Volunteer in Nicaragua

Help conserve endangered sea turtles along Nicaragua’s tropical coastline.

Experience coastal and marine conservation in Poneloya, Nicaragua, where hawksbill, green, Kemp’s ridley and olive ridley sea turtles nest seasonally. Alongside local partners and community members, learn to conduct beach patrols, observe egg laying and assist with nest relocation, hatchery maintenance and baby sea turtle monitoring. Engage in meaningful conservation while experiencing the local culture along one of Nicaragua’s most secluded and untouched beaches!

Overview

Head to Nicaragua’s tropical Pacific coast, along one of the country’s most pristine stretches of coastline. This area is characterised by its uniquely contrasted palm-lined beaches, mangrove estuaries and volcanic landscapes. 

These landscapes boast a vibrant biodiversity, including seasonally nesting hawksbill, green, Kemp’s ridley and olive ridley sea turtles. The ocean and land host resident and migratory species, including humpback whales, pantropical spotted dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, iguanas, small mammals and over 80 species of birds!

When you volunteer with us in Nicaragua, you’ll gain hands-on marine conservation experience while making lifelong memories in one of the country’s most beautiful locations. 

Our programs

Volunteering
Sea Turtle Conservation and Nest Monitoring in Nicaragua
Location

Our base is located on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast, on the tropical peninsula of Los Brasiles (lohss brah-SEE-lehs), part of the community of Poneloya. Visitors to Poneloya can experience its rich local culture, traditional fishing practices and diverse food scene. 

The closest town is Leon, steeped in 500 years of colonial history with a wealth of attractions for visitors to explore. Its colonial streets offer landmark sites such as the UNESCO-listed Leon Cathedral and Ruben Dario Museum. 

Just two hours from Poneloya is the famous Cerra Negro volcano, part of the Maribios volcanic range. This is the only place in the world where it’s possible to go volcano boarding. 

The coastline of the Los Brasiles peninsula is unique as it forms a nesting ground for four of the world’s seven sea turtle species. Its waters are also home to a diverse range of sealife, from pantropical spotted dolphins to humpback whales, fish, sharks, rays, and more.

Programs

We offer one GVI program in Nicaragua, our sea turtle conservation and nest monitoring volunteer program in Poneloya. 

Through comprehensive training, participants learn how to monitor, relocate, protect and collect data on threatened and endangered sea turtles. Activities might include night beach patrols, observing egg laying, assisting with nest relocations, monitoring hatching and release, and updating databases.

With a focus on marine conservation, this program is aligned with several UN Sustainable Development Goals, including Quality Education (Goal 4), Climate Action (Goal 13), Life Below Water (Goal 14) and Partnerships for the Goals (Goal 17).

Story

Irresponsible tourism often has negative impacts on conservation, which is why our goal with this project is to expand and amplify successful conservation tourism efforts in Nicaragua. 

Breaking from traditional concepts, our conservation-centred tourism model promotes community engagement, awareness building, responsible travel and creating stewards of the natural environment. 

Part of this approach includes employing local fishermen turned turtle heroes, who are active in protecting the vulnerable and endangered species that frequent our shores.

FAQs

Which languages are commonly spoken in Nicaragua?

Spanish is the most commonly spoken language. While Spanish skills are recommended they are not necessary. We also welcome participants who speak only conversational English. Training and activities are conducted in a combination of English and Spanish, to accommodate all participants.

What is the weather like in Nicaragua?

The dry season is from November to May. The rainy season is from June to October, with the wettest months being September and October.

How can I stay in touch with friends and family back home?

While Wi-Fi is not available on site, there is excellent phone signal. We recommend getting a local SIM card from providers like Tigo or Claro on arrival. Wi-Fi can be conveniently accessed at a nearby eco-lodge, just 500 metres away.

What can I do in my free time? 

There are many fun, exciting or relaxing activities to do in your free time, depending on preference. You could relax on the beach, go snorkelling, swimming or surfing. Or you could take part in a land-based adventure such as trekking, volcano boarding, horse riding, farming or hiking. There are also cultural and historic experiences here in Poneloya or nearby in Leon. We can provide a list of local tours and tour guides to assist you. 

Do I need any qualifications to volunteer in Nicaragua?

You don’t need any specific qualifications to become a GVI volunteer in Nicaragua. Any training required for the volunteer program will be provided on base.