HELP ESTABLISH A NEW AND MUCH NEEDED MARINE CONSERVATION INITIATIVE! Your work will focus on conservation and research activities with some amazing species, like the gorgeous Pink Dolphin, the fascinating Dugong and Sea Turtles. The work is very varied and involves interaction with the local communities.

As well as incorporating Sea Turtle, Shark, Dugong and Pink Dolphin conservation, the Project also includes nesting surveys, monitoring programmes, in-situ hatching projects, as well as educational workshops, beach clean-ups, mangrove planting, and waste management schemes. These different aspects will combine to provide comprehensive and thorough protection for Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable marine wildlife and their ecosystems.


Hi, I'm Karen, Project Coordinator for Sri Lanka, and I'll be working with you to arrange your ultimate experience here, so if you've any questions, please contact me:
+44 (0)1903 502595,
or email: info@travellers
Price: £995 (approx. US$1,250) for 1 week
£270 (US$325) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates: All year round – Programmes start every Sunday, but you should arrive in Sri Lanka on the Saturday before your chosen start date.
Requirements: Minimum age 17. No qualifications needed, just a big heart and a desire to help underprivileged children who have very little.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Payment Protection insurance
One night stay at the assembly point nearby the airport including all meals
Transfer to the project site the following morning by private vehicle
Project transportation in the field by boats and vehicles for land and water based activities
All meals and some refreshments
Full accommodation
Orientation and briefings
Guidance and training
Field Programs
Public bus transfer to the airport at the end of the program
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Transfer by cab from airport to assembly lodge (10 minutes from airport)
Who is this
Programme suitable for?
SOLO travellers or travelling with friends.
GROUPS (large and small)
GAP YEAR BREAKS from School or University.
GROWN-UP GAPPERS, career breakers and retired.
ANYONE interested in working with marine wildlife or who is interested in conservation generally
Also suitable as a summer placement or short break.
Open to all nationalities.


  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping a new conservation project to bring new and much-needed protection to the local native marine wildlife - this is a unique and very exciting opporunity!
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!


Please fill in the form below. If you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder.

Please tick the 'I'm not a robot' box below. It helps to stop spam. Then don't forget to click the SUBMIT button afterwards. Thank you :-)


This exciting new Programme, run by the same amazing people who run the "Saving Elephants by Helping People" Conservation Project! It offers you the opportunity to participate in hands-on field work to study as well as conserve threatened and endangered marine life.

The species you'll be helping include Pink Dolphins, Dugongs, Sea Turtles, mangroves and the myriad of other vertebrate and invertebrate species that make up the marine environment.

There will be exciting excursions into the Lagoon to observe Dugongs and Pink Dolphins to collect spatial, temporal, population, and behavioral data.

You'll support as well as assist the the Project to achieve its research and conservation objectives of the MaRINE Project for the conservation of the endangered and threatened marine diversity of Sri Lanka.

Initially through direct and indirect field observations, you'll help to gather information on the various species. You'll visit villages and fishing colonies to understand what their livelihoods are and how these livelihoods impact on the marine environment and its biodiversity.  During these visits you'll help to conduct surveys and discuss with villagers their livelihood issues and concerns and how the MaRINE Project could help to make their marine-based livelihoods sustainable.

Your work will be be varied; you'll cover a range of research and conservation focused field activities. Following is an example of some of the activities you'll potentially have the opportunity to participate in:

  • Pink Dolphin Research and Conservation. You'll patrol the Puttalam Lagoon by boat following coordinates of 5 square kilometer grids searching for pink dolphins. When the dolphins are found, you'll observe and collect data on their behavior, ranging, and feeding. In order to be non-intrusive and cause the least amount of disturbance to the animals, the observations will be conducted from a distance using high powered spotting scopes and drones. A photographic catalogue of Pink Dolphins that are encountered will be created for future identification of individual animals.
  • Dugong Research and Conservation. You'll patrol the Puttalam Lagoon by boat in the evenings as well as visit identified seagrass beds to locate Dugongs. When Dugongs are located, you'll use various optical and night vision scopes, plus aerial and underwater drones to identify individuals and behavior. A photographic catalogue of Dugongs that are encountered will be created for future identification of individual animals.
  • Sea Turtle Research and Conservation. Nesting surveys - you'll conduct beach patrols from 6 pm to 6 am during the nesting season and record all nesting encounters, including taking GPS points, identifying the species of nesting females, collecting physical measurements, tagging females and installing nest protection devices and markers.
  • Monitoring Patrols: You'll go on beach patrols to monitor and protect identified nests.
  • When nestlings are about to hatch, you'll monitor these nests frequently until the nestlings emerge. You'll count nestlings, sex them, record data and provide safe passage to the sea.

In addition, you may also work on some of the following activities:

  • You'll visit fish landing beaches to collect species data from the morning fish catches.
  • You'll collect information on fish species that are discarded as by-catch. If any of these fish are still alive, you'll help collect them and release them back to the sea.
  • Collect data on migratory birds that visit Kalptiya. Maintain a checklist of identified species.
  • Work with local communities on awareness building, education programs, beach cleanups, and mangrove planting.
  • Help conduct marine environment education programs at local schools.
  • Help maintain the salt water and brackish aquariums that will be part of the conservation and education programs
  • Help set up and maintain a brackish water aquatic system to monitor species colonization.


