Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Aug 15-22, 2020
  • Trip Type:
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Pilot Program

47688861_10156456431899064_6430718411902287872_oThis is a small animal veterinary field project. As part of this project, World Vets team will provide direct veterinary services and care to animals in need on a large scale. To aid in the delivery of such assistance, we have volunteer opportunities that not only facilitate quality veterinary 47685292_10156454858664064_8664753033965469696_ocare but also enable individuals to be a part of the work that we do around the world.

For this field project, volunteer opportunities are open to vets, techs (both licensed and non-licensed), students and for general assistants (individuals with no previous vet experience). Read more about volunteer positions below.

How much will it cost?

The project fee associated with this veterinary field service project is $1295 USD. The full amount will be due at the time of registration. Before you register, please ensure you do not have any scheduling conflicts that may impact your participation as project fees are non-refundable and/or non-transferrable to other trips and/or persons.

What’s Included:

World Vets logo scrub top*, volunteer kit, pre – trip planning and coordination per the project itinerary, accommodations for 7 nights, breakfast provided at/with accommodations, lunch on clinic work days, airport transfers in Santa Cruz per established meeting times on official arrival/departure days (see project itinerary), ground transportation related to veterinary work, a group activity, veterinary and volunteer permissions, Galapagos Islands National Park entrance fee as well as all supplies and full participation on the project.

*Purchase additional World Vets logo gear for your trip, including extra scrub tops, here 

What’s NOT included:

International/domestic airfare*, optional excursions, travellers insurance, health insurance, World Vets membership fee, lunch on non-work days, dinner and snacks, required travel documentation to enter/exit Ecuador (i.e. a passport that does not expire for at least 6 months from your initial date of travel, visa if applicable), incidentals and anything not specifically outlined as included.

*Please note: Volunteers may need to book an international flight to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, and from there book a domestic flight to Santa Cruz Island; Seymour Airport / Baltra, Galapagos Islands / Airport Code: GPS). Airlines that offer flights to the Galapagos Islands are Avianca, TAME and LATAM. 

What will I be doing?

This is a small animal veterinary field project. For this particular project, World Vets veterinary team will execute a spay neuter campaign targeting both owned and unowned animals. Volunteers can expect 75+ sterilizations to be performed each day. We may also see health consultations, perform other types of surgeries and/or treat injuries on a case by case basis.


As a veterinarian, you primarily will be performing sterilization surgeries for dogs and cats. You may also be involved in the following:

  • Medical diagnosis and treatment and/or in providing health consultations
  • Performing other surgeries that may be deemed necessary on a case by case basis (based on your comfort level and/or ability)
  • Providing surgical instruction and guidance to veterinary students in performing sterilizations (if interested)

The veterinarian volunteer category may be filled by a licensed DVM who is both competent and comfortable in performing routine spay/neuter surgery. PLEASE NOTE: We will require additional documentation for veterinarians volunteering on this project. See below under “A Few Special Notes” for more information

Veterinary Technicians (Licensed and Non-Licensed) | Veterinary Nurses

As a veterinary technician, you will lead and/or be involved in running the pre-med/induction station to induce anesthesia and prepare patients for surgery.  This includes:

  • Administering, monitoring and managing the pre-medication given to surgical patients
  • Administering, monitoring and managing the anesthesia given to surgical patients
  • Assisting with surgical prep and patient monitoring

You may also be involved with providing instruction and guidance to students in performing the clinical tasks mentioned above.

The “Tech” (LVT/RVT) volunteer category may only be filled by a veterinary technician that is either certified, licensed and/or registered. Please note, proficiency in IV catheter placement is essential in this position. For veterinary technicians who are not licensed, they should register under the “Tech/Student” category.


As a veterinary student, pre-veterinary student and/or veterinary technician student, you may be involved in any of the following activities:

  • Pre med/Induction (All students): Assisting with prepping patients for surgery  (i.e. animal handling/restraint, expressing bladders, assisting with catheter placement, shaving and sterilizing surgical field, positioning patient for the surgeon).
  • Surgery (Veterinary students):  Assisting a veterinarian in surgery, cleaning up surgical area for the next patient and/or observing surgery. Note: As part of this project, veterinary students may expect to perform a few sterilizations under the direct guidance and instruction of a veterinarian.
  • Recovery (All students):  Monitoring patients after surgery, administering appropriate post-op medications per protocol chart and grooming.

The student volunteer category may be filled by veterinary students, pre–veterinary students, and/or veterinary technology students. When registering, select the “Tech/Student” category and further classify your position on the registration form to reflect the student type that you are filling. 


The assistant volunteer category is open to anyone who loves animals and wants to help. Our assistant position requires no prior experience, just a willingness to learn! Assistants often help in the post operation recovery area and in a variety of miscellaneous duties (based on your skills, experience and comfort level).

