from 527€

Excellent 4.8rating (865)

Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Volunteers

1 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 17 - 50+

rating  Excellent 4.8  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate

Complete your reservation as soon as possible. This project fills up quickly and is already booked on certain dates.


  • 80% of PMGY volunteers are 17-22 years old
  • Provide care & medication for injured & disabled turtles
  • Raise awareness about endangered species & release baby turtles into the sea
  • Structured weekend trips to Kandy, Yala National Park & the Maldives
  • Widely considered to be PMGY's top overall destination & best local team

Especially suitable

Age 17+

About the program

Help protect and rehabilitate at-risk sea turtles whilst also taking part in community development projects. Experience a different side of Sri Lanka.

You can protect and rehabilitate sea turtles whilst also helping at community development projects as a Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer. Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. Raise awareness ...

About the program

You can protect and rehabilitate sea turtles whilst also helping at community development projects as a Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer. Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. Raise awareness of plastic pollution, care for injured and disabled turtles and release freshly hatched babies back into the wild, safe from natural risks and local poachers.


In Sri Lanka, there are five species of turtles that are commonly encountered. These are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The Green turtle is the most common turtle species and will likely be the one you come across the most if you volunteer in Sri Lanka. The Loggerhead turtle is the rarest and thus hardest to spot in Sri Lanka. They are more commonly found on the East Coast of America.

The Hawksbill (renowned for its beautiful shell), Olive Ridley (smallest of the sea turtles) and Leatherback (largest of the 5 species) are harder to spot for different reasons. Sadly they are critically endangered and sit on the brink of extinction. This is mainly because they have been heavily hunted and fell victim to other human activity as well.

For instance, fishing is one of the major industries in Ambalangoda. The location of the volunteer work in Sri Lanka is very close to the local fisheries port. Sea turtles are often found in fishing nets and many have lost limbs, becoming disabled and are no longer able to survive in the wild. Many of these disabled turtles are found by local fishermen who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.

Most importantly, each environmental choice we make every day as a human has an impact on all marine life. Millions of microplastics, straws and bottles are found in the sea and beaches across the globe. Plastic pollution is becoming a huge problem worldwide and our Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteers aim to fight the battle against this environmental catastrophe.

Volunteering with turtles in Sri Lanka on our wildlife conservation program is an incredible opportunity to do your bit to care for these incredible creatures, whilst spending time in a country that will amaze you on so many levels.


Ambalangoda Turtle Conservation Sanctuary - Each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will be based at a turtle sanctuary in Ambalangoda. Here, the Sri Lanka volunteer program aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for the disabled turtles. They have a long term goal to release the healthy turtles back to the wild, as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers.

Beginning from the orientation, volunteers will learn a great deal about turtle conservation. For instance, how to nest eggs, identify different kinds of turtles, how eggs hatch, how to treat turtles, the differences between the species, how to send turtles back into the sea and so much more. In short, this is a project where you will learn a lot and be able to make a tangible difference with your time.

Beach Cleans - As female turtles will only lay their eggs on beaches that are safe environments to them, it is crucial the area is maintained in order to encourage them to nest. Consequently, every Sri Lanka animal volunteer will get involved in cleaning the local beaches for litter and dangerous debris.

Climate change, waste and plastic pollution is increasing at an alarming rate across the world and we want to continue raising awareness and promote conservation through our wildlife volunteer program.

This is an important core task that volunteers will engage with in the Sri Lanka turtle conservation program. As part of the teams efforts to support coastal conservation, they aim to collect 200 kilograms of rubbish from the beaches each day. Subsequently, volunteers are the driving force in achieving such goals.

Turtle Hatchery & Baby Turtle Release - Volunteers will help to nest, monitor and care for turtle eggs that have been brought to the turtle hatchery. Usually, these are removed from an unsafe area where they may be at risk from human activity. This often includes outside tourist hotels but also if they can be stolen by local poachers.

