The Volunteer Bay
100% Rating
(4 Reviews)

The Volunteer Bay

The Volunteer Bay offers volunteers around the world the opportunity to travel and help local grassroots organizations in Ecuador, Nepal, Thailand and now Costa Rica. Enthusiastic volunteers get the chance to join safe, affordable and educational projects, and enrich themselves from service learning assignments and multicultural exchange. With their help, small and medium local grassroots organizations can better use their scarce resources to carry out environmental or social development projects set forth to improve the livelihoods of their communities.

Our programs abroad advocate safe and responsible travel. They create inspiring scenarios for volunteers to become aware of global issues, and of themselves, while bringing positive change to their lives and the lives of local communities.

Check out our website for complete details about each project and destination. Join us, we need your support.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Default avatar
Brittany
Female
Clinton, New Jersey
Fairleigh Dickinson University

Awesome Experience

10/10

I originally wanted to do a program where you travel and volunteer with a group, however, I only started planning this trip a month and a half before leaving. This led me to The Volunteer Bay because their programs weren't booked to capacity. Although the program was more based on solo travel, I am so glad I did it because it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. (Also, it offered a much cheaper price compared to group volunteer programs) Pedro, the managing director, and Vida, the programs director, were extremely helpful in what I needed to know about the program. I did the Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Montezuma that is run by ASVO, a non-profit organization that has three locations in Costa Rica. (The Volunteer Bay is pretty much an intermediary between the volunteer and ASVO).
The first two nights of my trip I spent in San Jose at Hostel Van Gogh. Although the hostel was very nice, the city itself isn't great, so unless it's necessary I wouldn't spend much time in San Jose. Getting to Montezuma from San Jose took about 6 hours total which includes bus rides and an hour long ferry ride. The ASVO house in Montezuma is nice and has all of the basics (bathrooms, showers, electricity). The town of Montezuma is small but it has everything you need plus very friendly locals and backpackers. The food served at the ASVO house was great and there was always more than enough. There is also more freedom at the ASVO house than I expected (there's a curfew because a lot of the work that is done takes place at night). The volunteers had some free time during the day so we took a couple trips to the waterfalls and a trip to Isla Tortuga where we went snorkeling. During a typical day in the early season, there is a lot of down time for reading and relaxing.
As for the actual turtle work, there wasn't much when I was there because I arrived at the very beginning of the nesting season. The volunteers were scheduled for one patrol a night which started anywhere between 6:30pm and 2:00am, there was also a 5am shift which is actually great because you get to see the beautiful sunrise. Patrols consisted of walking the beach 2 or 3 times with other volunteers and a Patrol Leader searching for turtles/turtle tracks. I saw three turtles lay eggs and on my last night I was able to move 93 Olive Ridley eggs to a safer location. The experience was amazing and I couldn't have had a better way to end my trip.
I met so many great people from around the world and even those who I don't share a language with became great friends of mine. I would definitely do this program again or do another program through The Volunteer Bay in the future. Pura Vida!

How can this program be improved?

It would be very hard for The Volunteer Bay to do anything about this, but the only problem I faced was some communication problems because of the language barriers between me and the ASVO staff (which is to be expected since I only speak English and was in a Spanish-speaking country). However, some other volunteers were bilingual and translated for me and it ended up working out.

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Skye
Female
24 years old
Preston, United Kingdom
Coventry University

An experience recommended for all

10/10

My main tasks involved working with consideration to protect and preserve the biodiversity of the bees and the well being of the community. I would wake up at 7.30 am, take an outdoor shower, be ready for breakfast at around 8-8.30, start work at 9.30 ish, take an hour for lunch at 1/2 pm and finish work at 4/4.30 pm. My tasks involved: sowing seeds, watering crops, creation and maintenance of vegetable gardens, help in the preparation of food and assist when tourists came to the farm.

My time in Ecuador was physically exhausting, I was not used to such heat (or working so hard) I absolutely loved it though and had the best time I could have possibly asked for. There is no testimonial I could give to the people that I met and worked with that would sufficiently sum up their hard-work, determination and humbleness. My experience was eye-opening and life changing and I cannot wait for the day that I return there. Although I experienced a bit of a language barrier, I could still immerse in the wonderful and vibrant community and history that the bee farm and Ecuador offer me. I deeply recommend this project, I was not disappointed, and neither will you.

