Galapagos: Preserving Nature’s Wonders™
Live alongside exotic marine life in one of the last untouched places on earth.
- Volunteer to restore the habitat of native Galapagos wildlife
- Live in a world where animals have no fear of humans
- Snorkel with sea lions and multi-colored exotic fish
- Straddle the northern and southern hemispheres at the actual Equator line
- Kayak around untouched islands and see animals up close
- Wander the cobblestone streets of colonial Quito
The Galapagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, are so unique that UNESCO has designated them a World Heritage Site. These 19 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.
Come and experience one of the most pristine natural environments where conservationists are working to protect this unique ecosystem. Besides volunteering, you will also have the opportunity to hike lava fields, snorkel with seals and explore islands, volcanoes and reefs.
- Read student blog : GLA Alum Hannah G. writes about how biology comes to life in the Galapagos.
Of the nine days you spend on the Galapagos Islands, six of those days will consist of community service. The other three days will focus on exploring the islands and learning about the biology and geology of the Galapagos archipelago.
The native wildlife of the islands is in danger because the animals’ natural habitat is under attack by invasive plants, litter, and foreign species. Students work to restore the natural habitat of the animals so that they can reproduce and grow. Our projects are in partnership with tortoise breeding centers on the islands of San Cristobal and Isabela. In all programs, students will have the unique opportunity to work on service projects on these two distinct islands.
Throughout the program, you will be in a “living classroom.” We will learn about issues related to the challenges of balancing the needs of humans with the imperative for biological protection and preservation.
You will also witness firsthand the diversity of species that led Darwin to formulate his thinking on natural selection and adaptation. The entire journey will shed light into the history of these islands, human interaction and habitation, and the struggle to conserve the wildlife and fauna of this area.
This journey through the Galapagos Islands will prove to be the experience of a lifetime. This is not simply because of the rich and varied diversity of animals that you will see or their staggering numbers, but also because of their sublime indifference to you while observing them. Swim with sea lions. Blue-footed boobies perch on rocks. The skies are filled with wheeling, courting, red-throated frigate birds. The lava rocks are piled high with motionless marine iguanas. A mind-boggling array of creatures lives in a paradise of crystal blue waters, white beaches and cool mangrove stands. Students will hike up to a volcano and explore the second largest crater in the entire world. We will swim through lagoons, snorkel through reefs and see wildlife that you have until now only read about.
At the start and end of our journey, we will stay at a local hotel in Quito. In the Galapagos, we’ll spend the first four nights on Isabela Island and the next four nights on San Cristobal Island.
We’ll have two Home Bases, one on each of the two islands. Each Home Base is a small hotel run out of the home of a local family. They are similar to bed & breakfast lodging; students will share a room with two to four other students, and each room has a private bathroom.
Students and staff eat meals with the local families. The families will share their home, culture, and personal experiences of living on the islands with us.