This Marine Conservation Project is run by our same partners who have, for many years, done incredible and vital work with Elephant Conservation in Wasgamuwa (to read more about this hugely successful program, click here). They are now extending their award-winning, community-led conservation approach to protect Sri Lanka's most vulnerable marine life and thus ensuring sustainable livelihoods for those dependent on our territorial waters and beautiful coastline.

Based in Kalpitiya, north west Sri Lanka, our Marine Resource-conservation Initiative for Nature-based Enterprise (MaRINE) Project will directly address the conservation issues affecting Sri Lanka’s marine wildlife and will provide opportunities for ecotourism and alternative livelihoods to promote sustainable development in the area.

Sri Lanka’s coastline is rich with marine wildlife and is already a well-known destination for whale-watching. The coastline is also a vital habitat for sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks, among other species, and has a number of healthy coral reefs.

Volunteers will participate in our Sea Turtles, Dugong, Pink Dolphin and other marine fauna and flora conservation efforts.

The MaRINE Project is being built on joint research, collaborative spirit, and innovative activities. It will be a practical demonstration of integrating scientific research and community-based conservation with the principles of ecotourism, green technology and sustainable development. Our efforts contribute to increasing the knowledge about our marine resources and in their conservation and sustainable management.

Project Objective: A Coastline Under Threat
Over one million people depend upon fisheries for their income in Sri Lanka by exploiting living and non-living aquatic resources. Fish products remain the major source of protein in local diets. Economically the fisheries sector contributed 1.8 percent to the GDP in 2014, earning US$ 1,350 million. Given the high number of people reliant on Sri Lanka’s marine resources, there is a clear need for a long-term, sustainable approach to their management.​

The biggest threats to marine life in Sri Lanka are the fisheries industry, particularly illegal fishermen operating from India, and human activity along the coastline. Furthermore, mining of the sea bed for fossil fuels is common, with short-term benefits to the economy prioritised over long-term ecosystem protection and fisheries health.

The lack of education around sustainable fishing and marine protection intensify these threats.Additionally, some species, such as sea turtles, are particularly vulnerable due to poaching and habitat encroachment, and are often unintentionally caught in fishing nets as by-catch. And finally, plastic pollution blights many of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches and causes long-term damage to marine ecosystems.

Rapid economic development and population growth mean the need for long-term marine conservation is stronger than ever.

A Long-Term, Sustainable Solution:
We aim to address the lack of knowledge around Sri Lanka’s marine resources by completing a comprehensive study on the ecology of the marine life here. Furthermore, we will seek to eliminate destructive fishing techniques and over-fishing in the local area. Instead, promoting ecotourism and sustainable fishing practices, working with the local communities to educate and empower them to manage the resources in a sustainable way, preserving their livelihoods for the long-term.

The project will incorporate sea turtle, shark, dugong and pink dolphin conservation, including nesting surveys, monitoring programmes, in-situ hatching projects, as well as educational workshops, beach clean-ups, mangrove planting, and waste management schemes; all supported by a volunteer programme. These projects will combine to provide comprehensive and thorough protection for Sri Lanka’s most vulnerable marine wildlife and their ecosystems.

Marine Biologist heading the project
Marine Biologist Ruvini is heading the MaRINE Project.
Charting a course to explore on the project
Charting a course to research potential conservation sites.
The Research vessel
The Research Vessel - The Dugong.


You'll live in dormitory-style accommodation, with all food provided.
More Information coming soon!


Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Your Arrival: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.



Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

Volunteer Paul White with elephant in Sri Lanka
Volunteer Paul White taking time out to get up close and personal with an elephant!
Volunteers on the beach, sitting in a palm tree in Sri Lanka
There's lots to do and see in Sri Lanka! These volunteers take time out from their Project to spend some time on one of Sri Lanka's glorious beaches.


Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary at the beginning or end of your main Programme. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Body and Mind: Meditation and Yoga in Sri Lanka

Price: £495 for 1 week
£795 for 2 weeks
includes food and accommodation, transfers.

The Body and Mind week combines Yoga and Meditation with Ayurvedic treatments to work on a fitter, healthier and more positive you. Located in a beautifully set-up spa, Body and Mind Week will help you to gain psychological and physical well being, will help you to understand the basics of Yoga and Meditation and also educate you about the human body. In addition, you'll enjoy the luxury of Ayurvedic treatments which will deal with any physical aches and pains you may be experiencing at the time.

During the program, you will be taught the Surya Namaskar, commonly known as the Sun Salutation. This contains 12 consecutive postures or Asanas. It is essential for students to master this before moving on to the second stage of Yogasana.

Meditation is the art of focusing your mind, restraining your thoughts and looking deep within yourself. Practicing it can give you a better understanding of your purpose in life and of the Divine. It will also provide you with certain physical and mental health benefits.

