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Volunteer in the Galapagos Islands

Volunteering in the Galapagos is a cheap way to see the famous islands and their unique wildlife, you might think.  Could it be better than a bargain tour or economy Galapagos cruise? Will you get subsidised or discounted flights to the Galapagos as a conservation volunteer? or perhaps even free! 
Working holidays in the Galapagos are actually rather different.  The islands are far off the Ecuadorian coast; shipping supplies in is costly and flights are not cheap.  Volunteers can unwittingly introduce destructive new species and accidentally harm island habitats.  The Galapagos environment needs protection and money from tourism (and volunteering) is what funds this. 
Galapagos volunteer opportunities do exist and can be very worthwhile.  However, Galapagos volunteering is not cheap.  You'll almost certainly have to contribute to project costs.  A return flight from Europe to Quito or Guayaquil and on to the Islands will probably cost at least £1000/$1600, and you'll need to pay the $100 entry fee to the Galapagos National Park.  Once there, everything is around two or three times as expensive as on the mainland, so you'll probably get through another £1000/$1600 in a month.  
The longer you volunteer in the Galapagos Islands, the cheaper it is likely to be per day, but even so you should expect to pay at least $50 per day, rising to $150 a day or more on some of the priciest volunteer packages.  And that's without any kind of Galapagos cruise or tour, though of course you will see some of the unique wildlife and most volunteer opportunities will give you some free time in the islands.  Be wary of cheap Galapagos volunteer opportunities - find out what they don't include and how much it will cost you.  For example, food costs a lot in the islands.  
If conservation of the Galapagos Islands' unique ecosystems genuinely interests you, and you can afford to volunteer, search around to find the best volunteering experience for you, considering your skills, experience and interests.  (Do spell it correctly when searching: it is not Galapogos, Galopogas, Galopogos nor Golopagos but GALAPAGOS, and the islands are in ECUADOR, not Equador....)
Read more about volunteering in Ecuador.  Be prepared to do manual work under tough conditions on some Galapagos conservation projects and working holidays.  Note that Spanish is spoken in the Galapagos Islands - volunteers may need Spanish language skills to participate in some projects.
If Galapagos Islands volunteering is beyond your budget, you could make your money go much further by volunteering in mainland Ecuador - see CRACYP's Ecuador volunteer opportunities and Development Internships for some bargain volunteer options on the mainland.  You may be surprised at the diversity you can experience there: wildlife, birds, flowers, volcanoes, beaches, snow-capped mountains and over 20 different ethnic groups.  There are many opportunities to volunteer on conservation projects throughout Ecuador, though you will need to speak at least a little Spanish to get the most from your volunteering experience.
CRACYP's Galapagos conservation project, Galapagos Organic Rescue will help protect the delicate ecosystems and unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.



Volunteer for Green Progress in the Galapagos Islands
No free flights, not a cheap alternative to a Galapagos cruise,
but volunteering abroad for genuine sustainable development, conservation and reforestation with CRACYP, on a working holiday protecting the unique environment of the Galapagos Islands.


Galapagos Iguana
Volunteer on Galapagos beach
Galapagos giant tortoise
Volunteer and baby sealion in the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos beach with black volcanic rocks
Volunteer with cut tree trunk

When to Visit the Galapagos Islands