GVI: Volunteer in Greece

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, GVI has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

The crew👌🏾
The crew👌🏾
🐢 measuring/tagging
🐢 measuring/tagging
First night survey
First night survey
Sunset on the mediterranean
Sunset on the mediterranean
Me and my Monitoring Leader after the excavation of the same nest months before that I found with her! I got to see this nest go full circle, one of my favourite parts of the trip.
Me and my first sea turtle hatchling!!
Me and my first of several camp group photos. I get emotional when I look at them, as I love all of these people and miss them terribly.
GVI: Volunteer in Greece
GVI: Volunteer in Greece

About

Visit Giannitsochori, a coastal village, to engage in sustainable projects that assist with the protection of endangered loggerhead turtles. Learn about the nesting process through a first-hand experience while also gaining technical marine conservation skills. Activities could include assembling protective structures, surveying and monitoring nesting sites, and ensuring they are safeguarded from natural predators in the area.

Your contributions support the hatchlings safe journey to the ocean and align with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, and Goal 15: Life On Land. This is also a way to meet people from around the world and connect with skilled conservationists and local community members.

While in Greece, develop your palate with local dishes before exploring nearby mountain terrain and heading back to your beachside campsite for the night’s nesting activities.

Highlights
  • Observe and assist in the nesting cycle of the loggerhead turtle.
  • Travel around Greece.
  • Hike nearby mountains with panoramic views over the Ionian Sea, taste traditional dishes, learn about the art and culture of Greece, and explore archaeological sites and fortresses.
  • Connect with local community members and people from around the world.
  • Develop practical conservation techniques and skills, and contribute towards the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

GVI has a Community Development Internship in Thailand!


This is an opportunity to learn more about Chiang Mai's local Karen hill tribe culture, gaining intercultural communication skills and valuable teaching experience.

Popular Programs

Join conservation efforts along the west coast of Greece, where GVI partners with a local organization to protect loggerhead turtles and their breeding sites. You’ll monitor nests and turtles, build protective structures, and collect data. With your assistance, the growing awareness of these turtles will lead to better protection for them, ensuring more hatchlings join the population each year. This is also an opportunity to traverse archaeological sites and learn about ancient Olympic history.

This is a program for young adults between 15 and 17 years old to collaborate with the safeguarding of endangered loggerhead turtles. You will learn practical conservation skills such as, surveying and collecting data on nesting activity and turtle behavior and building protective structures. Contribute to the turtle hatchlings safe journey to the sea, while supporting the UN SDG Goal 14: Life Below Water, and Goal 15: Life On Land.

Questions & Answers

Yes

Hi Biro, Unfortunately, the youngest age we can accept is 14 years old. The GVI Team

Hi Alexa, We accept participants on our programs from the age of 15 and up. There are teen programs for students aged 15 - 17 which you can see here: https://www.gviusa.com/volunteering-for-teens/ , and programs for individuals aged 18+. Each program has a specific fee, which you can see here: https://www.gviusa.com/find-a-program/ Please do submit an inquiry on our website and one of our...

Reviews

9.56 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • Impact 9.1
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 8.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 9
Default avatar
Amelia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience!!!

I had originally signed up to go on this trip to do something more with my summer than just a normal vacation. What I got was so much more than I thought I would from this experience. I got to meet some amazing people and I had a blast. If I had been told beforehand that I would be waking up at 5 AM, I would have thought that I wouldn't be able to wake up, but the opposite was true, I found it so easy to wake up as I was going to go on a survey that was crazy cool. Finding the turtle nests was surreal. I still marvel at how turtles can nest in the way that they do. It was so peaceful walking down the beach in the early mornings. I would go back in a heartbeat and do it again. The staff was amazing. The campsite was really cool as well, being only a few minutes from the taverna and the beach. This trip was eye-opening to so much more than I thought it would be. We did some beach cleans as well as learning about the different effects that we have on the environment. It is an experience that I will never forget and that I highly recommend to anyone thinking about doing something similar.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Best piece of advice for this program is to bring some Crocs. When walking down the beach and crossing the rivers, they were the best kind of shoes to have. Everyone ended up going out and buying a pair during the weekend trip.
Default avatar
Alastair
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing 2 weeks

