GoEco
94% Rating
(58 Reviews)

GoEco

GoEco is a leading eco-tourism company with a varied selection of affordable volunteer projects abroad. We act as a gateway to over 150 extraordinary community, wildlife and environmental initiatives all over the world thanks to our great partnerships. Join one of our rewarding projects and become a part of the global volunteer movement!

Most Recent Program Reviews

Default avatar
Lara
Female
20 years old
Luxembourg
Bangor University

The best month of my life!

10/10

Words cannot describe what an amazing time I had volunteering! First of all, the setting is just stunning as the place is surrounded by mountain chains. You can admire this view while walking the elephants, or if you go within the next few months, the 3 lion cubs. Malia, Nairobi and Malakkai were the absolute highlight as we had a lot of interaction with them and it broke my heart to leave them!
Everyday is different; from injecting goats, horse riding in the morning to chasing animals out of places where they aren't supposed to be! Everything was so overwhelming in the beginning and it was still at times after two or even 4 weeks because you experience so many different, new things.
Whatever excursion you want to do, the lovely Less will make it possible. I went to a monkey sanctuary, reptile farm, skydiving (twice), etc...
Of course the people you meet are a crucial part of your experience and you won't be disappointed: they are all amazing! They come literally from all over the world and still you all connect, because you are all there for the same reason: Your love for animals and traveling! Fun is guaranteed and it gets never boring!
The best part, however, were the different animals: the gracious tigers, the stunning lions (they are taller than you think!), the beautiful elephants, the playful leopard Selati, the super chilled zebra Jack an Roxy, the hyena, my personal favourite!
I enjoyed every second of my stay and I left a piece of my heart at this amazing farm in South Africa with all of those beautiful animals! I will definitely go back!!!

Default avatar
Bethany
Female
31 years old
Pescadero, CA
George Fox University

Dolphin Project - Aboard the Jean Gab

9/10

I found GoEco by chance while preparing to spend a month in Italy on my own. I knew I wanted to find an ocean related volunteer opportunity for at least a week to break up my travels. When I read about the Dolphin Project, I was excited. I did a little bit of research ahead of time on the Mediterranean and cetaceans, but the information sent directly from the project was most helpful in preparing.

The Sunday we stepped onto the boat happened to be my birthday. The group was gradually introduced to each other and the crew as we each arrived. First mate, Rossana briefed us, the volunteers, on the purpose and the scope of the project as well as general operations, while we sat on the deck and munched on slices of sweet watermelon.
After the briefing, we walked to a private cove with a hotel and restuarant, where we swam in the sea and dipped in warm pools. While I floated on my back in the cool water I had to acknowledge, this was a perfect day. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and watched the sun set before walking back to the harbor. I slept on the deck that night and every night during my time on the Jean Gab.

Have I mentioned the beautiful Jean Gab? She is incredibly stunning and so lovingly maintained. It is hard to believe she is nearing 100 years old. I immediately fell in love with boat life as well. I loved how everything had a place and everyone had a job. I also loved the fresh air and the rocking that lulled me to sleep anytime I let it. Angelo, her captain is clearly in love with her as well. After seeing his garden in the harbor, I decided that I too could live on a boat. To think I had been nervous about spending a whole week on a boat.

I no longer remember exactly what I had expected prior to boarding the boat. I do remember being a little nervous about seasickness and preparing myself to be a little bored at times, knowing we would be on watch only in shifts. I struggled with neither.
With four native Italian speakers on board, I was able to listen, practice and ask and endless amount of questions, most beginning with "Como se dice...?". In the weeks following my time on the Jean Gab, Italians frequently commented, "Oh, you speak some Italian" and I would respond,"I DO?!" I also loaded my bag with books to keep me entertained and to give my eyes a rest between watch. I also did my best to learn as much as possible about Italian cooking from Angelo and others. When prompted, he would give lectures on olive oil, different types of pasta and seasonal ingredients. All in Italian of course!

From the moment we left the harbor that first morning, Rossana began educating us on the local wildlife. She has such an eye for spotting a bird or splash of tuna in the distance. She was easy to listen to because of her passion and so knowledgeable.
On our second day at sea we encountered a pod of 20 or more spinner dolphins. Time speeds up when you are watching these animals.
There were days where we saw only birds and tuna, but we enjoyed working as a team to document what we did see and we finished some of the slower days, anchoring in a quiet cove to cool off and swim. One day, while we were doing just this, a small motorboat with just a driver pulled up to the Jean Gab and called out to Angelo. Then he tossed up a whole, chilled, watermelon. It seemed that everyone knew Angelo. In the evenings, I usually had time to go for a walk or a swim or generally stretch my legs before dinner.
Our last day out, we had the opportunity to track down a young male sperm whale named, Brunone. It is a labor of love to find these beauties. We listened and moved and stopped and watched. Until finally, Rossana spotted his spray in the distance with binoculars. Our efforts were rewarded and we were fortunate to encounter him for a short period and log his activity.

