Volunteer and support turtle and marine environmental conservation and education in Ecuador. This research, conservation and education project located on the Pacific Coast works to protect the lives and habitats of turtles, sharks and other marine life. It focuses on the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle, alongside the Green Turtle and the Olive Ridley breeds. From May to September beaches in the Northern Esmerelda region are also monitored.
Involvement of local communities is essential for sustainable conservation efforts and educating them in the results of scientific investigation is important. The project has developed an excellent Environmental Education Program that involves local school children in activities such as beach cleaning, small garden construction and the production of informative conservation murals.
Why choose this project?
This environmental conservation project relies on volunteer help to gather significant and consistent data, and maintain a protective presence in the turtle nesting area. Data gathered here contributes to important studies regarding policy development for the Ecuadorian environmental agencies, while on a more local level developing environmental awareness in the children of the town. You will benefit from acquiring new skills in conservation and applying these in a Spanish context, which is just the type of work experience that your future employers may be looking for.
Role of the volunteer
Volunteers work in 3 main areas.
- data collection & technical sampling – such as recording size and stats of turtles (live) and sharks (captured by fishermen at the local markets)
- statistical data analysis and data entry
- Turtle tagging
- beach patrols during nesting season (including night patrols)
- moving nests laid in unprotected areas
- work with children of primary schools teaching them about the importance of conserving the marine ecosystems (May to October), including garden and mural design
- create, develop and implement projects at the Ecoclub
- participate in a beach and marine-floor cleaning programme
Your role will depend on your skills and experience. Participants in this project will require some skills or knowledge in one of the following fields:
- marine biology/sciences education, statistical analysis experience
- work with children, participation in environmental campaigns
- interest in environmental conservation, willingness to learn
All volunteers will need to be fit enough to work in the water, able to cope with patrolling beaches day and night, have an interest in the environment, be enthusiastic, willing to learn and work with others. Volunteers are not required to speak Spanish, although it is beneficial.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To spend time on the beautiful Pacific coast of Ecuador
Help protect the lives and habitats of turtles, sharks and other marine life
To work and interact with people from the local community
About the Location
The Pacific Coast is a beautiful, tropical location. Puerto Lopez, is both an up and coming tourist town, and also a central fishing port for locals. You will find restaurants, internet cafes and laundry services, as well as dive shops and tour operators that can take you to visit the nearby islands – including “Isla de la plata – the “poor man’s Galapagos”.
When working in the Esmeraldas you will be based on the small island of Mompiche, which is very basic with a limited supply of electricity and water. Conditions are basic but for those who are serious about conservation and becoming immersed in a project, it is well worth sacrificing a few luxuries.
During your first weekend in Quito, you will be lodged in a local hostel. Thereafter, you will be moved to your project and be placed in a shared house located only two blocks away from the beach. You will be sharing a room with up to 4 people. Also, be prepared as you may have to share rooms with volunteers of the opposite sex.
What to do in your spare time
Puerto Lopez is located next to the Machalilla National Park. You can go to Isla de la Plata for a day hike. If you go during the summer, there are high chances of whale watching or manta-ray watching.
If you happen to have a diving license, Puerto Lopez is a great place to do so!
You can also go to Los Frailes Beach, located in the Machalilla National Park. This is a pristine beach that every volunteer loves. You may also choose to spend your afternoon at the Agua Blanca community, inside the national park. The ancient Agua Blanca Community was among the last coastal community in Ecuador to succumb to colonization. As a result, many traditions and archeological findings are preserved. It is a great way to learn about their culture. Onsite, you will also find a natural sulfur lagoon, which you may bath in. It is said to help your skin and wellbeing due to its mineral properties. This costs around $20 USD including taking a local bus, eating at a local place and the entrance fee to Agua Blanca.
You can also go to the nearest beaches of Olon, Montañita, or go to a bigger coastal city like Manta or Salinas. Montañita is recognized because of its waves, which are great for surfing as well as its bohemian ambiance.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 4 weeks
- Cost: £1725/$3019 for 4 weeks
£225/$394 for each additional week
- Requirements: Age 18+
- Location: Puerto Lopez, Manabi Province Ecuador (some visits to Machalilla)
- Project activities: clearing invasive plant species, digging and planting gardens, recognising, counting and tagging turtles producing education environment materials, beach patrols
- Working hours: 8 hours per day. Flexibility is required as needs vary according to tides, time of year and project needs. You may be asked to work a few weekend or nights
- Project availability: All year round
- Arrival day:Twice monthly on a Friday. Please speak to an advisor
What is included
- Accommodation: Shared room in a volunteer house (camping during excursions and in Esmeraldas)
- 3 nights stay in a hostel in Quito, including breakfast
- Meal stipend during project placement
- Airport pick up and drop off in Quito
- Drinking water in the volunteer house
- Transfer to and from Pacific Coast
- Training: Pre-departure pack, on-site orientation in Quito and project induction
- Local SIM card and phone: (deposit $50 required for handset)
- Support: 24-hour support
- Excursions planning: Staff will help plan activities and excursions (activities may cost extra)
What is not included
- Police/Government Background Check; US and UK citizens will be processed through Kaya (admin fee applies) all other nationalities must provide local police check.
- Additional meals beyond those mentioned above
- Optional intensive Spanish classes 1-week programme £355 / $621 including accommodation
- Optional excursion on the Sunday on your arrival weekend please speak to an advisor if you want to know more
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.
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