Turtle Rescue!

Shell Beach, Guyana



The Experience

If you are looking for hands on experience with Marine turtles then this project should be at the top of your list! Work with the indigenous Guyanese community of Shell Beach in a remote corner of South America and help the local indigenous community monitor, rescue and protect one of the world’s most important turtle breeding grounds!

Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle are endangered and four of these breed side by side on Guyana’s wild coastline. This is a very rare habitat and few places in the world remain so untouched by the human race.
Although the 160km long breeding ground to the north west of Guyana is now protected by law, there is a long way to go before the local population understand how crucial it is that these creatures are left untouched. A small community at Shell Beach are working hard to both patrol the area, educate local people and visitors, as well as record and monitor the turtles and their breeding behaviour. They need your help. You could join the team and make a significant and rewarding impact on this work while gaining valuable skills in conservation research and at the same time having the experience of a lifetime!


This Is Why

  • Travel to one of the most remote parts of South America and take direct part in important scientific research on turtle ecology and conservation!
  • Contribute to the development of ecotourism and local education to protect marine turtles
  • Learn how to live a truly remote lifestyle along side the Amerindian community
  • Experience incredible wildlife right on your doorstep where the jungle meets the ocean

Project Details
  • Key Start Dates
    Any date between January to the end of Setember of every year
  • Program Fees
    4 Weeks: $ 1995.00
    8 Weeks: $ 2795.00
  • Volunteer duration
    2, 6 or 8 weeks
  • Average Work hours
    8 hours per day, 6 days on 1 day off
  • Number of Volunteers
    2 - 4
  • Volunteer accommodation
  • Housing Type
    At the project: Purpose built stilted huts with beds (see picture under the tab pics & vids). When staying overnight in Georgetown a private hotel room.
  • Internet Access
    Phone lines are currently very limited, however there is a satellite phone for emergencies. The project are hoping to invest in internet in the near future
  • Who Are They Looking For?
    Adventurous individuals who have an interest in wildlife conservation. Applicants must have a good level of fitness and be prepared to manage basic conditions and a humid climate while working with the turtles.

Fast Facts: Guyana

Where? Shell Beach, Region 1, Guyana, South America

Country Size: 214,970 km2
83,000 sq mi

Population density? 3.5/km2
9.1/sq mi

Country Famous for? Vaquero's (cowboys), Rupununi Rodeo festival, Unspoiled interior, Amazon jungle, Jaguars, Black Caiman, Giant Otters, Turtles

When to visit: All year round!

  • What's Included
    • Placement
      Turtle Research and Protection Guyana!
    • Accommodation
      While at the project Shared rooms in purpose built stilted huts with a sea view! When Arriving in Georgetown and Lethem you will stay in a private hotel room!
    • Meals
      You will help to prepare meals yourself on a rotation basis with the team, using the onsite vegetable patch, fresh fish from the sea and other local food. Local supplies that cannot be produced on site will be brought in by boat. During your short stopovers in Georgetown meals are not included.
    • Airport Pick Georgetown + Hotel night

      An employee of the project will pick you up from the airport near Georgetown ( 1 hour) and will transfer you to your hotel where you wil stay for 1 night. The next morning you will be picked up from the hotel and you will be brought to a local domestic airport.
    • Domestic flight (return flight incl) + Airport transfer from hotel

      An employee of the project will pick you up from your hotel in Georgetown and will transfer you to the airport. Included in this package is a domestic flight from Georgetown to Mabaruma by small airplane (approximately 1.5 hours flying over seemingly everlasting jungle).
    • Transfer to the project
      You will be  picked up from the airport in Mabaruma and transferred to your project first by car for 15 min, followed by a 2 hour boat ride.
    • Returning home

      After your time at the project has been finished you will be transferred back to Mabaruma Aiport by boat and car after which you will fly back to Georgetown. The next morning you will travel home (we can arrange a taxi for you at additional costs) or of course you can choose to travel afterwards.
    • Work permit
      For volunteering in Guyana a work permit is required as well as premmission needed to visit the Amerindian reserves. This will all be arranged after your arrival (as Guyana has no embassies abroad) and will be hassle free for you. The fee for this is included in the program cost.
    • Mail and Communications

      There is no mail service for the project however our in-country staff can arrange to receive mail in Georgetown if it is required.
    • Ongoing service
      If there are any problems with your volunteer project we are always there to help you and mediate between yourself and the organization.
    • Onward Travel
      Guyana is a fascinating country and full of incredible sights. If you decide to see more either before or after your placement Fronteering will be happy to help you arrange this..
    • 24/7 Emergency contact
      If there are any problems during you stay at the project you can reach us 24/7 to assist you. Although you are remote, there is always a satellite phone for emergencies.

