can you help?
can you do?
- Support the local biologists and researchers
- Relocating nests into hatcheries
- Learn how to identify turtle species and monitor them
- Take part in nightly beach patrols
- If you’re lucky, release the babies back into the wild!
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: TURTLE CONSERVATION
LOCATION: OFFSITE LOCATION
START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: HOMESTAY (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: 2 WEEKS
MIN AGE: 18+ (under 18 with guardian)
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
PROJECT COSTS: (Please enquire)
Unfortunately, 6 out of 7 species of the sea turtle population in Guatemala are in danger of extinction due to poaching, destruction of their natural habitat and the negative effects of commercial fishing. Our turtle conservation projects help to reverse this trend and to increase the number of sea turtle population.
You will work alongside biologists and researchers on the Pacific Coast, as well and learning about the local ecosystem, bio diversity and how to sustain the environment .You will also be taught how to collect data and educate the local community about environmental and conservation issues, as well as how to maintain this precious marine ecosystem.
The turtle projects are situated offsite from the volunteer centre. These locations may not have reliable internet, but a phone is available in case of emergencies. Our local coordinators will check in with you by phone and in-person throughout your project.
- Night patrols on the beach
- Tagging turtles
- Relocating nests into hatcheries
- Counting eggs and turtle numbers
- Beach clean-up efforts
- Community education
Food & Accommodation
The majority of volunteers stay with a pre-approved middle-class Guatemalan host family. You may choose from a shared or a private room. Shared rooms are between 1-3 other people (same gender & age group). You are provided with a key to the house and are free to come and go as you please, we ask you to respect the rules of the family. Our host families live in and around Antigua and are 10-25 minutes walking or by bus from the volunteer centre.
You can also choose to stay in a student residence room, hostel, hotel or apartment, all of which can be private or shared between single genders. Please note, for hostels, hotels and apartments, meals are not included.
Breakfast and dinner are provided 7 days a week* and will generally be of local cuisine. Corn, rice, beans, beef, pork, chicken, cheese, and tortillas form the basis of the typical local foods. Meat stews and soups are very popular also.
Photos below are of the volunteer centre (not homestays)
If you have a love for the ocean and wildlife, there is not better project for you! This is a great way to help on the important issues of climate change and turtle conservation. You may be placed on accommodation that is quite remote and so must be willing to be able to live without your usual luxuries. You must also be prepared to work late night time shifts, as well as daytime shifts.
- Airport pick-up
- Host family accommodations
- Breakfast and dinner, 7 days/week
- 3-4 hours/day practical work, Monday-Friday
- Program and safety orientation
- Walking tour
- Official certificate of volunteer service
- Letter of recommendation
- Spanish language tutoring table
- Tandem Conversation Program
- Office-wide WiFi and computer lab
- Salsa dance classes
- Cooking classes
- Free coffee and tea and on-site snack bar
- Institute is open 7 days/week
- Emergency contact number 24/7
- Medical insurance
- Daily transportation
- Travel and tours
- Transfer back to the airport
- Personal spending money
Each project will include a 1-day orientation to familiarise yourself with the local area, rules, safety advice and general information. Your host family will show you the best way to get to/from your accommodation to the volunteer centre. Orientation will include health and safety advice, do’s and don’ts, cultural norms, activities and tours you can do on weekends, and a short walking tour, showing you the local area. You are also able to take a free Spanish placement exam. On your first day the local coordinator will take you to the placement, where you will be introduced to everyone and shown around the project.
Our projects are situated in the Antigua area. The most effective way to get you your project is to walk or take the bus. Travel time can vary between projects, and you should expect to spend 20-60 minutes travelling each way. You may need to change buses, depending on where your accommodation/project is located. Taxis are widely available but much more expensive than the bus.
We will explain to you how to get to your project site and you will be given transportation tickets. You will leave on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning to reach your offsite project. Transportation back is included, and this will usually be Friday evening or Saturday morning.
Sunday – Arrival / Welcome and Home Stay Introduction
Monday – Orientation day
Tuesday to Saturday
Here is a rough guide on what to expect:
- Breakfast at the accommodation
- 5-6 hours of volunteer work either in the morning or afternoon
- Your own lunch at the accommodation or project site
- Free time
- Dinner at the accommodation
There is so much to see and do around Antigua, including cultural events, tours and treks, and exploring the various markets. The local coordinators regularly post a monthly events calendar to let you know of the activities going on nearby. For more ideas on things to do in Guatemala…
These Mayan ruins are set amidst the jungle of northern Guatemala and close to the borders between Belize and Mexico. The incredible ruins are a little hard to get to but have a spectacular backdrop. The ruins used to be one of the most influential cities in the Mayan empire.
Semuc Champey Pools
Another destination a little hard to get to (think long and windy bus ride) but definitely worth it for the incredibly blue pools of water you will find here, all surrounded by Guatemalan jungle. You can go swimming in the pools too!
Pacaya, Santiaguito and Fuego are active volcanoes which visitors can climb up. These 3 are still active but Guatemala also has 37 volcanoes dotted around the country. If you love hiking, then make sure to try one of these treks for spectacular views.
Lake Atitlan is a place where you can easily spend several days. This pretty lake has the backdrop of volcanoes and pretty wildflowers around the edge of the water. There are lots of small towns around the lake to explore, or you could simply relax by the sparling water or try SUP and kayaking.
Indian Nose Hike
This is a spectacular viewpoint which will only take around a 45 minutes climb. Situated close to San Pedro, this mountain is known for incredible sunrises, but we would recommend going with a tour group for this, for safety reasons.
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Those under 18 are welcome when there is a faculty leader, parent, or guardian present
- Have a good level of fitness
- Be prepared to work during the night
- Be flexible and willing to get stuck in
Limited access to education and healthcare, poverty, illness, unemployment and illiteracy continuing problems in Guatemala. Guatemala is bordered by El Salvador and Honduras to the South, Belize to the East, and Mexico to the North. There is plenty for outdoor and nature lovers here, including tropical coastal beaches and lush jungles, mountains, rivers and volcanoes. Guatemala has a population of 14 million people, half of that being indigenous. You will see plenty of ancient Mayan traditions and customs still alive today.
The climate in Guatemala changes somewhat dramatically. In the lowlands there is a hot, tropical and humid climate year-round. The mountain regions are a lot cooler and can even fall below freezing in the cooler months. The climate in the popular tourist destinations in Guatemala, such as Antigua and Guatemala City, is temperate and a comfortable warm temperature.
May to October is the rainy season, which brings short rains usually in the afternoon. This can be a great time to visit, as the landscape are lush and green. The dry season is from March to May.
Guatemala has strong Mayan and Latin influences, with the main language being Spanish, as well as some Mayan languages. The indigenous people are known for their colourful clothing and textiles and Guatemalans love their sport (soccer in particular) and music. The designs of the clothing vary in patterns from which village you come from. Religion in Guatemala varies from Mayan spirituality, Catholicism, and Evangelical Christianity. Muslim and Jewish populations can be seen in Guatemala City as well. A lot of the festivals here are influenced by religion.
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