Useful Information About Galapagos
The Galápagos Islands are one of the most renowned oceanic archipelagos in the world. Owing their origins to volcanic activity, the islands are located on the equator 600 miles off the coast in the Pacific Ocean and today are a province of Ecuador. Wildlife abounds above and below the sea surface here, and most of the plants, animals, and other forms of biodiversity are endemic, found nowhere else on the planet. In addition to this biodiversity, the islands host a human population of around 30,000 inhabitants. The archipelago consists of 13 main islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The islands themselves are the tips of giant, basaltic underwater volcanoes.
Isabela and the Galapagos Islands
Isabela Island is the largest body of land in the archipelago, housing 6 major volcanoes in addition to its human population and distinctive wildlife. Around each of the volcanoes roams an isolated giant tortoise subspecies, the reptile for which the islands are known worldwide. Running parallel to the town is a two mile stretch of sand-covered beach, complete with palm trees and marine iguanas found nowhere else in the world outside of the Galapagos. You will find the Tortoise Breeding Center a five minute walk from town, where you can see the giant tortoises themselves, at all stages of life (they start out quite small!). A few minutes down the road you’ll find a lagoon boasting flamingos and long legged stilts. Isabela island is home to nearly 3,000 residents, the majority of whom reside in the small port town of Puerto Villamil, on the southern coastline.
The project’s wider mission
Our mission is to enhance conservation through education and social development on an intimate, ground level. The human factor is key to making any progress locally, and that’s where our project comes in. Here on Isabela, the local population approaches 3,000, and the need for conservation, education, and social development is increasing. It is our mission to work in the rural island of Isabela to generate educational, economic, and social benefits for the community of Puerto Villamil. The volunteer project itself is part of a larger, comprehensive approach to providing developmental aid in the Galapagos. Other programmes we run in the community include technical assistance and financial aid to local authorities and institutions, as well as our ‘familias embajadores del buen vivir’ (ambassadors of good living), where local families participate in classes and seminars related towards community needs.