Across Asia, there is an ancient myth that eating turtle eggs and meat will increase your life span. As a result, turtle eggs are sold illegally on the black market. The hatchery provides a safe environment for the turtles to be nested and monitored for conservation. They follow the National Wildlife Department guidelines and release the babies back into the wild with the help each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer.


Return Airport Transfer - Your return airport transfer is not included in your Program Fee. Our local team can help arrange onward transfers to the airport or an alternative destination from the volunteer accommodation. Making specific arrangements once in Sri Lanka provides more flexibility as plans can often change and participants may be on similar flight plans. The costs depend on your method of transport and your final destination. This can often be split across multiple participants if you are travelling with someone else on the program. It is strongly advised not to travel by public transport or ridesharing apps back to the airport. Whilst this may be cheaper, it is far less convenient and comes with additional safety risks.

Project Flexibility - As this volunteer project only runs during the morning period in Sri Lanka, there is an opportunity to get involved in the teaching projects in the afternoon. We do require a minimum commitment of 1 week on each project and you can make these arrangements once you are in Sri Lanka. There are no additional costs and we would always welcome any additional support across the community-based projects.

Weekends - Your project work in Sri Lanka runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Sri Lanka Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Sri Lanka. We offer the Adventure Hill & Country Trip, the Cultural Triangle & Elephants Trip along with the Maldives Chill Out Trip with opportunities running every month.

Typical day


Every PMGY Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will spend their days next to the beach caring for the sea turtles that have been rescued and are now living in the project site. Additionally, undertaking many beach cleans in the local area to keep beaches ...

Typical day


Every PMGY Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will spend their days next to the beach caring for the sea turtles that have been rescued and are now living in the project site. Additionally, undertaking many beach cleans in the local area to keep beaches safe and clean for the turtles and their nests. Your volunteer abroad program will run from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm. However, beach clean days can be shorter sessions when working without shade in increased levels of heat and humidity. You will get to your project setting each morning by tuk-tuk or minibus, which takes about 15 minutes. Your typical duties as a volunteer in Sri Lanka will include:

• Preparing fresh food and assisting feeding on a daily basis

• Cleaning within the project premises and nearby beach area

• Taking care of the nesting area

• Regular beach cleans and beach patrols

• Cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks

• Assisting with medication

• Cleaning the turtles’ shells

• Counting and burying turtle eggs safely

• Designing education boards around the sanctuary

• Participating in marine conservation information sessions

• Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea

Each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will join with the local staff at the project to get to grips with the daily tasks and what is expected of them. This will include tasks as part of a team as well as individual roles. As a participant on our wildlife volunteering abroad project, you can do your bit to help tackle the global issue of plastic pollution by cleaning the beaches where many turtles lay eggs in the south. Although this may be one of the more mundane aspects of the program, its importance cannot be underestimated. The volunteer's efforts are recognised positively by the Wildlife Department. It is not uncommon that after one beach clean we have collected up to 20 bags of litter!

Free-time activities

PMGY volunteers are based in Ambalangoda, which is a lively oceanside town situated on the South West Coast.

It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The traditional masks were originally designed to be worn by performers in ...

Free-time activities

PMGY volunteers are based in Ambalangoda, which is a lively oceanside town situated on the South West Coast.

It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The traditional masks were originally designed to be worn by performers in kolam and other southern Sri Lankan dances, but are now mainly used as souvenirs. Many families hang a mask on their front door to ward off evil spirits.

The town has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals and shops including a very popular ice cream shop. There is also a central bus and train station, which has good links to all the major destinations you are likely to go to. Plus, the beach is only a 5 minute tuk tuk ride from the Volunteer House.



Minimum Age: 17 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (basic level)

Criminal Background Check


Nationality Restrictions

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

Other Skills

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 14:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Plan My Gap Year

  • Accommodation 
  • Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
  • Airport Pick Up
  • Private Transport To/From Project
  • In-Country Orientation
  • 24 Hour Support

Airport Pickup at Bandaranaike International Airport

You should arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport (airport code CMB) on the Saturday. The airport pickup is available 24 hours. 

