After months of planning, excitement and nerves i finally landed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Spend a month on a Sea turtle conservation project. As soon as i walked through the doors at arrivals until i walked back through departures when the month had come to an end, Greta, the Outreach international Coordinator in Mexico was always there to help us with anything we needed. On the first day she showed us around the beautiful city and helped us to buy whatever we needed. Her knowledge about the place is amazing and she always knew where were the best places to go. She helped us settle in at our Host Justina's House and then returned the next morning to take us to our project a couple of hours away.
As soon as we got out of the car at the turtle camp in Mayto i was stunned. The place and the view were spectacular. At that very moment i knew it was going to be one of the best months of my life.
After we had made ourselves at home we said goodbye to Greta and shortly after we got in the car with some other volunteers and we went to Tehuamixtle, a town near by, to go snorkelling, as it was sunday.
On week days we would participate in daily activities at camp, like, helping to keep the place clean, removing plastic waste that got washed up onto the beach with the waves, Helping in the kitchen at dinner time etc.
Then, at night, we would take it in turns to patrol the beach for turtle nests. This was done on a Quad bike along the 12 km beach at different times of the night. We would also have to keep a look out for poachers who would try and steal the eggs. On our return from patrol, the eggs would be then buried again in a special area so that 45 days later they could hatch and return to the ocean.
As i spent a long time there i was able to meet so many incredible people. Volunteers would come and go and with many of them i got the chance to form amazing friendships that i am sure will last a lifetime.
Being at camp you learn so much about turtles and many other animals. We were able to take boat trips out to open water and see the turtles as they rise to the surface to warm up in the day time. We also visited a Bat cave close by and learnt all about the different types of bats in Mexico.
Since a long time ago i wanted to do something like this, i wanted to be a volunteer and give a small part of me to helping a good cause. I finally got the chance to do it and it blew my expectations out of the water.
I became good friends with Israel, the owner of the camp, and all the other staff members. Even the local boys that help out on a daily basis.
This Project was an Experience of a lifetime and it once again reminded me why i want to dedicate my life to Wildlife conservation.
I couldn't recommend this experience more, what i would say is, stay as long as possible. Learn more about turtles, about wildlife, about volunteering, about living with people from all over the world and listening to their stories and cultures. No one could possibly regret it.
Since we arrived on the first day, the volunteers that were already there said to us, you are going to want to stay longer... And they were so right!
After all of this, meeting amazing people and learning incredible things, unfortunately, my time at Campamento Tortuguero Mayto came to an end. As i saw Greta arriving to take us back to Puerto Vallarta to go home, i said goodbye but more than a goodbye, a see you soon. I made a new family on the beach in Mexico, and i couldn't thank them enough for making the experience as incredible as it was.