    What's not included: International Flights, Insurance, Meals when in Georgetown/Lethem

    Package Price:
    4 Weeks: $ 1995.00
    8 Weeks: $ 2795.00


      This is an incredible experience for anyone looking to have a meaningful wildlife-centered adventure in an unknown part of the world. However this placement comes with the additional reward of becoming involved in important scientific research, and is particularly suited to anyone studying environmental science or marine biology and who requires field experience to further their career.
      There are few sites in the world that support perfect breading habitat for four of the oceans turtle species. Guyana’s north west is home to one of these sites and due to the country still being largely untouched it makes a very exciting destination for environmental volunteering.
      After traveling across many miles of pristine rainforest by small propeller plane a boat will take you down river and along the wild coast to the community of Shell Beach. Here you will become a volunteer ranger and join the dedicated team to patrol the nesting sites and monitor the breeding turtles. While you are at Shell Beach you will also contribute to preparing meals and other duties around the field camp. There are also opportunities to get involved with developing capacity for ecotourism as well as helping with small construction projects such as improving the kitchen building, depending on your skills and experience.
      Projects or activities you will mainly be involved in: 

      • Assist with research
      • Patrolling the nesting beach at night
      • Collecting data on the turtles to monitor their behaviour and ecology
      • Moving eggs to the hatchery for protection from predators including man
      • Administration of data
      • Maintenance of the research center
      • Cooking & daily camp management

        While the work you are taking part in is incredibly rewarding, it is important to be aware that it can also be tough. The climate is hot and humid and patrols involve walking many miles, usually at night. Because of this you will need to be physically fit and happy to live with basic living conditions. Guyana is rich with wildlife, but remember that some of this wildlife comes in the form of insects! Before you apply ask yourself if you would enjoy the challenge of working in difficult conditions.

  • Requirements, Guidelines & Policies
    Some if the requirements for this project are:
    • You must be physically and mentally fit. 
    • Age: 18 and over. There is no upper age limit but good health is essential for this project.
    • Must love animals/outdoors
    • Make sure to contact your local health organization to inquire about the needed/recommended vaccinations and medicine.
    • Strong work ethics are required: reliable, responsible, honest, good sense of humor and dependable.
  • Volunteer Benefits
    • Learn the tricks of trades of what it takes to be a real rancher and cowboy.
    • Work and live in one of the most remote and natural areas in the world
    • Gain experience in significant conservation research
    • Observe the beautiful endangered marine turtles in their natural habitat
    • Become part of and learn about the culture of an indigenous Amerindian community
    • Experience life sandwiched between the open ocean and miles of pristine tropical rainforest
    • Lots of opportunities to view wildlife and fish
  • Fast Facts
    • Project location
      North West coast of Guyana, South America
    • Area Famous For
      Amazon jungle, jaguars, harpy eagle, arapaima, giant otters, black caiman
    • When to visit
      Projects Run from September to the end of April (other available start dates on request)
    • Wildlife viewing
      Great wildlife viewing opportunities in the savanna's of Guyana: giant anteaters, monkeys, deer, Armadillo's, coati's, cougars 
  • Itinerary & Details
    Day 1 - Arrive in Georgetown, Guyana;
    You will arrive in the capital of Guyana where you will be met and stay over night in a hotel
    For 2-8 weeks - Volunteer a turtle protection and research project
    For the next 2 to 8 weeks work together with the local indigenous community to research and protect turtles.
    Your last day -
    you will be trasnfered back to Georgetown. We highly recommend taking the opportunity to travel through Guyana. *Our staff will gladly help you to book any tours to see more of this fascinating country.
  • Accommodation

    When staying overnight in Georgetown you will stay in a hotel, on the project you will be in basic shared cabins with separate washroom facilities fed by rainwater.

    Things to bring from home

    • Hiking Shoes
    • Rain gear
    • Jeans
    • Anti Mosquito repellent + after bite
    • Sunglasses
    • Hat/cap to protect yourself from the sun
    • Suncream
    • Complete Kitlist will be provided after applying or on request


    You will help to prepare meals yourself on a rotation basis with the team, using the onsite vegetable patch, fresh fish from the sea and other local food. Local supplies that cannot be produced on site will be brought in by boat. During your short stopovers in Georgetown meals are not included.


    Guyana is a little smaller than Britain, with some 80 per cent of land covered in virginal tropical rainforest. After the jungle the main natural vegetation is savannah grassland, split into two distinct areas; one in the south west of the country, the second in the north east. The main population areas are along the coast, with some 90 per cent of the 750,000 population living there. This harks back to colonial days when the coastal port facilities were widely used for the transportation of goods. The difficulty of movement within the country also had a major impact on this statistic. Guyana is known as the land of many waters, it is criss-crossed with waterways and hundreds of waterfalls. The mouth of the Essequibo river is as wide as the English Channel and Kaieteur Falls is the longest single drop waterfall in the world at 741 feet. The rainforests provide unique wildlife viewing opportunities with undiscovered species and many famous giant species such as anaconda, jaguar, harpy eagle and giant otters. The savannahs provide mind-blowing vista's and natural beauty with golden grasslands, forested mountains, and miles of meandering palm-lined rivers.

I can't really describe how amazing this place is as you really just have to see it with your own eyes! The turtle project on shell beach is hours away from civilization surrounded by indigenous Amerindian communities, ongoing mangrove forests, jungle and of course the ocean. This is such a contrast with some of the turtle projects in for example Costa Rica where it is all very civilized. Here you are really in the heart of nature in a very remote and beautiful place! Just to get there you first will fly by small airplane for hours over just jungle after which you take a boat ride for several hours through a vast mangrove forest that seems to be without end. And then suddenly there is the ocean and an endless beach. An incredible experience!

Johannes, from the Netherlands



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