On arrival a member of our local team will be at the waiting area for you holding a sign with your name on it. They will drive you to the Volunteer House in Ambalangoda where you can relax and settle in. This journey takes around 2 hours. 


During your time on the Sri Lanka volunteer program, you will live in our Volunteer House just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk journey into the main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!

The accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean, fitting up to 10 people per room in single-sex bedrooms with bunk beds. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as a personal locker to store your valuables. However, volunteers are still encouraged to only bring essential items during their volunteer work in Sri Lanka.

The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem if you volunteer in Sri Lanka, as the climate is hot and humid all year round!

The house has free Wi-Fi available and a communal area for international volunteers to relax, hang out with new friends or prepare lesson plans if you are teaching English. There is also a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled. A member of our local team will also live at the house. This ensures you have round the clock support and security.

We will transport you via tuk-tuk or private car to and from your volunteer placement, which is usually between 5-30 minutes away from the house. This service is included in your Program Fee.

During our busiest months you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in one of our secondary Volunteer Houses.

Food & Beverages

You will be served three meals per day at the Volunteer House. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available. A weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day! Below is an example of the meals we serve our volunteers:

Breakfast – Egg, toast, fruit with tea.
Lunch – Dhal and spinach curry, poppadums, paprika tofu and rice.
Dinner – Mixed vegetable noodles, tomato curry, omelette and poppadoms.

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals in the nearby town of Hikkaduwa. Hikkaduwa is a 20 minute journey from Ambalangoda and the cost to get there by tuk tuk is around £3 per way. This is a popular place that volunteers go to in the evening, as it is a trendy backpackers town.

* Please inform us in your application if you have any dietary requirements. Couples, families and older volunteers will be accommodated to suit their needs.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Sri Lanka. 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 Sri Lanka provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE


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

Details on arrival

This program starts on the 1st & 3rd Sunday of every month

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

Program fees

1 week (min. stay) 527€
2 weeks 786€
3 weeks 1,002€
4 weeks 1,218€
6 weeks 1,650€
8 weeks 2,082€
12 weeks (max. stay) 2,946€
Average fees 386€/week

Program fees

386€ per week 1 - 12 weeks Age 17 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal



1 - 12 weeks


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 Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Meet your organization

Plan My Gap Year

Excellent 4.8 rating (865 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2011

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by


Spoken languages: English

About the project

Plan My Gap Year is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK.

Meet your organization

Plan My Gap Year is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide safe, affordable, need-driven volunteer programmes from 1 to 24 weeks in 11 countries worldwide.


Founded by volunteers for volunteers, Plan My Gap Year works with local communities in the developing world towards long-term sustainable goals. We know there is no better way to travel and make a positive impact on the world.

We work extremely hard to ensure that our opportunities are affordable for everyone who wants to make a difference. So fees are 100% transparent, something our volunteers really appreciate.

Plan My Gap Year structured programmes create the perfect platform for you to see the world, meet like-minded people and engage in meaningful volunteer work. We have teams in the UK and in our host destinations who will support you 24/7 throughout your time with us. Furthermore, every project on our network is regularly risk-assessed by our UK team to ensure our set up is safe and that our volunteers are making a positive impact.

There is also a great social element to our programmes. Plan My Gap Year puts you in touch with all your fellow volunteers via Facebook before you set off. Our projects receive volunteers from around the world throughout the year, so even if you’re travelling solo, you’re going to meet heaps of people along the way. Plus you’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel the country with your newfound travel buddies – it’s all part of the PMGY experience!

So if you’re thinking of doing something a bit different on your next trip abroad, then why not drop us a line and find out what extraordinary things you could be doing.


Our aim is to make our programmes accessible to motivated travellers irrespective of their financial capacity. Plan My Gap Year focuses on providing the core requirements of a volunteer programme: safety, structure and sustainability.

We are 100% transparent with our fees. That way you know exactly how much of your money goes towards the local community.

Compared to the large majority of volunteer organisations out there, even most charities and not-for-profits, PMGY’s opportunities are significantly cheaper. Furthermore, as our reviews will testify, our support service and structured programmes are second to none.


