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Work to preserve the native and endemic forests on the beautiful island of San Cristobal. There are numerous elements to the project that you'll be involved in and most of the work is on reforestation, research and community based projects. This is the only project in the Galapagos Islands that combines environmental, community and social initiatives to improve the sustainability of the islands. Plus ... it’s loads of fun!

The Centre is a calm and beautiful place, popular with international volunteers. There's loads going on, from horse-riding therapy, to wandering giant tortoises, to reforestation work, to coaching football to local kids on a neighbouring farm. This is a very special project.


Price: £1,245 for 1 week
£250 for each additional week.
Includes your return flight from Quito on the mainland to the Galapagos Islands, but excludes international flights to and from Ecuador.
Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies

Please note for projects in the Galapagos Islands: As flights from Quito to the Galapagos have to be booked upon receipt of your booking (because flights get fully booked very early), you will need to pay an additional non-refundable deposit of £425 immediately. This flight deposit is already included in the price and is not in addition to the price.

Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks, subject to visa requirements
Start Dates: All year round – you choose your start and finish dates. You should ideally arrive on a Saturday, between 8.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m.
Requirements: Minimum age 18, no qualifications necessary (just a good dose of enthusiasm!). You'll need a little Spanish to do this project, but if you have no knowledge of Spanish at all, you can combine your project with a 1-week intensive Spanish Course in Quito prior to starting your project in the Galapagos.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Up to 2 nights in Quito for your Induction
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands
Transfer to your accommodation
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Food, Galapagos National Park Fee (currently $110, about £80), Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in conservation overseas. Good if you want to learn about community life in the Galapagos and conservation of the environment, wildlife voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in Ecuador or a short break activity.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten overseas volunteering holiday into Central and South America and the fascinating Ecuadorian culture.
  • The enormous satisfaction of knowing that you're contributing to a worthwhile and necessary conservation project aimed at protecting and preserving our world for future generations.
  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!


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This is a wonderfully varied and interesting project where you get to experience many different types of work. For example, you'll work on a controlled plot to eliminate introduced (non-indigenous) and invasive plant species and to restore native and endemic species. You'll grow the plants first in a greenhouse and then transplant them to their permanent locations. You'll also assist in community projects, such as installing a new water pipeline for the local community.

In addition, you can assist in mentoring children from INFA, working with them in hippo-therapy (a form of therapy where the therapist uses the movements of a horse to assist in physical, speech or occupational therapy. No hippos actually involved!). There is also gardening, environmental education and field trips to the Hacienda. Hacienda team-members are always on hand for assistance and guidance.

Volunteering activities vary from day to day and season to season, but there is always lots of work to be done and huge variation in the types of activities. Typical jobs may include:

  • Field reforestation work – planting endemic species and clearing non-indigenous species
  • Horse riding
  • Visiting areas and monitoring growth of plants
  • Cleaning the farm house and areas of work
  • Helping out at the very small local school
  • Informal opportunities to teach English, Sports, Music, Art, etc.
  • Playing football/volleyball once a week with locals and neighbouring farm kids
  • Taking care of the cat!
  • Milking the cows
  • Collecting coffee beans grown on the farm and making your own coffee (the BEST you will ever taste!)
  • Socialising and entertaining
  • Various other odd jobs that always crop up
  • Enjoying the company of the many giant tortoises, iguanas, lizards, birds and farm animals strolling around!

Other work includes participating in the restoration of habitats in the Galapagos Islands, working with the local community; visiting ecologically important sites, teaching visitors about ecological issues; exploring the islands and marvelling at the unique wildlife.

If you have a special interest, please don't hesitate to inform us. We will do our best to arrange that your project is focused on your interests.

If you have no previous knowledge of Spanish, you can include 1 or 2 weeks of Spanish lessons at a well-established Spanish school in Quito, prior to travelling to the Galapagos Islands. All the teachers at the school have taught Spanish for 8 or more years and between them they have developed a great many resources to make the lessons lively and fun. They also periodically organise interesting and enjoyable activities in order to introduce the Ecuadorian and Latin culture to their students - most recently they've been cooking Ecuadorian dishes in classes! It's a great, fun way to learn!


You will most likely fly into Quito in Ecuador where you will be met by a member of staff and have an induction and an overnight stop-off here. Your volunteer work will start on Monday; however, you will fly from Quito to San Cristobal during the weekend. Your return flight from Quito – Galapagos Islands is included in your project price! You'll be met at the airport by the project director and taken to the accommodation and settled in before your induction.

