Conserve critically endangered
sea turtles in Kefalonia
Gain hands on experience as you contribute to important research
- Start dates every Tues & Sun between May & Sept
- Start dates every Tues & Sun between May & Sept
Greece sea turtle conservation
Volunteer in Greece to help with our efforts of conserving critically endangered sea turtles that frequent the sandy beaches of Kefalonia. Gain hands on experience as you contribute to important research, all while meeting new people, having fun and exploring the beautiful island.
Working alongside environmental biologists, conservationists and many other international volunteers, you will play a vital role in securing the future of these fascinating creatures in the Mediterranean.
You will be living close to and volunteering on the beautiful beaches, where you will enjoy the most picture-perfect backdrop around! To date, Kefalonia has been relatively untouched by tourism, allowing you to explore the many natural and untouched attractions the island boasts. Snorkel in the glittering azure seas, trek up the breath-taking mountainous landscapes, wander through the lush forests or explore the secrets coves – there really is so much to see and do!
Kefalonia is an important breeding area for loggerhead sea turtles, but unfortunately they are now facing many threats that are pushing them closer to the brink of extinction. Sea turtles are regularly injured or killed by accidental boat strikes, get trapped in fishing equipment, inundated by the rising tide or by swallowing plastics.
The project’s primary objective is to protect and conserve sea turtles and their habitats. This is done through monitoring and research to then develop and implement plans, as well as raising public awareness. We work closely with the local environment authorities and fishermen in the hope to mitigate and reverse population declines.
You will play an integral role within the small team (generally around 20 other volunteers), working to a rota that is published every week so you know exactly what you’re doing.
Most days require an early start; so there won’t be much time to congregate around the table at breakfast (don’t worry there’s plenty of time for that at dinner!).
Your tasks will range from daily morning patrols to locate and protect new nests, turtle identification, monitoring and relocating vulnerable nests, behavioural research surveys, raising public awareness with locals and visitors about the island’s biodiversity, night beach patrols, gathering valuable population data, tagging turtles so we can monitor and carry out health checks and so much more!
During your first three days you will receive your extensive training that will go through everything you need to know for your time volunteering.You will receive practical on the job training from local staff and have the opportunity to help safeguard Greece’s vulnerable sea turtles and exceptional habitats for future generations. Hands-on learning is emphasised throughout the project, so that you can acquire practical experience on a wide range of wildlife research and conservation practices, including their legal and social aspects, which are often the most controversial aspects of conservation.
If you are looking to conduct your own independent research or are looking to carry out an internship then our local team are more than happy to assist.
You will gain valuable research experience, increase your knowledge in wildlife conservation and develop your interpersonal skills while exploring new places, experiencing a new culture and making lifetime friends. Most importantly you’ll be helping save the sea turtles of Kefalonia from extinction.
Accommodation & meals
Accommodation & meals
Set in the hills of Kefalonia, you will be spoilt by the beautiful views and by the local peaceful beaches, only a few minutes’ walk away. Being such a tranquil area, the nearest shops and amenities are a 15-minute car ride away. Share the cost of a cab with fellow volunteers, or borrow one of the bicycle fleet and enjoy the ride.
The local area is truly stunning, and we cannot think of a more picturesque place to volunteer.
You will share a spacious and comfortable room with up to three other volunteers, of the same sex.
A communal pool and bar area are very popular with the volunteers during their siesta times. Only a 3-minute stroll away, it’s the perfect place to unwind and form new friendships with your fellow volunteers.
Once per week, the field leaders arrange a night of fun. This could be anything from a movie night to a charades tournament.
Be sure to pack some mosquito spray, and a mosquito net! You will also need a sleeping bag as you will be required to sleep out on the beach once or twice during your stay.
This really is an incredibly fun place to stay, and you should expect to make some lifelong friends!
Meals are organised on an optional meal share basis and are not included in the cost of your stay. You will need to set aside around €20 per week to contribute to the meal share, if you wish to.
Meals are vegetarian/vegan and there is the option for a gluten free diet also. Meals are cooked by the volunteers on a rota basis, so make sure to research some tasty vegetarian recipes for your trip.
Groceries can be expensive as they are shipped from the mainland, so the meal share was created solely for the benefit of the volunteers and their budgets.
If you would prefer not to partake in the meal share, we estimate that you should budget €40-60 per week for your meals.
All of the below prices exclude the £149 registration fee. The total price payable is the below price + £149, as will be confirmed in the application process. To find out exactly what's included as part of fees, please click the What's Included box on the programme page.
The fees you pay go towards the structure and support put in place in order to provide you with an organised and safe environment in which to volunteer. The programme fee goes directly to our local team in Greece and is used towards the following:
- 24-hour airport pickup
- In-country orientation
- 24-hour in-country support
The registration fee that you pay to confirm your place on the volunteer programme is retained by our team in the United Kingdom. This fee is used towards the following:
- 24-hour UK based emergency support
- Unlimited telephone and email support
- A comprehensive volunteer handbook
- Assistance with all aspects of your trip
- 100% financial protection
- Regular programme inspections
- Certificate of completion
What's not included
There are still some parts of your trip that will need to be funded by yourself, these include:
- Flights to Kefalonia (£130 - £300)
- Travel insurance (£18 per week)
- The transfer back to the airport (£10)
- Visa (£0)
- Criminal background check (£25)
- Spending money (estimated at £50 - £100 per week)
Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
What are the programme start dates?
The peak sea turtle season in Greece is between May and October every year. During these months, we have start dates every Tuesday and Sunday.
In 2020, the first start date will be the 10th of May 2020 and the last start date will be the 27th September 2020.
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 18 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it dose not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive at Kefalonia "Anna Pollatou" Airport (EFL) on your selected start date, being a Sunday or Tuesday. You will be met by one of our local team members or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign and will take you to our accommodation.
The programme ends on a Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day. Our local team will be happy to help organise any onward journeys or book transport back to the airport.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 16 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 - 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise that you apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates. Some of our programmes have limited capacity and spaces can get filled up quickly.
If you are wanting to volunteer within the next few weeks, then please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
It is possible to change your start dates once you have been accepted, however this is subject to availability and can attract a small administration fee.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback from previous volunteers, we believe 2-4 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved with the programme. This also allows you to make the most of your free time, to explore this beautiful country and to participate in any activities.
Is there Internet and phone signal?
There is Wi-Fi within the volunteer accommodation although this can be intermittent. Most UK network providers offer data roaming within the EU. Please double check that your provider offers this before using your phone abroad.
Will I get an in-country orientation?
Yes. Your orientation will be on Day One and will go through everything you need to know for your time in Kefalonia.
Our local coordinator will go through all of the important health and safety information that you should follow during your time in Kefalonia. You’ll learn about the Greek way of life and the cultural differences.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are. The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Germany, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
We have many volunteers that travel with their friends, family members or with their partner. If required, we can ensure that you are based on the same project and stay within the same accommodation. On request, we can normally organise a private room to.
Before You Depart
When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of £149 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due to less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application has been successful.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a compulsory part of your volunteering trip, that’s why we have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy. It is suitable for all of the programmes we offer and can be taken out at any time. You can read more about our insurance here.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try our best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that effect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. Its recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that £50 - £100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.