Sea Turtle and Wildlife Conservation Assistant

Projects Abroad
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Coordinator | Bethany
Coordinator | Bethany
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Ensure the survival of endangered sea turtle species, and preserve the ecological well-being of the area
Work with crocodiles
Enjoy living near a beautiful black sand beach in the town of Cuyutlan
Study the area´s biodiversity as part of important ongoing research initiatives
Enjoy ethnic food and beverages on local markets
Travel to Mexico and carry out vital sea turtle conservation. You’ll work with expert conservationists to protect endangered species like the Olive Ridley Turtle. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 16+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

If you have a strong interest in marine life conservation, and you want an adventurous experience outdoors, this is the project for you. You’ll spend your days patrolling black sand beaches, searching for turtle nests, and carefully transporting eggs to more protected areas. You’ll release hatchlings, and watch them crawl over the sand to the ocean. You’ll sail slowly around a lagoon, taking notes about the different animals and birds you see for scientists.  

The work we do here is important, and you’ll become part of ongoing efforts to protect marine and coastal life. You’ll do plenty of hands-on work outdoors, and learn a lot from our conservation experts. This is really useful if you’re planning on pursuing a career in wildlife conservation someday. It’s also a good fit if you’re passionate about the environment and actively want to help. 

You’ll also have the chance to hone personal skills like communication and adapting to a different environment. You can apply these skills to any career you pursue. 

You don’t need previous experience to join. You’ll be supervised by experts, and Projects Abroad staff are always available to provide guidance and advice.

Our Sea Turtle Conservation Project runs year-round, so you can join whenever it suits your schedule. The minimum duration is one week, but we recommend staying longer to experience as much as possible.


Your project will be divided into several areas:

Search for and move turtle nests to a protected area

Coastal erosion and poaching are currently the biggest threats facing turtles today. Once a turtle has laid eggs, poachers dig up the eggs to sell at local markets. To protect the nests, we do beach patrols every night. 

When we find a nest, we move it to a safe location at the ecological centre we work with. This is a protected area, and the eggs incubate in peace here. Once the eggs hatch, we release hatchlings into the ocean. 

Ensure turtles tanks are clean and maintained

The ecological centre we work with has permission from the government to keep turtles, especially those who have been injured and cannot be released back into the wild. They need your help to look after all the turtles living here. You’ll help clean the tanks and make sure turtles are fed and cared for. Each turtle is also weighed and measured once a month. 

Biodiversity studies

Every week, you’ll spend time in the Palo Verde estuary and El Chupadero lagoon. Here, you’ll monitor the presence and condition of the local wildlife. We do this in various ways. We:  

  • Maintain a register through direct observation and trap cameras for night surveillance
  • Monitor and collect data on the state of nearby mangrove forests
  • Grow mangrove seedlings in a greenhouse
  • Reforest areas where the mangrove forest has been damaged or removed

Working with mangroves is especially important because they: 

  • Provide a habitat for marine life
  • Protect coastlines from soil erosion
  • Help in the fight against climate change

 We need your help to plant as many as possible! 

Educational and environmental outreaches

Education is a big part of the conservation work we do in Mexico. We work directly with the ecological centre to raise awareness in local communities. We emphasize the importance of looking after the environment and animals and preserving them for future generations. You’ll help us with this work by visiting schools and running awareness campaigns in nearby communities. 

Community beach clean-ups

Reducing litter in our oceans is vital for keeping marine life safe. Rubbish, particularly non-biodegradable plastic, is hazardous. The sea turtles that nest here can get caught in the discarded plastic. Or, they may mistake it for food, which can hurt and even kill them. You’ll participate in regular beach clean-ups to remove as much rubbish as possible. 

Work with crocodiles

You’ll visit La Colorada Crocodile Centre, in Cofradia de Morelos, once a week. Here, you’ll help to clean and maintain the pens and the centre’s facilities. You will also be involved in taking biometric data and marking the crocodiles in nearby lagoons.

Typical day

You’ll work Monday through Friday, for about five hours a day.

