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Volunteer Types

Required Languages

Age Range

The application process

Cost of EA's Volunteer Program

Refund Policy

Free time

Important documents and links


Volunteering is one of the most altruistic activities that exist, since you give your time and effort to contribute to a noble cause and not in exchange of a salary. In the case of Equilibrio Azul (EA), our noble cause is the conservation of Ecuador's marine biodiversity. It is thanks to the aid of volunteers, who beleive in the importance of marine conservation, that we can carry out our projects and let the World know about such projects.

By volunteering with EA, not only will you gain an invaluable experience, but you will also get to know yourself better as a person. Also, you will share unforgettable moments with EA's staff, local people and with the biodiversity of Ecuador´s coast. You will forge friendships that may last a lifetime and will directly contribute towards the conservation of Ecuador's marine biodiversity.

It is important to point out that EA is a non-for-profit organization whose mission is the conservation of Ecuador's marine ecosystems and resources. EA works under the guidelines of Ecuador's Ministry of Environment (In Spanish, MAE). This joint work between MAE and EA has allowed the achievement of important advances in terms of conservation.

We hope that the information presented here and in Equlibrio Azul's Volunteer Program (full version), will answer most of your questions about our volunteer program. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to contact us (voluntarios@equilibrioazul.org), we would be pleased to help you with anything we can.

EA accepts volunteers throughout the year, and they can be integrated to our projects in course at any time. Currently, EA needs volunteers for the following projects,

(*Note: All the activities described below are subject to change according to needs of our projects. Equilibrio Azul DOES NOT guarantee that you will participate in all of these activities during your volunteering period.)

Turtle Project

Until very recently it was believed that Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) only nested in the coasts of Central America. However, in 2008 EA found that this species, which is critically endangered, also nests in some of the beaches inside the Machalilla National Park (In Spanish, PNM), in Ecuador's Pacific Coast. Since then, EA with the aid of volunteers, has been doing research to learn more about this enigmatic creature and its distribution in Ecuador.

EA also carries out projects with Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea), and also a sea turtle egg hatchery program in La Isla de La Plata (La Plata Island), the only one of its kind in Ecuador.

The Turtle Project, requires EA staff and volunteers to travel periodically to La Plata Island and stay there for around eight days at a time.

As a volunteer you will help with the following Turtle Project activities*:

  • Diurnal and nocturnal patrols of beaches inside and outside the PNM

  • Measurement and tagging of sea turtles

  • Egg counting and nest tagging

  • Egg transfers to an egg hatchery site (if required)

  • Installation of transmiters on turtle shells

  • Telemetry activities onboard a boat.

  • Capture and recapture of turtles in the sea.

Marine Bird Project
Marine birds are bound to the sea, and therefore they are good indicators of the ocean's health. Marine birds show important interactions with fisheries, and for this reason they are subjected to incidental captures by fishing hooks and nets. For this reason, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of fisheries in marine bird populations to be able to protect these animals.

EA carries out a monthly census of marine birds in the La Plata Island. During this census, EA's staff and volunteers, travel to La Plata Island to count birds and to record their different life-stages. Among the birds that we record are Blue Footed Boobies (Sula nebouxii), Red Footed Boobies (Sula sula), Nazca Boobies (Sula granti) and Galapagos Albatrosses (Phoebastria irrorata). The bird census is an activity that requires a lot of physical effort because it involves long walks of about 8 km every day. In addition, great patience is needed in order to properly count the birds, specially during breeding season when the colonies are numerous and extensive. As a volunteer you will participate in at least one marine bird census every month.

As an EA volunteer you will help with the following Marine Bird Project activities*:

  • Census of different marine bird species.

  • Data collection on the state of the species mentioned above in species-specific forms.

  • Monitoring of bird nests to determine the success of each species.

  • Getting nest GPS points in each colony of marine birds.

  • Depending on the season, capture, measurement and tagging of marine birds.

Environmental Education Project

In order to do conservation properly, it is necesary to work with the community and transmit the results of scientific research. EA takes this fact into consideration and therefore, has developed the Environmental Education Program. The main objective of this project is to educate people from Puerto Lopez ad its surrounding areas about EA's conservation projects and the importance of respecting the environment.

Volunteers are a fundamental part of the Evironmental Education Project carried out by EA. It is thanks to volunteers that EA has been able to create an Ecoclub in Puerto Lopez, which presently is made up of 20 kids. Through this Ecoclub kids have participated in activities such as beach cleaning, construction of small gardens and excursions to the PNM. Also, through the Environmental Education Program EA has been working with primary schools in the construction of murals and gardens. Still, there is much more that needs to be done and the ideas and suggestions of our volunteers are always welcome.

As a volunteer of EA you will help with the following Environmental Education Project activities*:

  • Beach and marine floor cleaning in Puerto Lopez and its surrounding areas. For this you will be using snorkeling equipment.

  • Planning of activities for the Ecoclub.

  • Planning of environmental education activities for schools Puerto Lopez.

  • Planning and execution of communication & diffusion activities of not only EA's projects but also other important environmental topics to the local community. Volunteers often contribute with ideas for possible comunication campaigns or help execute active campaigns.


Our experience with volunteers has shown the necessity to create different types of volunteer programs. EA has developed three types of programs that vary in the main activities but that have some activities in common. Each type of volunteer is essential for the execution of EA's projects.

