Volunteer Abroad Programs Since 1997

Assist with a sea-turtle and community conservation project on a remote South Pacific island

Program Overview

Hop on board a unique conservation program based on the warm, white beaches of Vanuatu, otherwise known as the “happiest place on earth”.  Local community members have been managing this grassroots effort to conserve the local sea turtle population of Tasiriki Village on Moso Island, which serves as one of the largest nesting beaches for Hawksbill turtles.

During the time that you’re on the project you will spend your days living and working with the amicable and warm local community.  Here you will have a chance to completely immerse yourself into village life and spend your free time taking walks on the warm beaches forests, or splash around in the turquoise reef waters as you snorkel, discovering the bountiful marine life.

GVI is real volunteering

Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.

Life on the Program

Starting early evening to early morning you will focus on your surveys on one side of the island, about an hour’s walk (about 2.5 miles) through the rainforest.  Keep in mind that the nesting beach is an additional 1.5 miles, for a total of 8 miles of walking per day that takes place on uneven and sometimes rough ground.

Your accommodation will be in shared traditional bungalows situated on the water, where the other volunteers will stay.  You will be consistently invited to engage in the local culture, history, food, music, language, dance and other local customs.  Vanuatu functions at a much slower pace than most people are used to, so please be open to “island time” and don’t be too concerned if plans change at the last minute!

Each Friday many of the volunteers will choose to visit Port Vila on Efate Island to relax, browse the internet or visit the local shops.

Project Details

Your experience on the program will vary from other volunteers depending on when you visit, but you’ll lend a hand on the required tasks which occur year-round: 

  • Beach measurements; dividing it into sections
  • Reef surveys
  • Capturing and tagging turtles on the feeding grounds (please keep in mind that tagging must be completed by our trained staff but you will have the opportunity to assist)
  • Assisting with construction projects
  • Night beach surveys and monitoring
  • Nest excavations (to determine nest success)
  • Monitoring and assisting the emergence of hatchlings 

Much of the work takes place at night so you can reserve the day to engage with the local community by helping them on additional projects such as beach/reef/village clean-ups, collecting fire-wood or working with educators at the local kindergarten or primary school.

How this program makes a difference:

GVI volunteers not only provide valuable assistance collecting data but the money that the community receives from volunteer contributions funds the program managers, the turtle guides and the staff who manage the food and accommodation. The volunteer program has also created interest within the community to learn more about the turtles they co-exist with and ensure they are still there for future generations.

Testimonials

The entire village mothered us to bits and we were spoilt rotten! I was lucky enough to see 12 Hawksbill turtles and 2 Green turtles. The food was delicious and I just had the most amazing time...
Marie Tearle, United Kingdom

The entire village mothered us to bits and we were spoilt rotten! I was lucky enough to see 12 Hawksbill turtles and 2 Green turtles. The food was delicious and I just had the most amazing time imaginable. My goodbyes at the end of the trip were rather emotional, I cried buckets!! The generosity of the people, their ever smiling faces and enduring friendship will stay with me forever. May the project go from strength to strength; it was a truly amazing experience!!

This experience has been life changing for me, I never thought I would do so much in the time I had and I learnt more about myself than I ever expected. Seeing turtles lay eggs and watching the...
Kelly Edwards, Australia

This experience has been life changing for me, I never thought I would do so much in the time I had and I learnt more about myself than I ever expected. Seeing turtles lay eggs and watching the hatchlings being born was amazing. I was very happy with GVI and the standards set, I am already looking into the next program with GVI. I did more than I could have ever expected, I met the most amazing people, swam in the most stunning reefs ever and could not have wanted for more. It was truly a life changing experience.

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Program Details

Volunteer with Turtles in Vanuatu
Volunteering
Vanuatu
VUWS0116P

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Program Cost

    Add-ons

    What's Included

    • Pre-departure support and discounted services
    • 24-hour emergency phone
    • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
    • Arrival orientation
    • Long term experienced staff
    • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
    • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
    • Welcome meeting
    • Location orientation
    • All necessary project training by experienced staff
    • All necessary project equipment and materials
    • 24-hour in-country support

    What's Not Included

    • Flights
    • Medical and travel insurance
    • Visa costs
    • Personal kit
    • Additional drinks and gratuities
    • Extra local excursions
    • International and domestic airport taxes