Surfonomics study

Lobitos, Peru show on map
founded in 2013
Coordinator | Michael
Coordinator | Michael
Help us make Lobitos become a World Surfing Reserve, ensuring the protection of its coastline and the long term economic sustainability of the town through surf tourism. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:

Peru has a magnificent coastline that extends for 3,080 km's along the Pacific Ocean, from the southern border with Chile to the northern border with Ecuador. Apart from its beautiful sandy beaches and warm climates, much of the coast contains extraordinary world class wave breaks, perfect for the practice of surfing and other watersports. Wave breaks are when a wave moves into increasingly shallow water resulting in the wave decreasing in speed. Eventually the top of the wave overtakes it and begins to spill forward making the wave "break". So, the steeper the sea floor gradient, the higher the waves - ideal for surfing!

Consequently, because of its sea bed formation, Lobitos is particularly renown for the quality and consistency of its wave breaks, receiving thousands of tourists due to surfing every year. Over time, the survival of many of these wave breaks has been threatened by carelessly planned and executed infrastructure and big industry projects. In some cases, these projects have resulted in their complete destruction.

About the Program

EcoSwell is leading the protection of the wave breaks in Lobitos. In 2013 a true historic milestone occurred, Peru became the first country in the world to approve a law (Law No. 27280) that protects wave breaks. As a requirement for this law to apply, each wave break must have a technical hydrographic study and be registered in the National Registry of Wave Breaks in Peru. Registering the waves in Lobitos and protecting them by law is the first step for their permanent protection. Once this is step is completed, the next steps are to develop the following:

Surfonomics Study: Economic valuation of the benefit surfing brings to the community of Lobitos. Throughout one year we will conduct surveys and interviews to tourists, local business owners, other key stakeholders and the community at large to understand better the impact of the surfing industry in Lobitos, how much income it generates for the town and how this income is being distributed. World Surfing Reserve (WSR) Application: Save the Waves is an international organization that together with the NSR (National Surfing Reserve) Australia and the ISA (International Surfing Association) seek to preserve wave breaks and their surrounding areas by giving them the international recognition as 'World Surfing Reserves'. In order to obtain this designation, each locality must complete a very rigorous application process. Project Impacts - The town of Lobitos and its inhabitants largely depend on the income from the tourism industry that is primarily based on surfing. Therefore protecting the wave breaks by law will ensure that this industry can continue to grow and prosper and together with it, the community of Lobitos. The project also directly benefits the environment by protecting the existing natural resources vital to the coastal-marine ecosystem and biodiversity.


  • A relevant university specialization or work experience in environmental, conservation management and/or economics is preferable but not required
  • Someone who is proficient in Spanish
  • Have a capability to work in remote areas
  • Have a genuine interest in sustainable development
  • Good communication skills and having the ability to multitask will be essential
  • Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment


environmental issues / renewable energy, economic development, business consulting / entrepreneurship, land, wildlife and natural resource management / conservation, operational management, program design and evaluation, research / community studies

Typical day

A typical day with EcoSwell in Lobitos can vary depending on the project you are taking part in. For volunteers working with the Natural Resources Protection Internship, daily activites will usually include:

  • Carrying out independent research
  • Leading the project with the support of the EcoSwell team
  • Participating in stakeholder engagement
  • Report writing
  • Identifying opportunities in relation to the project

A work day will typically range from 9am - 6pm typically (with a 1-2 hr lunch break), but the EcoSwell team is sometimes up from 6am, surfing or fishing during sunrise and also surfing or relaxing in the evening (catching the sunset at the beach), after the work day is over.

Details on Arrival

This project is available to partake in all year round from Jan to December.

Free-time activities

Daily world class surfing (all levels), fishing trips, whale and sea lion watching, exploring new beaches, yoga, library access, baking/cooking, personal development, constant socialising with other travellers, within other fun activities. We have a lot going on, and you’ll love it. Maybe even a little bit too much… many of our interns and volunteers have come to question their own lifestyles after experiencing ours! Come, try something new whilst you still have time and see for yourself. 

Other activities, such as swimming with wild turtles, sea-lion and whale watching, artisanal open sea fishing with local fishermen, within others are affordable and can be arranged but are not included in the programme. These come at an additional cost, but in reality they are very cheap. These activities are payable to the people who run them (ie: the local artisanal fishermen who take you on their boats) and as such we like to support the local economy. We can facilitate this as we have positive relationships with them and it represents an additional source of income for locals, while at the same time giving some of our participants experiences that they will never forget. 

Once in Lobitos, you’ll be able to see what you’d like to do at your own discretion. Regardless of whether you do partake or not in these activities, you will have a blast. 

We are not one of those organizations which imposes loads of restrictions on our participants on what you can and can’t do. We treat our volunteers and interns like adults, and so you are free to behave as one, responsibly. We will make all volunteers/interns fill in an risk assessment before joining us nonetheless, that way we ensure that you know what the risks are and what you shouldn’t do. We’ll give you a heads up on what goes down well and what doesn’t. So no need to worry too much about what you need to do in regards to health and safety and no need to worry about us wanting to “babysit” you.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

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 (fluently) and Spanish (fluently)
Education Requirements
environmental issues / renewable energy, economic development, business consulting / entrepreneurship, land, wildlife and natural resource management / conservation, operational management, program design and evaluation, research / community studies at University level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
- Genuine interest in sustainable development
- Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment
- Experience working away from home
- Flexibility
- Positive attitude
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 17:00

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if EcoSwell cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by EcoSwell.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
EcoSwell (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by EcoSwell

You can volunteer at the project site in Lobitos/Peru between 4 weeks and 14 weeks for this project. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. EcoSwell will let you know about the final price during your application process.

Airport pick up, accomodation and food and drink are included in the fees.

Airport Pickup at Captain FAP Victor Montes Arias Airport

We will pick you up from Talara, the closest airport to Lobitos and drive you to the EcoSwell house by car.


You will have clean, comfortable accommodation in the EcoSwell house throughout your stay with an office workplace/resources and large kitchen. The shared bedroom is spacious and contains two single beds, so you may be expected to share with one other person, and also has a fan for use during hot weather. You will have access to an ensuite shared bathroom and shower. We also have a chill-out living room with a DVD player and cable TV (which you probably won't use much!).

Dorm Room Bedroom (Single)
Food & Beverages

Peruvian food is categorised as some of the best in world. You’ll get all your meals included within the EcoSwell house as part of your contribution. This includes, meats, fresh seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, coffee… you name it we have it, and more (as you’ll probably try new fruits you didn’t know existed) and you will be amazed at how much stronger you’ll feel after a few days with us! All food is bought weekly in the nearest city of Talara fresh from the markets and supermarkets. You will also get a chance to try out local cuisine in some of the restaurants in Lobitos.

Of course, we are also able to provide for people with dietary requirements such as vegetarians, vegans and those with lactose intolerance, for example.

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 Captain FAP Victor Montes Arias Airport (TYL) in Talara. We assist you to find cheap flights to Peru.
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 Peru provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Peru you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Peru.
Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$ 1,095
3 weeks
$ 1,613
4 weeks
$ 2,151
5 weeks
$ 2,612
6 weeks
$ 3,135
9 weeks
$ 4,479
14 weeks (max. stay)
$ 6,622
Average fees
$ 510 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Lobitos/Peru between 2 weeks and 14 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. EcoSwell will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Peru.
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 EcoSwell during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas South America Peru  Lobitos, Villa de Oficiales 270

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The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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