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Aldeas de Paz

Coastal Environmental Conservation & Restoration

Santa Barbara de Samaná, Dominican Republic

Help to protect the environment in a fast-growing tourist destination on the Caribbean coast, by monitoring turtle nests and whales, as well as raising public awareness.

The project

Fast growing tourism is a serious threat for the environment in the Dominican Republic. Therefore become part of a development program funded by the United Nations and help to protect the beautiful nature of the Province of Samaná! It is a beautiful and peaceful port, where Dominicans live off tourism, fishing and agriculture. Samaná Bay is not only a significant breeding ground and nursery area for humpback whales from all over the North Atlantic; it is also the most important multi-species fishing ground in the Dominican Republic, a growing international tourist destination, and a commercial port. While tourism is an important source of economic activity and financial income, its impact on sensitive coastal-marine  ecosystems is of particular concern.  

A major portion  of environmental degradation in coastal areas is attributed to the establishment of large-scale hotel developments in areas of high biodiversity, unregulated tour activities that put at risk reproduction sites for whales and turtles, as well as mangrove deforestation and coral reef damage from diving and boat tours anchors, which in turn decreases the resilience of these coastal marine ecosystems and increases their vulnerability to tropical storms. 

Volunteer work

The Coastal Environmental Conservation and Restoration project will give you the chance to contribute directly to the monitoring of wildlife, but will also involve community based activities. For instance, you can contribute in developing programs aimed at Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism sectors to increase  the  awareness  of  the  public  (individuals  and  community)  and  to  address  the  lack  of knowledge among the tourism sector, the private sector, the land-owners, and the staff of local public institutions.  

The  program will include  biodiversity-friendly  tourism  development  strategies,  as  well  as tools  for  the application  of  the  legal  framework  and  incentives  to  adopt  sustainable  practices. Furthermore,  you  can  also  participate  directly  in  environmental  restoration  activities  and  animal monitoring programs. It is a great opportunity for you to contribute in a useful and concrete way to the protection   of   the   environment.   Thanks   to   this   project,   you’ll   gain  valuable   and   life-changing experiences at the same time! 

Who we are looking for

The only special equipment that we ask you to bring is your laptop, as well as flexibility regarding your working environment (as it is necessary for example to stay overnight at beaches for the monitoring of sea turtles nests). To support the restoration of coral reefs you’ll need a diving license (Open Water Diver). If you don’t have the license yet, we can easily put you in contact with a diving center (where in some cases it may be  possible  offer  you  special  conditions)  and  you  can  acquire the  license  during  your  stay. Please consider that you need four days to acquire the license. 

A  typical Coastal Environmental Conservation & Restoration volunteer and intern should be interested in protecting the nature, biology, wildlife and sustainable tourism. He or she needs to be enthusiastic, proactive, willing to  learn,  ready  for  a  challenge, and should  not  be  scared  of  being  in  contact  with  dirt/mud and garbage. Friendliness, commitment and patience are among significant qualities. Basic conversational Spanish  skills  are  required,  and  the  more  advanced  your  level  of  experience  and  Spanish  language skills are, the more opportunities will be available to you. In order to enable deeper integration into the community, we provide six free Spanish classes on a weekly basis, full support, and 24/7 back up.

Spanish Language immersion classes  

Volunteers or Interns receive 6 free language lessons every week.  Classes  focus  on  developing  communication  skills  so that  students  are  able  to  put their knowledge to practical use as soon as they step outside the classroom. Our teaching method enables students to develop four basic skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. The idea is  to  learn  Spanish  in  a  natural  and  spontaneous  way,  just  as  students  have  learned  their  mother tongue.

Please note

This program can be booked as a volunteer placement or as an internship. Please let us know your school or universities internship requirements and we will work out your personalized work plan.

Typical day

A typical day in the life of a volunteer can vary, depending on the season and on your interests. Working days are normally 9am-6pm, with two hours for lunch. You will have the opportunity to work with monitoring the sea life

Here are some of the activities you will have the opportunity to do:

  • Supporting the restoration of coral reefs (divers license necessary), mangroves, beaches and costal areas 
  • Monitoring sea turtle nests (during the turtles season from March to November) 
  • Monitoring the humpback whales population (during the whale season from 15th of January to 30th of March) 
  • Developing and executing environmental awareness raising activities at schools and in the community 
  • Developing and executing activities to promote sustainable and biodiversity-friendly tourism 
  • Supporting the certification of biodiversity-friendly destination and tourist services  

Details on Arrival

We are happy to welcome volunteers all year around, except for a two week period over Christmas and New Year.

