from 301€

Excellent 4.8rating (39)

Sea Turtle & Rainforest Conservation

location
1 - 50 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Excellent 4.8  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Highlights

  • Support a real conservation project with the only non-profit in the area working specifically to protect a unique Marine Reserve and thelast remnants of coastal Chocó rainforest.
  • Acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to get involved in sea turtle conservation actions, such as monitoring nesting beaches for protecting nests as collecting and classifying plastic.
  • Support for the conservation of coastal rainforests learning on tropical permaculture and working in regenerative cacao farms/agroforestry systems alongside real ecological farmers.
  • Live an amazing cultural experience living in the jungle and by getting involved in conservation projects with local communities and their youth.
  • Enjoy northern Ecuadorian coast with famous beaches of Same and Mompiche only 1h30 away. On the weekends, you can surf or have an amazing trip by boat through the mangroves forests.

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

About the program

We are the only environmental non-profit in the province. Volunteers support is essential to protect the marine reserve and the last coastal Chocó rainforests in Ecuador

We are a local non-profit organization working for the conservation of last Ecuadorian coastal Chocó rainforests as for the threatened species present in the Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve, with special focus on sea turtles. Our organization is made up of a multicultural and multidisciplinary ...

About the program

We are a local non-profit organization working for the conservation of last Ecuadorian coastal Chocó rainforests as for the threatened species present in the Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve, with special focus on sea turtles. Our organization is made up of a multicultural and multidisciplinary group of people who love nature, so we are taking specific actions to be part of the process of protecting and regenerating these ecosystems. All organization members have years of experience working in tropical rainforest and/or marine conservation projects in this area.


Volunteers will take part in both projects.

SEA TURTLES CONSERVATION PROJECT
This project aims to improve sea turtles conservation actions in Galera San Francisco Marine Reserve (RMGSF), presently under non-trivial threats. Since 2014, two local communities have been receiving environmental education and taking actions at the nesting beaches, involving mostly local youth and volunteers, both nationals and internationals.

For turtle conservation work, schedule and dynamics vary greatly depending on the month of the year. From mid June, nesting season begins, reaching its peak from August to February. During these months, nesting beach monitoring will be carried out between 7.30 am and 11 am, and may last until the afternoon depending on the turtle activity found, nests to protect or relocate. The days where less turtle activity is found we will clean the beach from plastics and do  some work on regenerative farms, veggie garden and/or plant nursery, where we produce seedlings of endangered native species for reforestation purposes. After lunch, activities will be organized according to available energies after morning work. In total, 5-6h of work per day is expected from volunteers, ending between 12pm and 3pm depending on starting time.

Volunteer Program Activities: 
  • Carry out walks along the Marine Reserve beaches for the detection, geo-location (GPS) and protection of sea turtle nests. Relocation of nests that are in a place with no options of success. 
  • Monitor sea turtle nests until the hatchlings reach the ocean. 
  • Carry out beach plastic cleanings to facilitate nesting of sea turtles (with special aim for ghost nets). Collection, classification, reuse and/or recycling of waste found on the nesting beaches. 
  • Assistance in theoretical/practical environmental education workshops for local youth. 

This project is led by local marine biologist Andrea Sosa, who has been working for the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment since 2014. It aims to improve sea turtles conservation actions in Galera San Francisco Marine Reserve (RMGSF), presently under non-trivial threats. Since 2014, two local communities have been receiving environmental education and taking actions at reserve nesting beaches, involving mostly schoolchildren and volunteers, both nationals and internationals. First improvements of community guided conservation projects have been achieved.

