Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers

From £699, 2 weeks, Sri Lanka Trip code: SLTC

  • Adventure 3 out of 5
  • Relaxation 2 out of 5
  • Culture 4 out of 5
Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community VolunteersSri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community VolunteersSri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers

Trip Highlights

Read Lisa's turtle-power blog about her visit

 

  • Help preserve the future of endangered sea turtles in Sri Lanka
  • Get to know the locals and help to give them a better understanding of English.
  • Explore the natural beauty of Sri Lanka including its stunning coastline!
  • Stuff yourself silly on curry and dhal

Trip Summary

See full itinerary

Make sure you don't miss this stunning island on any visit to Asia! Working on this project will enable you to help conserve and protect turtles in Sri Lanka and give them a better chance of survival.

 

You’ll get involved with cleaning, feeding and releasing these adorable creatures as well as getting a real taste of local life working within the local community.

 

You can lend a hand teaching conversational English that will help impoverished locals to earn more money and build a better future and as there is a great demand from neighbouring villages for teaching you will also be going further afield to local temples and centres to teach English. The community centre at the project also helps to empower local women who come to the centre to weave and make crafts that they sell in local markets to help raise funds.


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What will I be doing?

  • Turtle Conservation (2 - 12 weeks)

  • Community Volunteering (2 - 12 weeks)

  • Volunteer Role (2 to 12 weeks)

Turtle Conservation: 2 - 12 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

Famed as Marco Polo’s favourite island, Sri Lanka is home to beautiful scenery, fascinating ancient architecture and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The palm-fringed beaches are breathtaking and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to admire them working near to the city of Kosgoda. This tropical paradise offers the chance to get away from it all and relax, take a wander around the city, try the local seaside delicacies and test the locals on their newly learnt English!

  • Location: Nr Kosgoda

Your time in Kosgoda will be split between two projects – volunteering at the community work project and a sea turtle conservation centre. Kosgoda is a beautiful area with stunning beaches and several turtle hatcheries which used to attract a lot of tourists. However, it was badly affected by the tsunami in 2004 and is now much quieter. Some local families are still living in partially damaged houses, while others are rebuilding their homes with the limited funds they have received from the government.

 

The sea turtle conservation project has been operating for twenty three years. Its purpose is to monitor and conserve the turtle numbers in the Kosgoda area. The project has been operating well with a mix of volunteers and local staff, however when the tsunami hit, much of the infrastructure was destroyed and an important source of funding - the tourists - were lost. In the years since the tsunami, the project coordinator has been maintaining a database of turtle activity to allow definitive measurement of turtle behaviour in this area.

 

If eggs are likely to be in danger or they have been gathered from further away then they are brought to the project's hatchery. Once the baby turtles emerge they are then transported to the sea but any weak turtles, usually 10%, are taken care of for up to three days in holding tanks and then released when they are strong enough.

 

Tourist and local education is offered through the project's visitors' area where weak hatchlings and some more mature turtles are kept for monitoring and gathering statistics.  

Community Volunteering: 2 - 12 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

Famed as Marco Polo’s favourite island, Sri Lanka is home to beautiful scenery, fascinating ancient architecture and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The palm-fringed beaches are breathtaking and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to admire them working near to the city of Kosgoda. This tropical paradise offers the chance to get away from it all and relax, take a wander around the city, try the local seaside delicacies and test the locals on their newly learnt English!

  • Location: Nr Kosgoda

English teachers are scarce in Kosgoda and your skills will be greatly valued by locals who are keen to learn! You will spend your afternoons interacting with the community teaching conversational English. There may also be the opportunity to work with local school children teaching English and a range of other subjects such as drawing, music, painting, singing and dancing.


You will have at least two days off a week depending on your workload, giving you ample opportunity to explore Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage.

Volunteer Role: 2 to 12 weeks

Destination info

Famed as Marco Polo’s favourite island, Sri Lanka is home to beautiful scenery, fascinating ancient architecture and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. The palm-fringed beaches are breathtaking and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to admire them working near to the city of Kosgoda. This tropical paradise offers the chance to get away from it all and relax, take a wander around the city, try the local seaside delicacies and test the locals on their newly learnt English!

  • Location: Nr Kosgoda

While on the project you’ll volunteer Monday to Friday, with a half day on Friday. Your shifts will vary as cover is needed at the turtle project 24 hours a day. You will be assigned 8 hour shifts with the rest of the team to manage this (don’t worry, you’ll get a lunch break!), and when at the turtle project should expect shifts at night as well as through the day, particularly during egg laying season.

 

Please be aware that the work pattern is different in Sri Lanka to most Western countries: the pace of work is often slower and more sporadic. You should not expect to work the same number of hours every day. Also, there may be some unscheduled breaks from your work due to the frequency of public holidays in Sri Lanka so you'll need to 'go with the flow” if this happens during your stay!

