VOLUNTEER WORK MEXICO
Are you passionate about sea turtles and interested in species conservation? Did you know that by protecting sea turtles, we are protecting an entire ecosystem? Yes, sea turtles are a key species for maintaining the marine ecosystem. In this project, you can get close to nature in a unique way, learn about marine life and its importance, support conservation and environmental education, and advocate for the environment. In our Turtle Protection Project, you will ensure that the turtle eggs do not fall prey to predators or animals and that the hatched babies are safely released into the sea. Assist the team with evening patrols on the beach and bring the turtle eggs safely to the hatchery. Not only can you do something good for nature, but you can explore exciting Mexico at the same time. Work on dream beaches near Puerto Escondido and enjoy your free time at the beach.
Type of program
Bajos de Chila, Puerto Escondido, Mexico
approx. 8 hours, 5 days
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Spanish (basic knowledge)
Animal lover and close to nature
Outside a village on the beach
Shared room in volunteer house
English speaking contact person on site
Mobile internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.170,00 €
Type of program: turtle sanctuary
Program location: Bajos de Chila, Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Working time: about 8 hours, 5 days
Start of program: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: Spanish (basic knowledge)
Requirements: love of animals and close to nature
Location: Outside a village on the beach
Accommodation: Shared rooms in the volunteer house
Meals: Not included
Support: English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Internet: Mobile Internet with a SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from €1,170.00
Are you interested in the great sea creatures? Do you want to get your hands dirty digging the nests? For all turtle fans and nature enthusiasts, our Turtle Protection project in Mexico is the place to be.
The Turtle Protection Organization is an NGO that has been protecting thousands of turtles in the Puerto Escondido region every year for over 20 years. The mission of the organization is to protect and conserve the species of sea turtles that nest on the shores of this paradisiacal place.
Currently, there are 8 species of sea turtles, all of which are threatened with extinction. The population in the sea is constantly decreasing and fewer and fewer turtles come to the beaches. This is partly because the valuable turtle eggs are stolen and sold, or dug up and eaten by animals. On the other hand, their natural habitat is becoming smaller and smaller or they die from plastic waste and fishing nets in the sea. Especially crowded beaches, with many lights at night, drive away the marine life.
Our partner organization needs the support of volunteers to protect the turtles from theft and pollution and to increase their population again. Your help is needed during the daily control walks on the beach. This involves documenting the turtles that come ashore and checking them for health. The turtle nests are carefully opened and the eggs taken to the hatchery at camp until the little babies hatch and are safely released into the sea.
Mexico is the country with the most sea turtle visits, as 7 of the 8 species nest on Mexico’s beaches and 4 different species are found on the coasts of Oaxaca. Sea turtles play a very important role in the ecological balance of the ocean. This is because the turtles eat jellyfish, for example, and thus regulate their population. By maintaining the jellyfish population, the pH of the ocean remains in balance, allowing phytoplankton to perform good photosynthesis and providing us with 70% of the oxygen we breathe. So maintaining the ecological balance in the ocean is essential for a sustainable future.
Therefore, environmental education is also a fundamental pillar of the project. Creating environmental awareness among locals and also tourists is crucial, as this is the way to bring about real change. Get involved and contribute your new ideas. School groups also visit the project on a regular basis, which is a unique opportunity to educate children about species conservation, and show them how they can protect nature themselves. Likewise, the staff visit schools in the area and give presentations. Working with the locals is great fun and you can learn a lot about the flora and fauna of Mexico yourself. In addition, the project works on various programs for the conservation and protection of wildlife and participates in beach cleaning and environmental protection activities.
In this project you can get to know the beauty of Oaxaca’s beaches, experience Mexican culture first hand and make a huge contribution to nature conservation and the climate.
Many different tasks will come your way in Turtle Camp. The main task is of course to protect the turtles. In addition, good teamwork and lots of fun are always on the agenda.
Get your hands dirty digging up the eggs. Do you have no problem with physical activity and do you like being in nature? Help out in the project with the evening patrols on the beach and document the turtles that have come ashore. The sea turtles only come to the beaches at dusk or at night and lay their eggs. This nocturnal activity patrols a total of 17 miles of beach every night using quads or SUVs. The main working hours are at night from around 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. During this time there are three different shifts, from 21:00 – 00:00, 00:00 – 03:00 and 03:00 – 06:00. The shifts are divided among the employees and volunteers.
Along the way, it’s not uncommon to encounter wild animals or even be lucky enough to spot the rare phenomenon of bioluminescence in the Manialtepec Lagoon.
When you find eggs, you notify the team at camp that they are preparing a new nest in the hatchery. Now you make sure that the eggs get to the camp safely. Also make sure the animals are in good health and report injured turtles.
Be there when the little ones hatch. The nests in the hatchery are constantly monitored from now on. In addition, there is always something to do around the nests. Digging the deep holes in the sand is real teamwork and the eggs must always be well secured so that no other animals can get to them. Now the time has come! The babies hatch and you can be there up close! In the project, new turtles hatch almost every day during turtle season. Now it’s your job to give the turtles a safe way to their natural habitat. Many tourists come to the so-called “Turtle Release” every day to watch the spectacle. The turtle release always takes place at sunset from around 6 p.m. Here you receive the tourists on the beach, give a speech about the project and explain to them how to handle the babies properly when they are released.