Your safety is our top priority. All of Plan My Gap Years' programmes have been personally inspected and vetted by the PMGY team – which is not an industry standard by any means. We carry out independent risk assessments on an annual basis and our local teams constantly review the safety precautions we implement. This includes regular staff and safety appraisals.

 Our local teams are made up of highly experienced volunteer coordinators. They have hosted international volunteers for many years and are prepared to react in the unlikely event of an emergency. Whatever the problem, big or small, our local teams are available around the clock.

As part of our commitment to your safety, we keep in constant communication with local embassies and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to ensure we can identify potentially dangerous situations and act upon them immediately. Our UK team are available 24/7 to assist volunteers and their families.


We support our volunteers every step of the way. Before you go we will provide you with a detailed Volunteer Handbook, which will guide you through how to prepare for your trip. This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides.

Our experienced UK team are always available to provide assistance. Plan My Gap Year is always available to answer our questions and support you in anyway we can. 

On arrival, a member of our in-country team will collect you from the airport and help you settle in. Your orientation course will teach you everything you need to know about the country, how to stay safe and what to expect from your upcoming volunteer experience. 

Our local team are on-call 24/7. Whether you’ve lost your passport or just want some help in planning a weekend trip, our friendly in-country coordinators provide that safety net to ensure you are well looked after.


Plan My Gap Years' responsibility is not limited to our travellers but also the projects we support. That is why all our volunteers must provide a Criminal Background Check before they travel.

It is essential that our projects are need-driven and sustainable. We work closely with our local partners to ensure that our volunteers are contributing to bring about long-term development.


We really know our programmes. Our UK team have stayed in the accommodation, volunteered at the projects and met the volunteers. We carefully assess each application we receive so that your personality and skills are suited to the project. Whatever your query, you can feel assured that you will be speaking to someone who can tell you exactly what to expect.


One of the best aspects of volunteering is meeting some amazing like-minded people. We place over 2,000 volunteers every year so wherever and whenever you go, you have the peace of mind in knowing you will be living and working alongside other PMGY volunteers. In many of our destinations, we run our own Volunteer House accommodation, which ensures all volunteers live together, and therefore guaranteeing a strong social element. In addition, our local team are always there to help you plan any independent travel or give you some tips for what to do at the weekend.

865 reviews · rating4.8

So well organised, from transport to the weekend trips to the activity nights to the projects themselves. I had the best time and would do it again in a ...
Ash was amazing. Very helpful with everything like SIM cards, currency exchanges. Every day there was something new for us to do or see. Everyone was so friendly. Anything we asked for ash made sure we got it. Very thankful for this experience in pmgy Sri ...
Elena De Juan García rating5

2023 at Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Volunteers

I had a wonderful experience teaching English in a preschool that I would most definitely want to go back to in the near future. Plan My Gap Year was incredibly organized and made sure my experience was wonderful, not only in the volunteer program, but also in the weekend and afternoon activities. ..
Tilly Browning rating5

2023 at Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Volunteers

Incredible experience with the loveliest team in Sri Lanka. I did 4 weeks and wish I did 40 it was amazing. Thank you to Ash, Sani, Casumi and the whole team. Special shout-out to the sisters - they were so so ...
PMGY creates a great first time travelling experience and i recommend that for those who need their confidence built up with solo travelling and meeting people. For those who have travelled more or who are older I would not recommend as much as the program is fairly restrictive. However I had a ...
William Reeder rating4.6

2023 at Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Volunteers

A great structured environment to meet other like-minded individuals who want to travel and help others. 1 week is not enough. 2 weeks should be the minimum. If you take part with the sole intention of volunteering, you will be disappointed; if you take part with the sole intention of travelling, ...


Asia > Southern Asia > Sri Lanka > Ambalangoda

You might also be interested in

Contact Josh
  Excellent response rate

Most volunteers ask about

Do you have any more questions? Send a message to Josh
Please do not share personal contact details for your privacy