Top 5 Wildlife Volunteer Vacations
It almost sounds too good to be true: completing a fulfilling trip and having a positive impact on international wildlife conservation, all at a reasonable price. But trust me, it can be done. SEEtheWILD offers a wide range of conservation volunteer vacations specifically geared toward those who want to help wildlife on a budget—and rest assured, you get more than your money’s worth.
Volunteers on all SEEtheWILD trips are paired with experienced wildlife conservation professionals, including field biologists, that are working on long-term research projects. On any trip, travelers will be trained in basic research methodologies and actually get to participate in the research – such as weighing and measuring sea turtles in Baja California Sur, Mexico. This provides invaluable opportunities to learn what goes into scientific studies, and to see wildlife up close. In addition, 5% of the cost of each trip goes towards local wildlife conservation efforts at no extra cost to you!
Not only do volunteers get the chance to be a field biologist for a week (or more), they also get to enjoy cultural experiences. Many of the trips also offer the opportunity to explore local villages and towns, and even to learn some of the language. Free time is spent learning more about local ecology, exploring one’s surroundings, and other optional activities.
SEEtheWILD’s Top 5 Wildlife Volunteer Vacations:
1) Baja Camping and Turtle Research: Explore Baja’s Magdalena Bay by kayak as you assist RED Sustainable Travel with a green sea turtle research project. You will delve into mangrove forests along the coast, stargaze by night, and even get a few opportunities to experience local culture—all for a mere $1,250 per person. Trip duration: 7 days.
2) Belize Dolphin Research: Observe dolphins and the occasional manatee as you contribute to a long-term behavioral study of Belize’s bottlenose dolphins with the Oceanic Society. In your free time, you can enjoy snorkeling, bird watching, or just kick back in the beachfront cabanas you will be staying in. This rejuvenating experience costs $1,975 per person. Trip duration: 8 days.
3) Costa Rica Jaguar Research: Venture deep into the rainforest of renowned Tortuguero National Park as you help to track jaguars in their natural habitat with Global Vision International. Volunteers will set camera traps to capture images of the elusive cats, walk turtle nesting beaches, and more while they camp in a verdant tropical setting. The cost? $1,785 per person. Trip duration: 14 days.
4) Kenya Primate Research: Stay on the beautiful Shimoni Peninsula in a traditional Swahili village, and research a wide array of wildlife with Global Vision International. Conduct morning bird surveys, looking for species such as trumpeter hornbills and fish eagles; spend afternoons completing research focused on Colobus monkeys; and take the occasional evening walk to search for bushbabies and other nocturnal wildlife. Did I mention Swahili language lessons are included? Somehow, this all costs only $1,641 per person. Trip duration: 14 days.
5) Whales & Dolphins Under the California Sun: You can make a difference closer to home—and even just over a long weekend! On this 3-day Earthwatch Expedition, you will contribute to gray whale research off the coast of California, near Los Angeles. You will visit three different sites, including Rancho Palos Verdes—one of the foremost whale watching sites in the world. This incredible experience comes in under $1,000 at $925 per person. Trip duration: 3 days.
As this diverse list of trips demonstrates, opportunities abound for the active traveler—even when on a budget. These trips all offer an incredible travel experience paired with a unique opportunity to make a tangible difference in wildlife conservation.