RAINFOREST CONSERVATION & TROPICAL PERMACULTURE PROJECT
Our organization is working for the conservation of the last remnants of coastal tropical rainforests in Ecuador, which are present in the Galera - San Francisco peninsula. Our aim is to regenerate and reforest degraded ecosystems in order to give more habitat options for endemic wildlife, which is facing serious threats due to deforestation. Volunteers will support this iniciative by doing the following activities:

Volunteers/interns participating in this program will be mostly working on monitoring wildlife (camera traps) and regeneration of degraded ecosystems. An important amount of fieldwork will take place at agroforestry systems or in the forest surrounding them (last remnants of this ecosystem in Ecuador). Biodiversity regeneration through reforestation in biological corridors will be one of the main priorities in this program. Lots of work related to plants will be done: nursery work, seedlings production to bring in degraded areas, tropical gardening, pruning, etc. You will learn proper tecniques for soil regeneration and improvement of fertility in cacao and tropical fruits farms. This part is crucial to mitigate the use of toxic chemicals to produce bigger crops which contaminate watersheds. Educational workshops for local youth will be organized in the communities to arise environmental consciousnesses, so it is expected that volunteers/interns will also help in this kind of tasks.

Volunteer Program Activities: 
  • Improve the record of wildlife present in the forest/regenerative farms of the area through observation and using wildcamera traps. (You will need to download apps like e-Bird, iNaturalist, etc).
  • Support in maintenance of regenerative cacao farms (agroforestry systems). 
  • Planting, pruning, harvesting and processing mainly cacao, as well as other fruits (banana, papaya, passion fruit, ginger, tumeric, cardamom...). 
  • Maintenance of living terraces for soil regeneration, fertility improvement and watershed restoration.
  • Collecion of seeds to germinate in plant nursery, as well as wild seedlings. 
  • Reforestation with native species to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, as weel as the regeneratioin of water sources.

GENERAL ACTIVITES
  • Give support in workshops or organize activities for local youth on topics that volunteers like (sports, English classes, arts, computing, etc). 
  • Give support in the eco-tourism activities. 
  • Give support for the administrative part of the organization (web site, social networks, etc). 

Weekends are free time but volunteers, if interested, have the option get involved in the educational project that we are running on local communities. In this case, one day of the week will be off. (5 working days per week in total). 

Highlights of this program: 
  • Contribute to improve the record of wildlife populations present in the surrounding forests and agroforestry systems of the area using camera traps, through observation (binoculars), jungle walks, night monitoring, etc. (You will need to download apps like e-Bird, iNaturalist. Recommended getting a extra-rugged case for smartphone). 
  • Observe Ecuadorian Chocó wildlife species in their natural habitats, including sea turtles on the marine reserve beaches, as well as hundred of species of tropical birds, amphibians and much more! 
  • Gain experience in how conservation projects funded by international environmental organizations are set up and managed. 
  • Acquire necessary skills for ecological design and give support for the maintenance of regenerative farms / agroforestry systems. 
  • Reforestation with native endangered species. 
  • Planting, pruning, harvesting and processing tropical fruits (cacao, banana, papaya, passion fruit, ginger, tumeric, cardamom and much more). 
  • Maintenance of living terraces for soil regeneration, fertility improvement and watershed restoration. 
  • Collection of seeds to germinate in plant nursery, as well as wild seedlings. 
  • Living a sustainable community life guided by the principles and ethics of Permaculture.

WHAT TO BRING 
  • Clothes: Quick drying clothing. Thin long sleeve shirts and thin long pants, both for working (old ones) and for resting time(to protect from mosquitoes, even better if it is bright colors). Also short  clothes for sunny days. 
  • Flashlight, preferibly a rechargeable head lamp with a red light to be used at night during sea 
  • turtle nesting season. 
  • Insect repellent (better if it is an organic on not too toxic option). 
  • A good quality poncho or raincoat. 
  • Towel 
  • Sandals for the beach. 
  • Hiking shoes (with some water protection would be perfect) 
  • Hat 
  • Sun Block 
  • Swimsuit 
  • Personal Snorkel and Mask
  • Fleece jacket 
  • Recommended: Waterproof Camera 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Pocket Knife



Typical day

All interns, students and volunteers will spend an important part of their time doing fieldwork. However, all biological work requires data entry and data analysis. This is an important part of our work, so not all the time will be spent in the field. Additionally, volunteers will be asked to help ...

