Team up with like-minded people and volunteer with sea turtles in Mexico as a group. You’ll work closely with conservation experts at a local ecological centre. You’ll also work in a nearby lagoon and on a black sand beach. By working as a team, you’ll be able to accomplish a lot during your short time abroad!
In Mexico, turtles are under threat. They’re losing their nesting grounds because of coastal erosion, and poachers steal their eggs every year. You’ll work together to move nests to protected corrals, and then release hatchlings safely into the ocean. You’ll also help preserve the biodiversity of the surrounding area by doing scientific studies and working with crocodiles and iguanas. The data you collect is used by researchers across the Americas.
You’ll be based in Cuyutlan, and stay with your group in shared accommodation close to the beach. When you’re not working, we’ve organised activities for you to enjoy, along with an exciting weekend trip. Throughout it all, Projects Abroad staff will be at your side to supervise and guide you.
Fixed dates throughout the year
Anyone aged 18 or over can join
What's included in the price?
Food (three meals a day)
Travel and medical insurance
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival
Transport to and from your work placement
In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff
Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team
Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources
Training and workshops from our experienced local staff
Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns
Access to our local office with internet connection
Certification of project completion
Access to our alumni services and discounts
Visa support and advice
Fundraising support, including your own personalized fundraising website
Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor
Personalized MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination
Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch
A free cultural awareness course
Organized weekend tourism trips
What's not included?
Visa costs (where applicable)
What will I do on this project?
There’s always a lot to be done at Cuyutlan! Here are some of the activities you can get involved in:
- Search for and relocate turtle eggs and safeguard turtle nests
- Clean and maintain turtle tanks and care for sea turtles at the ecological centre
- Study the area’s biodiversity as part of important research initiatives
- Participate on beach clean-ups during the afternoons
- Support staff at a crocodile park
- Explore Mexico and learn more about the culture with your group
Your project will be divided into the following ways:
Help safeguard turtle nests
Coastal erosion is a big problem affecting turtles in Mexico. However, poachers have proven to be an even bigger problem. Once a turtle has laid eggs, poachers dig up the eggs to sell at local markets. To protect the nests, we do beach patrols everyday. When we find a nest, we move it to a safe location at the ecological centre we work with. This is a protected area, and the eggs will incubate in peace here. Once the eggs hatch, we release hatchlings into the ocean.
Care for turtles at the ecological centre
At the ecological centre, the government has given them permission to keep turtles, especially those who have been injured and cannot be released back into the wild. They need your help to look after all the turtles living here. Your group will help clean the tanks, and make sure turtles are fed and cared for. Each turtle is also weighed and measured once a month.
You will be required to monitor the presence and condition of wildlife in the Palo Verde estuary and El Chupadero lagoon. Here, you’ll:
- Maintain a register through direct observation and trap cameras for night surveillance
- Monitor and collect data on the state of nearby mangrove forests
- Grow mangrove seedlings in a greenhouse
- Reforest areas where the mangrove forest has been damaged or removed
Working with mangroves is especially important. Mangroves provide a habitat for marine life, they protect coastlines from soil erosion, and they help in the fight against climate change. We need your team’s help to plant as many as possible!
Community beach clean-ups
Reducing litter in our oceans is vital for keeping marine life safe. Rubbish, particularly non-biodegradable plastic, is hazardous. The sea turtles that nest here can get caught in the discarded plastic. Or, they may mistake it for food, which can hurt and even kill them.
Your group will work together to keep the beach as clean as possible. With this many hands involved, you’ll be able to remove a lot of rubbish from the environment.
Work with crocodiles
You will visit La Colorada Crocodile Centre, in Cofradia de Morelos, once a week. Here, you’ll help to clean and maintain the pens and the centre’s facilities. You will also be involved in taking biometric data and marking the crocodiles in nearby lagoons.
Finally, this project is also an opportunity for you to travel, learn, and grow in a safe environment with a group of volunteers. On the weekend, we’ll take you on a trip to a local beach resort to experience more of Mexico. Make the most of the opportunity to have some fun in the sun with your fellow volunteers.
Where will I work in Mexico?
During your time in Mexico, you’ll be based in Cuyutlan. With its black-sand beaches, gentle waves, and laid-back attitude, Cuyutlan feels a world away from everywhere.
You’ll spend most of your time working at El Tortugario Centro Ecológico de Cuyutlan, and working directly on the beach or in a nearby lagoon. You’ll also work at La Colorada Crocodile Centre once a week.
You'll be accommodated in a shared house close to both the town centre and the beach. The accommodation is close to the ecological centre, making for an easy commute to work. The house has several single and same-sex shared bedrooms, as well as a communal kitchen and a swimming pool. You’ll all pitch in to help with some basic maintenance and cleaning at the house.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring Our Impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Meet the team in Mexico
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