Sri Lanka – Family-Friendly Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation

Discover the enchanting island of Sri Lanka through a one-week family volunteer program. This adventure combines cultural immersion, environmental conservation, and community engagement. Families will engage in activities like turtle hatchery visits, river cleaning, and interacting with local children, making it an unforgettable experience.


Program Highlights:

  • Designed for families with kids aged 6 and above.
  • Contribute directly to the conservation of endangered sea turtles along the coast of Sri Lanka
  • Ethical wildlife volunteering and interactions
  • Explore Sri Lankan culture through temple visits and yoga classes.
  • Private en-suite rooms with AC included for families
  • Live in proximity to world-class beaches
  • The local staff will be happy to help you arrange day excursions for an additional fee, such as elephant safaris and whale watching experiences
  • GoEco’s top 10 choices for family volunteering abroad


Revised Itinerary for 2024:

Arrival Day, Saturday: Your family’s adventure starts with your arrival at Colombo airport. A private group transfer will take you to your accommodation in Unawatuna, where you can rest and get ready for the exciting week ahead.
Day 1, Sunday: A morning orientation session introduces you to Sri Lankan culture and the specific activities you’ll be involved in. In the afternoon, explore the Galle and Unawatuna neighborhoods, including visits to the historic Galle Dutch Fort, the scenic Unawatuna Beach, and local markets.
Day 2, Monday: The day begins at our sea turtle hatchery, where you’ll learn about these endangered creatures and assist in tasks like feeding, cleaning, and maintaining their environment. In the afternoon, visit a Buddhist Temple to immerse yourselves in the local religion and culture.
Day 3, Tuesday: Embark on an environmental mission with a river cleaning activity at the Gin Ganga River. This involves teamwork in canoes, navigating the tributaries to remove waste. Wind down in the afternoon with a group yoga session, an integral part of Sri Lankan wellness culture.
Day 4, Wednesday: Return to the turtle hatchery for a unique set of conservation tasks. Later, the family can enjoy a surfing lesson, a popular local sport, at a nearby beach. Non-surfers can relax on the sand and enjoy the scenery.
Day 5, Thursday: Engage with the community by volunteering with young children, leading educational activities, arts, and crafts. The afternoon offers a scenic bike tour through local villages and paddy fields, with a stop at a coconut garden.
Day 6, Friday: Take part in a group beach clean-up, helping to preserve the local marine environment. The afternoon is free for you to explore or relax, soaking in the last moments in Sri Lanka.
Day 7, Saturday: Your journey concludes with a private transfer back to Colombo airport or you can continue your trip. You also have an option to add our 1 week tour of Sri Lanka (see additional options below).


Location icon Location of the Project: Galle, Sri Lanka

Project length Project length: 1 week

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Marine and Environmental Conservation

Age Age: Families with children aged six and up

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 57 international volunteers


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Private en-suite double/triple room

Food Food: 3 freshly cooked meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) every day at the volunteer house

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Private airport transfers on both arrival and departure days.

Orientation Orientation: Upon arrival, volunteers will receive a walking tour and introductory training presentations.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, flight booking, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, online ETA visa (around $35), travel health insurance, personal expenses

Sri Lanka, a jewel-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, has gained fame for its rich cultural heritage, diverse wildlife, and stunning landscapes. The project is based on Unawatuna Beach, 6 km from the famous Galle Fort and around 2 hours from Colombo. Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient religious buildings, museums and more. The city is also quite trendy, and is home to cafes, specialty shops and boutique hotels.

Surrounded by lush greenery and the azure sea, volunteers will experience the vibrant Sri Lankan culture, enjoy local cuisines, and explore historic sites. The region’s natural beauty, from pristine beaches to tropical rainforests, offers a perfect backdrop for volunteer work and adventure.


As part of your family volunteer program in Sri Lanka, you will engage in various activities:

Sea Turtle Center (days 3 and 5): 

Your volunteer journey begins with an immersive visit to our sea turtle hatchery, where you’ll learn about the critical efforts to save endangered sea turtles, a vital part of the Indian Ocean’s ecosystem, especially in Sri Lanka. Here, you and your family will dive into hands-on conservation work. This includes nurturing and feeding the turtles, providing care for the more vulnerable ones, meticulously cleaning their tanks, and refreshing their habitats with seawater to replicate their natural environment. Guided by our experienced hatchery staff and project coordinator, you’ll contribute significantly to the preservation of these magnificent creatures.

