Sea turtle sanctuary Akumal
Watch our video about this placement!
There are seven species of marine turtles on this planet, which all are either threatened or critically endangered. Mexico is home to six of these species, of which two nest at the beaches of Akumal: the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) and the Green Turtle (Chelonia Mydas).
Since 1993, the “Centro Ecológico Akumal“ (CEA) is in charge of the protection and research of marine turtles at four of Akumal’s beaches. Since 2006, CEA has been monitoring young turtles in the Akumal Bay every other month. Turtles are caught in the bay around twice per week in order to mark, measure, weigh and examine them. The idea of the CEA team of biologists is to monitor the impacts of tourism and general pollution on the turtles’ health. If you want to participate in this activity you have to be a strong swimmer and not easily become seasick.
During the nesting season from May to September, volunteers and interns patrol the beaches at night together with CEA staff in order to protect female turtles while they are nesting, then, subsequently the actual nests and finally the hatchlings. Our video (see the link above) niceöy portraits this "Turtle Walk" activity. As the patrolling work at night can be hard, volunteers and interns should be in good physical and mental condition in order to be able to carry out the work on several consecutive nights.
As awareness-raising for tourists and locals is a main objective of CEA, volunteers and interns also assist with the preparation and implementation of awareness-raising events and the regular "turtle talks", informing visitors. These take place at the centre, which is located at the beach of Akumal, but also at public schools and other public places.
Participants who are experienced divers can join the coral reef monitoring program.
Previous knowledge in marine biology or about turtles is not necessary. Participants should simply have a strong interest in wildlife and more generally, in conservation. They should be able to communicate either in English or Spanish. Additionally, they are expected to be of adventurous mind, respectful of other cultures and able to work as part of a team.
Location: Akumal, Mexico
Duration: Minimum 2 months, only between May and September
Costs: Trouble-free package 250 EUR
Accommodation: Not included; costs are 250 USD per month for accommodation at the sea turtle dorms, not including meals. You can use the kitchen. The amount is almost completely used to fund the project work. There is wifi internet.
Included: Placement in the project; the whole range of services which are part of the
Not included: Travel, health
insurance, visa, work permit
Book this placement
* If you want to participate in the monitoring of the coral reef, 250 USD are charged per month for the rental of the diving equipment and oxygen bottles.