Care & Conservation for groups in Mexico

  • Who?Groups of at least 5
  • When?Projects have flexible dates and run all year round
  • Where?Cuyutlan and Guadalajara, Mexico
Two Mexican children laughing at having their photo taken
Two Mexican children laughing at having their photo taken

Projects Abroad is proud to offer groups the unique opportunity to help both the Mexican children as well as the Mexican wildlife in this joint Care and Conservation Project. The time will be split evenly between the two projects allowing groups to experience two very different locations and styles of living within this beautiful country.

Group Conservation Work with Projects Abroad

Our Conservation & Environment Project in Mexico is in a unique location for volunteering abroad – right next to the ocean! It offers you the chance to work alongside local experts on a variety of conservation and environmental projects. You will get the opportunity opportunity to work directly with sea turtles, help protect their nests and eggs, and directly contribute to the protection of these increasingly endangered creatures. Volunteers also get to work closely with crocodiles and iguanas, and take part in ongoing and important biodiversity studies in nearby lagoons and estuaries, and the data gathered is used by researchers across the Americas. Your group will get to experience all of these unique opportunities while living near to the beach and enjoying all that Mexico has to offer!

The turtle conservation centre (El Tortugario Centro Ecológico) is based on the Pacific coast in Cuyutlan, Colima. It is located next to a lagoon where biodiversity studies are conducted and near to one of Mexico’s famous black sand beaches. This conservation centre is a three to four hour drive from our Care project in Guadalajara so, over the weekend when groups are relocating from one project to the other, they will get a day to spend on one of Mexico’s beautiful tropical beaches.

This project would be ideal for anyone with an interest in nature and adventure. You will get to perform real hands-on work and learn about some fascinating wildlife. You do not need previous experience to take part in this project. Volunteers are welcome on a gap year, a career break, for university research, or as part of a summer holiday.

What is our role on this Conservation project?

Group of volunteers posing for a photo in Mexico
Group of volunteers posing for a photo in Mexico

Groups on this project can take part in a wide variety of activities, such as:

  • Working with trained staff to conserve endangered turtles, including:
    • Taking part in night time beach patrols on foot and by quad-bike to collect turtle eggs.
    • Re-burying the eggs at a safe area near our camp, called a 'corral'.
    • Working at the corral to collect the baby turtles as they emerge from the nests that were buried about six weeks earlier, then releasing them into the sea.
    • Collect information about the in situ or poached nests for research and statistical purposes
    • Cleaning of adult and hatchling sea turtle tanks, and cleaning of adult turtles and generally looking after their wellbeing (ensuring that they are well fed, unstressed, uninjured and that they are measured and weighed once a month)
  • Spending one day each week at the Colorado Crocodile Centre, including:
    • Helping to prepare food for the crocodiles.
    • Taking biometric data and marking the crocodiles in nearby lagoons.
    • Taking part in painting and maintenance work.
  • Groups will help feed baby and adult green iguanas, and maintain their enclosures
  • Working with staff on a biodiversity project, including:
    • Learning how to identify a large variety of birds.
    • Monitor the presence and condition of wildlife in the Palo Verde estuary and El Chupadero lagoon, and maintain a register through direct observation and trap cameras for night surveillance
    • Monitor the state of nearby mangrove forests, and collect data on the state of the forests
    • Help grow mangrove seedlings in a greenhouse and reforest areas where the mangrove forest has been damaged or removed
    • Recording information on data sheets and then entering it into a computer database back at the camp.
  • Educational and environmental outreach - Volunteers take part in environmental education initiatives through visiting schools and running environmental awareness campaigns in nearby communities
  • Groups will spend some afternoons on cleaning rubbish and debris from beaches

A group of volunteer carry buckets full of turtle hatchlings to the beach in Mexico, North America
A group of volunteer carry buckets full of turtle hatchlings to the beach in Mexico, North America

Some of this work takes place at night, so groups work on a rota. This normally involves you working for around 5 hours each day. There is also plenty of time for the group to relax around the camp and enjoy some leisure time. This is especially true during the hottest part of the day when we avoid the midday sun!

There are turtles all year round in Mexico, but the high season is from June to December, with September usually being the busiest month. However, we are finding increasing numbers of rarer turtle species, such as Green Turtles and the gigantic Leatherback Turtles nesting on the beach in all seasons.

From January to May there are fewer turtles nesting each night, allowing us to concentrate more on the other activities of the camp. These include extending the new corral (the protected area in which collected eggs are reburied), and other general site maintenance.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Mexico Conservation Management Plan.

Where will we live on this project?

Your group will get to stay in a volunteer house near the centre of town and the beach, about 1km from the turtle conservation centre. This house has several single and shared bedrooms, a communal kitchen and a swimming pool

Lunch is provided by a local cook, with a late lunch being the main meal of the day. This is a great time to discuss the previous night's work. There is food provided in the kitchen for groups to make breakfast and supper. There is a weekly work rotor and this includes taking your turn at doing the washing up - there are all sorts of aspects to overseas voluntary work! You'll also have time to relax or read, and many volunteers invest in one of Mexico's best inventions - the hammock!

Special Needs and Orphanage Group Work with Projects Abroad

The problems encountered by the children you are helping can be highly varied and so the range of skills needed from you and your group may have to be just as varied. Many of the children are desperate for attention and there will undoubtedly be children present who have health problems and who need special attention due to both mental and physical disabilities.

Projects Abroad has a variety of care placements in Guadalajara - Mexico's second city - and in Ciudad Guzman, a smaller town in the volcanic region a couple of hours to the south. Volunteering in Mexico could see you working in an orphanage, a kindergarten or a centre for children with mental and physical disabilities. Our partner organisations include the Red Cross, who operate care centres in the region.

Workshops for our Care volunteers are organised regularly by our Projects Abroad team on the ground in Mexico. These workshops provide you and your group with extra support throughout your stay, as well as giving you a valuable insight into the care system in Mexico and the background of the placement where you’re working. You’ll also receive suggestions and advice regarding activities to carry out at your care placement.

Volunteering Abroad on a Group Care Project in Mexico

Two Mexican children laughing at having their photo taken
Two Mexican children laughing at having their photo taken

As well as working in orphanages, centres for the disabled and kindergartens, we also place groups at a day care centre for children receiving treatment for cancer. You are needed to assist the dedicated staff here, helping to keep the children entertained with a variety of activities while they wait for treatment and generally helping to add some positivity and fun into their difficult daily lives.

The vast majority of the children we work with seem to have limitless energy and you are sure to get tired out before they do! Help the children with everything from brushing their teeth to learning the words to the latest pop song. Any encouragement you can offer goes a long way towards building a child's self-esteem and confidence. However exhausted you feel at the end of the day you will always feel that it has been well worth it.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

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