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Surf & Help Camp - Marine Conservation in Ecuador

POSTED ON 21 Feb 2024
placement Details

What is this project about? 

Volunteer, take an internship on the coast of Ecuador right at the equator, and combine marine wildlife conservation with surfing in one of the best surfing spots on the Pacific Coast. 

Surf and Work on the Beach!

A rare opportunity: 
You will also be working with the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador.

During your time at the project, you will gain a profound insight into environmental, maritime, and animal protection. You will learn a lot about the conservation of natural areas and the designing and building of habitats for local sea dwellers as well as about the care of the individual species themselves. 

Interact with local communities to establish environmental consciousness and help the organisation protect our oceans from plastic.

The Project's Goals

  • Helping sea turtles – creating new habitats, enforcing security measures for their young, and caring for injured adults.
  • Supporting the local marine wildlife center in the care and treatment of rescued animals. 
  • Supporting the Ministry for the Environment with locating, rescuing, and relocating stranded and injured marine wildlife.
  • Maintaining a system of beach cleaning and recycling.
  • Promoting environmental awareness among the local community.
  • Maintaining the project through the production of marketing materials (and online support if you want).

Requirements Spanish Language Skills:
You don't have to be able to speak Spanish. The project welcomes beginners as well and also offers a one-week free Spanish course at the beginning of the programme. 


This project includes a 20-hour free Spanish course, surf lessons, and volunteer work. Your daily Spanish course during the first week will run from 8 am until midday or from 1 pm until 5 pm (including a short break within both time slots). 

Your daily surf course timetable will depend upon the tides and can therefore change some days. Surf equipment is included during the course, but you are welcome to rent it for your whole time being there or bring your own boards. The two-hour lessons include transport to and from the surf site, the actual teaching time will total one and a half hours each day. 


From the second week onwards, you will begin your volunteering work. The days are very varied and so are your tasks. Some days during the week you will be working at a Marine Wildlife Center, and some days you will work with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment supporting the protection, and sometimes relocation of giant sea turtles' breeding areas. 

Patrol the beach and look out for stranded or injured animals. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn about governmental aid and strategy in this sector. The amount of time you will volunteer with the Ministry depends on their current needs and availability. 

You will work around six hours per day (Mon-Fri) so be assured, there is plenty of time to catch some waves and practice surfing! 

Your duties will encompass the following:

  • Nurturing injured sea turtles and helping to enforce security measures to protect newly hatched young.
  • Constructing and maintaining hatchery cages.
  • Locating and relocating turtle egg clutches, to prevent harm from predators.
  • Feeding animals at the marine wildlife center and cleaning their tanks.
  • Repair and maintenance work.
  • Learning about and assisting in the medical treatment of the animals.
  • Designing and building new habitats for endangered species.
  • Organising beach clean-ups and recycling found plastics and other materials washed onshore.
  • Undertaking research related to coastal and animal protection.
  • Creating materials, planning, and conducting workshops for children and adults. 
  • Marketing and PR to help the project gain attention (if your skillset allows to). 
  • Keeping a daily diary (descriptive or photographic) or writing a report upon project completion 

The tasks listed above are exemplary and may change according to the project's needs.

On Wednesday and Friday, you will have meetings with your project leader to discuss the progress of the project. 



During your time at the project, you will be living on the coast of Ecuador. Your accommodation is a surf camp close to your Spanish school. You will stay together with other volunteers, students and surfers in dormitories; the accommodation attempts to keep boys and girls separate, but sometimes they have to mix. 

Linen and bedding are available and you can rent towels for a small deposit. Your accommodation faces the sea and features a kitchen, swimming pool, jacuzzi (!), diving school, garden, and laundry service. 

If you prefer to share with your friend or partner, or be by yourself, you can also rent one of the traditional thatched roof bamboo huts (for a surcharge). For further details please ask the organisation. 

The accommodation has self-catering facilities and therefore your meals can either be prepared and consumed with other volunteers, or you can go out to one of the many restaurants nearby.


Upon arrival, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver who will pick you up and drive you to the bus terminal from which you can take a bus to the camp (your accommodation). Short-haul shuttle and bus tickets are included. If you prefer you can also opt for a direct private shuttle straight from the airport to the camp (at an additional cost).

