Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Family volunteering abroad for nature and society


Top 9 Family Volunteering Abroad Projects with WorkingAbroad

March 25th 2023

Embarking on a family volunteering abroad adventure is an extraordinary and rewarding way to bond with your loved ones while making a positive impact in the world. At WorkingAbroad, we offer a wide range of family-friendly volunteer programmes that cater to all ages and interests. Here are our TOP 9 family volunteering abroad projects that are sure to inspire and bring your family closer together.

1. Playa Tortuga Conservation Programme, Costa Rica

Discover, Protect, and Connect – Unleash Your Family’s Wild Side!

Smith family volunteers Costa RicaVolunteer Sea Turtles | Volunteer Costa Rica | Working Abroad

A family favourite, the Playa Tortuga Conservation Programme in Costa Rica offers hands-on experiences for kids aged 7 and up. Activities include sea turtle monitoring, caiman research, and tending to a butterfly garden. Read more about one family’s adventure on our blog and book early to secure your spot!

Why we love this programme; Situated in a thriving tropical rainforest reserve on the Pacific coast, we offer participants the chance to engage in a variety of conservation efforts, such as sea turtle research, crocodile monitoring, monkey and mammal surveys, tree boa studies, and butterfly garden projects. Playa Tortuga, located just 3.5 hours from San Jose, provides the ideal environment for researchers and volunteers to work alongside knowledgeable staff and contribute to the preservation of our planet’s diverse ecosystems. Volunteers enjoy the captivating world of Costa Rican wildlife, and experience firsthand the gratification of making a tangible impact on the conservation of many precious tropical species.

Find out more about this programme here.

2. Cloudforest Conservation Programme, Ecuador

Nature’s Playground – Forge Unforgettable Family Memories in the Cloudforest!

Family volunteeringVolunteer Ecuador | WorkingAbroad

Another popular choice for families, our Cloudforest Conservation Programme in Ecuador features a tailored 5-night family itinerary, with activities like making chocolate, Spanish lessons, and waterfall hikes. Families with children as young as 2 years old are welcome. Check out some family reviews here.

Why we love this programme; Volunteers can participate in a variety of activities, including tree planting, trail work, research, sustainable living, and food production. Located just 90 kilometers from Quito, this programme allows you to contribute to vital conservation efforts while experiencing the majestic cloud forest. During your free time, explore the breathtaking surroundings with activities like bird watching, horseback riding, night hikes, and kayaking. Forge lasting connections with fellow volunteers and the Ecuadorian staff, making a positive impact on the environment and local community.

Find out more about this programme here.


3. Dolphin Research Programme, Greece

Dive into Adventure – A Family Voyage into Marine Conservation!

family volunteering greeceVolunteer in Greece | WorkingAbroadThe Dolphin Research Project in Greece is perfect for families interested in marine conservation. Block book a week to spend with researchers studying bottlenose and common dolphins, as well as critically endangered monk seals. Children over 6 years old are welcome. Read about one family’s experience here.

Why we love this programme; We focus on the Bottlenose Dolphin, the Common Dolphin, and the Mediterranean Monk Seal, with research taking place in the Amvrakikos Gulf and the Inner Ionian Sea archipelago. Revel in the beauty of Greece while working alongside passionate staff, contributing to the long-term viability of these marine species. When you’re not at sea, immerse yourselves in Greek culture in the traditional village of Vonitsa, where you can explore its narrow streets, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and visit nearby beaches and villages. Engage in essential research activities, such as monitoring dolphins and monk seals, photo-identification, recording behaviour, and collecting data on various marine species, all while enjoying the breathtaking surroundings of the Ionian Sea.

Find out more about this programme here.


4. Deep Ecology & Sea Turtle Programme, Costa Rica

Cultivate Change – An Eco-friendly Family Retreat for Earth Lovers!

