Volunteer in Mexico

Protecting the Marine Turtles in La Penita
La Peñita, Nayarit       3 projects of 2 wks in December and January

Volunteer project: The aim of this project is to protect the endangered marine turtles working in close collaboration with the local population of La Peñita Town or as they say “the place where turtles come at night”. Volunteers, along with local people and a team of professional biologists and trained staff, will develop activities to protect the turtles, and will help to ensure the survival of the turtles for the future generations.
There are five species of turtles arriving to this area: Negra (Black Turtle), Golfina (Olive Ridley Turtle), Laud (Leatherback Turtle), Carey (Hawksbill Turtle) and more! The size of the turtles varies from 1 meter to 2.4 meters long and the weight from 40 kg to 500 kg. Every turtle makes a nest of around 150 eggs.

If you love nature, enjoy spending time in an astonishingly beautiful beaches close to a nice beach town, and are willing to witness the magic that nature had made for millions of years, this project is for you!

There is a team of up to 5 experts that will be working with the volunteers in order to show them the beauty of the turtle’s life. The turtle camp has been in operation for over 25 years now.

The main work consists in patrolling the beach at night. The working hours are from 8:00pm to 8:00am, four days per week. The volunteers will be split in two teams allowing each team to have a day of work, a day off for recovery and two days off on weekends. The goal is to find the adult turtles and collect their eggs, to move the eggs to a protected place called Vivero and release newborn baby turtles into the sea when they hatch. Volunteers will also help collecting statistical data in order to learn about the evolution of the species. Activities must be carried out at night since turtles do not go out of the ocean during the day (because of natural predators, it is safer for turtles to get out of the ocean in the dark). In collaboration with local people and biologists from La Peñita, volunteers will seek for the turtles, taking care of their eggs and the baby turtles. The work place and load depend on the number of turtles that come ashore. Every day, the biologists will define which beach will be patrolled by the volunteers depending on where more turtles arrive. The group will also take part in the reconstruction of some of the most important turtle camps in the region. Locals and experts are very friendly and working with them is always fun as they explain to the team what to do.

Language: The official language of the project is English. Some Spanish would be appreciated.

Leisure time: The volunteers will have free time during the day to do many fun and interesting activities and to discover many marvelous places around. The volunteers can learn to surf, go fishing, visit and help in shelters for protection of endangered species (crocodiles), visit local towns, get to know and enjoy the local culture. Rincón de Guayabitos is well connected by bus to localities and cities around.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to visit solitary beaches and towns with an extraordinary natural richness. Among those places are Flamingos, with its three beautiful lakes; Bucerias, with a long beach and cobblestone streets; La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a picturesque fishing town; Destiladeras, a paradise for surfers. Volunteers will have the chance to visit the Islas Marietas - one of the most beautiful places on earth, take surfing classes and travel to Sayulita, a bohemian town ideal for camping. The beaches of Rincon de Guayabitos with crystal-clear waters and calm waves resemble a large swimming pool. Nearby, participants will find the pre-Hispanic sanctuary of Altavista and the semi-virgin beach named Chacala, the perfect site to be amazed by nature.

Accommodation: The volunteers will be hosted in a hotel in La Peñita de Jaltemba, in shared rooms with all facilities at disposal: private bathroom, Wi-Fi, air conditioning. They will have full access to two swimming pools and the beach. Three meals a day are provided at the hotel restaurant consisting of good typical Mexican food. Vegetarian meals are also available.

Location: La Peñita de Jaltemba is a small beach town with approximately 20,000 inhabitants, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, in the state of Nayarit. It is the main service community for the popular beach resort area Rincón de Guayabitos. The closest city is Puerto Vallarta.

Nestled in the imposing Sierra Madre Occidental, and washed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Riviera Nayarit is emerging as one of the most attractive and magic destinations of Mexico. The area extends approximately 300 kilometers along the coast, backed by mountainous jungle and facing coastal islands. There is plenty of remote backcountry for those wanting to see a more rustic side of rural Mexico. Banderas Bay, on the southern section of the Riviera Nayarit, is famous for being the destination spot of thousands of humpback whales that offer an unmatched spectacle. In addition, Puerto Vallarta is famous for its long seafront walkway and its vibrant nightlife. The Huichol Indians are the most famous ethnic group within the region. They are characterized by their eye-catching clothing, hats adorned with feathers and their colorful handcrafts, such as masks and animal figurines made of beads.

Nearest airports: Puerto Vallarta International Airport Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, Morelia International Airport, Mexico City International Airport

Age range: 18 and over

Extra fee: 295 Euro
The extra fee is intended to support the local host of the project who does not have sufficient funds. It is due upon arrival.

All available dates for this project:
December 20, 2017 - January 1, 2018
January 3 - January 15, 2018
January 17 - January 29, 2018

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Long-term projects in Mexico