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When to Visit the Galapogas Islands

Volunteer in the Galapogas Islands

Volunteering in the Galapogas Islands is an attractive opportunity to see the famous islands and their fearless wildlife.  You may be thinking that you'll experience the Galapogas for free on a working holiday, it will be better than a cheap tour or cruise, you'll get subsidised or discounted flights.... what a bargain!  
Think again.  The Galapogas is never cheap, even for volunteers, and for good reason.  The islands are a long way from the coast of Equador and shipping supplies in is costly.  Tourists (and volunteers) can accidentally introduce invasive new species to the islands and unintentionally damage habitats.  The wildlife and habitats need protection and money from Galapogas tourism and conservation volunteers pays for it. 
Galapogas volunteering is possible and it can be very worthwhile.  BUT, you will almost certainly have to pay for your volunteering to cover project costs.  This is not a free vacation, Galapogas working holidays have their price.  In addition, a return flight from Europe to Quito or Guayaquil and on to the Galapogas Islands will probably cost at least £1000/$1600.  Then for a month on the islands, where everything costs over twice as much as the mainland, you'll probably get through another £1000/$1600.  The less time you volunteer for, the more it will cost per day - some of the more expensive offers require more than $150 a day, and you're not likely to pay less than $50 per day on any project.  And that won't include any kind of Galapogas cruise or tour, though of course you will see some of the amazing Galapogas wildlife.  
If you are genuinely interested in the Galapogas wildlife, flora and fauna, and have the budget to volunteer, then search around to find the best volunteering opportunity.  Remember that some companies offering Galapogas volunteering will be not-for-profit conservation charities, others will be commercial companies making a big profit from you.  Ask questions about the organisation, the project and what you will be doing as a volunteer in the islands.  Is the Galapogas project relevant and useful?  Make sure you know what you are getting for your Galapogas working holiday and where your money will go.
The Galapogas weather can be hot with scorching sunshine - great for holidays, but tough if you are doing manual volunteer work for long hours.  In some months it rains every day: again, not ideal weather conditions for Galapagos volunteers working outside on conservation projects.  Check what you will be doing, for how long, and where on your volunteer project.  If you're based in the USA, try www.globalroutes.org.  
Galapogas voluntering is expensive, but you could squeeze more from your budget by volunteering in mainland Ecuador.  The mainland of Ecuador has much to offer: beaches, volcanoes, snow-topped mountains, wildlife, trekking, rafting and much more.  There are hundreds of opportunities to volunteer, though you probably need to speak at least some Spanish to get the most from your volunteering experience - you might like to visit our friends at the Rumiñahui Spanish School for Spanish lessons.

One very economic volunteer option, if you have basic Spanish language skills, is volunteering with CRACYP's community ecotourism projects in the tropical foothills of the Andes in a beautiful and unspoilt part of Ecuador.

CRACYP's Galapogas conservation project will help protect the delicate ecosystems and unique wildlife of the Galapogas Islands.  Be inspired by these Galapogas wildlife photos.

CRACYP's community ecotourism projects help protect the local rainforest.

Green Progress, CRACYP - volunteer in the Galapogas Islands
Galapogas volunteering, working holidays in the Galapogas Islands and conservation vacations.

Volunteer on Galapogas beach
Galapogas giant tortoise
Volunteer and baby sealion
Galapogas beach with black volcanic rocks
Volunteer with cut tree trunk
Seals and children playing

Galapogas Weather