Galapagos Voluntour

DAY 1 | Quito
You will be met at the airport for private transfer to a hotel in Quito. Depending on the time of your flight arrival, we may have a chance to tour this beautiful colonial Andean city. (No Meals)

DAY 2 | Quito – Galapagos
A morning flight takes us to the beautiful coastal Galapagos town of Puerto Baquerizo. After lunch and a short briefing by the manager of our volunteer project, we head on a short hike up to Cerro de Las Tijeretas. Along the walk, your guide will explain to you about the native and endemic vegetation as well as the birds and lizards you are bound to see. Tijeretas offers stunning views of both the land and the sea, and it is the point where Darwin first landed to the Galapagos. This cove offers some of the islands best snorkeling, as you will be surrounded by fish of every color, as well as sea lions and the occasional sea turtle. This is also a good spot to view sea cucumbers, sea anemones, sea urchins and other marine invertebrates.
On the return walk, we will pass by Punta Carola, where you will have the chance to lay down next to sea lions and marine iguanas on its long sandy beach, swim, snorkel, or do all of the above. In the late afternoon, we will head to Hacienda Tranquila, the highlands location of our volunteer project. (L)

Day 3 – 6 | Volunteer w/ Reforestation, the Local School, and More
We will spend days 3-6 volunteering at Hacienda Tranquila, the only charitable organization in the Galapagos that addresses environmental, social, and community issues. Hacienda Tranquila strives to tackle problems with solutions that incorporate both human and environmental welfare. They believe this innovative approach is the only true way to forge a sustainable future for the Galapagos.

The centerpiece project is clearing invasive plants and reforesting the land with
native and endemic species. Hacienda Tranquila will eventually reintroduce Galapagos tortoises onto the newly restored land and bequest their 50 hectare property of former farmland over to Galapagos National Park. However, invasive species are not only a concern for wildlife, they are overtaking crop fields of nearby farming communities and threatening to destroy livelihoods. Therefore, Hacienda Tranquila also helps farmers to remove invasives from their farms in exchange for the promise to nurture a garden of native and endemic plants that Hacienda Tranquila plants on the farmers’ land. All the farmers have been so pleased with Hacienda Tranquila that they always give the volunteers fruits and vegetables and often cook them lunch.

Among other projects, Hacienda Tranquila is also heavily involved with assisting the local school. Volunteers teach English classes at the school, are constructing a beautiful garden of native and endemic plants, have painted and replaced broken windows at the school, and have plans to provide the school with solar energy. During your volunteer work here, you will likely assist with all the aforementioned projects and more. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Volunteer w/ Disadvantaged Kids / Galapagos Interpretation Center / Beach
Today, disadvantaged and special needs children come to Hacienda Tranquila to learn, have fun, and enjoy nature. You may lead the kids through hikes, horseback rides, and/or environmentally-themed games. You may even be able to assist in providing physical and behavioral therapy to special needs children using horses!

Today, we will finish our volunteer work by early afternoon and have time to enjoy the rest of the day by the coast. Before retiring to the beach, we will visit the interpretation center to learn about the fascinating natural, geologic, scientific, cultural, and social history of the Galapagos. You have several gorgeous beaches from which to choose where you would like to spend your afternoon, and you may choose to snorkel, swim, boogie board, surf, or do nothing at all. We will spend the night in a waterfront hotel in town, and you will have an opportunity to sample the nightlife of Galapagos’ capital town. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Sea Kayak and Snorkel Islas Lobos and Leon Dormido
This morning, we kayak along the rugged northern coast exploring bays and coves full of sea turtles, frigate birds, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies. Once we reach Ochoa Beach, we continue on to nearby Isla Lobos, where we will find tremendous colonies of endemic marine iguanas and endemic Galapagos sea lions. We will stop here to snorkel with the iguanas, sea lions, and stunning array of reef fish. Here, you will experience one of the most amazing sea lion encounters in the Galapagos.

We then head to Leon Dormido, two breathtaking rock massifs (tuff cones) jutting out from the sea. Above sea level, its rock walls are home to thousands of sea birds, and below, to millions of fish. Snorkelers will be more than thrilled, but for certified divers, this is one of the top dives in the archipelago. Snorkelers and divers alike have a good chance to see Galapagos sharks, spotted eagle rays, and golden rays, as well as multitudes of reef fish, starfish, clams, and marine invertebrates. There is also a good opportunity to see hammerhead sharks. Overnight in a waterfront hotel in town. (B, L, D)

Day 9 | Volcanic Crater Lakes, Giant Tortoises, & Surf Lessons
In the morning, we embark on a short hike to an extinct volcano crater filled with the Galapagos´ only permanent freshwater lake. The hike up provides magnificent views and an introduction to the Galapagos´ native plant species. The lake itself is home to frigate birds, common gallinules, and white-cheeked pintail ducks, among others. We will hopefully witness frigate birds washing the salt from their feathers in the lakes’ calm waters. We will then head to the Galapaguera, a semi-natural habitat and breeding center for giant Galapagos tortoises. It is truly an honor to walk amongst these giants, who can reach over 500 pounds and 175 years old.

For the afternoon, we leave this mist-shrouded environment and head only a few miles to a sunny beach one could confuse for paradise. This is also a perfect place to learn how to surf, and you will spend the afternoon having a blast trying to catch waves. Upon return, spend a leisurely evening enjoying your last night on San Cristobal. B,L,D

Day 10 |  Fly to Mainland
Today, we will fly back to Quito for our flight home. B

Starting price
10 – 15 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 620 / student
16 – 20 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 490 / student
21 – 25 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 390 / student
(Price depends on the time travelling e.g. Christmas and New Years period are peak season)

Price includes:
All the transfers mentioned in the program with van or a boat, accommodation in an economic hotel, all the meals as mentioned in the program (B, L, D), all the activities mentioned in the program with entrance fees, a Students Journey guide.

Price does not include:
International flights,  flights from Quito to Galapagos return (high season: July 1-Aug 31/ Dec 1-January 15 $ 540 / Pers. and low season Jan 16-June 30/ Sep 01-Nov 30 $ 484 / Pers.), Entrance/National Park fee to the Islands (at this time $ 100.00 / Pers.), transit control fee (at this time $ 10.00), beverages and meals not specified, phone calls and personal expenses, travel insurance, possible visa fees, all other services stated as optional or not explicitly stated as included.

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