Arrival Procedure to Ecuador
A member of Projects Abroad staff meets all volunteers from San Cristobal Island airport. The airport is very close to the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and about 5 minutes’ drive away from our local office.
The staff member will be waiting for you in the arrivals area of San Cristobal airport holding an A4-sized laminated “Projects Abroad” sign. You will then travel by taxi to your host family.
There are two airports on the Galapagos islands (Santa Cruz and San Cristobal) please make sure that you fly into San Cristobal airport. Our staff can only pick you up from this airport and if you do fly to Santa Cruz you will be responsible for getting a bus to the port and then a boat to San Cristobal independently.
As you may already be aware the Galapagos Islands are a National Park. To live and work in a National Park such as the Galapagos is a unique opportunity. However, unfortunately as with the majority of National Parks worldwide the local authorities request that all foreigners pay an additional fee on arrival.
You will be required to pay US$20, in cash, on arrival at Quito or Guayaquil for an Immigration Galapagos card. In addition, when you arrive at San Cristobal airport you will need to pay US$100. This fee goes directly towards preserving and enhancing this world famous National Park, and is only applicable to volunteers under the age of 18. Unfortunately this extra cost is out of our control and cannot be avoided when entering into the Galapagos Islands. Please ensure, if you are in fact under the age of 18, that you have US$120 cash to cover the immigration card and National Park fees.
All our host families are based in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
When you arrive you will be introduced to your host family and accommodation and spend time unpacking and settling in.
Volunteering in Ecuador: Orientation and Induction
You will have your induction on the next working day after you arrive. A member of staff will come and pick you up from your host family and show you around the town. You will start by going to our office where a member of staff will go through the Ecuador Handbook with you, including all the necessary safety and security measures.
You will then be taken around the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and shown important sites and landmarks including internet cafes, the post office, where to change money and how to get to each place from your host family. You will also be shown where other volunteers live and get the opportunity to meet some of them.
Depending on the time and your programme, you may be introduced to your placement on the same day as your induction. If not, we will pick you up and take you the next day. We will show you how to get around the town (though it is quite small so walking is usually all that is needed) so that you become familiar with the town layout and landmarks. You will need to cover the cost of your journey to and from work. However as the town is small you can usually walk to your placement from your host family.
Host families speak Spanish. A few members of the family may speak some English, especially the younger children who are learning it in school. However you should be prepared to be immersed in a Spanish speaking environment. The host families understand that some volunteers may not speak Spanish or have limited vocabulary and they will be more than happy to teach you some new words. They are very warm and welcoming people and will make sure you feel comfortable and relaxed. Vegetarians can easily be catered for.
Our Projects Abroad office in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is based in the centre of town. The office is open from Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm. Our staff try to be in the office as much as possible but depending on their schedules they do sometimes need to leave the office during the day. All staff are however available 24hrs a day on their mobile phones so please do not hesitate to contact them at any time. There is equipment in the office for volunteer use including resource materials and books.
The Galapagos can be visited at any time of the year. There are two seasons, and the warmest is between December to May, when the sky is always clear and the sun shines strongly. If you love to dive in amazing places, the best time to visit the Galapagos is from June to November. During this season the weather is a little colder, but it’s the ideal time to enjoy the best of the Galapagos' famous marine reserve.
At the end of your placement we will arrange your journey back to the airport.