Research Assistant Volunteer (In Spanish, Voluntario Asistente de Investigacion - VAI)
Under this category you will dedicate most of your time to biological data collection that is of great importance for the projects carried out by EA. Prior studies in marine biology or related sciences are preferible but not essential. More importantly, candidates must have the capacity to learn field sampling techniques and know how to apply them in the field satisfactorily.

VAIs are trusted with the review and analisys of the data collected in the field, therefore it is necessary that the candidates have experience with elementary statistical analyses (for example: creating tables, bar charts, histograms, etc.) and data entry in a data base.

In addition, you will participate to a lesser extent (40% of your time) in all the environmental education activities that take place. For instance, you will walk the beaches collecting trash and participate in education activities with the schools of Puerto Lopez and the children of the Ecoclub.

Every volunteer whom EA accepts must contribute with the maintenance and cleaning of the Volunteer House as well as of EA's field equipment. Minimum three hours per week will be dedicated to these tasks. Please read the reference schedule so that you have a clear idea of the activities done by an EA volunteer.

For more information, please download and read
Equilibrio Azul's Volunteer Program (full version)
Environmental Education Volunteer (In Spanish, Voluntario de Educacion Ambiental - VEA)
As an Environmental Education Volunteer (VEA) you will paritcipate in all the activities that EA carries out in this subject. You will dedicate part of your time to work with children of primary schools in Puerto Lopez and its surrounding areas, teaching them about the importance of conserving marine ecosystems (May to October). In the past, the Environmental Education Volunteers have also helped with the design and creation of murals and gardens for schools.

As a VEA you will help with the creation, development and execution of projects, programs and activities that EA carries out through the Ecoclub. Garbage is a big problem in Puerto Lopez and to help manage it EA has developed a beach and marine floor cleaning program and education programs that teach people about the harmful effects garbage has on marine life.

In addition, as a VEA you will participate to a lesser extent (40% of time) in all the marine reseach activities that EA carries out. For instance, you will patrol beaches to find evidence of nesting activity, help capture turtles in the sea, and help with the monthly census of marine birds in La Plata Island.

Every volunteer whom EA accepts must contribute with the maintenance and cleaning of our Volunteer House, as well as of EA's field equipment. Minimum three hours per week will be dedicated to these tasks. Please read the reference schedule so that you have a clear idea of the activities done by an EA volunteer.

For more information, please download and read
Equilibrio Azul's Volunteer Program (full version)
General Volunteer (In Spanish, Voluntario General - VG)

This type of volunteer spends half of his/her time helping with the research activities and the other half with environmental education activities. EA does not expect these volunteers to take the initiative of creating or managing projects (although they are welcome to do so). EA expects these volunteers to help VAIs, VEAs and EA's staff with their daily chores.

Every volunteer whom EA accepts must contribute with the maintenance and cleaning of our Volunteer House, as well as with EA's field equipment. Minimum three hours per week will be dedicated to these tasks. Please read the reference schedule so that you have a clear idea of the activities done by an EA volunteer.

For more information, please download and read
Equilibrio Azul's Volunteer Program (full version)

Spanish (at least basic level). Presently, our staff only speak basic English.


More than 20 years old


It is very easy to apply to EA's Volunteer Program,

  1. Download and read Equilibrio Azul's Volunteer Program (full version)

  2. Fill out the online application

  3. E-mail us a cover letter (telling us why you want to volunteer for EA) and your curriculum vitae to voluntarios@equilibrioazul.org

  4. Once we have accepted you, you must send us a small photo (passaport photo size) in JPG format. This is necessary to grant you access to the Machalilla National Park as a volunteer.

(Note: Before being accepted as a volunteer you must show evidence that you posses health and accident insurance.)


The money you pay to volunteer with EA is used to maintain our volunteer house, to subsidize projects (specially the environmental education ones), and to cover the cost of usage of field equipment. Please contact us for more details about the cost of EA's Volunteer Program.

Cost of Volunteer Program includes,

  • Lodging at EA's volunteer house located in Port Lopez during the length of the program.

  • All transportation expenses that are directly related to EA's projects.

  • Training, field coordinator and field equipment/material.

  • Volunteer ID card.

  • Volunteer Certificate (letter stating that you were an EA volunteer)

  • Drinking water (in the house).

Cost of Volunteer Program does NOT include,

  • Transportation to and from Puerto Lopez, or within Ecuador.

  • Meals

  • Lodging outside the volunteer house in Puerto Lopez or la Isla de La Plata (La Plata Island)

  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone calls, etc.


EA does not take responsibility if the volunteer cannot begin or finish the volunteer program in the agreed terms due to travel issues (example: loss of suitcases, flight delays, etc.) or health issues. By no means will EA refund any money.


When all the daily chores are done (approximately 6 hours per day), volunteers can use their free time as they wish. In Puerto Lopez and its surroundings areas there are serveral tourist attractions that can be visited. For more information about doing tourism in Puerto Lopez, EA reccommends that you contact the "Friends of the Sea" - Tour Operators

It is possible that depending on pending work, volunteers will be required to work on Saturdays and Sundays. This happens specially during turtle nesting season (November to April) when there are many tasks to be fulfilled.


Please review the following documents and links so that you have a better idea of what to expect from EA's volunteer program

Trabajan con nostros muchas personas de diversos lugares


Fundación Equilibrio Azul� 2006-2008 • E-mail: info@equilibrioazul.org • P.O.BOX. 17116025 • Quito - Ecuador
Diseñado por NM.COM / Fotografía: Felipe Vallejo E.