In-Water Sea turtle Conservation

founded in 2010
Caminho Marinho
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Coordinator | Gustavo
Coordinator | Gustavo
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


You will have direct contact with the wildlife in Brazil in the search for sea turtles in their habitat and captures of them in the water as well as monitoring their interactions with fisherman
Also you will discover the natural beauty of the region and its marine animals, including sea turtles, dolphins and sea lions.
Be able to experience the Brazilian way of life and immerse yourself in its culture, from its food, music and dance, also with the opportunity to see Brazilian shows every weekend.
Promote environmental education amongst the locals and build friendships with volunteers from around the world.
Learn and develop the different techniques for sea turtle research and live a greener life which we promote and apply as a group.
Search for sea turtles and have direct contact with wildlife in Brazil! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

About the Program

The main objective of this programme is to evaluate and assess the occurrence of Green Sea Turtles in the breakwaters of “Molhes de Barra”. When doing so you will assess the relationships of the turtles which such activities like fishing and tourism, to help the conservation of this species. This is done by 3 main methods:

1 - Sighting sea turtles from a fixed point and recording data.

2 - Monitoring the artisanal fisheries.   

3 - Capturing the sea turtles to perform biometrics, sampling and marking in two different regions “Molhe Oeste” in Rio Grande Municipality and “Molhe Leste” in Sao Jose de Norte municipality.

Your Role as a Volunteer

In order to achieve these goals volunteers must develop their skills and perform their activities effectively. Volunteers will be monitored to ensure that all data has been collected correctly. Volunteers can benefit from the opportunity of being trained by one of the most experienced groups in intentional capture of sea turtles in Brazil. Co-ordinaed by PhD Gustavo Martinez Souza - who has done do for over 10 years throughout Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul. South, Brazil, and the coast of Uruguay - as well as enjoy natural landscapes still little known and valued in South Brazil (as Molhe Oeste, "Refúgio da Vida Silvestre do Molhe Oeste", "Estação Ecológica do Taim" and "Capilha"). The house of Caminho Marinho’s main place of work is on the beach of “Praia de Cassino” and is 5km from the “Molhe  Oeste”, Rio Grande. Instead of commercial centres, for the small beaches of brazil in “Praia do Cassino” there are handicraft shops, clothing stores, drugstores and supermarkets, where over 40,000 residents visit per year and 1 million people over summer (Dec-Feb).

About the Molhes da Barra

There are two 5km long breakwaters at the mouth of Lagoa dos patos that protect from wave action and natural silting giving access to the estuarine environment. The “Molhes de Barra” moorings are the only large rock structures along the entire coast of Rio Grande do Sul (except the Torres in the extreme North of the state) and they play a fundamental role in the ecology of several species. As these structures provide protection for the habitat of communities, such as mussels, groupers, bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, sea birds and sea turtles.

Typical day

Every day the volunteers will cycle (5km) to the “Molhe Oeste” to carry out monitoring activities, such as:

  • Sighting sea turtles from a fixed point (Molhes de Barra)
  • Teams will take turns to go to the breakwaters by bike or foots to observe for two hours, and rest for 30 minutes per sighting. They will record the number of animals sighted, oceanographic and meteorological data and some other measurements.
  • Monitor of amateur and artisanal fishing in the Breakwaters of Barra de Rio Grande.

As well as sighting animals, volunteers will follows amateur and artisanal fishing activities and record the number of fisherman using each type of fishing gear (holding net, net, line and rod, etc). They will interview the fishermen socioeconomic questions and receive the sea turtles caught incidentally by the fishermen partners of Caminho Marinho. If turtles are captured, the volunteers will manage the captured animals following Caminho Marinho’s correct protocol.

Twice a week, the volunteers will go to intentionally captured sea turtles in Molhe Oeste to carry out biometrics, sampling and tagging. To intentionally capture green sea turtles, we use a waiting gill net (50m length, 3.2m height, 30cm mesh).

The turtles that are captured are characterized by the presence or absence of tumors and epibionts, obtained biometrics (7 measures), skin, blood and carapace collection, then are later tagged and released.

In order to raise awareness about turtle protection issues and conservation of the environment some of these releases will take place in the presence of local tourists and residents. This will promote interaction between the community and the activities of Caminho Marinho.

Once a week, volunteers will travel by boat to the intentionally captured sea turtles in Molhe Leste in Sao Jose de Norte. Using the same procedure as previously mentioned.

Free-time activities

Rio Grande is a city known for musicality, with several local artists of Brazilian and international music (Thursday to Saturday gigs).

Rio Grande has several museums with the most known being those linked to the sea: oceanographic museum, nautical museum, eco-museum Polvora Island, and a visit to the Center for Marine Animal Rehabilitation (CRAM).

Although limited to climatic conditions, there are diving and swimming spots in the breakwaters, as well as hiking through different places in the city as Ilha dos Marinheiros, Capilha and Taim. 

Once a week, beach yoga activities are suggested, as well as a percussion workshop. 



In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
The program intends to give opportunity to all who have health conditions to carry out the activities.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 20:00

What's Included

Services by Caminho Marinho
With the payment, the volunteers have the right to accommodation, food, professional training and participation in all activities of the Caminho Marinho, combining expenses with land and water transportation (fishery boat).
Volunteers are entitled to use a bicycle, being responsible for the maintenance and safety.
Caminho Marinho's house is large with three bedrooms and one of them is a suite. As volunteers demand, the room can be individual, shared with one other person or shared with up to six volunteers.
The organization of the house is collective, and the volunteers are responsible for the organization of the house, cleaning and preparation of meals.
Dorm Room Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages
Volunteers are entitled to three basic meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the volunteers are responsible for preparation and cleaning after a meal.
  • At breakfast, there is bread, jam, margarine, tea, coffee and biscuit (salted and sweet).
  • At lunch, volunteers prepare quick meals such as pasta, omelette or sandwiches, so you do not waste time and get the volunteer tasks done.
  • At dinner, the meal is more elaborate with rice, beans, salad, accompaniment (potatoes, polenta or vegetables) and meat (beef, chicken or pork).
Dishes are washed by volunteers.
Drinks are not included in the fees. The house has water filter and the possibility to buy drinks (soda, juice and beer (at night)).
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Salgado Filho International Airport (POA) in Porto Alegre. We assist you to find cheap flights to Brazil.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Brazil provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Brazil you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Brazil.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Caminho Marinho offers accommodation service in the Cassino Beach, which consists of a large house with 3 bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen, equipped with internet and washing machine with cost; The organization is collective between the trainees and volunteers to maintain the good living environment. Bed linen (sheets, blanket and pillow) and bath towel and for the field are the responsibility of the volunteers.

The project is located in the municipality of Rio Grande, Rio Grande do Sul. The nearest international airport is located in Porto Alegre (Salgado Filho Airport). By bus, the volunteer arrives from Porto Alegre to Rio Grande in a trip of 5 hours and 27 dollars of cost.

The Project region has four seasons of the year well marked and therefore the luggage of the volunteer must be adapted according to the period of their participation. The project works throughout the year - however, the climate changes every season. Although sea turtles are present all year round, they become much less abundant between July and September.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 20 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
10 weeks
11 weeks
12 weeks
13 weeks
20 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$201 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Caminho Marinho will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Caminho Marinho during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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In-Water Sea turtle Conservation

Search for sea turtles and have direct contact with wildlife in Brazil!


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