 

You’ll be getting involved in a wide variety of activities, which will include:

 

  • Nightly patrols
  • Helping with awareness and education programmes
  • Statistic and data gathering, entry and analysis
  • Building holding tanks
  • Cleaning tanks, beaches and the general project area
  • Feeding turtles
  • Releasing hatchlings
  • Providing tours for tourists
  • Developing the information resources for tourists•
  • Helping to run educational programmes for children in the community centre
  • Helping with informal conversational English teaching to community members
  • Organising sports and games
  • Singing and dancing
  • Drawing and painting
  • Weaving with the women of the local community
  • Beach clearing

If you’ve got a special skill or interest you’d like to introduce to the children and community members, or if you’d like to give any additional time to either project then it will be very welcome!  

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Trip Notes include a full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather. By filling in your details you'll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!

What's included?

  • Arrival airport pick up and transfer
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • Detailed orientation
  • Volunteer project
  • On site project coordinator
  • 24 emergency contact in the UK

What's not included?

  • Tourist Visa
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Return airport transfer
  • Lunches and extra snacks

Additional Information & FAQs

Minimum age

Minimum 18, maximum decided on the potential participants health.

 

Minimum numbers required on this trip

There are no minimum numbers on the trip.

Please note: you may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us

 

Accommodation

For the first night of your arrival in Sri Lanka you will stay in a simple guesthouse on the outskirts of Colombo - in the Mount Lavinia area. Rooms are basic with fans and you will usually share with another volunteer. There is also a swimming pool that you can use when it is open.

 

Once at the project in Kosgoda, you will be staying in a basic but clean volunteer house in a room shared with at least one other volunteer. The house is just across the road from the project which is handy! It has running water, bathrooms attached to the shared rooms, a shower and a western style toilet. There is also a communal area inside and outside the house.

 

Meals

Breakfast and dinner are included and will be cooked for you at the volunteer house. Breakfast generally consists of bread, butter, jam, milk, fruits as well as typical Sri Lankan rice and curries. Dinner is usually rice and various types of curry.

 

Is this trip for you?

The most important skill you must bring to this project is flexibility, as the work will vary depending on the needs of the projects and will develop over time. This project would suit a volunteer with a lot of initiative, who can work and communicate with people from all walks of life. Team-work skills will be needed, as well as an appreciation of cultural differences.

 

You will be working in hot, basic conditions with few resources, and is important that you are reasonably fit and don't mind getting your hands dirty. This project is ideal for hands-on people who love animals and the outdoors. You should be prepared for some hard physical work, and IT skills, research skills and communication skills may also be utilised during your time at the project.
 

Some outdoor activities may be affected during the rainy season as the wet weather means that time spent outside can be limited. In the event of heavy rainfall, a variety of indoor activities will be organised. Remember, the more flexible you are, the more you will get out of the project!

 

You may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. However, you will still have the full support of your in-country team and those at the project. If you are looking for a group volunteering experience we have plenty of options for you to consider.

 

Arrival and Orientation

On your arrival day you will be met at the airport and taken directly to the hotel which will be your home for the first night in Sri Lanka. You will have the rest of the day to rest and recover from your journey or go out and explore! If you arrive in early enough one of in-country team will be able to give an informal orientation at the hotel from 6:30pm until 8:30pm, with dinner included.

 

The next day is orientation day. Orientation will take place at 8:30am in the hotel where you're staying in Colombo. All new arrivals will have their orientation together, and this will cover important information such as what it's going to be like at your project, dos and don'ts, fun things to do in Sri Lanka, a language lesson and how to stay safe on your trip. This is your prime opportunity to ask any burning questions that you haven't yet had answered and to meet your fellow volunteers!

 

In the afternoon the team will arrange for you to leave Colombo and head to your accommodation in Kosgoda for the rest of your trip. The journey will take around 2 to 3 hours and you'll have the rest of the day to relax and settle into your new home.
 

Advice & Safety

Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.

 

In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our UK staff at any time should you need to.

 

 

FAQ

1. When is turtle season?

October - April is the main laying season. Babies are generally released when they are 2-4 days old.

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2. Where in Sri Lanka will I will be based?

You will be based in Kosgoada. Kosgoada located 40km south of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

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3. How much spending money will I need?

We recommend that you take between £50 - £70 per week.

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4. What type of clothing do you recommend I take with me?

Whilst volunteering you will need clothes that cover your shoulders, mid-rif and length should be to at least your knees.

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5. Why type of food should I expect?

