Once again, we have collected our TOP 10 volunteer projects to provide some inspiration for your travels in the coming year. Whilst by no means comprehensive, this list represents the 10 best volunteer abroad projects for you to visit in 2019, based on the feedback we have received from returning volunteers from the field, the positive impact the projects’ work has had in the past year, and their commitment to our policy on ethical standards.
1. Caribbean Reef Buddy Diving Project, Carriacou, West Indies
Become a Caribbean Reef Buddy volunteer on the beautiful island of Carriacou near Grenada. Learn to dive in the warm, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and play a full and active part in our exciting marine conservation projects.
Why this project made our list; Every year, we receive very positive feedback from previous volunteers about this project and it’s a great opportunity for budding divers to build on their previous experiences, leaving as fully qualified professionally rated divers with all the tools to work in diving and coral reef conservation.
Join the conservation efforts of the Sea turtle volunteer project in Greece this Summer that brings volunteers from around the World together around the island of Kefalonia. Assist with sea turtle monitoring looking for trails of nesting turtles, help the hatchlings reach the sea or do research on the turtles swimming in the harbours as a volunteer.
Why this project made our list; Kefalonia proved a very popular destination last year with volunteers that filled up all available spaces, and came back with positive feedback about their experience. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to assist with important sea turtle conservation efforts in Greece that also provide some stunning natural beauty.
Volunteers and interns on the Galapagos islands conservation project can get involved with care for giant tortoises, become an ecotourism intern in the national park or assist with turtle nest monitoring. All projects there are part of a wider development aid approach to assist local communities on the island.
Why this project made our list; Galapagos appears to be one of the popular destinations to travel to in 2019, and already now there is a great interest to help on the conservation volunteer project on the beautiful Isabela Island. The project has made a great effort and received lots of support to keep the island free of plastic since last year and offers a great opportunity to gain experience with ecotourism and wildlife conservation efforts.
Volunteer with elephants at an Elephant sanctuary that is providing an alternative for elephants and their owners to move away from the busy city life and hardships of trekking and tourist rides, as well as engaging the local community in environmental and education projects.
Why this project made our list; The elephant sanctuary took the final step last year and stopped any kinds of interaction with the elephants (no feeding or bathing of the elephants anymore), which we consider a very positive step for this already truly ethical example of working with elephants and animal welfare best practice. This is a great opportunity for people to be close to elephants in Thailand in an ethical and positive way.
5. Amazon Basin Research & Conservation Volunteer & Internship Project, Peru
Volunteers and interns have the chance to assist with the project’s long-term scientific research in the Peruvian Amazon. The project aims to better understand the effects of human activities on wildlife and get the collected information to the people, who can make decisions and act on the solutions that help conserve rainforest.
Why this project made our list; This project has always been popular due to its remote and unique location in the Amazon rainforest, and just like every year, we also received great feedback from previous volunteers and interns that joined in 2018. It really is an amazing chance to be part of the protection and conservation of pristine Amazon rainforest, and research the diverse wildlife that lives there alongside expert researchers.
Volunteer and get to experience first-hand the work that lies in taking care of varied tropical wildlife at a rescue centre located on one of the beautiful remote islands of Indonesia that is playing an important part in the battle against the regional illegal wildlife trade.
Why this project made our list; Indonesia and the plight of its natural world have made headlines in the past year, in particular with relation to Orangutans and the destruction of their habitat due to palm oil. The Wildlife Rescue project is among the local heroes that protect trafficked wildlife and this year assistance from volunteers will prove just as important as ever for their future protection and conservation.
7. Elephant Conservation Volunteer Project, Sri Lanka
Volunteers in Sri Lanka assist with varied wildlife conservation projects, including elephants and big cat research, as well as meet local communities that are made part of the solution in the heart of a vast national park.
Why this project made our list; It is no secret that wildlife is increasingly struggling to find space to roam, but the Elephant Conservation volunteer project in Sri Lanka has done incredible work during the past two decades to make is possible for people and wildlife to live alongside each other. Volunteers always enjoy their time on the project and state that they feel they are contributing to real conservation efforts.
8. Playa Tortuga Conservation Volunteer Project, Costa Rica
Volunteer in Costa Rica and live and work in a biological research station and take part in sea turtle, butterfly, crocodile, mammal research and environmental education.
Why this project made our list; By helping this project you will be part of a serious scientific research project, which provides important data for the conservation of sea turtles, mammals, reptiles and insects in this biodiversity hotspot. A popular project with people who travel alone and families alike, and received lots of great feedback from volunteers in 2018.
9. Blue Lagoon & Coral Reef Monitoring Volunteer and Internship project, Mauritius
Volunteer or intern with coral reef and marine conservation efforts in the stunning surroundings of Mauritius. Whether it being marketing, finance, volunteer coordination or marine related conservation, there is an opportunity to gain invaluable work experience for those interested to stay for a longer time period as an intern.
Why this project made our list; This project provides several great opportunities for people to join as either a volunteer or intern in the efforts for coral reef conservation. Volunteers will in particular continue the important work on the coral reef nursery that started last year, as well as the sea turtle research that is in its initial stages.
Volunteer in the Caribbean and take part in leatherback sea turtle monitoring, research, and community outreach programmes on the island of Grenada.
Why this project made our list; A popular project among volunteers that enjoy experiencing these large dinosaur-related turtles up close and help with their further preservation. It is a great opportunity to research the largest sea turtle species in the world, and gain hands on experience alongside marine biologists.