Show volunteers nest hatcheryVolunteer in Costa Rica | WorkingAbroad

Ideal for families with children over 2 years old, this programme combines regenerative farming with sea turtle conservation. Enjoy hands-on activities, free yoga and Spanish lessons, and the option to upgrade to a jungle bungalow for added privacy. Read some fantastic family reviews here.

Why we love this programme; Volunteers venture into the heart of Costa Rica and immerse in the Pura Vida lifestyle in our agroecological farm community. Discover the importance of sustainable living while participating in organic food production, regenerative farming, ecological construction, and sea turtle conservation. The experience is enhanced by learning how to create handmade cosmetics, attending yoga sessions, and taking part in Spanish and farm-to-table cooking classes. Located in the stunning Drake Bay, you’ll be surrounded by primary forests, waterfalls, mangroves, and sea turtle nesting beaches, all boasting an incredible array of biodiversity. During your free time, explore the pristine wilderness of the Osa Peninsula, visit Corcovado National Park, or dive into the vibrant marine world of Caño Island. Meet like-minded individuals and indulge in authentic Costa Rican culture in this enchanting, off-the-beaten-path experience.

Find out more about this programme here.


5. Elephant Volunteer Programme, Thailand

Journey to the Heart of Thailand – A Cultural & Conservation Odyssey for Families!

Volunteers observing elephants ThailandVolunteer with Elephants | Volunteer Thailand | Working Abroad

This ethical elephant sanctuary in Thailand is perfect for families with kids aged 10 and up. Experience authentic Thai culture, support a local community, and participate in fun day trips to local markets and forest hikes. Read some reviews from previous families here.

Why we love this programme; In the picturesque Chiang Mai province of Thailand, volunteers make a positive impact on elephant welfare at a sanctuary established in 2011, providing a safe haven for older elephants to retire. Delve into the pressing issues facing elephants in Thailand and gain a deeper understanding of wildlife conservation in the region. Immerse yourselves in the vibrant Thai culture and forge meaningful connections with local communities, all set against the stunning backdrop of Northern Thailand’s misty mountains and verdant landscapes. In your free time, explore magnificent Thai temples, marvel at natural waterfalls and caves, or relax and enjoy tasty Thai cuisine with fellow volunteers from around the world.

Find out more about this programme here.

6. Desert Elephant Programme, Namibia

Desert Giants Unite – A Family Adventure Where Wildlife & Conservation Succeed!

Desert elephant volunteers campDesert Elephant Conservation | WorkingAbroad

This 10-day family programme in Namibia offers hands-on elephant research, conservation, and community work. With special family dates every year in July and August, this programme is suitable for children aged 5 and up. Check out some of Vicky’s photos from her own family adventure in Namibia.

Why we love this programme; In Namibia’s awe-inspiring Damaraland region, volunteers contribute to vital elephant conservation efforts. Track desert-adapted elephants and engage in community development work, building protective walls around local farmers’ water points to prevent elephant damage. Immerse yourselves in the breathtaking landscapes of the Namib Desert while reconnecting with nature and learning camp-craft and survival skills. In your free time, marvel at the night sky, explore the rich African wildlife, or visit the San Bushmen cave paintings, the Brandberg mountains, and traditional Himba villages. Experience the extraordinary beauty of Damaraland and make a meaningful difference in both elephant conservation and the lives of local communities.

Find out more about this programme here.


7. Wildlife Sanctuary Programme, Namibia

Wild Hearts, Caring Hands – A Family Safari with Purpose!

Telemetry tracking of carnivores of NamibiaVolunteer with Big Cats | Volunteer Namibia | Working Abroad

For families with children aged 12 and up, this project allows you to care for injured, rescued, and orphaned African wildlife. Add-ons include visits to big cat sanctuaries and anti-poaching efforts with Rhino Rangers. Safe, malaria-free, and unforgettable!

