GoEco

Program Reviews

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yael
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Animal Shelter

the whoe stay was very unique. the young group of volunteers with us and the staff were truely amazing, and exteremly proffassional.
gave me and the griend that was traveling with me a chance to really get to know the colture, the vibe, and of-course the animals of Costa Rica up close.
i wouldnt recommend more than a week's satey, if you dont have much time to travle in Costa Rica.
would probably do it again, if I ever come back (and I do hope I will...)
all in all, great expirience!

PURA VIDA

Default avatar
Steve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Belize Mini Private Island Diving & Marine Conservation

You live on a small private island (size of a football field) and dive 3time/day. Great place to learn and get certified or hone in on your skills. You can get your open water or go all the way to master diver.
The diving staff are awesome, very knowledgeable and the focus is to keep you safe and make sure you have a great time. After 2 weeks you will become a pro diver.
We hunt lionfish (invasive) and surveyed for conch and lobster. While diving I have seen turtles, sharks, dolphins, a manatee, and a variety of marine life. I even saw two turtles come up at night to lay eggs.
You spend your rest time play volleyball, paddle boarding, snorkeling, swimming, laying in a hammock, or play card games. There is no internet/wifi which means you spend more time interacting and bonding with others.
The island has it own chef which create delicious and healthy meals. They accommodate to all dietary needs. If you catch enough lionfish they will make ceviche, fish burgers, or fried fish.
Once you stay you don't want to leave.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Its a small island surrounded by water. One of the few places where you can watch the sunrise and set over the ocean in the same spot. The water is warm for morning sunrise or sunset swims. At night without all the light pollution you see many more stars in the sky, and easily make out the Milky Way light band across the sky.
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Koron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica animals sanctuary

My experience at the NATUWA animal sanctuary in Costa Rica was amazing! I worked with animals which was like a dream come true, as well as meeting new people who helped me with my Spanish. The bonds I created with everyone will never be forgotten. Zoe and Lorenzo were very helpful with my trip and made sure I was okay every step of the way. I highly recommend this project for any solo travelers looking to have fun and experience working with animals and doing conservation work while learning spanish.

What was your funniest moment?
Sitting at the dinner table and joking around with my new friends!
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Claude
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ischia Dolphin Project

The live-aboard dolphin project in Ischia, Italy truly changed my life. Each day we went to sea and interacted with pods of dolphins and whales, as well as encountered mobula rays, sunfish, and a few species of sea birds. The generosity of spirit and openness to volunteers of all backgrounds made this experience that much more enjoyable. We would end many of our days by going onto the island and getting pizza, gelato, and many other delicious treats. I would highly recommend for any one, families, kids, college students, travelers, photographers - any and all can enjoy!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
On my final day, we encountered a group of teen sperm whales, some of which jumped completely out of the water!
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Imogen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Couldn’t recommend Chipangali enough!!

Can’t recommend Chipangali enough!! Me and my boyfriend went for 3 weeks and we absolutely loved it! The staff, animals & the people you meet are all amazing!! We have made friends for life at Chipangali!

The Wilson family are nothing but welcoming and make you feel comfortable and at home.You experience things you would never think you’d experience in your life! Not many people can say they have stroked a lion or a leopard!

The animals are all treated with love and it was really nice to see how much the animals are looked after. We would return in a heart beat and hope that we can come back in the future!!

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Martina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Chipangali - what an experience

I had the opportunity to spend 3 weeks at Chipangali in November 2021. It has been a great experience with meeting many interesting people, making new friends, working for and with wild animals. Safety and wellfare for humans as well as the animals is a priority. Several once in a lifetime moments like stroking Carla the leopard, playing with the ‚teenage‘ monkeys Jack ‚n‘ Numbsa, catching flying ants for a disabled bushbaby Jeckyl (made him very happy) and many more.
Without a blink and many awesome memories I recommend a stay at Chipangali for a trip as a volunteer!

Default avatar
Stephanie
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

DO NOT RECOMMEND - Chipangali OR GoEco

It’s hard to write a negative review b/c the animals, mission & support staff at Chipangali were wonderful, but the overall experience wasn’t positive. We DID NOT have a positive experience with GoEco or Chipangali & recently left a two week volunteer program half way through.

