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Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Program in Sri Lanka

Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Program in Sri Lanka

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Nov 1, 2021

Want to be a Sea Turtle Conservation volunteer in Sri Lanka? International Volunteer HQ’s Sea Turtle Conservation project gives volunteers the chance to help rehabilitate injured turtles and boost conservation around the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Volunteers will gain conservation and reptile care experience while assisting with a wide range of tasks that contribute to the goal of increasing the turtle population in the area so these incredible creatures can thrive well into the future.

  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from CA$741 for 2 weeks
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help endangered sea turtles thrive and survive

  • Explore Sri Lanka’s beautiful natural environment

  • Stay with other volunteers five minutes from the beach

Apply Now

Who is this program suited to?

This project is open to all volunteers with an interest in conserving sea life and is well suited for those who are prepared to work hard and don’t mind getting dirty.
Who is this program suited to?

Key information

Regenerate populations of endangered turtles
Based in Ambalangoda
Dormitory-style volunteer house
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Up to 4 hours volunteering a day
Fully hosted experience from CA$741 for 2 weeks
Durations from 2 - 4 weeks
Introduction Week orientation included

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

The Indian Ocean is a popular area for sea turtles to live and breed in, however the turtle population in coastal areas is struggling to combat the effects of climate change and human development. Volunteers can assist with conservation efforts that contribute to the overarching goal of increasing the turtle numbers in the area.

On the Sea Turtle Conservation project you’ll be based in the town of Ambalangoda, volunteering on conservation projects that are certified by the Sri Lankan government. Your focus will be caring for turtles and promoting conservation and recycling awareness in the local community. Your tasks can include:

  • Cleaning turtles and their tanks
  • Sourcing and preparing food
  • Feeding the turtles
  • Assisting with beach cleaning
  • Maintaining hatcheries
  • Relocating eggs to protect them from predators
  • Releasing hatchlings

Duties are often seasonal so will depend on the time of year you’re in Sri Lanka. It’s important to be flexible and open to helping wherever it’s required.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #14: Life Below Water

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #14: Life Below Water

The ocean regulates and drives global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Marine biodiversity is critical to the health of people and our planet. Preserving threatened ecosystems, as well as tackling marine pollution and overfishing through conservation activities is key to saving our ocean.

Why do Turtle Conservation volunteering in Sri Lanka with IVHQ?

When you volunteer with turtles in Sri Lanka you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Helping to boost the turtle population
  • Caring for marine life and the environment
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining conservation experience
  • Immersing yourself in Sri Lankan culture
  • Exploring Sri Lanka’s beautiful southern coast

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

”Before I even began my placement the coordinators were extremely helpful and considerate. They genuinely care about your volunteering experience and will go great lengths to make sure you make the most out of your trip! The orientation week was awesome and really helpful in getting used to the culture shock that came with visiting a foreign country. I feel more

Read reviews from Turtle Conservation volunteers in Sri Lanka

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Volunteer Abroad in Sri Lanka with IVHQ


Known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is an island nation set off the south-east coast of India. Famous for its tea plantations, cinnamon exports and cricket rivalries, it also boasts a vast array of beaches, Buddhas and big wildlife like elephants and whales.

While Sri Lanka is a well-developed country which has made great strides towards making sure its residents don’t live in extreme poverty, there is still many places outside of the main centers where people struggle to access good quality education, healthcare and earn a decent living to support themselves and their families. Volunteers can help in these areas by providing important support to local initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life for people in these disadvantaged areas.

The Turtle Conservation project is based in the small town of Ambalangoda on the southern coast.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Colombo anytime on the Saturday or Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) on Saturday or Sunday. Your airport pick-up over the weekend is included in your program fee.

After you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Kandy. Your accommodation is covered by your program fee and includes the Sunday night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Sri Lanka prior to your volunteer program, you can meet the local team at the airport in Colombo on the Sunday before your program begins, or make your own way directly to the local team’s office in Kandy.