A few special notes:

  • All volunteers will need to send World Vets a scanned copy of their passport no later than June 1st, 2020. This is required to obtain necessary team permissions as well as to process/ apply the Galapagos National Park entrance fee (so you will not need to pay it upon arrival onto the island).
  • Veterinarians will be required to submit the following additional documentation per country requirements for this project: Copy of your active/current veterinary license. This can be scanned/emailed to and/or fax to 1 877 688 8387. Please submit this documentation no later than May 1st, 2020.
  • The gloves provided on World Vets projects are made with latex. Volunteers who have a latex allergy will need to provide their own gloves for this project.
  • Caps and masks are required to be worn by all surgeons as well as those assisting within the sterile field of the surgical patient. World Vets provides disposable caps and masks on field service projects, however, volunteers have the option of using their own surgical cap.
  • World Vets is not able to provide medical advice. Volunteers are encouraged to consult with their family physician, nearest travel clinic and/or center for disease control regarding recommended immunizations and/or health precautions prior to the trip. It is recommended that volunteers be vaccinated for rabies, though is not a requirement for this particular project.
  • We understand that sometimes unexpected things can happen to stop a volunteer being able to participate in a project. For that reason, we highly recommend that you obtain some form of insurance for your trip. World Vets has a partnership with Global Rescue. A membership with Global Rescue provides volunteers with medical evacuation & advisory services. You must read the policy wording to ensure the policy is a fit for your needs. World Vets project fees are non-refundable and non-transferable (to another person or to another project).  We encourage volunteers to make sure the dates of our projects do not conflict with any prior engagements before signing up.
  • Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to sign up and participate on this project
  • Please read and make sure you understand World Vets Terms & Conditions


Day 1 (August 15): Official Arrival Day

Arrive at Seymour Airport /Baltra, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador*. Airport Code: GPS. Upon arrival, the team will be transferred to accommodations located in the main town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. Two airport transfers will be provided for those arriving on this date and will correspond to the arrival times of the majority.

[Special note:  Arrival/pick up transfers will only be provided from Seymour Airport. Should any volunteers arrive via boat, they will need to get themselves to team housing on this date]

*Please noteVolunteers may need to book an international flight to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, and from there book a domestic flight to Santa Cruz (Airlines such as Avianca, TAME and LATAM offer flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands). 

Once the flight for the field service veterinarian is booked, it will be shared with you via email. Once you have booked your flight, please send your flight itinerary to no later than June 30th, 2020.

Day 2 (August 16): Group Activity | Free Time

Following breakfast the team will take part in a group activity  – more information to follow!

*Breakfast provided


Day 3 (August 17): Leisure | Clinic Set up

The morning is set aside for free time. In the afternoon the field service veterinarian and a few team members will go to the clinic site with local partners to get orientated and set up for clinic work.Tonight the team will meet up to go over details and plans for the following clinic days.

*Breakfast provided


Day 4, 5 & 6 (August 18, 19 & 20): Veterinary Clinic Days

Hopefully you are well rested because for the next three days you will be operating a field condition sterilization campaign. Be ready to depart by 8:00 AM.

Bring your scrub top, headlamp and comfortable shoes and be ready to pitch in and help wherever needed to make the project a success.

*Breakfast and lunch provided


Day 7 (August 21): Leisure | Free Time

Today is free for volunteers. World Vets does not have any activities scheduled for today, so volunteers will be responsible for making their own arrangements.

*Breakfast provided


Day 8 (August 22): Official Departure Day

Today is the official end date of the project and signifies the departure of the team. For those departing today, there will be two return airport transfers provided.

For volunteers who wish to extend their stay, this is something that is not included in the project fee. Also, please know that if you stay past the official end date of the project, you will then be responsible for your return transportation to the airport.


World Vets team will stay at a hotel located within the main town of Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz. Local shops and restaurants are within walking distance. The property features WiFi, sun terrace and hot tub, and an on-site coffee house. Rooms have A/C and security safes. Laundry service is available (at additional surcharge), as well as luggage storage.

General Packing List

*This packing list is geared towards our regular field service opportunities to tropical destinations


  • Shoes (Keen, Teva, tennis shoes, anything comfortable, preferably washable and w/ covered toes)
  • T-shirts/Short sleeved shirts
  • Shorts (shorts are ok for surgery)
  • Scrub Pants (optional)
  • World Vets scrub top
  • Swimsuit
  • Light Jacket or sweatshirt
  • Bandana/hat
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • Headlamp (Highly recommended for vets and students, optional but recommended for others)
  • Camera (w/ extra batteries and memory card)
  • Daypack or tote
  • Travel Alarm
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  •  Shampoo
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter meds (Tylenol, Imodium, cold meds etc)
  • Comb/brush
  • Soap
  • Band-Aids
  • Glasses/contact lenses
  • Beach Towel
  • Ear Plugs
  • Flip Flops/Shower shoes
  • Small travel flashlight
  • Laptop (most destinations have WiFi although not very reliable)

Air Mattress (If applicable)

The 10 Rules of Packing