How can this program be improved?

Possibly have more social trips, maybe if the volunteer had enough time take them somewhere outside of Quito?

Possibly fit better locks where the visitors stay

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Rachel
Female
32 years old
Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason University

Thailand Adventures -- Is this Real Life...?!

10/10

With a background in social work, I have always loved working with children. After a strong urge to travel and having completed my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course, I set off for Thailand with the help of the Volunteer Bay, managed by Pedro and Vida.

Besides being some of the most kind-hearted people I've met, Pedro and Vida were also extremely helpful in navigating a new country as a single female. I also learned their insider tips on great eats and the best beaches in Phuket, although it was admittedly difficult to find any beach that wasn't breathtaking. Once I began teaching English at a Thai government school, I fell in love with the Thai children. They were very well mannered and respectful with a cute sense of humor.

Having played soccer since I was five years old, I found a "Football League" and also made some friends for life on the "pitch." Phuket has a huge ex-patriot community, so it was easy to make English-speaking friends. Thais are some of the most friendly and happy people I have ever met, so it was easy to make connections with them too. It was much easier to make friends with Thais who spoke English for me, as my Thai was not the best, despite my attempts.

I was able to work on my Thai most with the children during my volunteering time in a local orphanage, since I was able to volunteer there, thanks to the The Volunteer Bay. The children were younger than the ones I taught, and they also spoke very limited English, so it was an entirely new experience with friendly, adorable, smiling faces. I spent time with them coloring, playing musical chairs, playing with clay, and eating dinner. The women who worked here also spoke limited English, but they were always so welcoming, offering me a drink every time I arrived.

Overall, this was the experience of a lifetime and I have friends from all over the world now. It did help that I'm extroverted and sociable in making friends, but you can find your group anywhere. I loved that it was such a cultural experience too; not only did I learn some Thai, but I also picked up their customs and occasionally go to wai (slight bow with prayer-like hands in front) someone in greeting and thanks. Lastly, I can't forget to mention that I experienced one of my new favorite holidays - Loy Krathong. Songkran, the world's largest waterfight, was also an unforgettable festival in Chiang Mai. You'll have to see for yourself!

Next stop... Ecuador with The Volunteer Bay.

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Pamela
Female
32 years old
Melbourne, Australia
Other

Amazing Holiday: volunteering and exploring!

10/10

As a vet nurse student, i decided to go practice my skills, get some knowledge and lend a hand at Lanta Animal Welfare. A friend recommended to get in touch with the Volunteer Bay, as they specialize on volunteer programs in Thailand.

They were very helpful throughout the whole way, asking all my questions no matter how silly, and helping me with all the details of my trip!

Everything was organized for me when i arrived. The Animal shelter was an experience I will never forget! It was amazing to meet so many like-minded people that were also willing to escape their busy lives to spend some time with dogs in need. There were people from all over the world, some of them tourists that decided to volunteer for a day or two; while others were full on Vets that wanted to have a gap year helping the less lucky dogs while spending the year in paradise. I volunteered for 2 weeks, and the shelter offered accommodation in the premises. On the afternoons all the volunteers will go out and explore Koh Lanta, have dinner from street vendors and watch the sunset from beach hammocks while discussing our big future plans...

After the 2 weeks volunteering, my husband joined me from Melbourne and we did some traveling around Phuket and Phi Phi Islands. Again The Volunteer Bay were very helpful, giving us info on where to rent scooters, which places to go to, which to avoid, timetables for ferries, recommended hotels in each destination and all we needed! We couldn't have felt more at home and comfy dealing with them!

I would definitely recommend volunteering at an Animal Shelter, as well as visiting Thailand and doing so through the Volunteer Bay. Such a welcoming country with so much to offer!

Program Listings

Thailand

The Volunteer Bay
Thailand, the "land of smiles", is synonymous with white sand beaches, delicious exotic food, and warm smiley people. It is a...

Ecuador

The Volunteer Bay
Ecuador is definitely the best place to visit today. It's not just because of the natural beauty of its four regions (the Ama...

Costa Rica

The Volunteer Bay
Costa Rica is one of the most valued environmental destinations. More than 5% of the world's biodiversity is found here and n...

Nepal

The Volunteer Bay
Nepal is magical. Get ready for some hard core, culture shocking experiences that will touch your heart. In any of the two ma...