You'll stay at the project house at the Hacienda. There is no phone or internet at the project house (other than for a phone for emergency use), however you can find numerous internet cafés and international phone booths in the nearby town of El Progreso, along with places to eat, drink, shop and socialise.

There are usually at least 3 or 4 volunteers from all over the world living at the Hacienda at any one time, and often there are many more! The atmosphere is very calm and communal here, although a shared taxi into the local town is cheap and plenty more fun can be had there.

Food is not provided at the accommodation. However, you will be able to eat much of the locally grown farm fruit & veg produce and you can buy your other food in the local village to cook at yourself at home.


Got any questions? Please email us:

The project is run by Giovanni, who, although native to the island, spent many years in the States and married an American lady. With a PhD in Biology, this farmer really knows what he is talking about and he has set up an excellent structure for a volunteer program and great support.

The Biological Station opened in San Cristobal in 2005. The Foundation has worked towards the development of reforestation, habitat re-composition and agro forestry activities during its 5 years on the island. In virtue of this, one of the objectives of this station is to develop methodological practices for natural system reconstruction that will serve as a model for similar projects in other reserves.

Volunteers have begun reforestation with Hacienda San Cristobal staff, replacing exotic, invasive plants with other species. Furthermore, volunteers collaborate with organizations such as the Instituto Nacional del Nino y la Familia (INFA) in Hippo-therapy to promote environmental conservation among young children from the island, as well as motivate community members to plant local, rather than introduced vegetation. Plans include the construction of a native plant corridor from dry forest portion of the low land reserve to the moist forest above. Reforestation with native plants will be emphasized as a plant production center is developed.

The Bio station is located in the highlands of the island on a 50 hectare site where there is still native vegetation. One of the objectives of this new station will be to develop the new technology to reconstruct native habitat in the highlands of San Cristobal, and to serve as a center for similar projects in the highlands of other populated areas in the Galapagos chain. The remaining native highland forests on the populated islands are quite limited due to farming activities in general, and the introduction of useful, but very invasive species from the mainland. Volunteers work to reserve the native and endemic forests of San Cristobal. They collaborate with institutions such as the Instituto Nacional del Nino y la Familia (INFA) to promote environmental conservation among young children from the island as well as motivate community to plant local, rather than introduced vegetation.

You'll live and work on the station itself. Nature takes over when working in a place such as this, so you'll get up early each morning to start work, and usually have a break in the middle of the day to relax and recuperate, before continuing with the work in the afternoon.

The jobs you will be involved in are numerous and most of the work is on reforestation, research and community based projects. You will be involved in restoration of habitats, as well as assisting with the organic agriculture component of the project. Volunteers usually work for five days each week, with weekends off. Days are long and hard and you should be prepared for hot, physical and yet rewarding work. Evenings are quiet and usually spent lounging in hammocks, chatting, listening to music, writing in your journal or reading.


Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.



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Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Spanish Lessons Optional Add-On in Ecuador

¿Cómo se dice en Español??? There is no better way to learn a language than to live it, eat it, breathe it and speak it in a Spanish-speaking community!! You can learn Spanish as an Optional Add-On to your main Project.

  • OPTION 1: One-Week Intensive Spanish GROUP Course:
    20 Hours per Week: £385, includes accommodation for the week
  • OPTION 2: One-Week Intensive Spanish PRIVATE Course:
    20 Hours per Week: £435, includes accommodation for the week
  • OPTION 3: One-Week Super-Intensive Spanish Course: (If you have no Spanish at all and are doing a project in the Galapagos or one of the Conservation projects near Puyo, you'll be required to take this course.):
    20 Hours per Week Group Lessons PLUS 10 Hours per Week Private Lessons, 30 Hours in total:
    £495, includes accommodation for the week

All the teachers at the school have taught Spanish for 8 or more years and between them they have developed a great many resources to make the lessons lively and fun. The classes are highly focused on the development of communication skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing.) The school also periodically organise interesting and enjoyable activities in order to introduce the Ecuadorian and Latin culture to their students - most recently they've been cooking Ecuadorian dishes in classes! It's a great, fun way to learn!

Book Now

Learn Spanish in Ecuador, having fun!

10 Hours Private Lessons per Week: £75 per week
20 Hours Group Lessons per Week: £150 per week.

GROUP LESSONS: There are usually a maximum of 6 students per group.
PRIVATE LESSONS: One-to-one tuition. If you prefer to tailor your lessons, you could choose how many hours of lessons you'd like a week - from 2 to 40!

