Pick your Answer and Choose your Path:
A.) Have you ever wanted to volunteer with underprivileged youth?
B.) Are you conscious about environmental and conservation issues?
C.) Have you thought about teaching English abroad?
D.) Do the Galapagos islands intrigue and inspire you?
E.) All of the Above
If you’ve circled any of the letters above, we would highly recommend that you volunteer with New Era Galapagos. New Era Galapagos is a non-profit organization that works with the children of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos. New Era Galapagos provides the local children with various after-school programs where they can further enhance their English skills as well as a weekend program that teaches them the importance of community service.
New Era Galapagos was founded by William Puga, a Galapagos resident, over 14 years ago. He wanted to provide other job opportunities for the children of San Cristobal island. At that time, most of the local families were making their living by fishing. He wanted to empower children through knowledge so that they could become interpreters, naturalist guides, and tour operators in order to make a better living for themselves and their families. He also wanted to teach the youth the importance of conservation and how to better preserve and protect their environment.
Monday through Friday you can find children as young as 5 years old enrolled in one of William’s English classes. These classes are taught by volunteers who dedicate their time and energy into helping the local community. Classes are held from 4 pm to 7 pm and cater to all of Puerto Baquerio Moreno’s school aged children. On the weekends, William takes students out to do community service around the town. You can find them painting murals and cleaning local parks. Williams knows that he’s not only keeping the students busy and engaged, but he’s also keeping them out of trouble.
New Era Galapagos is always in need of volunteers and they were more than willing to let us help out during the first week of our trip. After teaching for 2 years in Korea, we didn’t think we’d be back in a classroom so soon, but our teaching instincts came back to us a lot faster than we thought. New Era Galapagos is the perfect organization for anyone who wants to travel, give back, and learn more about the world we live in. As a volunteer, you’ll interact with the local children of San Cristobal, further their English skills, and help them learn about the environmental issues involving their island. You’ll also have plenty of free time to explore the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos.
Interested in volunteering? Here’s what you need to know:
You can book a hostel on your own, or have a host family set up for the duration of your stay. Depending on how long you’re staying (the longer, the cheaper), you can expect to pay your host family anywhere from $8-$15/day. It’s quite the bargain as most host families have consistent and hot running water, internet, laundry facilities, and a kitchen. You’ll get your own space and bed in the home and you’ll be able to practice your Spanish with your new family. Hostels tend to be more expensive and not as comfortable. We’d definitely recommend giving a host family a try.
Cost of living on San Cristobal:
Visitors to the Galapagos islands are expected to pay a $100 entrance fee to the park. If you commit to volunteering for more than one month, this fee will be raised.
Everything on the island is relatively inexpensive. If you cook all of your meals yourself, you might only spend $3 a day for your food. Restaurant dining is more expensive with dishes ranging on average from $4-$14. Everything in town is within walking distance and if you do need a cab, it should cost no more than a dollar. If you decide to trek across the island to Puerto Chino, a cab ride there and back should cost a total of $30.
New Era Galapagos is open Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm. English classes are taught on the hour and there’s normally one teacher per class- however more are always invited. If you are the only volunteer at the time, you’ll be responsible for all 4 classes Monday through Friday. If there are more volunteers, your work load will be lightened and you’ll most likely only teach for a few hours a day- if that. Volunteers are welcome to join William on the weekends as he and the students do community service around the town.
Other ways you can help:
New Era Galapagos thrives off of the kindness of strangers. They’re in constant need of English learning materials, books, crayons, colored pencils, and other school supplies. A few of the children have been granted scholarships at schools in the United States and the U.K. For these students, the cost of the airfare is too much for their families to pay for on their own. They desperately need funding in order for them to take advantage of these opportunities given to them.
If you want to volunteer, send supplies, or give a financial donation to New Era Galapagos please contact the director and founder, William Puga at: