Galapagos Islands (October 22-29, 2022)

Oct 22-29, 2022
  • Trip Type:
  • Cats
  • Dogs

Two tortoisesThis project is aimed at helping to protect the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands while providing essential veterinary services and sterilization surgeries for the resident dog and cat population. World Vets will be working in cooperation with local government agency ABG (Agencia de Regulación y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galápagos) and the municipality of San Cristobal. To learn more about our Conservation Medicine Program in the Galapagos read here.

**Note- This is a closed project made possible by sponsorship from Lakefield Veterinary Group. Volunteer selection will be coordinated with Lakefield Veterinary Group. Please view our upcoming projects page for volunteer trips that are open to our general membership.

For this field project, volunteer opportunities are open to vets, techs (both licensed and non-licensed), students (vet, pre-vet, and tech) and general assistants. Read more about volunteer positions below.

What’s included in the Project:

World Vets logo scrub top, volunteer kit, pre – trip planning and coordination per the project itinerary, accommodations for 8 days and 7 nights, breakfast and lunch on clinic work days, airport transfers in San Cristobal per established meeting times on official arrival/departure days, ground transportation related to veterinary work, a group excursion/activity, veterinary and volunteer permissions and authorizations, as well as all supplies and full participation on the project.

What’s NOT included:

International/domestic airfare*, optional excursions, travelers’ insurance, health insurance, World Vets membership fee, breakfast and 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 will book an international flight to Quito, Ecuador, and from there book a domestic flight to San Cristobal Airport, Galapagos Islands (Airport Code: SCY). Airlines that offer flights to the Galapagos Islands are Avianca, TAME and LATAM. Domestic flights will have a short layover in Guayaquil (GYE), but passengers normally stay on the same plane.

What will I be doing?

This is a small animal veterinary field project. For this particular project, World Vets veterinary team will execute a high-volume spay/neuter campaign targeting both owned and unowned animals. 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 instruction to students and/or local volunteers or pet owners

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 copies of veterinary licenses for veterinarians volunteering on this project.

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

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. Veterinary technicians and assistants who are not licensed, but who have experience in a veterinary clinic setting, 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: 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:  Assisting a veterinarian in surgery, cleaning up surgical area for the next patient and/or observing surgery. Note: Only veterinary students are allowed to participate in performing surgical procedures and only under the direct guidance and instruction of a veterinarian. Veterinary students can expect to assist with surgical procedures however they should not assume that this will be the main focus of their involvement during clinic.
  • Recovery:  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 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:

COVID-19: The Galapagos Islands have a very high vaccination rate for all adults and a very low incidence of COVID.  Nonetheless, the global pandemic presents an ongoing health and safety risk both in the United States and abroad and conditions and recommendations change frequently. Please refer to information on the US State Department website for travel to Ecuador as well as the CDC website for current information on international travel and health recommendations.  Please read and fully understand the terms and conditions in the link below.

World Vets is not able to provide medical advice related to travel vaccines or other travel related medical questions. 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 for any international project, although is not a requirement for this particular project. Proof of COVID vaccination is required for this project to the Galapagos Islands.

The gloves provided on World Vets projects are made with latex. Volunteers who have a latex allergy should plan to bring their own non-latex gloves.

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 and/or mask.

Volunteers should expect to share a room. We will try to accommodate any roommate requests- please let us know when you register.  Each room has a private bathroom/shower.

We highly recommend that you obtain travel and medical insurance for your trip. Global Rescue and MedJet are reputable providers of medical evacuation & advisory services as well as general travelers/trip cancellation insurance. You must read the policy wording to ensure the policy is a fit for your needsPolicies must be purchased prior to your initial registration in order to qualify- check with individual provider for details.

Please read and make sure you understand World Vets Terms & Conditions.


Day 1 (Oct 22): Official Arrival Day and Start Date of Trip

Fly from Quito to San Cristobal Airport (Airport Code: SCY), Galapagos Islands, Ecuador with a late morning or early afternoon arrival. Upon arrival to Galapagos, volunteers will be transferred to accommodations.

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

Day 2 (Oct 23): Group Activity | Clinic Orientation

Following breakfast, the team will go as a group to see the Giant Tortoises on the other side of the island and have time to hang out on a beautiful white sand beach where you can swim and explore the wildlife. Then, in the afternoon you will have an orientation time at the clinic.

Day 3 (Oct 24, 25 & 26): Clinic Days

Hopefully you are well rested because for the next three days you will be participating in a large-volume spay-and-neuter surgical campaign. Be ready to depart by 8:00 AM.

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

Days 6 & 7 (Oct 27 & 28): Leisure | Free Time

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

Day 8 (Oct 29): Official Departure Day and Official End of Trip

Depart Galapagos in the A.M. (San Cristobal to Quito) and arrive in Quito afternoon/early evening. Then depart Quito same day. Most flights are late evening or very early morning the next day (e.g., 12:30 am-1:30 am). Be sure to verify that the flight date is the next day if it is an early morning flight.

(Please note: the dates and schedule for work days may be subject to change.)


World Vets team will stay at a guest house located within close walking distance to the clinic as well as local shops, restaurants, a coffee shop, and the waterfront. The property features an outdoor garden and fun hang-out areas with hammocks and Wi-Fi internet. Rooms are basic with private bath, A/C and a security safe for storing valuables. Accommodations will be shared with team members. Laundry service is available nearby.

General Packing List

*NOTE:  This is a general packing list.
Please research your project's forecast information for weather permitting items.


  • Shoes (anything comfortable w/ covered toes for clinic days)
  • World Vets scrub top (required during clinic days)
  • Scrub pants (optional)
  • Pants
  • T-shirts (weather permitting)
  • Shorts (weather permitting - shorts are ok for surgery)
  • Bandana/hat
  • Swimsuit (weather permitting)
  • Sweatshirt (weather permitting)
  • Light jacket (weather permitting)
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle (highly recommended)
  • Headlamp (highly recommended)
  • Camera
  • Tote bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter meds (Tylenol, Imodium, cold meds etc)
  • Personal bottle of hand sanitizer (highly recommended)
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen (highly recommended)
  • Bug spray (DEET) (highly recommended)
  • Brush
  • Band-Aids
  • Glasses/contact lenses
  • Beach Towel (if applicable)
  • Ear Plugs
  • Flip Flops/Shower shoes/Water shoes