We tried to be as empathetic as possible & give Chipangali the benefit of the doubt but due to multiple people getting sick left & right, the lack of COVID protocol, repeated bullying for wearing masks, a very uncomfortable physical encounter with a member of the Chipangali family, lack of volunteer training & hospitality, constant power outages & lack of cell service, we felt trapped in a rapidly deteriorating situation. Every day another issue occurred that was unacceptable or unprofessional i.e. we were called “brats” to our faces as a general greeting, rat feces found in volunteer food, multiple animals died due to lack of appropriate shelter, despite no volunteer training mistakes are apparently your fault & questions are ridiculed, etc…

The GoEco support team is apathetic & communication is dismal. The response times are 4 days for emails & 2 days for something urgent. After our experience with them, it’s hard to believe they advocate for volunteers or have their best interests in mind. For example, GoEco never informed us of a mandatory 10 day quarantine in Zim, we had to inform them & then chase down answers for days to see if we could still get into Zim. Nor did they tell us ALL other volunteers had cancelled or were leaving early due to COVID cases at Chipangali. GoEco's preparation docs don't inform you that USD cash is useless if not printed after 2006 & ATM's and cards don't work so you're effectively trapped without money if someone can't lend you money. The most traumatic issue was after a negative physical encounter with a member of the Chipangali family, GoEco’s answer was a copy & paste “we’re sorry, we will review this…”

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do your research on volunteer providers! Here are some of the GoEco red flags: GoEco does NOT provide refunds (only credit for future programs) even if there are COVID related travel restrictions or issues; you don't find out which volunteer program you're assigned to until AFTER you pay and by then no refunds are available; it's also hard getting a straight answer on what your program fees go towards, the response times from their support team are 4 days for emails & 2 days for something urgent...trust me when you're in a difficult situation in a 3rd world country, 2 days feels like eternity, etc...

Anyone looking to volunteer in Africa should do their research and check out the credentials & reviews of any project they are considering very carefully, and if an intermediary like GoEco is refusing to give out details or clear answers, then walk away immediately.
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Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My stay at the Maldives

Since forever, my dream was to go volunteering abroad whenever I had the chance. After so much search (and afraid of covid) I ended up going with GoEco to the marine conservation centre in the Maldives.

It was the best thing I could have ever done! Unfortunately (and because of covid) it was just the staff, me and another volunteer, but we still had loads of fun, and it felt so enriching to get to know the "real" Maldives and its culture. The locals are super nice and ready to help, and working with the marine turtles was incredibly joyful! Also understanding the dangers they face out there and our environmental responsibilities made me look at the world from a different perspective. Thank you :)

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I'm terribly afraid of the ocean (and yes I went to this program thinking it would be easy-peasy) and the boat ride to Naifaru was for about 3 hours and was particularly bumpy that day because of the wind and the waves. I thought I was going to die every 15 minutes. Fortunately, Emma, the volunteer coordinator, arrived that day so at least we could hold hands as we jumped from our seats. Nothing like facing your fears head on (and without knowing you were going to 🤣)
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Haley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Special Experience!

I've done 3 volunteer programs with GoEco and every experience was incredible! The staff is helpful with getting you to and from the program, and are always friendly. I felt that I could contact them at any time and everything went smoothly.
My most recent experience with the Maasai Mara program was particularly special. I got involved in some real conservation data collection and stayed in the wild for three weeks. The data collection goes straight to research programs in the area and the conservancy works makes sure that the area remains clean and balanced. I saw nearly every animal present at the conservancy and enjoyed watching the interactions. This is the real wild, so be prepared to see nature in its purest form and to stay in basic accommodation. The conservancy does a great job of being respectful towards the animals. The drivers are knowledgeable and efficient. Also, the food is amazing!
Would highly recommend for a rewarding experience that helps you get ahead in your career. Plus you make life long friends from around the world!

What was your funniest moment?
We watched a hyena having the time of its life playing in a pond and trying to drag in its friend too! It was like watching two puppies play. A really cool, funny, and unique encounter!
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Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Two Amazing Weeks in Pacuare

I was placed in the project on the Caribbean side and it was such an amazing experience. I loved the fact that there was no service as it allowed me to fully immerse myself in the nature, people and work around me. I met so many incredible people from all around the world and learned all about their lives and past travels by talking to them on patrol and hatchery shifts. I was able to assist in a few hatchling releases but I unfortunately did not see any nesting turtles on patrol. However, it was still so fun and rewarding to participate in the shifts. I had to leave early and abruptly because of a medical situation, and since I knew I would not have service I gave my mom Zoe’s, Lorenzo’s and Cristina’s contact information before I left. They were extremely helpful and quickly made accommodations for me to leave and I was so thankful for that. I cannot recommend this project enough, it was truly one of my favorite adventures.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
This was my first time traveling on my own, and of course arriving at the site on the first day was exciting and nerve-racking. I had made a two-week commitment and was nervous if I would enjoy the work or make friends with the other participants, but I worried for no reason. You are surrounded by like-minded and kind people who are also passionate about helping the environment and working with animals, and of course seeing a baby turtle in any capacity is worth so much.