Typical day

All interns, students and volunteers will spend an important part of their time doing fieldwork. However, all biological work requires data entry and data analysis. This is an important part of our work, so not all the time will be spent in the field. Additionally, volunteers will be asked to help out in chores to clean or prepare for field work. Furthermore, volunteers will help to clean the facilities of the volunteer house and the research station. Volunteers must understand that field work is dependent on many factors that we don’t control. These include weather, availability of gasoline for transportation, etc. We ask volunteers to be patient and understand that working in the field and working in a small town with limited resources, sometimes makes it hard to have things always go along as planned. Students may be involved in more than one
project depending on availability. We eagerly try to make Ecuadorian and international students work together as the best way to learn from each other and as a way to promote cultural exchange.

Weekends are free time but volunteers can get involved in the educational project that we are running on local communities. In this case, one day of the week will be off. (5 working days per week in total). 

Typical day at the Sea Turtle / Rainforest Conservation Program: 

- 6.00h Breakfast 
- m 7.00h Beach monitoring / Forest wildlife monitoring. (In the mornings, we’ll do beach monitoring 80% of the time). 
- 11.30h Go back to station, upload new info to the computer, clean equipment. 
- 12.30 pm Lunch. 
- 13.00h – 14.30h Resting time. 
- 14.30h – 16.00h Different kinds of activities related to sea turtle / rainforest conservation (in the afternoons, most work will be related to rainforest conservation, unless we are busy at nesting beach): theoretical/practical workshops, install/check trap cameras, plant nursery work, agroecology, etc. 
- 16.00h – 19.00h Free time. 
- 19.00h Dinner.

Free-time activities

Volunteers can enjoy travelling the surrounding communities to have an amazing cultural experience, enjoy incredible food and visit different beautiful beaches. Most volunteers use some of their free time to learn surfing (classes 2h, $25). There are a few turistic towns in the neareby (Same 1h, ...

Free-time activities

Volunteers can enjoy travelling the surrounding communities to have an amazing cultural experience, enjoy incredible food and visit different beautiful beaches. Most volunteers use some of their free time to learn surfing (classes 2h, $25). There are a few turistic towns in the neareby (Same 1h, Mompiche 2h). 


There are very nice places to visit in the surroundings of project area. Some of the activities that can be done during weekends are: 

  • Spend a day at any of the amazing beaches in the Marine Reserve in the different communities. Have a cultural experience, relax in a hammock on the beach bamboo shed to read, take a dip in the sea, cook fish on the firewood stove, make a campfire at night or camp and sleep on the beach... While visiting the beach you may see the humpback whales playing and jumping near the coast! (Months: July - October) 
  • Hiking through the forest is a unique experience. You can see a great diversity of life, such as toucans, hummingbirds and majestic trees. Also you can take a dip in the River, visit the waterfalls or reach breathtaking view points on the hilltops and cliffs. You can also ask some of the locals to teach the art of fresh water prawn fishing in the local creeks and then prepare typical dishes with them!! 
  • From May to October humpback whales come to the Pacific coast to breed. It is possible to observe them closely going with marine biologists. The price for a 3-4h ride is $40 per person (approx.). 
  • There is a 30 min walk to Estero de Platano, a very nice fishermen village where there is a local association running a community-based tourism. Here you can take surfing lessons (2h30, $30) on the weekends or have a typical seafood dish in front of the calm and beautiful beach. 
  • Taking a ride in fishing boats or dugout canoes and learn the traditional fishing techniques is also another wonderful option. By doing any of these activities you will be enjoying and learning while supporting local communities. If you would like to travel around the province of Esmeraldas these are some of the options: 
  • Mompiche: only 2 h away. This fishing village has become one of the preferred tourist destinations for backpackers and surfers in the last few years. It has great beaches and it’s the perfect place to take surfing lessons, learn how to dance salsa, and meet people from different parts of the world. There are economic and comfortable cabins on the beach. 
  • Same Beach, 1h. This quiet and beautiful beach is also suitable for relaxing, meeting people and eating fish in front of the ocean. There is an ocean front eco-lodge, “El Acantilado”. It’s the perfect place for relaxing on the weekends: nice beach, swimming pool and good affordable restaurant for nice seafood.
  • There are other eco-lodges around very close that are worth it visiting: Playa Escondida & Cumilinche Club.


