Projects Abroad Volunteers work in the Galapagos Greenhouse on the Conservation Project

Take a Gap Semester Abroad in the Galapagos Islands

At a glance

  • Live with a group on San Cristobal Island, engaging with the local community and nature on a daily basis.
  • Experience a different area of work every two weeks, ranging from conservation efforts in the exclusive Galapagos National Park, to supporting Early Childhood Development classes.
  • Attend regular Spanish classes, tailored to your level. Start from scratch with basic vocabulary, or work on your conversational fluency.
  • Participate in community enrichment projects with a group, and work together to achieve a specific goal in a short time.

Start Dates: 

Fixed dates throughout the year

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Eight Weeks


Anyone aged 18 or over can join

What do you do in a gap semester?

What you do in a gap semester is completely up to you! Travel is a popular option for any student looking to:

  • Add global experience to their resumes
  • Live more independently
  • Experience cultural exchange 

In addition, the beauty of a gap semester is in the length. It can range anywhere from 1-3 months. You can fully immerse yourself in the experience without feeling the pressure of committing to be away from home or school for longer. 

If a full gap year feels like a tall order right now, a gap semester might be just what you need. With the right organization supporting you, and a flexible program built around experiential education, a gap semester can be equally fulfilling and productive. Throw travel into the mix, and your gap semester has the added benefit of exposing you to cultural exchange.

Everything is planned for you during our gap semester abroad in Ecuador, and our staff will be there for you whenever you need them. The program covers a variety of areas, so you get to experience a bit of everything. This is hugely valuable for students still figuring out what they really want to do, and those looking to spice up their gap year with variety!

Please note that while you need to cover your flight to Guayaquil Airport, your flight to San Cristobal from here is covered in your program fee (this includes a one night hotel stay in Guayaquil and airport transfer).


Giant Tortoise & Sea Lion Conservation

Our partnership with the Galapagos National Park gives us exclusive access to the wilderness Darwin once studied. The work is hands-on, with the added benefit of learning from expert conservationists. You’ll do things like:

  • Monitor and survey wildlife, including Giant Tortoises at a breeding center, and sea lions and birds out in the wild
  • Help control invasive animal species that threaten indigenous wildlife, which is critical for environmental stability
  • Eradicate alien plant species and help local plants thrive
  • Support the community by participating in beach clean-ups and raising awareness of how people can protect animals and the environment

Learn more about our conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands.


The biggest focus of our Childcare Project in Ecuador is ensuring that young kids learn the skills they need to thrive once they start school. We work in overcrowded and understaffed kindergartens, giving teachers extra support in the classroom. In addition to teaching Early Childhood Development, our volunteers also teach basic English and encourage the kids to practice good hygiene. 

Children learn through play, so you can do things like:

  • Plan and run educational activities, games, and arts and crafts
  • Teach songs and rhymes so kids can practice and remember the English they learn

You don’t need previous experience working with kids, we’ll provide training, workshops, and resources so you’ll have everything you need to do the work. 

Read more about supporting Early Childhood Development in Ecuador. 

Teaching & Sports Coaching

On your gap semester abroad in Ecuador, you’ll be able to add real classroom and sports coaching work experience to your resume. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a teacher, this is a great way to test the waters before putting in the time and effort to qualify to teach.  

Our Teaching Project has a lot of variety. A big part of your experience will be teaching English to school kids, but you can also participate in a program where you teach adults. 

Sports coaching takes place at a community sports club, and you can teach sports like soccer and basketball, and do activities like Zhumba. You’ll work with small groups of kids. 

Read more about Teaching and Sports Coaching in Ecuador

Study Spanish

Part of the cultural exchange experience we offer in Ecuador is a 30-hour Spanish Language Course. Each class is two-hours long, and takes place three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). You’ll be taught by a qualified language teacher, who’ll tailor classes according to your level.

Experiential Learning: Capstone Project

As part of your gap semester program, you’ll work on a Capstone Project. It can take any form or medium, from an essay, poem, photo journal, or painting. You pick a topic and a question to think about critically and explore. This topic should relate to both your own experiences on the program and also the setting of the Galapagos Islands.  At the end of the program, you’ll present your project to the group.

Here are some sample ideas to get you thinking:

  • How are the everyday lives of the locals different from mine and what can I learn from them? You can answer this by creating a photo journal that paints a picture of the everyday lives of the islanders.
  • How are climate change factors affecting the Galapagos Islands? This could take the form of a scientific-like report that categorizes the effects of climate change on the islands and how we can address them. 

Where in the Galapagos Islands will I work?

San Cristobal

You’ll live and work with your group on the island of San Cristobal. It forms part of the Galapagos archipelago, located about 1,000km from mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.

Even though it is the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos province, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is still more of a port town than a city. It’s home to several pristine white beaches, but only two are for people. The others are all devoted to the protection of the local sea lion population.

With many cobbled streets and an attractive wharf area, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is a charming village, with much to explore during your free time.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Ecuador Arrival Procedures page.

Can I take a gap semester in 2021

2020 was an immensely challenging year for travel. As the world gradually opens up and travel restrictions ease, it becomes easier to plan ahead for your gap semester abroad. 

The Galapagos Islands have been successfully remaining nearly COVID-19 free, but now their crucial conservation endeavors and economy are in need of volunteers and visitors to help support them. 

Read about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our enhanced safety protocols.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers and interns during your stay in San Cristóbal. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and interns, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together. You can also request to stay with a host family in San Cristóbal.

The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay £195, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options, fundraising advice, and scholarships available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 01273 007 230 to see if we can offer a discount.

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