Quito is a wonderful city, with a population of 2.4 million inhabitants. It is full of exciting history to explore. There is always something to do in Quito, whether you'd like to experience some culture or join in with the cosmopolitan, modern way of life. Cultural highlights include the old town, the cable car and the Equator, museums and monuments. There is also a range of shopping malls, a zoo, an ice skating rink, and plenty of restaurants and bars serving wonderful cocktails and tasty food.

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Learn Spanish in Ecuador Learn Spanish in Ecuador Learn Spanish in Ecuador Learn Spanish in Ecuador

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.




The local town of El Progreso is a 30-minute walk or 10 minutes taxi ride from San Cristobal or a speedy ride down the mountain on the bikes that are provided for your use (not so speedy getting home perhaps). You can shop, relax, get on the internet, or party here! From El Progreso you can catch a bus or taxi (20 minutes) to the port and either take a plane or a small speed boat to neighbouring islands from this port town.

You’ll be based on the island of San Cristobal, which is about a 2 hour flight from the Ecuadorian mainland. It is the 5th largest of the Galapagos Islands and its’ primary industries are fishing, tourism and arable farming. The town has restaurants, shops and hotels. It is also fast-becoming a surfing hotspot, with a good beach just a short walk from the volunteer accommodation.

The Galápagos islands lie some 600 miles from the coastline of Ecuador. Formed by volcanic eruptions into the sea, they contain species found nowhere else on the planet and are one of the most significant sites in the world; most notably because this is where Charles Darwin's theories of evolution were inspired and shaped. This rocky and at first glance inhospitable terrain is home to giant tortoise, swimming iguanas and fearless blue footed boobies.

The marine reserve here is equally impressive, boasting encounters for divers and snorkellers with penguins, marine turtles, manta rays and sea lions, amongst others. Around 90% of the islands are protected areas, with visitor numbers restricted and some sites off limits altogether to ensure conservation.

Ecuador's capital, Quito, lies in the north of the country, some 15 miles from the equator and with the Andean Mountains and valleys as a backdrop. It's 10,000ft altitude keeps it cool, with spring like temperatures year round. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in the 1970's for its preserved historic Latin quarter. The city also contains a thriving 'new town' popular with younger generations for its restaurants, shopping and nightlife. There are lots of restaurants and "Patio de Comidas" where you can pick up an excellent value lunch or dinner.

The Amazon is the worlds largest remaining tropical rainforest, occupying about one third of Ecuador. To get some idea of its scale, first you need to know that Ecuador's share of the Amazon represents just 2% of the whole rainforest; most of it belonging to Brazil (60%) followed by Peru (13%). Important nevertheless as the Amazon in Ecuador remains relatively untouched, has good infrastructure to make for easy visitation and is home to numerous indigenous settlements which welcome outsiders.

One of the greatest mountain ranges in the world, they split Ecuador in two running from the north of the country down. Indigenous communities have cultivated the land in the Andean Highlands for thousands of years, selling their produce in bustling market towns. Catch a glimpse of the abundantly colourful markets, showcasing traditions of ancient civilizations and Inca descendants.

Mountaineers will love the peaks of the 'Avenue of Volcanoes' an area in the central highlands with a number of active volcanoes. Whilst each climb is different and most are incredibly challenging, the rewards along the way are numerous. Dense forest, waterfalls and spectacular views across the valleys below await the intrepid few. Other hot pursuits in this region include walking, rafting, biking or camping.

This 2000km coast is fringed with pristine sand beaches, sweeping bays, mangrove forests, crashing waves and tranquil fishing villages. The ports and fishing villages are an important part of Ecuador's economy, delivering fresh sea food and imported goods. At certain times of the year you can see Humpback whales arriving from Antarctic waters to mate; splashing their fins and exhaling gushes of water. Marine birds are also in abundance along the pacific coastline, with sightings of the albatross, one of natures largest birds, being common.


Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.


The Challenges
The Galapagos Islands is a unique place in this world, with a fragile eco-system that faces many challenges, among which the quick spreading invasive plant species that destroy the local habitat. The most common ones are blackberry, guava and elder and they cover extensive areas of the Islands and represent a real threat to the native and endemic flora and fauna of the Galapagos. They are not only found on privately owned lands, which only constitute a small percentage of the island, but mainly in the National Park area.

Our Goals
The Galapagos Preservation Program is a private local initiative that supports the programs of the Galapagos National Park of eradicating invasive species and reforestation with endemic species, both on private and national park lands on the island San Cristobal.

Our Achievements:
Amongst many other things, Volunteers have helped to eliminate invasive plant species and then restore native and endemic species. This is crucial to the success of the project. They have also helped to improve trails and paths around the plots of the lands which means humans and animals don’t stumble on the crops and destroy them or injure themselves.