Transport from the camp to the project site is included, too. The bus ride takes about 30-40 min. If you want to explore the area, there are also regular services from where you stay to several of the main cities in Ecuador, as well as to nearby towns and villages. 

When you are assisting the Ministry in the rescue and relocation of animals, travel to and from nearby beaches will be included in the project costs as well. 


During your first week, you will take part in an intensive Spanish course of 20 hours, in a local Spanish School. The included Spanish course is catered to your project and will teach you specific vocabulary that you will need during your work at the project site. Your lessons will be taught in groups and adapted to your Spanish level. 

Your language school is approx. a 10min walk from the camp and has the reputation to be one of the best language schools in Ecuador. 

The organisation encourages you to consider taking additional Spanish lessons either before or during your volunteering period, even if you already speak Spanish. It will allow you to have a greater impact on the project, by engaging more deeply with local people and communities, sharing knowledge and skills, and gaining a richer experience to take home with you.

Learning another language is not only a skill set but an asset for life. It can also work as a magic door opener on your CV!

- Lodging: in the volunteers‘ dorm at camp (or, for a surcharge, in a bamboo bungalow).
- Usage of all facilities (incl. a swimming pool, jacuzzi, DVD and TV, WiFi etc.).
- Group pickup or transport from airport by car and bus.
- Pre-arrival pack.
- Welcome dinner (BBQ).
- Complementary t-shirt.
- FREE 20 hour Spanish course.
- FREE 1 week surf course included! Take a course with pros, taught by pros (for all levels).
- FREE whale watching excursion (only during September’s camp).
- FREE Christmas party (only during December’s camp).
- FREE New Year’s Eve Dinner (only during December’s camp).
- Comprehensive NGO Taxi Support Packet 
- On-site support through your volunteer coordinator.
- 24 hour support.

Start Dates: 
1st and 3rd Sunday each month. 

Individual Start Dates:
+ € 150,00 – Start your placement any Sunday of the month.
+ € 250,00 – Choose your own start dates and change them up to 3 times before your trip.

€ 1479,00 – 1st month
€ 1429,00 – 2nd month
€ 1399,00 – 3rd month, and after.

There are special prices if you want to come and volunteer with a partner or friend. Please contact the organisation.



"The Surf and Help camp was a great start to my South American journey. It was a lot of fun with the other volunteers and the local people. I really enjoyed learning to surf and dive. The work in the wildlife center was really interesting and I learned a lot about the animals and how the organization is run. During my time there I looked out for injured animals and gave medicines to the animals, did some repair work, assisted with beach cleaning, helped build protective fences, and built an octopus house. I was also lucky enough to help to free a turtle and guide baby turtles from the beach into the water whilst I was there! I and my fellow volunteers built really good relationships with the staff, including the surf teacher, and so by the end we were all good friends. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know this beautiful and interesting culture, whilst helping the local wildlife."
Jason B, 20

"I really enjoyed my time in Ecuador and especially my time at the Surf and Help camp, with 9 other volunteers. The accommodation is really nice and close to the beach. The people are friendly and helpful and we were a big community; we spent a lot of time together, cooking, surfing, diving, and going out. I really liked working with the animals on the project; my main tasks were feeding the animals at the marine wildlife center and helping to administer medicines, cleaning and repair work for the center, and beach cleaning. The project coordinator was very friendly. His English was not that good but also a reason for me to practice my Spanish, and I loved talking to the local people, as they were always happy, interested, and very easy going. Beach cleaning and a bike tour with the project coordinator were one of the best activities. I feel that I learned a lot about Ecuadorian flora and fauna, made a difference to the animals that the project looks after, and made a real connection with the local community. I’d have loved to have stayed longer and helped the project more!"
Kristina E, 25


"Are you seeking a fresh challenge? Why not learn Spanish, surf, and add an internship at the Ministry of Environment in Ecuador to your CV?"


NGO Surf

NGO Taxi


Surf & Help Camp - Marine Conservation in Ecuador


Multi Activity Gap Years


Conservation, Sports, Watersports & diving


1st and 3rd Sunday each month

Age restrictions

Minimum age: 18 (under 18 only with parental consent)

Support in place

Training, support and material

Included with this course
  • Specialist equipment included
  • Airport pick up

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