Galapagos: Preserving Nature’s Wonders

Encounter different species of exotic island and marine life, many of them found nowhere else on Earth.

Highlights

  • Restore the habitat of native Galápagos wildlife
  • Snorkel with sea lions, turtles and blue-footed boobies nearby
  • Straddle the Northern & Southern hemispheres at the actual Equator line
  • Swim, kayak and hike as you explore these untouched islands
  • Wander the cobblestone streets of colonial Quito

Overview

The Galápagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, are so unique that UNESCO has designated them a World Heritage Site. These nineteen islands have been called a “living museum” and “showcase of evolution.” While the archipelago has been the center of attention from conservationists around the world, it is under constant pressure from environmental threats. Experience one of the most pristine natural environments where conservationists are working to protect this unique ecosystem. Besides volunteering, you’ll also have the opportunity to see lava fields, snorkel with sea lions and witness Galápagos tortoises up close.

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Community Service

The native wildlife of the Galápagos faces danger to its habitat from invasive species and litter. You will travel to different islands, each with its own unique needs. Prepare to get your hands dirty! Work at a tortoise refuge center, digging up invasive plants, helping with groundwork and preparing habitat for the tortoises. Elsewhere, dig up rocks and plant trees to help protect endemic species and restore the natural habitat of local wildlife. You may also work on a physical project in the community, so you can contribute to the success of young people who will be future stewards of these islands.

Hands-On Learning

The islands are a living classroom! Learn about the challenges of sustainably balancing human needs with biological protection and preservation. Issues such as the pressure to develop the islands for residents and tourism will be key discussion points during your time in the Galápagos. Encounter firsthand the diversity of species that led Darwin to formulate his thinking on natural selection and adaptation. Explore ideas about the complicated relationship between humans and wildlife as you contrast your city tour of bustling Quito with the serenity of hikes throughout the Galápagos Islands.

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Adventure

Darwin's living laboratory is home to an abundance of wildlife, presenting countless opportunities to interact with animals that have no instinctive fear of humans. Go snorkeling with sea lions and turtles. Try your hand at sea kayaking and jump in for a swim. Observe blue-footed boobies perched on rocks and spot silent marine iguanas. Walk through a naturally formed lava tunnel, and wade through mangroves as pelicans fly overhead. You'll even visit a tortoise breeding center and see baby Galapágos tortoises! The Galápagos Islands and their rocky topography are incredibly unique - no two islands are alike - so there's plenty to see as you island-hop around by boat.

Lodging

Home Base will change throughout the program as we travel from island to island. On each of the islands, we stay in simple, well-maintained accommodations. Each Home Base offers shared, gender-segregated rooms and common areas where meals will be served. In Quito, the gateway city to the Galápagos, our group will stay at a local hotel.

Dates & Tuition

Preserving Nature's Wonders
Duration:
Tuition: $0
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: Please Inquire (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours:
Language Hours: -
Additional Notes
See What’s Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
More Information
Fundraising

Tips to raise funds for your trip

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.