River Cleaning on Canoes (day 4):

In the morning, you’ll embark on a vital river cleaning mission at the Gin Ganga River, a majestic watercourse stretching 116 km from the Sinharaja Rainforest to the Indian Ocean. This endeavor supports local communities and protects diverse flora and fauna. You’ll navigate the river’s tributaries by canoe, removing plastic and other pollutants, equipped with all necessary gear like life jackets, canoes, and cleaning tools. This activity combines environmental stewardship with teamwork and adventure, set against the backdrop of Sri Lanka’s stunning rural landscapes.

Educational Activities with Children (day 5): 

In the morning, your family will engage with young children, aged 3 to 6 years, in a series of educational and entertaining activities. With the support of our Educational Coordinators, who will assist in planning and language translation, you will lead and take part in interactive sessions. These activities, designed to be both fun and instructive, include arts and crafts, educational games, drawing, singing, dancing, and storytelling, offering a rich, immersive experience for both your family and the children.

Beach Clean-up (day 6): 

The final volunteer activity of your week is a collaborative beach clean-up at a notable local beach. This session is an integral part of our broader environmental conservation initiatives. Together with your family and fellow volunteers, you’ll work to remove plastic and other harmful waste, contributing significantly to the preservation of the marine ecosystem. This activity emphasizes teamwork and is a crucial effort in safeguarding the health of our oceans.

Please note:

  • The schedule and days may change because of weather and other factors.
  • The sea turtle volunteer placement is approximately an hour’s drive away from the accommodation.
  • Depending on the age and abilities of the kids, the local project coordinator and hatchery staff will assign tasks accordingly.
  • Because of the cultural norms of Sri Lanka, participants are required to remove anybody piercings and cover all visible tattoos while at the project site.

Internet icon Internet: Each volunteer may use up to 10 GB of Wi-Fi in the volunteer house during their stay.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry services are available for an additional fee.

Accommodations icon  Accommodations: Depending on availability, volunteers will be placed in one of two main program houses located about 100 meters from one another. Except for separate bedrooms and dining areas, all volunteers will have equal access to all facilities, including the common features across both properties.

  • Main Volunteer House: The main volunteer house is the hub for all volunteer programs and activities. This main house offers single-gender rooms in a volunteer villa overlooking the beach and Indian Ocean. The villa has 11 bedrooms with fans, 11 bathrooms and showers with hot water. Rooms are shared with a maximum of 4 volunteers per room. There is also a private pool on site for all volunteers to make use. The house has eco-friendly features including solar heating panels. There may be up to 52 volunteers in the house at a time. Private rooms (single or double) and AC rooms are available for an extra fee.
  • Secondary Volunteer House – beachside: The property is located right across the road from Unawatuna Beach and about 100 metres from the main House. It has 12 spacious bedrooms of varying sizes with attached en suite bathrooms each with air-conditioning facilities (most rooms also have attached outdoor balconies). There is also a separate dining area, small garden, lounge, terrace and a large program office with permanent staff onsite. Private rooms (single or double) and AC rooms are available for an extra fee.


Food icon Food: Three meals per day will be prepared by the house chefs, using local, fresh ingredients. Tropical fruit is available during every meal and there is a salad bar set up during most lunches and dinners. Vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Tea, coffee and filtered water are available 24/7.

  • GoEco volunteer interview with one of the parents
  • Online ETA entry visa. We will send you the full instructions following the application.
  • Police clearance form for adults
  • Proficiency in English
  • Minimum age of 6
  • Good physical fitness
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Willingness to work hard and getting your hands dirty

Sri Lanka is a traveler’s paradise, offering a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The travel highlights of the 1-Week Family Program in Sri Lanka include:

  • Experiencing the unique culture and landscapes of Sri Lanka.
  • Visiting the historic Galle Dutch Fort and scenic Unawatuna Beach.
  • Learning about Sri Lanka’s major religion at a prominent Buddhist Temple.
  • Canoeing and cleaning the environmentally significant Gin Ganga River.
  • Taking part in yoga classes, embracing local health and wellness traditions.
  • Surfing lessons at one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches.
  • A guided bike tour through picturesque villages and paddy fields.
  • Refreshing stops at local coconut gardens.


Adventure Tour (Highly Recommended):
Extend your stay in Sri Lanka by participating in a seven-day Adventure Tour! This tour includes a game drive, visits to waterfalls, a long train ride, an overnight stay at a riverside eco lodge, visit to temples, a village walk, visit to a spice grove, a visit to Lion Rock, time in the local market and a trip to Negombo Beach!


Additional Recommendations:

  • Elephant safari
  • Rainforest hike
  • Whale watching (during the season)
  • Cooking class

Volunteer Experiences

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