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

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 (intermediate level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

Love for nature. Good physical condition. Tolerance. Resilience. Iniciative. Team work abilities. Respect for other cultures. Basic level of Spanish will help but it is not a requirement.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 06:30 - 12:30

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Sea Turtle & Chocó Rainforest

This fee includes: 

  •  Accomodation: most of the time will be on a private room in a shared house with other volunteers. Unlimited fast connection WiFi access included. 
  • Three meals/day at project site: we will eat very healthy local food from the organic farms, also sustainable fish/chickens/eggs available. Veggie/vegan options available
  • Training on marine turtle conservation and/or conservation of tropical costal rainforests.  
  • Organization administrative costs.
  • Pre-departure support.
  • Project information before arrival.
  • Field coordinators  live in the same facilities as volunteers.
  • Field equipment and materials.
  • Free internet access (high speed connection).
  • Certificate of participation, if requested.
  • 24-hour in-country support in English/Spanish. 
  • 24-hour emergency phone.

Accommodation

  • Nice wooden/bamboo cabañas surrounded by forest with ocean view and the beach only 5 minute walk. 
  • Hygienic and sustainable  composting toilets in all project facilities. 
  • All grey waters are treated with bio-filters since we are in the middle of forest and Marine Reserve. 
There are two Cusumbí Stations, both of them between the ocean and tropical rainforests. Groups up to 20 people can be hosted in our facilities.

Station A is surrounded by protected forest. Only authorised personal can access this area, so it is a very calm and quite place, ideal for sea turtles to nest. There are 3 main structures: 
  • Volunteer/Intern house: a very comfortable wooden/bamboo house (with ocean view!) where national and international volunteers/interns live. All basic services are covered: water, electricity, internet 24/7, emergency contact 24/7. 
  • Project Staff House: where marine biologist and program coordinator live for 24/7 orientation and support. 
  • Shared area: A beautiful cabaña with the kitchen, dinning room and chill/hammocks area.

This station B is located 12 km south to station A. It is a bamboo/wooden structure with amazing views of the forest and Pacific Ocean. It is located in the middle of an agroforestry system with lots of fruit for birds and animals. It is an amazing viewpoint and birtdwatching spot. Three different species of toucans live around this station, plus hundreds of tropical bird species. It has 3 main areas: 3 rooms, one fully equipped kitchen and the dinning room / chill area with hammocks to relax. All basic services available: water, electricity, internet 24/7, emergency contact 24/7, orientation & support 24/7. And a beautiful tropical garden where hummingbirds can be seen in the flowers!

Food & Beverages

  • Most of our food comes from local/sustainable environment. 
  • You will have the chance to try many different seasonal fruits produced in the most ecological possible way at regenerative farms: banana, papaya, mango, passion fruit, jinger, chocolate, coffee, avocado, etc. 
  • Local and artisanal fishing available for those non vegetarian/vegan. 
  • Most neighbours own happy chickens for eggs and meat. 

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Airport Pickup at Mariscal Sucre International Airport

An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

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 Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

Volunteers must travel to Quito (Ecuador). Once in Quito, there are 2 options to make it to the project site:


Option 1. Bus: You must travel from Quito airport to Carcelen bus station (30 min ride with any of the taxis available at the airport, around $20). Once in Carcelen, you can get the ticket to travel to Atacames with TransEsmeraldas or Occidentales (if you are travelling during the weekend, we can help getting the tickets in advance). There are a few options for morning buses (8am, 9am, 10am). The trip is 7h and the cost of the ticket around $15. Once in Atacames, Edison, our usual taxi driver, will be waiting in the bus station with a sign and your name on it. He will bring you to the project site for $40 (1h - 1h30 ride depending on traffic/weather conditions).