In the morning, when the sun isn’t that strong, the volunteers take care of the nests. The nests of the hatched turtles have to be cleaned and new holes dug in the sand for the next eggs.
Get creative and get involved in environmental protection campaigns. The team is constantly organizing new activities to raise awareness about wildlife conservation and educate local people. Help craft materials and posters and support the regular beach clean-ups. You can also guide groups of students and tourists through the camp and enlighten them about your important work. The volunteers can also help with the environmental education of children in the surrounding schools. There is also an initiative to reforest mangrove forests and an organic garden.
From around 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. you have free time and can relax. You also have two days off a week.
Bajos de Chila
The small village of Bajos de Chila is about 15 minutes by cab from Puerto Escondido. If you love the sea and like it more relaxed than turbulent, the beautiful beaches at Bajos de Chila are just right for you. There you will find the cleanest and most beautiful beaches in the region. Among them is a practically untouched beach where the giant leatherback turtle likes to nest. You will not find any paved roads or supermarkets, but you will be able to experience authentic Mexico. The volunteer house is located in a quiet and secluded place, as there are only a few houses in the area. In the village you will have the opportunity to get to know the locals and spend time with them instead of just tourists. This way you can get to know the Mexican culture, improve your Spanish and socialize. If you want to go to Puerto Escondido in your free time, you will need to plan for half an hour each way.
The city of Puerto Escondido is perfect for an unforgettable weekend adventure. Puerto is one of the hottest places among young Mexicans and backpackers from all over the world for a reason. Downtown there are many hostels and hotels and from there you can quickly reach the surrounding beaches and be surrounded by bars, restaurants and supermarkets. At the end of the long beach of Puerto Escondido is the beautiful district of La Punta. There are no paved roads here, but there are nice restaurants and a great surf spot for beginners and pros. Surfers, globetrotters and adventurers from all over the world meet here.
Besides your work in the project, you can book lessons at the many local surf schools, learn Spanish or just relax on the beach with cool people. The beaches of Oaxaca are among the best surf spots in the country. At the time of the surf contests, it therefore becomes turbulent, because the international surf elite meets in Puerto.
The prerequisite is not only to love turtles, but also to be enthusiastic about environmental protection. You should be motivated to learn a lot of new things and also be physically involved. Working 8 hours a day can be quite exhausting, but the team supports each other and it is always a lot of fun. You should like to be in nature and like it quiet, because you will live away from the hustle and bustle in a small village in the middle of nature.
You should also have a certain degree of independence, as volunteers are expected to perform tasks without the guidance of staff. On site, you will take care of the grocery shopping and cooking on your own.
The national language in Mexico is Spanish. Since you will have a lot of contact with locals, a basic knowledge of Spanish is required. In the project not all employees speak English, so every word of Spanish is an advantage. If you don’t have any knowledge of Spanish yet, we will gladly organize a 1-week language course for you before the start of the project. You can do the language course directly in Puerto Escondido at the coolest and best language school in town. The Mexican teachers put a lot of emphasis on speaking freely from the beginning, so that you can talk to the locals as soon as possible. Your knowledge will improve effortlessly.
During your time in the Turtle Protection Program you will sleep together with the other international volunteers in a shared room. There is an extra volunteer house on a street about 2 km from the small village of Bajos de Chila. The project staff does not live in the volunteer house, but the supervisor lives only 10 minutes walk from the accommodation. There are only a few houses in the village, so it is very quiet and away from the hustle and bustle. In the house you will have access to an equipped communal kitchen and a large outdoor communal area. The house is very simply furnished and the standard is not comparable to Germany. However, you will quickly get used to it and get to know the authentic Mexico. Food is not included, but the volunteers like to cook together and in the kitchen you will find everything you need.
The accommodation is about 1.5 kilometers from the beach. You will find small shops in the center of the village about 1 – 2 km from the accommodation and a few cheap Mexican restaurants. Large supermarkets and ATMs are available in Puerto Escondido.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN MEXICO
Silvia is originally from Munich and she liked it so much in Mexico during a world trip more than 15 years ago that she moved her life center to the Rivera Maya in Quintana Roo a few years later. She is very involved with the lived traditions and rituals of the locals. She knows the area very well and always discovers the beauty of the diverse nature and likes to share this with everyone who lands in Mexico for the first time. She speaks German, English and Spanish.
Silvia will take care of you during your orientation in Playa del Carmen. For questions of any concern during your stay in Latin America, an English-speaking contact person is available via WhatsApp in the same time zone.
SERVICES AND PRICES
- 1st month starter package: € 1,360.00
- Extension month: 860,00 €
- As 2nd or 3rd programme: 1.320,00 €
- 1st month in the start package: 1.360,00 €
- Extension month: 860,00 €
- As 2nd or 3rd programme: 1.330,00 €
- 1st month in starter package: 1.170,00 €
- Extension month: 780,00 €
- As 2nd or 3rd programme: 1.140,00 €
“My tip is to stay relaxed and calm and let it come to you. No expectations, just let it happen. It will be much better than you think. See the sea every day and do what you want, free from your heart.”