If you're looking for the perfect destination to volunteer abroad while you're travelling, the Galapagos Islands could be the perfect option. These stunning isles in the Pacific Ocean have been a source of fascination ever since Charles Darwin famously visited them.
While he was intrigued by the unique animal life the volcanic islands were home to, you will find there is plenty more to see and do on your stay, meaning every day will be a new adventure.
For a guide to some of the top volunteering options here, read on.
Darwin immediately recognised how important these islands were and they helped him form his theories of evolution. However, today they are in danger due to tourism and environmental threats. As a result, volunteering to conserve this unique habitat has never been more important.
You can spend time on the isle of Santa Cruz helping to make the future of this beauty spot more secure. This does not only involve working to preserve native plants and animals, but also talking with locals and educating them on sustainable and organic farming techniques.
Work you can do to make a real difference to this place's future includes removing foreign plant species deemed invasive, as they could put native flora at threat. Part of this involves working alongside local landowners to establish a system whereby different varieties of vegetation are grown at different levels to avoid them mixing.
In addition, you could be asked to help with planting trees, organic farming and even caring for the domesticated creatures that live here. Remember, while the giant tortoise may be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of the Galapagos Islands, all of the life here is interconnected, so by protecting the smallest plant you are also helping these reptilian beasts.
As well as the flora and fauna, the Galapagos Islands are renowned for their thriving communities and delving into these is something you will never forget. Best of all, you can make a real difference here too.
In destinations popular with tourists, being able to speak English can really benefit the local people as it improves their chances of finding work in the industry and building a prosperous career for themselves.
You can volunteer to teach the language to children aged between seven and 11 years old and as a native speaker, you will really be able to assist them in getting to grips with the skill.
This is a flexible scheme that allows volunteers to bring their own strengths to the teaching methods they use so if you are creative, you're certain to love being involved in this project. It's not only languages you can help the kids with either, but also sports, music and art. Best of all, you will only teach for part of the day, leaving plenty of time to explore the local area.
While you can use this time to visit the famous sites of Santa Cruz like the Charles Darwin Station and Breeding Centre or Tortuga Bay Beach, it's also well worth getting to know the local communities, learning more about their culture and sampling their cuisine like spiced meat, fish and even sea cucumber.
Helping the people of the Galapagos archipelago is one of the best ways you can preserve the islands' future to ensure that, just like Darwin, visitors continue to be astounded by the area for generations to come.