The total duration of this option should be around 10h and the cost around $75.

Option 2. Private transfer: You can travel with a private transport that would pick you up at the airport (or hotel) in Quito and will travel straight to the project site. The duration of this trip is 7h and the cost is $220.

If your flight landing time is over 11am, we reccommend to spend the night in Quito and travell the next morning to avoid travelling at night and arriving too late to the station. You can find nice affordable options in Booking to spend the night in a hostel near the airport or bus station. We can also suggest some options in case you need some advice.

You may arrive to the camp the day of the week that suits you better.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

1 week (min. stay) 301€
2 weeks 446€
3 weeks 563€
4 weeks 732€
5 weeks 897€
6 weeks 1,057€
8 weeks 1,285€
12 weeks 1,916€
16 weeks 2,440€
50 weeks (max. stay) 7,130€
Average fees 221€/week

Program fees

221€ per week 1 - 50 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

1 - 50 weeks

Deposit

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

Your final payment will be agreed with Sea Turtle & Chocó Rainforest during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

Sea Turtle & Chocó Rainforest

Excellent 4.8 rating (39 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2015

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Andrea

Spoken languages: Spanish, English

About the project

Our project is located between coastal tropical rainforest and a Marine Reserve. Most of our work is focused on marine turtle conservation and permaculture.

Meet your organization

This project began in 2015 with the hope to conserve the diverse and fragile ecosystems of the Galera - San Francisco Peninsula. Since then, we have been working with local communities and organizations (Fundacion Cusumbi, RMGSF) in different activities: sea turtle rescue, regenerative agriculture, community-based eco-tourism, bio-construction, recovery of ancestral knowledge, amongst others, with the aim of building a development model in balance with Nature. 

39 reviews · rating4.8

Helga Theresia Willmes rating5

2024 at Sea Turtle & Rainforest Conservation

I spend 4 weeks there and it was great. The days usually began with a first walk at the beach, searching for tracks, new nests and picking up garbage. Every flood bring in new garbage, so its kind of sysphean task, but it is satisfying to know that this garbage is no longer floating around. During ...
Margaux Henault rating5

2023 at Sea Turtle & Rainforest Conservation

If you are looking for an immersion within an ultra enriching Ecuadorian family, this is exactly what you need! I have just spent 6 weeks with the Cusumbí foundation, which works for the conservation of sea turtles and the forest through regenerative agriculture. The projects are brilliant, ...
Amelie Syre rating5

2023 at Sea Turtle & Rainforest Conservation

Was a really nice experience! I got to meet some very nice people. There is a big variety of work options and a lot to do. I got to eat some amazing local food. ..
Coralie Moutte rating5

2023 at Sea Turtle & Rainforest Conservation

I was warmly welcomed into the Cusumbí foundation by Andrea, Diego and their family. These two passionate made me discover their daily life in the preservation of nature in the province of Esmeralda. As much on the ocean side with the preservation of sea turtles (critically endangered), as on the ...
Laura Weber rating5

2023 at Sea Turtle & Rainforest Conservation

I've spent five months in Ecuador, living and working at Cusumbí, an ecological project, managed by Andrea and Diego. It‘s been five months of lots of new things, new friends, an amazing wildlife and nature, tons of fun and just a lovely experience! When I arrived at the project site I felt like ...
Selfishly, I would like to keep my experience with Cusumbi a secret so that I can preserve this little piece of paradise on Galerita beach forever. But I won't. Why not? Because Andrea and Diego deserve to receive the support they need to develop their beautiful project. 
I had the chance to ...

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