Projects Abroad | Environmental Conservation

Galapagos Islands: Sustainable Agriculture, Food Systems, and Conservation

Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Duration: Minimum 4 weeks (flexible for min. 2 weeks depending on intern’s qualifications), Maximum 1 year

Start Dates: Project is ongoing, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability

Cost: $520 for the 1st week + $375 for each additional week (2 month minimum is recommended) – see ‘Costs’ tab for further details


  • Learn methods of sustainable agricultural production and food systems from experts
  • Contribute to the islands’ food security, soil conservation, and regeneration
  • Gain experience in the maintenance, design, and implementation of sustainable
    agriculture systems and permaculture systems
  • Forge meaningful relations with locals while living with a host family
  • Research & dissertation support available, if requested
Costs Explained


The Galapagos Islands are one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, home to one-of-a-kind species such as Galapagos penguins and giant tortoises. While there are many local and international efforts to protect the Galapagos and its inhabitants (including native peoples), the islands suffer many challenges, such as a lack of food security, a reliance on imports, invasive species consuming local resources, and a lack of seed-saving practices for native species.

This internship is an opportunity to collaborate with a farm that has been researching how to achieve autonomous, resilient, chemical-free, regenerative, and profitable agriculture in the Galapagos islands. The farm is also an agro-ecology school and arguably the founder of the first local seed bank (of edible species) in the Galapagos.

Daily Life

At the start of your program, you will have an orientation on the island of Santa Cruz where the farm and your host family are also located. During orientation workshops, you will start learning about the culture, people, and geography of the region as well as other tools to support you in your internship abroad.

In addition to your collaboration at the farm, you will be able to participate in the daily lives of your host family members, forming meaningful connections with them and exchanging knowledge. You may even have the chance to participate in local customs and traditions during your stay.

At the farm, interns will be able to learn about the reality of the Galapagos Islands, participate in daily customs and rituals, and experience the culture of the community on the island of Santa Cruz. Interns are expected to work about 4-5 hours per day, 5 days per week, and regularly assist with the daily maintenance of the main house and the gardens. Interns are free to visit the island in the afternoon and go exploring on the weekends.

Some potential activities include:

  • Maintain the vegetable seedbeds
  • Assist with seed germination processes and take care of the seed banks
  • Construct apparatuses and design new permaculture systems
  • Assist with the maintenance of the garden by weeding, excavating, making compost, pruning, applying natural fertilizers, and more
  • Reforest native or endemic plants
  • Conduct personal research or study:
    • Water use and conservation; new water captation systems
    • Improvement of soil texture
    • Improvement of soil nutrients (regeneration of soil)
    • Human or natural innovations to control pests such as rats and wild cats
  • Support the farm’s marketing and social media
  • Conduct language tutoring exchanges with staff and community members [English, Spanish]

Interns need to bring extra spending money for their transportation, meals not eaten with the family, and activities and travel outside of the program. The cost of living and transportation costs are explained in more detail in the intern manual provided to incoming participants to help them calculate how much extra money they should bring.

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accom.

The best airport to fly into is Quito (UIO, Mariscal Sucre International Airport). At the Quito Airport, you will need to purchase your flight to go to the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos. Upon your acceptance to the program, you will receive information on how to book your flight to the Galapagos and additional details to prepare you for your arrival.

Fundraising Help


We recommend that interns commit to 4 to 12 weeks on the ground in Ecuador, have an intermediate level of Spanish proficiency (or a strong motivation to learn quickly before and upon arriving!), and bring knowledge in their area of research if looking to do a personal project. Interns are expected to finance their own travel costs. Further requirements include:

  • Minimum 2 weeks commitment (40 hours/week), recommended 4-12 weeks
  • Motivated students, industry professionals, graduate/undergraduate students majoring in environmental studies, food systems, agriculture, ecology, development, and related fields
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Flights & visas (Most nationalities are granted a 3-month tourist visa automatically upon arrival, and you can extend this for 3 more months for a fee while in-country.)
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$520 USD for the 1st week, $370 USD* for each week thereafter.

* Currency conversions are approximate. Use for up to date currency conversion rates
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Places are confirmed with a 1 week deposit.

What’s Included:
  • Accommodation and 3 meals a day with a host family. Includes a private room, bathroom, all bedding, and place to do laundry
  • A pre-departure orientation
  • In-country introduction and orientation during your first few days on Santa Cruz
  • 1:1 check-ins every 2 to 3 weeks
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Network of doctors, therapists, Spanish tutors in-country
  • Access to network of experts and information databases for research support
  • Exit interview and end-of-program reflection
  • Alumni group and future references
What’s not included:
  • Costs of flights and visa
  • Costs of vaccinations
  • Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($120 for foreigners)
  • $15 per day for food during orientation training
  • Personal transportation
  • Any other activities outside of scheduled program activities (white water rafting, yoga, workshops, guided jungle hikes, etc.)

Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators. We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate

Past Participants Say

Mei Geater
United Kingdom
Nomad Rating
Project Impact
Extra Activities
Good evening, I originally applied for this permaculture experience found on Linkedin, while I was applying for industrial year placements for my third year at university. I then found a lot of the itinerary for this volunteering opportunity relevant to the modules I had taken in my second year, on sustainable development, agricultural systems...
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