La Tortuga Viva – Sea turtle sanctuary & community conservation program in Mexico

volunteers, volunteer team, turtles, mexico, turtoise, rescue, shelter, sanctuary, beach, food and accommodation, research, conservation, marine, voluntouring, la tortuga viva program

La Tortuga Viva (LTV), locally known as “Association Civil Campamento Tortuguero Playa Icacos,” is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to repopulating threatened sea turtle species nesting on Playa Icacos in Mexico. Since our beginning in 2010, we have released over 500,000 baby sea turtles through the leadership and participation of members of the local community of Juluchuca, Guerrero, to relocate vulnerable nests into our Sanctuary for incubation and, ultimately, release the hatchlings into the ocean. Our community conservation program includes environmental education, sustainable ecotourism and local and international volunteer options to support and complement our direct conservation work.

What type of host are you? 🏡


What are you looking for help with?
  • Administration 🔑
  • Animal keeping 🐓🐴
  • Building 🛠
  • Charity Work/Fundraising 💰
  • Cleaning 🧹
  • Computer/Web 💻
  • Film-Making 🎥
  • General Help 💁‍♀️
  • Marketing 📈
  • Research 🔬
What’s the mission of your community? 🎯

La Tortuga Viva partners with sustainable boutique hotel Playa Viva to protect the thousands of sea turtles that come to nest each year along the beach of Playa Icacos, an area stretching from Petatlán to La Barrita on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Our mission is to simply protect and preserve these turtles for present and future generations for the benefit of both people and nature.

La Tortuga Viva, volunteer project, mexico

When would you need volunteers? 📅
  • All year round
How many hours of help per day? ⏱
  • 6 hours of help per day
How many days of help per week? 🌒
  • 6 days per week – 1 day off
Note about the volunteer work and other expectations 📝

Volunteers & Interns are essential to our organization. We are currently looking for motivated and skilful candidates to join our small international team in the position of Sanctuary Assistant (on-site)
Sanctuary Assistants support the local team who runs the conservation operations on the field. It is a unique opportunity to experience firsthand sea turtle conservation by working alongside the local team to relocate nests, maintain the sanctuary and lead initiatives in community and education, fundraising, communication, ecotourism and much more.

La Tortuga Viva, volunteer project, mexico

All positions are unpaid.

All positions are eligible for internships and placements that offer educational credits for students and researchers who want to collaborate with us. All fields of study are welcome, though students on biological, environmental & social, tourism, communication and marketing paths are well applied.

Volunteer roles depend on availability, location, experience, and fulfilment of basic requirements:
  • 1) Long-term commitment: minimum 5-6 months for volunteering on-site
  • 2) Fluency in English and Spanish
  • 3) Ability to work independently as well as part of a team

Sanctuary Assistants join our on-site team and live in the rural village of Juluchuca. It is a core position at LTV, assisting in every aspect of our work. Alongside the remarkable responsibilities that come with caring for a sea turtle Sanctuary, the Assistants will also work beyond our beachfront, becoming a strong presence in our community where they will assist social and environmental projects like community engagement, education programs, team coordination and much more. Sanctuary Assistants will work under the guidance and mentorship of the Sanctuary Coordinator, Playa Viva’s Social and Environmental Impact Manager & the President of the local NGO, whom they will also report to.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
  • Conservation Operations
  • Educational Program
  • Eco-Tourism
  • Fundraising, Marketing, and Grant Writing
  • Community engagement
  • Management and administration
  • Social Media and Promotion
Other projects

If volunteer(s) have specific interests and skills, there is also the possibility to contribute to other social-environmental projects for our local communities, eco-constructions, recycling plastic bottles, sports and health. Currently, on our work site, we need help to build eco-toilets.

Are accommodation and food included? 🏠🍜

Yes, we offer food and accommodation

Accommodation is provided in a three-bedroom house shared with other volunteers from permaculture and other projects of Playa Viva Social and Environmental Impact. The house is located in the neighbouring village of Juluchuca, a small traditional Mexican settlement of nearly 700 people.

Diet – nutrition information 🥗🥤

2 meals a day are supplied at Playa Viva Resort for 6 days per week.

Fees transparency 🆓🔍

We do not charge any fee to volunteer with us. We do not provide insurance, transportation to and from Mexico, or cover other personal expenses. Volunteers are welcome to fundraise for their position. For on-site volunteers, accommodations and 2 meals per day are provided (note: cost of living outside the position’s benefits runs 100-200 USD per month).