Free-time activities

The town of Samana is a scenic, beautiful and peaceful port, with friendly and easy-going Dominicans, living their life with tourism, agriculture and fishing activities, all set to the beat and rhythms of Merengue, Bachata and Salsa music. 

The newly renovated Malecon (seaside promenade) of two kilometers length is perfect for strolling by day and night. It is the perfect place to while away the evening in a relaxing atmosphere in one of the many surrounding restaurants and bars. Hundreds of fantastic beaches surround the peninsula of Samana, which can be explored during a day trip or for the whole weekend.

  • Las Galeras y El Rincon: A small fisherman's town with beautiful beaches surrounded by nature. Travel by Bus (45 minutes / US$ 2,-)
  • El Limón: Famous waterfall and swimming. Travel by Bus (20 minutes / US$ 1,50,-)
  • Cayo Levantado: Small Island with beautiful beaches just of the coastline in Samana. Travel by Boat (15 minutes / US$ 2,-)
  • Parque National de los Haiteses: Park made of mangroves, caves with ancient paintings and beautiful bays with pristine beaches. Magnificent limestone caves to explore. Travel by Boat 60 minutes / US$ 10,-
  • Playa El Valle: A small fisherman's settlement with a beautiful beach surrounded by pristine nature. Travel by Moto Concho (MotoTaxi) (20 Minutes / US$ 3,-)

There are famous Kitesurf beaches in Las Terrenas and Cabarete only an hour from Samana! The whole Peninsula of Samana is a Wild and precious natural gem! People are extremely friendly and the nature is gorgeous!

From mid-January to late March the bay is home to to some of the world's best whale-watching.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program 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 Spanish (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
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 from 14:00 - 18:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
50+

Any questions? Just ask. We at Aldeas de Paz are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Aldeas de Paz.
Services by Aldeas de Paz

Aldeas de Paz works hard to keep the required financial contribution to an absolute minimum and to offer  financial  transparency  by  practicing  an  open  book  policy.  The  calculation  of  your  financial contribution or donation is set up so that the longer you stay the less you give per week. We do this to encourage  longer  stays,  recognizing  that  longer  stays  lead to  more  significant  volunteer  work  and more  energy  contributed  in  the  form  of  donated  time  in place  of  money! 

The fees include a double room accommodation at our Aldeas de Paz Guesthouse and an airpot pickup. You will receive 6 free Spanish lessons every week.


Airport Pickup at Las Americas International Airport

If you arrive at Las Americas (SDQ), you can reserve our airport pick-up service and go straight on the bus to Samaná (2 hours).

If you arrive at El Catey (AZN), we will pick you up and bring you to Samaná / Las Terrenas (40 minutes).

Arrival at Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ/ MDPC) combined shuttle / ferry to Samaná / Las Terrenas (4 hours).

Arrival at Puerto Plata - Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP/ MDPP), local buses bring you to Samaná (4 hours).

Accommodation

Volunteers will be staying in the volunteer guesthouse, which is located in the centre of town and only minutes from the beach front walking promenade where you will find a multitude of restaurants, bars, banks, shops and internet cafes with wifi. 

The house is located in a scenic, laid back and peaceful town. The guesthouse is a shared living space for short and long term volunteers and is furnished throughout and complete with a fully equipped kitchen. Volunteers work and live together and often build strong bonds, develop lifelong friendships, and have immense fun along the way! Rooms are twin-share, there is 24 hour support from local staff and WiFi is available at the office.

Bedroom (Double)
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. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Dominican Republic.
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 Dominican Republic provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Dominican Republic you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Dominican Republic.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$1,070.00
5 weeks
$1,166.00
6 weeks
$1,263.00
7 weeks
$1,359.00
11 weeks
$1,744.00
19 weeks
$2,515.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$5,500.00
Average fees
$189.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Santa Barbara de Samaná/Dominican Republic between 4 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Aldeas de Paz 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 Dominican Republic.
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 must be made up to 30 days before to the volunteer program starts. This payment is also securely handled by PayPal or credit card.
Americas the Caribbean the Dominican Republic Santa Barbara de Samaná, C/circunvalacion, Santa Barbara de Samana
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