Volunteers joining the Sea Turtle Conservation project take part in the Introduction Week Orientation before being taken to your placement location on the Sunday prior to your second week.

Introduction Week Orientation: This is a fantastic way to start your volunteer experience in Sri Lanka. It provides you with all the key information you need, plus the chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing. It includes an introduction to Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan customs, rules and expectations, safety in Sri Lanka, travel opportunities in Sri Lanka, an introduction to your volunteer project and placement, Kandy city tour, cultural show and basic Sinhala language lessons. You’ll also get to tick off some key Kandy experiences including visits to a Buddhist monastery, a spice garden and the famous Temple of the Tooth, as well as taking a Sri Lankan cooking class, a boat ride on Kandy Lake, a Batik lesson and getting a relaxing Ayurveda massage.

Volunteer schedule example


A typical volunteer day is as follows:

6:00 - 7:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
7:45 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.
9:00 PM Lunch
9:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.
9:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Weekends: In the weekends volunteers are free to explore the surrounding area or travel further afield. There are many beautiful, white, sandy beaches nearby where you can take a moment to relax.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on the Turtle Conservation project in Ambalangoda are accommodated in a large volunteer house. Volunteers can expect to share rooms with up to seven other volunteers of the same gender and all bedrooms are provided with fans. The house has electricity and western style bathrooms, however showers are usually cold. It’s a five-minute walk to the local beach and the volunteering placement.

To access the internet during your program, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Sri Lanka, as WiFi is not available in the volunteer accommodation.

While you’re on the Introduction Week Orientation in Kandy you’ll be accommodated in a volunteer house. Bedrooms have bunk beds and you can expect to share a room with four to 12 other volunteers.

Homestay accommodation is also available in Kandy and is a popular option for couples or older volunteers. This option can be arranged with our local team according to availability and volunteers may either have their own room or share with one or two others of the same gender, depending on how many other volunteers have requested homestay accommodation. Alternatively, private rooms and matrimonial rooms can be arranged for an additional $35 per person, per week, subject to availability at the time.

Living is comfortable and all accommodation has electricity and running water. Bathrooms in the volunteer houses and homestays are all western style with a shower that has warm water, a toilet and basin. Bedding is provided which includes a pillow with pillow case and top and bottom sheets. You will need to bring a towel, toiletries including hand soap and toilet paper, and a mosquito net if you wish to sleep with one.

Families who wish to volunteer in Sri Lanka are required to stay in a homestay at an additional cost of CA$45 per person, per week. If your family has more than four members, two rooms may be required to accommodate all family members.


Volunteers on the Sri Lanka program are provided with three meals a day during the week and brunch and dinner during the weekend. Breakfast includes toast, eggs, fruit, tea, coffee and milk. Sri Lankan foods served for lunch and dinner include roti bread, dhal, curries, vegetables and salads. Meat is rarely eaten except on festive occasions. Authentic Sri Lankan meals are cooked by a local chef and most are prepared with an array of spices and coconut milk.

Bottled water is readily available in Sri Lanka and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for 2 liters per day. There are also water filters in the volunteer houses and homestays. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can discuss this with you. However, you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. The local team will do their best to see that you are well taken care of, but as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible. If you wish to supplement some of your meals with home comforts, there are basic kitchen facilities available to use.


Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
2 weeks CA$741 Equivalent to CA$53/day
3 weeks CA$1080 Equivalent to CA$52/day
4 weeks CA$1418 Equivalent to CA$51/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteering

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of CA$389 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Sri Lanka generally find US$30-50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Check what's required to visit Sri Lanka

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Sri Lanka, based on your country of residence.

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Safety and support with IVHQ

Protecting against COVID-19:

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Essential country information

Capital Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
Population 21.8 million
Languages Sinhala and Tamil
Currency Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Time zone UTC+05:30

Weather and climate

The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. Mean temperature ranges from 17°C (62.6°F) in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C (91.4°F) in other low-altitude areas.

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