groups and tourism generally as they can see how the land should look. It will also provide the perfect sanctuary for giant tortoises from the Breeding Centres where they can live in the wild with plenty of food and live in safety from poachers.
What to do whilst there
There are many excursions such as the Leon Dormido/Kicker Rock where you can snorkel in Charles Darwin Bay and then at the rock itself where you can see sharks resting! Other attractions are El Junco Lagoon, Puerto Grande, Puerto Chino. At certain times of the year, the island is known for its excellent surfing at El Canon and Tongo Reef. Occasionally, the brothers have been known to take volunteers by horse and mule off the beaten track to a remote and inaccessible beach and even camp there!
For some background information about The Galapagos, the impact of El Nino and other important conservation information, visit The Galapagos Trust
|Prices||Whats Included||Whats not included|
|Price for 4 weeks min £1,210||Collection by taxi from Quito airport||Flights to Ecuador and the Galapagos|
|Price per extra week 150||Comprehensive orientation on arrival||Travel Insurance|
|First week's accommodation and food with Spanish speaking host family in Quito||Vaccinations|
|Spanish School lessons for first week in Quito||National Parks Entrance Fee US$100|
|3 weeks accommodation and food in Spanish speaking bunk house at placement||taxis from project down to town US$5 each way|
|24-hour in country phone contact||Spending money and local travel|
|Immigration fee to Galapagos US$10|