Sea Turtle Conservation in Guatemala.

Tragically, the Pacific leatherback turtle is nearing extinction with only 2000 individuals remaining in the entire Pacific ocean. Turtle populations are declining rapidly due to the industrial longline tuna and swordfish fisheries as well as unregulated egg poaching on nesting beaches. In response to the urgency of the situation, this conservation organization, in cooperation with other groups, has worked to impose a total ban on leatherback and hawksbill egg collecting in Guatemala. Located on a 3 hectare protected area of beach on Guatemala’s south shore, this sea turtle conservation program was initiated as an attempt to counteract threats to turtle populations by over-harvesting of eggs by collectors. Despite their endangered status, virtually all sea turtle nests in Guatemala are poached and the eggs sold as a supposed aphrodisiac. The conservation program operates successful sea turtle hatcheries, carries out research on sea turtles, and educates local communities about the need to conserve the natural resources on which they depend. Other conservation initiatives at this site include mangrove conservation and an iguana and spectacled caiman captive-breeding and release program.

Internships: This organization accepts volunteers who want to conduct internships or practicums as part of their university studies.  Past interns have taken on specific projects such as the development of ecotourism activities, public relations strategies, inventories of flora and fauna and sea turtle research.  Please contact AEI for more information.

Includes: Airport pick up and drop off (at closest airport. The trip to the field site will take a few days, AEI's fees cover your accomodation throughout this time), Accommodation, Some Meals (One meal a day with a local family), On-site training, Donation to Placement Partner, AEI Travel Manual, Partner Organization’s volunteer handbook, $10 Credit in our Zazzle store (towards the purchase of recycled water bottles, reusable bags, etc), American and Canadian clients get 50% off at the online AEI IceBreaker store, Emergency support while at Placement, Carbon credits to offset 3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, Premium Individual Travel Insurance (up to $500, 000 USD in emergency medical coverage), Travel discounts (through automatic membership to a volunteer only travel discount program), 24/7 Travel and emergency assistance. Are you thinking of fundraising for a portion, or all your fees? Many of our clients have been very successful with their fundraising efforts. To learn more about their successful fundraising projects and see how you can fund raise for your experience, please visit our fundraising page!

Excludes: Flights, Entry visa costs, International and domestic airport taxes, Some meals (you wil be cooking with the group and pitching in to buy the groceries), Immunizations and medications. Note: The rabies vaccine is not required for this Experience however, if volunteers are interested in becoming rabies vaccinated, the average cost is $600- $1000 in North America.

Accommodation: You will be staying on-site in the organization’s volunteer housing. 1 home cooked meal a day with a local family. The rest of the meals the volunteers cook together- a great way to get to know new friends! Are you nervous about travel and your safety? It's okay, travelling and volunteering can be overwhelming, that is why we exist! To help you travel safe, volunteer smartly and get back home in one piece. To read more about how we help you stay safe, please read our Guide to Safety Do you have questions about safety in Guatemala, specifically? We have answers right: Guide to Safety in Guatemala!

Volunteer activities: Volunteers at the sea turtle and mangrove conservation project assist in conducting nightly patrols of area beaches in search of nesting sea turtles, collection and burial of eggs in the hatchery, release of hatchlings on the beach and collection of research data.  Volunteers at this location can also collaborate in the monitoring of the health of the local mangrove ecosystem, in reforestation in the mangrove forests and help out with the caiman and iguana captive-breeding project. The sea turtle busy season is July until December. Peak season for Olive Ridley turtles is August to October. Peak season for Leatherback turtles is November to January. During off seasons volunteers take part site up keep, park maintenance and conservation tasks.

This is an ongoing program with operations every day of the year. There are no specific start or end dates. We work with you and your schedule so you can serve this community and help animals when you are available.

Classification of Placement: Medical: Entry and Advanced. Standard: Entry and Advanced.

All classifications of volunteers are needed by this Placement partner and we encourage you to apply no matter your skill or experience level. However, if you are looking for a Placement to use your specific skills, the professionals who would be most beneficial to this placement would be volunteers with experience in: veterinary medicine, construction and design.

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OAVTThis is an official pre-approved OAVT Partnership. All participants are eligible for a minimum of 5 Continuing Education credits.
Trip Cost
length of stay
2 weeks $ 1930
3 weeks $ 2190
4 weeks $ 2750
8 weeks $ 4190
Groups of 5 or more: 10% off individual fees.