VISA – could you provide Visa support/info/invitation letters? 🛂

No! we cannot help with Visa/invitation letters – similar requests will be ignored. ❌

Volunteers’ benefits 🏆🏅

This position is an outstanding opportunity to become a part of a purpose-based NGO and the inner workings of conservation. LTV explores all elements of sea turtle conservation available & our Sanctuary Assistants are fully immersed in our mission.

  • Two meals per day (breakfast and lunch) are provided usually during working days (six days per week). You will have one day off and that day you are responsible for your own meals and dinners as well.
  • Academic recognition for internships and placements for students and researchers who want to collaborate with us. All fields of study are welcome, though students or professionals with a background in biology, environmental engineering, agriculture, sociology, tourism, communication, education and marketing are preferred. See details on each role.
  • Fieldwork and professional experience Volunteers receive unforgettable field experience, working on projects with the local community and with international organizations.
  • Cultural Exposure Living in the vibrant culture of a coastal-rural setting in Mexico. For those coming from Western-based countries or busy urban areas, the position will be a cultural reset and an opportunity to learn and share with a diversity of people.
  • Reference upon the successful completion of the period of service.

Below is a list of the potential benefits of working for LTV:

Fieldwork in sea turtle, community conservation and eco-tourism

Sanctuary Assistants at LTV receive unforgettable field experience, working closely with the local team on preservation of marine turtles & their nests. Nightly patrols, nest discovery & relocation, protection and release of baby sea turtles, and excursions with Playa Viva guests, are common activities for the Sanctuary Assistants. If you are looking for practical experience, apply here.

Cultural Exposure

Sanctuary Assistants get to experience the vibrant culture of a coastal-rural setting in Mexico. Becoming part of the community is in many ways its own reward as well as being an essential component of succeeding at LTV. For volunteers coming from Western-based countries or busy urban areas, the position will be a cultural reset.

Academic Fulfilment

Many volunteers assist our NGO as part of their academic careers (internship, placement, academic credit).

Letter of Reference

Upon the successful completion of the period of service with us, LTV leaders encourage volunteers to request a reference for future prospects.

La Tortuga Viva, volunteer project, mexico, volunteers, beach

Required Certifications, Skills & Qualifications
  • A long-term commitment of 5+ months

Complete integration into LTV takes at least 3 months. During this time the Sanctuary Assistants will be learning from the team, forming relationships in the community & understanding the complexities of the role. Our conservation project largely focuses on the local community, specifically the faction of poachers within it. Hence, the effectiveness of Sanctuary Assistants is based on their relationships with others. For this reason, long-term volunteers will be preferred over short-term ones.

  • Full COVID Vaccination
  • Qualifications in one of the following fields:
    • Life Sciences (biology, ecology, zoology, marine biology, conservation, environmental protection, etc.), Education (environmental education, education for youth, community development & related fields), Management (NGO management, volunteer management & related fields), or any relevant experience.
    • Experience in Conservation – Prior experience is preferred as it will enable a smoother transition into the role. However, it is not an essential requirement.
    • Research, Writing and Organisational Skills – Essential for data collection, understanding legislation, grant writing, fundraising, education, records, task management & community engagement.
    • Proficiency in scientific data collection, organization and analysis – Essential for statistical and data projects
  • Strong Interpersonal Skills
  • Ability to Work Independently
  • Willingness to Volunteer & In a Remote Location

Language 🗣🇬🇧🇪🇸

We need fluency in Spanish AND English. As a Spanish-speaking district, español is essential for operations. Likewise, English is essential for the coordination & communication with our team and foreign tourists. Language barriers present a real issue if present.

Location 🌳

Playa Icacos,
State of Guerrero,

How to get to your site ✈ 🗺

We are 1 hour from the international airport of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

Is there internet access? 🌐


La Tortuga Viva, volunteer project, mexico

CONTACT DETAILS 🔍📧 How to apply?

Candidates can email  subject: Application for Volunteering at LTV

  • CV/Resume (maximum 3 pages)
  • Motivation letter (one page: let us know why you want to join us!)
  • Fluency/level of Spanish and English
  • State your availability period: from *Month* to *Month* (Example: I can be available for volunteering from the beginning of December 2022 to the end of June 2023)


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Un post condiviso da La Tortuga Viva (@latortugaviva)

See more volunteering opportunities in Mexico 🇲🇽

or visit the Animal Sanctuaries projects abroad 🐐🐏

Author: Voluntouring staff

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1 thought on “La Tortuga Viva – Sea turtle sanctuary & community conservation program in Mexico

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