By the time we said our goodbyes, our little crew had begun to feel like family. I felt lucky to have met such a great group. I gave myself a couple of days after the week of volunteering to explore Ischia and unwind. I hiked to the top of the volcanic island, bathed in the thermal pools and explored several picturesque beaches. I highly recommend giving yourself some extra time on either end of your trip to see Ischia. I plan to go back annually if possible. And I will definitely use GoEco to help me find opportunities on future travels wherever I go.

Helpful tips for the enjoyment of life on the Jean Gab-

I did not struggle with seasickness, but this could be in part because I took a non drowsy Dramamine the first day at sea. I think it still made me a little drowsy, but there was plenty of time to nap between shifts.

I slept great, but that would be due in large part to my eye mask and ear plugs. Sleeping on the deck was nice and cool, but there was light and noise from the town center. If you struggle with sleep, take precaution. I wish I'd brought extra ear plugs to share.

I also wore an all natural bug repellent to sleep each night to prevent bug bites. I still got a few, but they did not keep me up.

Sunscreen is an obvious one, but keeping it handy and plentiful is important. I also wore a sun hat to protect my face. I would suggest a hat with a strap for when the wind picks up.

Boredom will not be a problem if you enjoy reading, language learning, napping, chatting and cooking. Definitely bring reading material and ask for a job if you need something to do. I worked hard to earn the title of best sous chef from Angelo.

Default avatar
elena
Female
22 years old
United Kingdom
University of Brighton

Amazing experience

10/10

This was a once in a lifetime experience that I recommend to anyone who loves animals. It was a real dream come true and I enjoyed every single second of it. It was amazing to work alongside and interact with such amazing animals, who each have their own background story as to why they are at the sanctuary. All of the leaders and the manager were so knowledgeable and welcoming from the second we got there. My only regret is not staying for longer (2 weeks), but I will be returning in the near future.

Default avatar
Annika
Female
32 years old
London
University of Chester

The Best Thing I've Ever Done

10/10

When I first decided I wanted to volunteer, I searched so many websites and eventually I came by GoEco’s website. I read so many positive experiences, I thought to myself, this has to be something that I do! I have never really liked Christmas in the UK, so I thought Israel would be the perfect place to go, as Christmas isn’t really celebrated. I made the most PERFECT decision. I then decided which project I wanted to do, working with animals was at the top of my list. So, without any hesitation I confirmed my place on the website. I had all of the details within a week, the office in Israel are so quick at replying, and really look after every volunteer who books through them.
The time came, the flights were super cheap. I paid around £120 return from London with EasyJet to Tel Aviv. Day 1 of the 3 weeks experience was just the start of what was to come, it was awesome. We met Yan, a Coordinator for GoEco, and he took us around Jerusalem for the day. I felt that it was important to spend the day doing this, as we learnt so much about the country, the culture, and also told what the next few weeks would entail.
The next day, Yan took us to the bus station and we got on the 4 hour bus journey to the desert. We got off at the bus stop and one of the rangers picked us up. My first impressions were exactly how I expected, in the middle of no where, perfect. We were taken to the volunteers house, which is just so lovely. 2 bedrooms, a nice bathroom, a HUGE living room with a smart TV and a computer, a well equipped kitchen, and a washing machine outside. There’s also a fire outside which was great at night time. The volunteers house is in between two of the rangers houses, so there was always someone around, and they are very sociable. It’s also at the very end of the safari, so the Ostriches are literally a stones throw away, you can hear them making their calls in the night quite clearly. Night fell on the first evening there, I remember walking outside and looking up at the sky and being speechless. When you live in a big city like London, its not very often that you see stars, let alone shooting stars and the line of the Milkyway! It’s breath taking. After star gazing was over, we lit a fire, and sat under the stars for the rest of the evening and got to know each other.
6am wake up…. For a 7am start. That was a bit of a shock to the system, I’m usually quite lazy in the morning! A ranger picked us up in a truck, and we rode through the safari to the office to start our first day of work. We met all of the rangers, who each are so individual, lovely and unique its hard to explain, but you will see for yourself when you book this experience. Quickly we learnt what we were to do for the next few weeks! Basically, every morning we would prepare food to feed the animals in the rehabilitation centre. We would first clean the toilets that the public use (they visit the safari only), this was one of my favourite jobs, which I’m sure the rangers appreciated. Then we would go into each cage, apart from a few dangerous animals only professionals can enter, such as leopards, the wolf, and the hyena. We would clean the floor, change the water, and give them food. Some animals are fed at night time, so if you stay for a few more hours each day, you get to do this too. I found I got more out of the project by working 7am until 4pm every day rather than the 7-2pm which is required. I LOVE the animals there. On the reserve there are White Oryx, Ostrich, Addex, and two types of donkey. And in the rehabilitation centre there are wild cats, caracal, a wolf, tortoises, a hyena, parrots, owls, raptures, leopards, jackal (love them), and many others. Other duties included, preparing new enclosures, counting the Gazelle, measuring trees, painting, and feeding the safari animals. One day I got to spend the whole day with the vet and learn about his job, and another day I made toys for the cats. Every day was different!
Work would be Sunday to Thursday and the rest of the time was free time to do whatever you like. You have to bear in mind that the nearest bus stop is a 40 minute walk, but the trick is to just makes friends with the rangers and they will take you where you need to go (and it’s always nice to bring them back something sweet in return!). On my first weekend, I decided to take a trip to Jordan through a local tour company in Eilat. It cost in total around $500, which included everything! Including Visas. I was so glad I did it. I spent 2 days in Petra and 1 in Wadi Rum. I also took a day off from the reserve which they were totally fine with. Waking up in Wadi Rum on Christmas morning was a totally unique experience.
The second weekend was quite chilled out. Me and one of the other girls went to Eilat, we went to the camel ranch, lay on the beach, went out for New Years Eve, and we also visited the Coral Reef which also has volunteers and we made some new friends there as we snorkelled in the Red Sea! We also swam with wild dolphins, which really made me want to learn to dive, which I did the next weekend!
At night times we would sit around the fire, cook food on the fire or in the oven, watch music videos, or generally just talk! One thing that’s changed me since doing this experience is that I now don’t feel like I need much. I’m less materialistic than I was before. I think being in an environment in the middle of nowhere does that to you, it makes you appreciate what you have, and it also allows you to listen to other people more. The rangers were so lovely, I cooked a BBQ for them on my last day as a thank you. The girls I was volunteering with were great, we had such a good time, and if I could rewind and do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing, it was perfect. I made some amazing friends, people that I will keep in touch with forever. I don’t even feel that this blog explains just how amazing this experience was, and I could probably stand up for a few hours and talk about it! I loved Israel that much I stayed in the country for an extra 2 weeks, and explored from the south all the way up the Golan Heights.
In general, I feel a much better person, and I’ve learnt a real value in life (I also now get up a lot earlier in the mornings!) It’s the best thing I’ve done with my life and I have a totally different perspective now! I can’t wait to go back.