Breakfast and dinner are provided in the restaurant. This will generally be local Sri Lankan dishes such as rice and curry, bread, milk, fruit and vegetables.

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6. Can I swim in the sea at the project?

There are very strong currents in the area around the project so while the sea may look very inviting for a dip, please do not go swimming for your own safety.

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DBS

You have booked a programme which requires an enhanced Disclosure Barring Service check to be completed. We can carry this out for you and your travel advisor will explain the charges at the time of booking.

What will I see in Sri Lanka?

20 photos

What other travellers thought

I've done this trip

Write review
Overall rating: (9/10) (6 reviews)
Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers

Emma Le Sauvage - September 2013

How would you rate your overall experience?
(9/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Great hands on experience with the turtles, met some great people and enjoyed being part of the community.

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(8/10)
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
(8/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(7/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(9/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(8/10)
Please rate your airport pickup (where applicable)
(7/10)
Please rate your in-country orientation
(9/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Looking after the turtles - cleaning and feeding them daily. Releasing them into the sea! Wow that was amazing. Also Dudley and his assistant Veejay were helpful and friendly.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Take plenty of insect repellent. Make sure you take clothes which you don't mind getting ruined or wet. Take activities to do in the evening as there isn't a lot to do - you can't really leave the home stay as the project leader doesn't really like you to go offsite.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Make it very clear that you have to find your own way back to the airport. Put this in bold!

Any other comments?

I Think That The Lunches Should Be Included Even If You Pay Slightly More When You Book The Trip. As There Was No Where Else Nearby I Had No Choice But To Pay For Them From The Home Stay. I Can See Why You Would Pay For Your Own Lunch If There Was Other Places Nearby Which You Could Go To But There Was Nowhere! I Also Felt That Water Should Be Supplied Free Of Charge As I Consider It To Be A Necessity. I Thought It Was A Also Cheeky That I Had To Pay For Toilet Paper. I Know That The Local Don't Really Use It In Sri Lanka But With Booking Through An English Company I Expect It. 

Would you travel with our company again?

yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers2013-09-17

Lanfranchi Piero Giuseppe - March 2013

How would you rate your overall experience?
(10/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Chance to meet unforgettable local people. no new friends

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(10/10)
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
(10/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(10/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(8/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
Please rate your airport pickup (where applicable)
(6/10)
Please rate your in-country orientation
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

i'm really satisfied to meet very precious staff in kosgoda all the people was nice and i miss someone of them already. i can say to have reach the target of my objet during this experience, even if my wife before the leaving had said that i was too old for this project. During a long w.end VJ has been with me driving untill Nallatennia and here i reach Adam's Peak on the sunrise.....wonderfull. What can i say? Everybody, or young or older, can do it

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Awake up early morning or on the day for seeing green turtles hatch eggs and coming back toward freedom on ocean. adam's peak Nuwara Elya with tea plantations

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

i arrived sri lanka some days before, so i've reached Kandy by train on last w.end i visited Galle too by bus. Now i'm already at Jogya- Indonesia

Would you travel with our company again?

yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers2013-03-04

Joanne Keleher - October 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(9/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Digging up and releasing baby turtles, seeing a green sea turtle lay eggs on the beach at night

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Sri Lankans (especially men) like talking to you - be polite but firm. The accommodation is very basic - don't expect much (no hot water or air con bit the fans are good enough for you to keep cool at night) Be careful in the sea, the currents are very strong on the beach outside the turtle sanctuary!

Would you travel with our company again?

Yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers2011-10-11

Amy Pocock - October 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(10/10)
Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(9/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(10/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(7/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Working with the hatchlings on the conservation, playing games with the children we taught (e.g. Duck, duck, goose), reaching the top of Adam's Peak, riding an elephant in Kandy and cocktails in Unawatuna.

Would you travel with our company again?

Yes

Would you recommend us?

No

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers2011-10-11

Jenifer Turner - July 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(9/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Truely amazing time, tried new things and made new friends.

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(10/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(6/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(8/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

#NAME?

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

- go for longer as you wont want to leave after 2 weeks, i feel this isnt enough time to get a true feel of everything. - travel with your new friends and if you dont get on in the place you are dont be affraid to say so. :) - always ensure you have a bot

Would you travel with our company again?

No

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers2011-07-04

Lauren Bradley - July 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(6/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

not as expected, new friends, life changing experience.

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(6/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(8/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(4/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(6/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

working with the turtles. the people i was living and volunteering with.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

be prepared for a massive culture shock - Sri Lanka is a hard place to live in. pack plenty of clothes for covering up - cool trousers and shirts. make the most of weekends off and travel the rest of the country.

Would you travel with our company again?

No

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Sri Lanka Sea Turtle and Community Volunteers2011-07-04

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