Time on this project is split between work at the ecological centre, on the beach, and a nearby lagoon. At the ecological centre, you’ll focus on working with turtles, and do things like: 

  • Monitor nests in a protected corral
  • Clean adult turtles and ensure they are well-fed and measured and weighed regularly.
  • Patrol at night to search for new nests (you can expect to work on rotation for night patrols) 

You’ll work at the crocodile centre once a week, on a Thursday. Here, you’ll collect biometric data and mark the crocodiles in nearby lagoons to track local populations.

There is plenty of time to relax. This is especially true during the hottest part of the day when we stop working because of the heat from the midday sun.

During the hours you aren’t working, and over the weekends, you can explore and socialize with other volunteers. Be sure to enjoy the famous open-air palapa covered seafood restaurants around town!  

Free-time activities

With beautiful beaches, arresting art galleries, and buzzing restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Mexico. You’ll have plenty to do during your free time on your project in this dynamic country.

There’s something captivating about touring through old buildings. If you’re into neo-gothic architecture, treat yourself to a trip to the Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento. It’s a work of art with its ornate steeples and glowing stained glass windows.

There are also plenty of museums, giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history. For something different, you can spend the day appreciating the wildlife and lush vegetation of Las Peñas Ecological Park.

You can’t take a trip to Mexico without tasting authentic Mexican cuisine. You can spend an evening enjoying pozole or tamales at a local restaurant and watching the vivid orange-red sun melt into the horizon.

We have a host of different projects in Mexico so there’ll likely be lots of other volunteers in the area during your trip. So you can choose to travel and explore in a group or on your own. 

Concert/
Music
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Museum/
Opera

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Projects Abroad
  • Accommodation

  • Food (three meals a day)

  • Travel and medical insurance

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off

  • Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival

  • Transport to and from your work placement

  • In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff

  • Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team

  • Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources

  • A supervisor/mentor at your work placement

  • Training and workshops from our experienced local staff

  • Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns

  • Access to our local office with internet connection

  • Certification of project completion

  • A cultural awareness course


Airport Pickup at Don Miguel Hidal Y Costilla International Airport

A member of Projects Abroad staff will be waiting for you with a sign when you arrive at Miguel Hidalgo Costilla Guadalajara International Airport. Depending on where you’re traveling from, you may need to stop over within the United States, and then transfer to another flight to get to Guadalajara.

From the airport, we’ll take you directly to your host family. The drive from the airport to your host family will be between 45 minutes and 1 hour. If the project you’re joining is based in Cuyutlan, you will stay with a host family in Guadalajara overnight. You’ll then travel to Cuyutlan (3-hour drive) on the following day.

Accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers during your stay in Cuyutlan. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together.

Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe. 

Food & Beverages
Your program fees include three meals a day.
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.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Don Miguel Hidal Y Costilla International Airport (GDL) in Guadalajara. We assist you to find cheap flights to Mexico.
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 Mexico provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Mexico you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Mexico.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

A member of Projects Abroad staff will be waiting for you with a sign when you arrive at Miguel Hidalgo Costilla Guadalajara International Airport. Depending on where you’re travelling from, you may need to stop over within the United States, and then transfer to another flight to get to Guadalajara.

From the airport, we’ll take you directly to your host family. The drive from the airport to your host family will be between 45 minutes and 1 hour. If the project you’re joining is based in Cuyutlan, you will stay with a host family in Guadalajara overnight. You’ll then travel to Cuyutlan (3 hour drive) on the following day.

Our main offices are based in Guadalajara.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
1 - 50 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$1,370
2 weeks
$1,565
3 weeks
$1,760
4 weeks
$1,955
8 weeks
$2,735
16 weeks
$4,295
50 weeks (max. stay)
$10,925
Average fees
$794 /week

The organization charges its fees in GBP. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Projects Abroad 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 Projects Abroad 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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All program fees are charged directly by Projects Abroad.

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Sea Turtle and Wildlife Conservation Assistant

Travel to Mexico and carry out vital sea turtle conservation. You’ll work with expert conservationists to protect endangered species like the Olive Ridley Turtle.

$794/week

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