The Galapagos Islands are located some 930 km west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. They are particularly known for their immense variety of endemic species of animals and plants that could develop here due to the isolation of the islands, which remained undiscovered until 1535. Endemic species include Galapagos Tortoises, Conolophus, Marine Iguanas, Galapagos Sea Lions, Galapagos Fur Seals, Galapagos Penguins, Nesoryzomys and hundreds of species of invertebrates and birds.
Charles Darwin made his famous observations about finches on the Galapagos Islands, resulting in his groundbreaking work “On the Origin of Species”, which is the basis of today’s understanding of evolution biology. The 14 species of finch-like singing birds from the Galapagos Islands all descend from one species, but through adaptive radiation developed to distinct species, primarily differing by the shape and size of their beaks, and nutrition and singing habits.
The Galapagos Archipelago comprises of 18 main islands of various sizes, which got their names after 16th century British pirates and noblemen, but which were additionally given Spanish names in 1832, when Ecuador annexed them. They have volcanoes of heights of up to 1700 m/5600 feet.
From 1832 a colony for detainees was established on Galapagos and several farmers and fishermen from Ecuador settled on the islands. In the 1920’s and 30’s there was a small wave of immigration by European families. Today, 5 out of the 18 islands are inhabited by a total of around 50,000 people.
In 1959 the whole territory of the island was given the status of a National Park with the exception of around 2.5% of the area which was populated. In 1986, the ocean surrounding the islands was additionally declared a marine reserve; it is the world’s second largest after the Australian Great Barrier Reef.
The largest threat to the islands’ unique fauna and flora are introduced plant and animal species and uncontrolled population growth.
In Galapagos we only offer internships and volunteer placements related to environmental conservation, biology and tourism/ecotourism on the island of San Cristobal.
The airports of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (SCY) on San Cristobal and Seymore/Baltra Airport (GPS) can be reached by air daily from Quito and Guayaquil/Ecuador.
Locations in Galapagos
The Santa Cruz Island, after Isabela, is the second largest but most populated island of the Galapagos archipelago. On the 800 meter high volcanic island, there are several villages where farmers mainly live. The population is about 15,000 people. The capital of the island is Puerto Ayora and had 12,000 inhabitants, the largest city of the archipelago. There are several banks, schools, hotels, shops and entertainment. Tortuga Bay is one of the main attractions of the island for tourists. The airport of Santa Cruz is located on the adjoining northern tip of Baltra Island (Seymour Airport - GPS) with daily flights to Quito, Guayaquil and the neighboring island of San Cristobal). From Puerto Ayora there are ferries to the neighboring populated islands San Cristobal and Isabela. The airport can be reached by taking a bus from Puerto Ayora to Itabaca channel (only 400 meters wide), there is then a ferry and then you continue by bus to the airport.
In Santa Cruz, we have assignments on an organic farm in rural areas (farming, rural tourism) and Tourism Internships in the town of Puerto Ayora.
The island of San Cristobal consists of 3-4 coalesced volcanoes with a height of up to 730 meters. On it, live about 10,000 people. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Galapagos, is located on the southwest tip of the island. The city has about 7000 inhabitants, the second largest city of the Galapagos Islands to Puerto Ayora and has an airport (SCY), which is connected to Quito, Guayaquil and the neighboring island of Santa Cruz. Fishing and tourism are the main activities of the inhabitants of the city.
On San Cristobal we offer internships (National Park Service), Spanish language classes in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and placements on an organic farm in rural areas (farming, rural tourism).
Isabela is the largest island and about four times as big as Santa Cruz. The island is particularly known for its animal life. It is less populated than Santa Cruz and San Cristobal; the largest village is called Puerto Villamil and is located on the southeastern tip, opposite of Santa Cruz. With about 2200 inhabitants, it is the third largest city in the Galapagos archipelago.
The temperatures of the coastal resorts on Galapagos remain throughout the year between 19 degrees minimum and 30 degrees maximum.
Isabela is a part of our 24-days Voluntourism program (the volunteering work is found on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal).
Activities in Galapagos
Internships & Volunteering
In San Cristobal and Santa Cruz, we offer internships and volunteer work in the areas of environmental conservation, biology, ecology, geography and sustainable tourism development.
You can find the volunteering and internship options in Galápagos in the main menu above, or through the Activity Finder.
Language Training in Spanish is possible in the mainland in three locations: Quito, Puerto Quito, Puerto Lopez and also at the Galapagos.
You can find World Learner options in Ecuador in the main menu above or through the Activity Finder.
We have a 24-day Voluntourism program, in which you can do voluntary work in a kindergarten and an organic farm for a week and go for excursions around the island. You will visit the three islands of Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz.
Discover The Country
Before or after your internship or volunteer program, you can explore the Galapagos and visit natural wonders like Tortuga Bay, Las Loberías, León Dormido (Kicker Rock), Tintoreras, the Reserva El Chato, or visit the Charles Darwin visitor center. There are also beautiful beaches to relax in and enjoy water sports.