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE - Monday to Friday:

  • Early Morning Yoga
  • Breakfast
  • Meditation
  • Head massage. These messages will change every day and include foot massage, back massage, front massage and full body massage.
  • Meditation - Walking meditation
  • Lunch and a relaxed afternoon

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Book Now

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.




We cannot BEGIN to tell you how beautiful this paradise island is! Nor how cheap to live and get around. It is almost too good to be true! But it is true.

Towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy rivers and sacred mountains. The local people are very welcoming and friendly, especially in the rural areas. The tea plantations are a must, the lace making, monuments and architectural splendours, etc., but the most appealing is the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. Not to be missed! It's an emotive sight that you'll never forget!

The MaRINE Project is located in the Kalpitiya Peninsula consisting of 14 islands in the Puttalam District in the Northwestern Province of Sri Lanka.

The region is less touristy with empty beaches and prime kite surfing country. It remains an unspoilt coastal paradise ... but it also remains to be seen how long for!

Kalpitiya is known for its natural environment and is a marine sanctuary.

The Kalpitiya-Karaitive-Puttalam Coastal Wetlands Complex includes the Puttalam Lagoon, which is the largest inland brackish to saline water body in Sri Lanka.  The Puttalam Lagoon has been identified as a wetland of international importance in the Directory of Asian wetlands (Scott, 1989).  The main habitat types comprises of bar reefs, estuaries and deltas, inter-tidal mud flats, sand flats, mangrove forests, marshes, sea-grass beds, beaches, sand dunes and saltpans. The Bar Reefs are home to 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish.

The coastal and offshore ecosystems provide nursing grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. The coastal waters are also home to Spinner, Bottlenose and Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins, Whales, Sea Turtles, and the elusive Dugong.

The Coastal and offshore ecosystems of Kalpitiya also provide important resting and feeding areas for birds that migrate along the South Asian flyway.

If you're travelling around the country, you must visit some of Sri Lanka's miles and miles of amazing beaches. Some of our favourites are:

MIRISSA: Perhaps a contender for the most beautiful beach in the world. Long, deserted and hot. You know you have got away from it all as you sit and watch the sunset over this horizon … The snorkelling is also incredible here.

NEGOMBO: To the north of Colombo lies Negombo, a busting fishing town with golden beaches and a pallet of colour provided by sails and boats against the deep blue of the ocean.

UNAWATUNA: A sleepy peaceful cove with deep still water and a temple overlooking the bay from the protecting cliffs.

HIKKADUWA: A long stretch of beach with plenty of hostels, restaurants and some nice bars, not forgetting the impromptu beach parties held on the beach front bars blaring Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, Led Zeplin and many other classics! Sri Lanka is a conservative island brimming with culture and Hikkaduwa offers an exciting opportunity to holiday for the odd celebratory weekend! Many a volunteer birthday has been seen in over Hikkaduwa cocktails! You can also body board and even surf on this beach.

ARUGAM BAY: This tiny fishing village is Sri Lanka’s newest hot spot and hosts the best surfing and an easy going happy party atmosphere. With its wide sweeping beach in front of the village and year round gorgeous swimming it is no surprise that this bay has developed into a low budget travellers haunt.

White Water Rafting:
Sri Lanka’s boulder stream rivers are the ideal setting for white water rafting. This is the best way to see the stunning environment what this region has to offer. Many tours are available and many begin with days of action, rafting the white waters. This high adventure is suitable for fish time ‘go for it’ rafters and experts alike. Rafting has become a very popular exciting yet safe adventure sport option.

Rock Climbing and Mountaineering:
Mountaineering is an adventure sport that requires skills and levels of fitness that few other adventure sports can match. The mountain ranges in Sri Lanka offer breath taking, enthralling, climbing routes. Climbing is all about discovering the natural world around and with you.

Hiking and Trekking:
There’s no better way to explore the natural scenic beauty of this island with diverse climatic zones. Trekking is an excellent way to explore a country, people, their traditions and beliefs. Paths and campsites have been set up to give nature lovers the experience of a lifetime. All possible steps are taken to ensure local community benefit and nature conservation in keeping with all international camping guidelines.

Canoeing & Kayaking:
This relatively new sport is rated as the most adventurous of all adventure sports. It involves descending a stream as it drops over waterfalls and boulders. In Sri Lanka they have low waterfalls for beginners and some as high as 700 feet for the very experienced - all surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

The driest and best seasons are from December to March on the west and south coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September on the east coast. December to March is also the time when most foreign tourists come, the majority of them escaping the European winter.

The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. The Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or the masked devil dances. Then there are the ruins, ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to satisfy any archaeologist.


Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

King coconuts being sold from a stand in Sri Lanka
King coconuts are for sale everywhere in Sri Lanka. They're supposed to quench all thirst. Hmmm. I prefer their pineapples. The best in the world. Seriously!
Tuk tuks are the main form of quick and easy public transport when you're dashing around the local areas. They're lots of fun!
Volunteers taking in the views in Sri Lanka
Volunteers taking in an incredible view in peaceful serenity. Wish I was there :-)


This is an exciting and new Conservation Programme. As soon as we receive reviews and feedback, we'll enter it here. Thank you for your patience :-)