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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 
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VOLUNTEERING IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS IN ECUADOR

ECUADOR

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Landing in the Galapagos Islands is like landing on another planet. One inhabited with great dignity by wild yet somehow tame animals, in no hurry and not in the least bit concerned by you! This is the world of celebrity sea lions. These large golden beasts everywhere bask in the sun and gracefully tolerate the photo shoots.  

The Galapagos is home to many species indigenous and unique to these islands alone and fortunately the residents of islands are very aware that the proper conservation of their natural flora and fauna is of urgent priority. It is clear and admirable to see that, thus far, these islands have managed to keep the human footprint to an absolute minimum.

You could mistake the Galapagos Islands for the Caribbean, with the luxury cruise ships, perfect turquoise horizon beneath blue pink skies and ever encroaching hoteliers ... until you look a little closer. The terrain is craggy, undulating red earth interspersed with vegetation and littered with wild animals, just taking it easy. In fact, it is hard in fact to imagine that you haven’t just stumbled out of this world.

Charles Darwin famously visited the Galapagos in the 1830’s with his observations here contributing to his ground breaking research into the evolution of species and natural selection. Quite an accolade for the Islands’ animal residence!

Language & Population
As in Ecuador the main language spoken here is Spanish. Only 5 of the Islands are inhabited and as of 2006 the population of the islands was 40,000 The five inhabited Islands are: Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz.

Weather

  • June – November:  drizzly with a cold wind thick fog , temperature around 22 °C (72 °F), sea temperature, cold.

  • December – May: the sea warms up during this warm season and the wind drops entirely, occasional downpours and lots of sun shine, temperature around 25 °C (77 °F)

Demographics
Unusually, these islands have no indigenous population and island residents largely came over from Ecuador in the last century. The largest group of which being ‘Mestizos’, descendants of mixed Spanish colonists and indigenous Native Americans.

The Animals of the Galapagos: So, who will you meet here!?

  • Galapagos Land Iguana – the ultimate sunbather. This yellowish orange iguana live off prickly-pear cactus and bask on volcanic rock absorbing the sun all day, then burrow down in the earth at night to conserve heat.

  • Marine Iguana - This black unique shore-based iguana can live and hunt in the sea as well as on land! Marine iguana

  • The Galápagos Giant Tortoise - the biggest tortoise in the world, as heavy as 400 kg and can be over 1.8 meters (6 ft) long! In the wild they tend to live to over 100 and in captivity one lived for over 170 years.

  • Galápagos Green Turtle – the beautiful, endangered and protected sea turtle  is magnificent and is a must see!

  • Sea cucumbers - an expensive Asian food delicacy at the heart of environmental battles for the fishermen

  • Flightless cormorant - indigenous to the island this very endangered bird with only 1500 estimated individuals is one of the world's rarest birds and is the subject of an active conservation program.

  • Galápagos Sea Lions – closely related but smaller than the California sea lion And many more!

   

Voluntary Work in the Galapagos Islands with Travellers Worldwide

 
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THE ISLANDS - WHERE DO WE WORK

 
Travellers projects are based on two of the most beautiful islands, renowned for an abundance of sea lions and giant tortoises!
  • Santa Cruz
  • San Crisobal

SANTA CRUZ

Santa Cruz is the second largest island and the most popular tourist attraction in the Galapagos. It is popular because it has the most to see and do! Most visitors come for morning trips only, leaving the afternoons, evenings and weekends for the locals and longer-term volunteers. The Charles Darwin Research Station is based on Santa Cruz as well as harbours for tourist boats. It contains a national-park information center, museum, a tortoise breeding center, remote highlands, accessible beaches and many an adventures trail for the serious non-tourist!  

SAN CRISTOBAL
San Cristobal is the fifth largest island and has a population of 6,000, with most of the adult males being fishermen. The main town of San Cristobal, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is the capital for all the Islands. Set in stunning highland valleys with surrounding forests of pine, this colonial city has always been a top travellers' destination. With cobbled streets and markets and international cafés, bars and restaurants, the island mixes city and country well. You’ll find traditional Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages and ancient customs flowing side by side with modern luxuries.

There’s a small hospital and post office too. An hour north of the capital is Isla Lobos, separated from the main island by a corridor of forceful waves and here you can see lava lizards and blue-footed boobies (birds!) nesting while sea lions frolic playfully on the rocky ledges.

 
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