Projects Abroad Ecuador is based on the Galapagos Islands, one of the world’s most bio-diverse areas. This natural wealth is under threat from logging and oil exploitation. The work of volunteers is crucial to protecting thousands of plant and animal species and supporting the unique communities of these islands. Our volunteer opportunities in Ecuador are available for anyone interested in volunteering in the developing world, including those on a gap year, career break, or anyone interested in eco-tourism.
Ecuador suffered its worst economic crisis in the late 1990s, with natural disasters and sharp declines in world oil prices devastating the economy. In 2000 Ecuador adopted the US dollar as legal tender, which stabilized the economy. However, prices have inevitably risen and for the typical Ecuadorian, costs remain high. Ecuador still has a long way to go, with approximately one third of its population still living below the poverty line.
In the Galapagos, there is a great need for volunteers, not just for conservation efforts, but also in schools. Public schools are overcrowded and have limited resources and disadvantaged families often find themselves unable to afford the extra costs of education. Volunteers have a crucial role to play in improving the lives of children and enhancing their well-being and development through our Care and Teaching projects.
Staff ProfileWilliam Puga Vasquez
Country Director“Since Charles Darwin first landed in the 1830’s the Galapagos Islands have captured people’s imagination all over the world. We are committed to helping the local community preserve their heritage. We are actively involved in the fields of conservation and education and as a volunteer, you will be welcomed by the easy going people and stunned by the beauty of your surroundings. With lots to do and see on your days off, in the Galapagos you can dive with hammerhead sharks, sit on a bench with sea lions or hike in the wonderful scenery. It is a fantastic location where the close-knit community appreciates our efforts and in no time at all this Pacific paradise will feel like home. I hope you will join us!”
The majority of our volunteer projects in Ecuador are based in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This town is the provincial capital of the Galapagos Islands and is located on San Cristobal Island.
San Cristobal Island is also the base for our Conservation Project. The Galapagos Islands are known as nature’s wonderland and volunteers here will be contributing to the conservation of a unique island ecosystem.
Living in Ecuador will certainly provide you with plenty of interests and entertainment when you’re not working. On the weekends you can explore the Galapagos Islands by island hopping. Santa Cruz Island is usually top of the list, home to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the famous giant tortoises. On San Cristobal Island you can try diving or snorkeling or just hang out in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno with the sea lions and pelicans.
Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in Ecuador
Ecuador is on the Pacific coast of South America, bordered by Colombia to the north and Peru to the east. It is South America’s second smallest country, yet packs a huge amount into its limited area. With coastal beaches, snowy Andean peaks, and tropical rainforest it is home to a wide variety of habitats.
The Galapagos Islands are found off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, and you may choose to spend some time in mainland Ecuador, too, where distances between the main towns and tourist sites are relatively small. Discover Ecuador’s colonial past on a weekend trip to the capital, Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the colorful markets are overflowing with hand-woven clothes and blankets. 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