Do you love animals and would like to Endangered species from extinction? Do you have a special fascination for turtles? In El Hawaiia paradisiacal place on the Pacific coast Guatemala, is home to the leatherback turtle, which is unfortunately threatened with extinction. You support the breeding and release of the Baby tortoisesbut also in the care of other animal species and in researching flora and fauna. Become part of a diverse project, get to know volunteers from all over the world and help the cute baby turtles on their way to freedom! Whether you join the patrols on the beach looking for turtle eggs, the Feeding wild animalsthe protection of the mangrove forest or environmental protection campaigns. You will learn a lot of new things about Guatemala's wildlife and make a big contribution to the Preserving the planet perform.

Quick Facts

Type of program
Turtle sanctuary
Program location
El Hawaii
, Guatemala
Working hours
approx. 7 hours, 6 days
Program start
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Minimum age
18 years
No knowledge
Animal-loving and close to nature
Jungle, Rural, Close to the beach
Multi-bed room
German-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Mobile Internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
Multi-bed room
Base price 1st program: 1600,00 €
Extension month: 1100,00 €

Project description

Are you a fan of Turtles and would like to help save endangered animals from extinction? Then our Rescue center on the Pacific coast of Guatemala is just the thing for you. Our local organization is committed to protecting the Pacific leatherback turtle and other species that are unfortunately threatened with extinction. The founders initiated conservation activities to counteract the threat posed to the animals by the over-harvesting of eggs. Despite their endangered status, practically all sea turtle nests in Guatemala are poached and the eggs sold. You can now help to ensure that many baby turtles find their way back to the Pacific Ocean safe and sound.

During the so-called turtle season of June to January turtles of 3 different species come to the beach of El Hawaii to lay their eggs. Around 5000 turtles arrive on this beach every season. The organization collects sea turtle eggs on the beach and donations from the local collectors and then takes care of the Hatching the eggs. From now on, they are looked after day and night. After incubation, the baby turtles are transferred from the rescue center to the Sea released. A unique experience and a very special moment that you too can be part of and support. The rescue center also takes care of other animal and bird species whose offspring are born in the nearby mangrove areas and need help to survive.


Are you interested in Biology? Working with students and researchers from around the world, the organization also conducts very detailed research on sea turtles, including environmental conditions in hatcheries and on the beach, hatchling success rates, temperature measurements, crawl counts, DNA studies and open ocean population monitoring. A very exciting part of the job where you will learn a lot of new things.

In addition to the sea turtles, the project is also committed to the Species protection of crocodiles, iguanas, yellow parrots and other native species and the conservation of the mangrove ecosystem. The organization is home to a  Rescue center for wild animals with around 70 animals on the project site. Crocodiles and other animals were once abundant on the south coast, but are rapidly disappearing due to hunting and habitat loss. When the young animals are large enough, they are released into the nearby mangrove forests. Volunteers can also help feed and care for the animals.

Another pillar of the project is the Environmental education. The organization works together with the locals and educates them about the protection of animals and the mangrove forest. There are special activities such as reforestation, a turtle rally for children, waste collection and workshops.


The rescue center is involved in many areas, and there are always different tasks in which you can get involved. During the turtle season you can help in the turtle area, but also all year round in the rescue center for wildlife, observation and research of flora and fauna and environmental education. You will work daily from around 08:00 to 15:00 with breaks and have 1 day off per week.

During turtle season, the volunteers take part in night patrols and search for nests where turtles have laid their eggs. Sea turtles almost always nest and hatch at night. Once a turtle is found, wait for it to finish laying, collect the eggs and then dig them into the hatchery. When the nests in the hatchery start to hatch, you check the hatchlings several times a day. They are then measured, weighed and released on the beach. Groups of children and tourists often come to take part in the release of the hatchlings. You can pass on the knowledge you have already gained about these fascinating animals and educate them about the protection and biology of sea turtles.

You will also help to measure nest and sand temperatures, carry out daily crawl counts (counting turtle tracks) and monitor and record hatchling success rates. As a volunteer, you will also respond to the stranding of sea turtles and other marine animals and coordinate their rescue and treatment.

At the wildlife rescue center on the project site, you can help with the daily feeding and cleaning of the enclosures and get to know the exotic animals up close. Research work is also carried out in the surrounding area to protect wild animals. For example, you can support the staff in observing animals with the help of cameras.

Volunteers can also give educational talks in local schools, supervise children and tourists visiting the education center, prepare teaching materials and assist with the maintenance of the rescue center.

Program location

El Hawaii

The project is located on the beautiful Pacific coast of Guatemala near the village of El Hawaii and 7 km east of the main resort town of Monterrico. The rescue center is located in the Parque El Hawaii National Park and covers a protected area of 3 hectares. The drive to El Hawaii from Antigua, Guatemala takes around 2.5 hours. Fascinating nature and beautiful beaches await you here.

The 20 km long nature reserve with coastal and mangrove swamps is full of bird and aquatic life. The most famous inhabitants of the reserve are the endangered leatherback and ridley turtles, which lay their eggs on the beach in many places along the coast. The exciting mangrove swamps are a network of 25 lagoons, all connected by canals. In your free time, you can take boat tours through the national park and explore the exotic mangroves and lagoons or simply relax on Monterrico's dream beach. Monterrico has grown steadily in recent years due to increasing tourism. The infrastructure has been expanded and now includes many pedestrian paths, boat tours, restaurants and hotels. There is a 15-minute bus ride between Monterrico and El Hawaii.


You do not need any special prerequisites for the program. You should enjoy working with animals and have the motivation to improve the lives of animals in the long term and be committed to protecting the environment. Openness to new cultures is also particularly important to us. You will get to know people from all over the world, make new friends and learn a lot.


The national language in Guatemala is Spanish. As you will be in contact with locals a lot, basic knowledge of the language is recommended for this project, but not essential. We recommend a language course at the start of the program. However, your language skills will also improve on site.

Accommodation and meals

You will live together with other volunteers in a volunteer house on the project site. Several employees live on the site and work there every day. The house offers space for around 15 people in shared rooms. The accommodation is rustic and very simply furnished. You will share a shared room with other volunteers. Meals are included in the price. The project has its own cook, who will provide you with three meals a day. The food is typical Guatemalan.

Contact person

Alejandro is Guatemalan and grew up in Antigua. That's why he knows the city, the country and its culture like no other. He has a great passion for Germany, has visited the country several times and speaks the language fluently. Alejandro always has an open ear for your wishes and is happy to introduce you to his home country. He is happy to organize city tours and weekend excursions for our participants. You will never feel alone. Thanks to his history studies, he can tell you a lot about the history of Guatemala and the ancient buildings in Antigua. Alejandro will look after you during the introductory event in Antigua. A German-speaking contact person is available via WhatsApp in the same time zone to answer any questions you may have during your stay in Latin America.

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Services and prices

Multi-bed room
Base price 1st program: 1600,00 €
Extension month: 1100,00 €

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