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Maldives Sea Turtle and Marine Conservation

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Maldives Sea Turtle and Marine Conservation

Journey to the breathtaking Maldives and join this rewarding conservation programme working with sea turtles and helping out on a range of community development initiatives.

Prices from $2,045

The Maldives is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s flattest and lowest country, with the average height above sea level being only 1.5 metres. Despite this the Maldives is also one of the most mountainous countries in the world courtesy of its volcanic origins. This may not be obvious unless you take the plunge beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean as most of the volcanic mountains are submarine creating an incredibly diverse and thriving marine ecosystem.

The waters around the Maldives are abundant in rare marine species of biological and commercial value, with the tuna fishing industry being one of the main sources of income for the country. The Maldives has an amazing array of sea life, with stunning corals and over 2,000 species of fish, ranging from Reef Sharks, Moray Eels, and a wide variety of rays; Manta Ray, Stingray and Eagle Ray. 

The Maldives consists of approximately 1,190 stunning coral islands and atolls stretching in a north-south direction. The pristine white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters make the country a popular tourist destination but the many islands have not seen development at the same pace. Local islands still have inadequate infrastructure and poverty is widespread. In the past infrastructure development was focused on the capital island Male, forcing islanders to travel to the capital for health care and other important services such as schools, banks and shops. On this project you can get involved in a number of community initiatives to help preserve the Maldives unique marine ecosystem and work with marginalised people on community engagement and development schemes.

On Naifaru, a local inhabited island located in Lhaviyani atoll, you will help in a community-based sea turtle sanctuary and assist in the care and maintenance of the turtles currently living at the center. These are juvenile green and hawksbill sea turtles waiting to reach an average size of 30cm to be released in their natural environment. IN the wild, 1 in 1000 hatchlings survive to adulthood. At the size turtles are released, they have less predators and thus better chances to survival.

There are other various projects you will be a part of, such as monitoring our coral gardening efforts, and developing and executing awareness programs to be presented to the community. Depending on the length of your stay, you will also be trained on identifying marine organisms to participate in the snorkeling surveys to assess the reefs’ health around Naifaru and other islands. The longer you stay at the project the more you will experience and learn from an extremely talented and knowledgeable group of marine conservationists.



  • Help preserve sea turtles and coral reefs
  • Work on awareness raising initiatives with local communities
  • Discover this island paradise and other surrounding islands


  • Minimum age of 18 years
  • All placements are dependent upon the submission of an up-to-date CV
  • Applications must be received no less than 2 months prior to intended departure date
  • A valid up-to-date Criminal background check
  • Copy of University Degree Certificate or proof of current university enrolment



Location Maldives
Activities Data collection and research
Feeding sea turtles
Beach patrols
Coral reef surveying
Island hopping
Youth development through sports
Educational Workshops
Transport Airport pick-up at an extra cost
Accommodation Volunteer house / volunteer guest house






Before you go Pre-departure support &documentation
Travel advice
Advice on equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
In-country Breakfast
Airport pick-up at an extra cost
Project orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup


A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.


Currently, there is a strong need for the development and implementation of conservation programmes throughout the Maldives and an even stronger need for volunteers around the world to become educated and involved in promoting more sustainable practices within the communities. 

In our marine centre we work on a range of projects such as sea turtle husbandry, collecting fish and coral data, planning and implementing awareness programmes for the community and schools, occasionally extending our coral garden which has been laid around the island of Naifaru and arranging trips to nearby islands where we collect broken corals to bring into our conservation project. This presents a unique opportunity for tackling the direct anthropogenic causes of reef degradation by incorporating local involvement in the transplantation and monitoring process and by running educational sessions for local adults and school children

There also is a large focus on sea turtle conservation in Naifaru, as many surrounding and uninhabited islands serve as hatching sites for various species of sea turtles every year. Sea turtles are currently endangered and sadly face threats both in the ocean and on land by human activities, such as poaching and entanglement in fishing nets. It is our goal to provide each and every sea turtle with the best possible chance of survival in the wild.

Whether you are helping conduct beach patrols, collecting vital data or helping tend to rescued turtles this programme will really enable you to be hands on and also give you a wide array of activities to be involved with.

It is projects like this one, and many others which relate to the beautiful marine habitats surrounding these islands, which we hope to keep running with the help of locals and our wonderful volunteers.  Some may say that a small amount of people can’t change the world, but they can change one tiny island at a time.

A big part of the success of our community turtle programme is due to the extra activities that run through our community conservation centre including conservation clubs, Eco cinema, environmental awareness campaigns and beach clean ups which all our volunteers will play an active roll in.


Each morning we feed the sea turtles in the centre and also those in our sea station a mixture of fish, tuna fillets and sea grass.

Data collection, research and education are key aspects of our programme so expect to play an active role in all centre activities, including children's marine conservation classes (this may also take place on other islands in the atoll so expect a little island hopping).  Qualified volunteers may also involve themselves in helping out with English improvement classes at the center for the islands small children.

Activities like these are vital to our programme as it increases community numbers participating in our centre activities and really helps to educate the islands inhabitants in matters concerning marine conservation and environmental matters.  Also worth mentioning is the fact that the improved English skills and confidence really helps the islands youth to gain employment in later years. 

You will also be requested to assist with community surveys and reef surveying etc.

