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Galápagos Work and Volunteer Opportunities

Work, Volunteering

Since Puerto Ayora is a magnet for English-speaking tourists, there are a variety of tour operators looking for people who have language capacities (Spanish-English) and can work for cheap. Many travelers have found work in exchange for courses, dives, or accommodation. Although migration policies are strict and usually limit tourist visas to six months, there are project-based opportunities that may allow you to stay for a longer period of time.

You will soon realize after talking to people in Puerto Ayora that a significant number of foreigners have come to Galapagos as volunteers or short-term residents, have fallen in love (either with the laid-back lifestyle, the beautiful terrain, or the good-looking residents), and have stayed, although this is much less common and more difficult now.

The easiest way to get a job or volunteer position in the Galapagos, especially if you are a certified diver (or better yet, divemaster) and speak English, is to contact scuba-diving operators directly. Many dive centers will accept volunteers as office contacts and helpers in exchange for certification courses.

Students of environmental science and/or conservation may have luck finding volunteer or research opportunities with the Charles Darwin Research Station, but the application process is rigorous and competitive. CDRS is usually looking for well-qualified volunteers, usually graduate students, that can give at least six-months of their time. You can apply directly through the Charles Darwin Foundation website ( or by contacting scientists collaborating with the station, a list of which is included in its annual publication.

If you have some teaching qualifications, you may be able to find a job teaching English on the islands. Most schools work with specific work-abroad or study-abroad organizations, like World Teach, AmeriSpan, or the Alliance Abroad Group, but qualified teachers may find opportunities with specific schools, like the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts & Sciences (GAIAS).

Note one important Galápagos policy— volunteers must have their paperworkc ompleted BEFORE arriving in the islands. In other words, you can’t just show up in Galápagos and get a volunteering gig. Even if you get one, you would have to leave the islands and re-enter.

Volunteering at Jatun Sacha's Galápagos Biological Research Station and Hacienda Tranquila Bio Station.

22 Apr 2011

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