Why we love this programme; At the Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia volunteers choose from an array of projects to support vulnerable wildlife, the San Bushmen community, or engage in anti-poaching efforts. Located just thirty minutes from the airport, the Wildlife Sanctuary serves as an ideal starting point for your Namibian journey. Get involved in carnivore conservation in the southern Namib desert, provide medical care at a local clinic, or work with the Rhino Rangers Anti-Poaching Unit. In your free time, explore the captivating Namib Desert, visit the iconic sand dunes at Sossusvlei, try sandboarding, or stargaze under the vast night sky. Unwind by the pool at the Wildlife Sanctuary or enjoy the natural springs at Neuras, all while making a lasting impact on wildlife and local communities.

Find out more about this programme here.


8. Maldives Island Volunteer Programme, Maldives

Tropical Paradise for Families – Dive into Marine Conservation in the Maldives!

Volunteers jumping on beach in MaldivesVolunteer Maldives | Marine Conservation | Working Abroad

This epic family volunteering experience in the Maldives offers tailored programmes for families with children aged 10 years and older, as well as for those with younger children, combining sea turtle conservation with island exploration and snorkelling activities. Lodging options include a volunteer house or a family-run guest house.

Why we love this programme; Volunteers experience the enchanting Maldivian islands while making a meaningful impact on marine wildlife and the local community of Naifaru. Located in the heart of the Lhaviyani Atoll, Naifaru boasts picturesque landscapes and vibrant marine life, making it the perfect setting for marine conservation. Engage in vital coral reef restoration efforts, assist in sea turtle rehabilitation, and explore various other marine conservation initiatives. In your free time, immerse yourselves in island life, participating in a variety of activities, including swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and island exploration. Create unforgettable memories and forge meaningful connections with like-minded volunteers and locals while contributing to a sustainable future for this idyllic island paradise.

Find out more about this programme here.


9. Wildlife Game Reserve Family Programme, South Africa

Into the Wild – A Family Conservation Quest in South Africa’s Untamed Beauty!

Volunteers collect data on elephant impact monitoring at KariegaKariega Game Reserve | Volunteer South Africa | Working Abroad

With bespoke family programmes offered three times a year, this South African game reserve experience is perfect for families with children over 10. Stay in a private cabin, enjoy game drives and wildlife research, and participate in unique conservation experiences like rhino horn trimming with wildlife vets. A truly unforgettable opportunity for mature and conservation-minded kids.

Why we love this programme; Volunteers experience the magic of African wildlife by volunteering at a game reserve in South Africa, perfect for aspiring conservationists seeking relevant skills or anyone interested in witnessing majestic animals in their natural habitat. This project, set in the malaria-free Northwest Province, spans over 4,760 hectares (11,763 acres) and offers a true bush experience. Live among the abundant wildlife in unfenced camps and participate in open-vehicle game drives. You’ll create unforgettable memories with incredible people while immersing yourselves in the stunning South African wilderness. On your days off, explore the array of local attractions, such as nearby National Parks, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, the mining town of Rustenburg, and the vibrant resorts at Sun City.

Find out more about this programme here.

Unforgettable Experiences for the Whole Family

Find the perfect family volunteer programme for you and embark on a life-changing adventure with WorkingAbroad. Share your love for the planet and create lasting memories with your family while making a meaningful difference in the world.

About the Author

David J Johnston

David J Johnston is a devoted conservationist and sustainable business entrepreneur with extensive experience in tropical forest conservation, particularly in the Peruvian Amazon. Through his Peruvian non-profit, co-founded in 2013, David played a key role in establishing the Las Piedras Conservation Corridor and the Las Piedras Amazon Center. Since January 2021, he has been a important member of the WorkingAbroad family, managing marketing and communications to connect dedicated volunteers with non-profit and community-based projects in over 30 countries. In this capacity, David helps to heighten awareness of conservation issues and champion ethical volunteering. Alongside his work at WorkingAbroad, David oversees communications for the Sustainable Business and Finance team at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and serves as an executive board member at Junglekeepers Peru, where he focuses on Conservation Enterprise and helps foster sustainable community development.