In addition to the conservation work there are a number of community initiatives running out of the volunteer centre which aim to empower and improve the ability of local islanders to be self sufficient.  You will work closely with the community, lending your skills and enthusiasm to where ever it may be needed. Volunteers will have the opportunity to use their experience and knowledge in a variety of ways including:

  • working as a day care assistant in local island pre-schools
  • promoting health and fitness schemes to help keep residents active,
  • engaging young people through English language lessons and sports coaching
  • running drug awareness workshops.

Itineraries will be varied and should be discussed with your Volunteer Coordinator before arrival, so that we can plan the activities you may wish to be a part of. Your activities will depend upon the focus of the programme at the time of your visit as well as your own skills and experience.


You need to arrive at Male International Airport on the Friday, where you will stay for one night before catching the ferry in the morning. Our local partners will organise for someone to meet you at the airport, a hotel for the night and a transfer to the jetty in the morning (approximately USD$100).


Depending on the time of your visit and volunteer numbers, you will either be staying in a shared volunteer house or at a friendly local guest house. All bedrooms are based on 2-3 volunteers sharing (same sex) and are ensuite with ceiling fans. The volunteer house also has a small sitting room and kitchen with clothes washing facilities available.


Volunteers have breakfast together with a local family, an ideal opportunity to get to know more about local island life. Lunch and dinner are provided at an extra cost at a local café where volunteers choose from a wide menu, meals also include a variety of soft drinks. Typical dishes on the menu include rice or noodle dishes, sandwiches, traditional foods, chicken and chips, a variety of curries and more.

Traditional Maldivian food can be spicy but milder than the food found in some neighbouring countries. Sweet, sour, hot and spicy savoury dishes are popular including dishes made of smoked fish, grated coconut, lime juice, onion and chilli. Seafood is a major part of the Maldivian diet with local specialities including kulhi boakibaa, a type of fishcake, keemia, fish rolls and masroshi, small pancakes stuffed with fish. Maldivian’s have a sweet tooth and there is no shortage of cakes available throughout the islands such as huni hakuru folhi, a cake made of grated coconut, sugar and flour. A cup of kalhu sai, black tea is the usual choice to wash down these snacks. Should you want to eat something from a little closer to home there are many international restaurants available in the tourist resorts on the main islands.

Ten Most Recent Reviews for This Project

I am leaving this island full of ambition.  | 13 Aug 2018
I am truly grateful for having met so many amazing people and making some unforgettable memories....

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I really will miss this place  | 25 Jul 2018
My time here has definitely been an experience I will never forget. This truly is a once in a lif...

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Just do it!  | 11 Jul 2018
It was the most amazing, unbelievable experience I have ever had. Frontier were very good with th...

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I miss this island!  | 4 Jul 2018
I had the opportunity to develop my professional skills as a biologist working almost one year in...

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This was the best two weeks of my life!  The project was managed and run brilliantly. Each d...

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Friday and Saturday is the weekend here and normally free time, although this may entirely depend on your particular programme. But don't worry you will still have ample time to visit snorkel hot spots and deserted islands or simply relax and soak up island life with your fellow volunteers or try out the Maldivian tradition of night fishing and see how satisfying it is to catch your own dinner! Please be aware that you will have to bring your own snorkelling gear as there may not be enough available equipment on-site.     

It may not always be possible to have every weekend off and you may have to rotate which days you are off duty with the other centre staff, as the turtles need care throughout the week. We add volunteers to the rota to ensure that staff are always present at the centre for turtle care.

Please be aware that all of our Maldives development projects operate from a local island and are very community focussed.  During your free time you will have the opportunity to explore the islands and their surroundings but volunteers should be aware that the community islands do not reflect the tourist resort islands and poverty is widespread.   

Despite large parts of the Maldives portraying the image of an upmarket holiday destination, many local islands still have inadequate infrastructure. In recent times development has been unfairly focused on the capital island Male, forcing islanders to travel to the capital for health care and other important necessities such as schools, banks and shops. 


2 weeks $2,045

3 weeks $2,745

4 weeks $3,445

Dates and Costs

The project start day is Saturday, but you will need to arrive the day before (your Volunteer Coordinator can help you book a hotel for the night). The ferry leaves for the island at 8am Saturday morning. Your project will finish on a Saturday and you should schedule your flight for the Saturday afternoon, or Sunday.

This project is not available during following dates:

1 January-  New Year

1 May-  Labour Day

27 May- First of Ramadan

25-26-27 June-  Eid-ul Fithr

26 July-   Indipendence day

27 July-  on the Occasion of Independence Day

1 September- Eid-ul Al'haa;

2-3-4 September-  Hajju Day

21st- Islamic New Year

3 November- Victory Day

11 November- Republic Day

30 November- National Day 

11 December-  Prophet Muhammad's Birthday

20 December- The Day Maldives Embraced Islam


2 weeks +

This project is available throughout the Christmas period


Before you go

  • Your project payment is financially protected under the UK Package Travel Regs 1992
  • Pre-departure support from dedicated Volunteer Coordinator
  • Travel & medical advice 
  • Access to travel experts and flight partners
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt


  • Breakfast included
  • Accommodation
  • Airport pick-up can be arranged at an extra cost
  • Transfers
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ back-up


Nearest airport(s): Male (MLE)


  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance

For detailed information on flights, visas and insurance, click here.


Please read our legal statement regarding the running of NGO projects.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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