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How I spent my summer volunteering with turtles in Bali

Summer volunteering Turtle Conservation in Bali with IVHQ.

“What should I do during my summer break?”, “Where do I want to go?” and “How do I want to make a difference this summer?” - I was asking myself these questions while planning my summer and if you are too, then keep reading to get the answers that changed my life!

Working in the medical field, I knew I wanted to spend my summer off work doing something completely out of my comfort zone! But I had no idea where to start so I went to good ol’ Google and lo and behold, IVHQ popped up in my search!

I ended up booking my entire trip on the IVHQ website and embarked on an incredible volunteer adventure to Bali in August 2023, volunteering on the Turtle Conservation program ! The final step for me (when I realized there was no going back!) was when I booked my flights. I was so excited to begin my volunteer program, and before I knew it, I had landed in Bali.

Jennifer and volunteers making friends at arrival in Bali with IVHQ.

Making friends from all over the world

July and August are busy months in Bali, so there were around 100 volunteers from all over the world! It was a great opportunity to connect with and meet new people. Some volunteers had been there weeks before I arrived, as you can volunteer anywhere between 2-12 weeks. Others had just arrived, like me!

With so many of us in the same boat, it was easy to make friends during my trip, which helped create a supportive and enjoyable experience.

Jennifer exploring beautiful Bali during her volunteer trip with IVHQ.

Balancing volunteer work with exploring

The volunteer work runs Monday to Friday but you get to choose one day off a week to explore the island, go snorkeling, and try loads of other fun activities. They also give you the weekend off so you can explore other areas like Nusa Lembongan or the Gili Islands.

Traveling over the weekend is a good way to do something different to help you feel recharged before returning to the weekly volunteering routine.

One of my main highlights from my volunteer project was helping clean, feed, and release the turtles into the ocean on my last day at the project.

Jennifer's accomodation and meals at the Turtle Conservation volunteer program in Bali with IVHQ.

All the information you need at your fingertips

IVHQ has a very thorough website and once you’ve applied and registered, you get the support of a dedicated Program Manager as well as a comprehensive Program Guide. I made sure that I fully understood what the program entailed by reading through all the key information, such as what to expect upon arrival, the schedule, the type of accommodation I would be staying in, what meals I was likely to receive, and the cost. As I mentioned, the IVHQ website is easy to follow. Whichever program you choose, I highly recommend you read through what’s included/not included in the program cost.

Jennifer at the Turtle Conservation volunteer program in Bali with IVHQ local team.

Great support from the local team

It can seem overwhelming figuring out how you’re going to navigate an international airport and get to where you need to be. Luckily, airport pickup and orientation is included, and I was happy to meet a fellow volunteer from the moment I landed. So all I really needed to do was relax and enjoy the journey.

The local team in Nusa Penida were super helpful and always accessible whenever you needed them. They put so much time and effort into looking after the turtles, keeping the volunteers happy, making people laugh, and making us all feel welcome. On Thursday nights, they have a camp bonfire with guitar playing where everyone gets together to have a sing-a-long and reflect on their personal experience at Turtle Conservation project!

Some key tips/recommendations from me:

Jennifer's volunteer cafe recommendations in Bali.

  • The meals at the camp were what I expected, and there was enough variety. There are other cafes on the island you can go to for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you prefer. Some tasty cafes on Nusa Penida: Sunny Café Penida, Wyns Café Penida, Alily Penida and Joglo Penida.

Jennifer at the Turtle Conservation volunteer program in Bali with IVHQ.

  • Make sure you wear trainers/sneakers for the turtle release, as it’s quite a walk.
  • Take a day trip to Crystal Bay.
  • Time can feel like it’s moving slowly, so make the most of your free time and explore as much as possible.
  • Enjoy the experience!

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!