Where to go on a turtle conservation holiday

As a turtle conservation volunteer, youíre helping to protect some of the planetís oldest creatures. Because turtles were swimming the oceans, and laying their eggs on beaches, as far back as when dinosaurs walked the earth. That is some legacy youíre seeking to preserve, whether it be on a family turtle volunteer project in Costa Rica, or in an island idyll such as Kefalonia in Greece, or the Seychelles. Places that are so beautiful, itís small wonder that the turtles insist on coming back to them every year. Read on to learn where you can join turtle volunteer projects around the world with our partners.
Costa Rica

1. Costa Rica

Although Tortuguero National Park is a favourite destination for sea turtle watching in Costa Rica, there are many projects in quieter spots around this stunning country. In Pacuare Nature Reserve, monitor leatherbacks nesting in March-April, with hatching starting around May. In the past, 95 percent of turtle eggs here were poached, but fantastic conservation efforts have reversed the situation in recent years.

2. Greece

Endangered loggerhead sea turtles nest on the beaches of Kefalonia, and can often be seen feeding on scraps in the harbour of the capital, Argostoli, where collisions with boats are possible. Volunteering here means travelling from beach to beach by bicycle, in the mornings or at night, to record data and protect nests. You can also visit a rescue centre on the outskirts of Athens run by Archelon, the countryís leading turtle NGO.

3. Malaysia

As if Malaysia isnít beautiful enough, turtle conservation projects happening on the Perhentian islands take you into a whole other natural sphere. In order to see leatherbacks in their breeding grounds here in the South China Sea, you have to kayak to remote coves, sleep in hammocks under the stars, catch and cook fish in the sand, local style, snorkel or dive to spot the turtles at sea. Tough gig.

4. Maldives

Sea turtle conservation volunteers are needed on Naifaru in the Maldives, where a rescue centre looks after turtles found injured in the sea, or saved from the pet trade. Youíll work on a range of tasks from data collection to community outreach, beach cleaning and feeding the turtles. And in your free time, well, youíre in the Maldives arenít you. Pack your swimsuit and snorkel, because afternoons are for paradise.

5. Seychelles

There are more than stunning sunsets to be seen on the beaches of the Maldives with North Island in particular a haven for green and hawksbill sea turtles, and giant Aldabra tortoises, endemic to the Aldabra Atoll. With full-on conservation projects here that usually require at least a monthís commitment, you get time to really immerse yourself in other projects which include endangered bird and coral monitoring. Phew, lifeís a beach.

6. Thailand

With turtle conservation still hatching in Thailand, remote projects like one on Koh Phra Thong enable you to contribute to essential turtle monitoring and protection and escape tourist crowds, stay in homestays, educate communities and enjoy life on the beach. Not always leisurely, with packed days monitoring and mothering. Never gets tiring when youíre working with turtles though. And in paradise.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Turtle conservation or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Photo credits: Isabella JuskovŠ [Costa Rica: Frontierofficial] [Greece: Heather Cowper] [Malaysia: Achilli Family | Journeys] [Maldives: Ibrahim Razzan] [Seychelles: Olivier Cochard-Labbe] [Thailand: Josh Evnin]