Volunteer in Galapagos
Volunteer in Galapagos
The Santa Cruz Eco Ranch –
Santa Cruz Island is one of the most populous islands in the Galápagos archipelago, located in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. The Galápagos Islands are renowned for their unique biodiversity and played a significant role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Santa Cruz itself is characterized by diverse landscapes, ranging from lush highlands with dense vegetation and volcanic craters to beautiful beaches and mangrove forests along the coastline. The island is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, a vital center for scientific research and conservation efforts in the Galápagos.
Volunteers participating in programs on Santa Cruz Island have the opportunity to immerse themselves in this extraordinary environment during their free time. Here’s how they can live and explore the island:
- Accommodation: Typically, volunteers are provided with accommodations that could range from shared dormitories to volunteer houses. These accommodations are often situated amidst nature, providing an immersive experience. They might be basic but comfortable, allowing volunteers to connect with their surroundings.
- Exploration: During their free time, volunteers can explore the diverse ecosystems of Santa Cruz Island. They can visit the highlands to witness giant tortoises in their natural habitat, hike through lush forests, and relax on pristine beaches. The island offers opportunities for snorkeling and diving, allowing volunteers to discover the incredible marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even playful sea lions.
- Wildlife Observation: Santa Cruz, like the rest of the Galápagos, is home to a wide variety of unique wildlife. Volunteers can observe numerous species of birds, iguanas, and other endemic creatures in their natural habitats.
- Cultural Experiences: Volunteers can interact with the local community, gaining insights into the traditional Galápagos way of life. This might include learning about local cuisine, crafts, and traditions.
Now, as for the importance of volunteering in the conservation of giant turtles specifically in the Galápagos, there are several reasons:
- Endangered Species: Giant tortoises in the Galápagos Islands are endangered. These ancient creatures are iconic to the region and are vital to the natural balance of the ecosystem. Volunteering contributes directly to their conservation, helping to ensure the survival of this species.
- Ecosystem Engineers: Giant tortoises play a unique ecological role as “ecosystem engineers.” They shape their environment by dispersing seeds, promoting plant growth, and creating habitats for other species. Maintaining their population is crucial for the overall health of the Galápagos ecosystem.
- Education and Awareness: Volunteering in turtle conservation projects allows volunteers to participate in educational initiatives. By raising awareness about the importance of these creatures, volunteers contribute to a global understanding of the delicate balance between humans and nature.
- Scientific Research: Volunteers often assist scientists in research projects focused on giant turtles. This research provides valuable data for conservation strategies and helps in understanding the changing dynamics of the tortoise populations.
Volunteer Tasks – Santa Cruz Eco Ranch
All volunteer activities can be organized and planned before the volunteer arrives. It is important to communicate with the volunteer coordinator and director Kayla in case any ceretain type of materials need to be prepared in advance to carry out volunteer activities.
Daily work could include any of the following activities:
- welcoming tourists
- raising awareness and explaining why it is so important to preserve the domain
- water the plants
- basic construction and trail maintenance
- volunteers who are self-driven can be creative and have the flexibility to create their own activities on the ranch
- Is passionate about teaching and being creative
- Has a positive and open mind
- Able to be self sufficient and open to communicate
- Able to cook their own food (volunteers must bring their own food)
- Volunteers arrival on Sunday at the airport Baltra on the island of Santa Cruz.
- Galapagos director Jonathan will meet volunteers at their accomodation site and give a brief orientation of the Galapagos
- Work Monday to Friday (weekends are free to travel)
- Shared volunteer dorm
- Transportation from Puerto Ayora dock to accomodation site
- Kitchen (Only lunch is provided from Monday-Friday)
The volunteer in Santa Cruz Eco Ranch contribution helps hosting the volunteer in the community and goes directly towards materials needed for project activities.
- $550 per month
- $450 three weeks
- $350 two weeks
- $250 USD one week
Volunteer placement deposit
A $100 deposit will be made to EEV in advance so we can confirm your volunteer placement.
- 24/7 emergency contact and support from EEV staff, administration costs, communication costs with volunteers and travel costs for program inspection
- Airport pickup and drop off in Santa Cruz Airport – Baltra Island
- Online Orientation
- Discount in day tours in Galapagos
- Work Reference / Volunteer Certificate
Price Does Not Include
- Meals, however, food is relatively cheap to buy in the local market in Puerto Ayora or set menus at $6
- Galapagos Park Entrance fee ($100 paid at the airport)
- Flight to the Galapagos
For any questions or interest in volunteerig, please fill out the contact form with your information!