How can this program be improved?

It's perfect!

Stephen
Male
27 years old
Johannesburg, South Africa

Excellent Balance of Volunteer & Travel

10/10

This is one of the best volunteer projects that we have ever done. The first few days are made up of exploring China before heading into the Giant Panda centre to volunteer for 3 days.

Some may want to volunteer at projects for longer than a week but we promise that you will be very satisfied and happy with just one week here. You will explore the city of Chengdu and the region of Sichuan around the centre.

There are a wide variety of optional activities including dumpling making, temple exploring, chinese calligraphy classes and basic Mandarin classes. You won't get bored at this project.

You main tasks when volunteering are cleaning out the Panda enclosure and preparing bamboo before feeding them four times a day. It is so cute to watch them eat their Panda bread, carrots and apples - a highlight of the trip.

We highly recommend anyone to come do this project even though interaction is very minimal. Being able to get this close to feed Panda's is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Date volunteered: June 2016
Recommended time spent here: 1 week (no more)
Living conditions: Twin Share Bedrooms, hot showers
WiFi: Excellent - just use a VPN
Vegetarian friendly: Yes
Additional Notes: There are breaks between each feeding - we recommend you take the walk back to the hostel to get a drink or relax before heading back out. Max walk time can be around 20 minutes, but min will be around 5 min.

Thank you to Go Eco for allowing us to experience this incredible volunteer project in China. Our opinion is, as always, our own.

Program Listings

South Africa

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Zimbabwe

GoEco
Volunteer in Zimbabwe and see how you can make a difference! GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are e...

Israel

GoEco
Volunteer in Israel and see how you can make a difference! GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eag...

Costa Rica

GoEco
Experience Costa Rica while helping local projects! Volunteers will be placed all around Costa Rica and work on projects of t...

China

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

India

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Thailand

GoEco
Come join this great opportunity to experience Thai culture and volunteer in a meaningful placement. Over the years, our asso...

Indonesia

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Australia

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Sri Lanka

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Vietnam

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Spain

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Italy

GoEco
Volunteer in Italy and see how you can make a difference! GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eage...

Czech Republic

GoEco
Discover the amazing city of Prague while volunteering in a well-respected hostel. You will gain valuable experience while bu...

Kenya

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...