I did 2 weeks of turtle conservation in Greece in August of 2019 and it was a genuinely life changing fortnight. I had never done anything thing like this before and had never travelled alone before either but I'm so glad I did because at the end of my time I felt like I had done something fulfilling and meaningful with my summer, and I had! So I had signed up for 2 weeks abroad doing wildlife conservation and didn't really know what to expect, but it was brilliant, every day I would get up early,(just before 6) and get ready to start my day witha morning survey, this is where you patrol a section of the beach with a small team from your camp and see what overnight activity had occurred. It was really exciting because you never knew what you were going to see. Tracks from hatchling throughout the night, live hatchling, fresh nests and predated nest were some of what I got to see. On my first day I was lucky enough to watch 7 hatchling head down the beach into the sea and it really was an amazing heartwarming moment, watching them take their first steps towards the vast ocean and you're their watching it... Very priveldiging. It really made it feel like you were doing something good, helping this species and making a genuine impact, which truth be told you were! But there was more to it than that, whilst i were there I met some amazing people and made some life long memories, the atmosphere of base camp was just amazing. No bad memories from it, everyone who was there, was there for a similar reason. You all had something in common because you'd all chose to be there and to help turtles so getting along with everyone was really easy. There was always someone or something going on at camp as well and it was just a really happy, relaxing place to be. Midday and evenings were filled with things like be ah clean, public awareness walks or shading turtle nests from light pollution. No matter where you were or what you were doing, there was always a nice vibe and whoever you were with was worth talking to and a good laugh. My biggest regret from the whole trip is not going for longer... 2 weeks isn't long enough! And the hardest part was leaving and saying goodbye. It was a special 2 weeks and has genuinely changed my life. I encourage anyone to do the same, life's to short, go for it!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely book for a longer period of time and I'd bring an airbed!
Default avatar
Alyn
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loggerhead turtle conservation with GVI in Greece

I spent 4 weeks in the campsite at Giannitsochori, a tiny coastal village an hour from Olympia, this August. It was the best month I've ever had. GVI's on the ground staff make a compelling and motivated team, and working so closely with fellow volunteers almost guarantees you'll make good friends even if you only stay a fortnight. The location is beautiful, and you have enough free time to really appreciate that; with weekends off you can take trips to explore the area or spend time relaxing on the beach. You will learn a lot about not only the turtles themselves, their habitat and biology, but also about public awareness and interaction of locals and tourists alike, and the challenges of marine conservation on a beach that's a tourist hotspot. Patrolling the beach at night during nesting season and witnessing a turtle laying eggs is an incredible experience, matched only by later seeing hatchlings emerge from those very nests and take their first steps toward the sea. The sense of unity and delight in these moments is incredible. And to be able to continue this experience not only for a day, or a week, but a whole month (or longer!)? Certainly there are no words for how lucky I was to be able to partake in this series of events.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be sure to know what you can stand - if you hate camping, conditions that aren't perfectly clean, or insects in large quantity then this is not a good trip to sign up for unless you intend to overcome those feelings. As you'll be spending several weeks and a fair amount of money, do consider the conditions of the camp alongside the mission itself - after all, you'll live there! The only thing not to worry about is food intolerances/allergies/etc; staff are very understanding and accommodating.
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Molly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Time of my life!

Im in my gap year and wanted to do something meaningful to help endangered animals but also find something which would help me to gain confidence and life skills.
Greece turtle volunteering provided just that for me.
This was my first trip abroad by myself and I was nervous but I absolutely loved my experience in Greece, all staff and volunteers were so welcoming and willing to help you in any way they could.
Camp was basic but it had everything I needed and only a 2 minute walk from the beach!
I got to get involved with resource making, which included shading for the hatchling's, bamboo collecting and cutting for protecting the nests. We also took turns to cook dinner for camp, which was challenging but I have learnt many skills from doing this! Morning surveys and night surveys were amazing. On morning survey you would wake up early, meet the team and go out looking for turtle tracks and nests, recording and protecting them as we went. On Night survey you would get the chance to see mother turtles laying their eggs!
I was only meant to stay two weeks but I enjoyed my time so much I was able to extend my stay, all made very easy to do by the staff.
Overall, my experience in Greece was incredible and I had the time of my life knowing how much I was making an impact on protecting turtles but also making amazing friends. I would 100% recommend.

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Elizabeth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

amazing experience!

I went on the under 18 trip this summer (2018) and it was incredible! I met a lot of amazing people, I've stayed in touch with a lot of the group, and the supervisors were all lovely and enthusiastic. I think it is a very worthwhile cause and we all learnt a lot about turtles and about the importance of protecting them. I would 100% recommend to anyone interested as we had a lot of fun and the project does a some really important work.

Daisy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life time experience

Hi I'm Daisy, I'm from Britain and I have just done a month with GVI in Greece working with turtles. I have seen things that I never thought I would see and made life long friends from all over the world. With this program we did a variety of things from seeing turtles laying nests at night to seeing baby hatchlings hatching in the morning, the feeling of knowing you have helped an endangered species is probably one of the best things you can feel.

The day to day life in camp if your on a morning survey is you get up about 5.30 then at 6ish you head off down to the beach. You would check for tracks and nests or for hatchlings etc and then protect and make note of what's happened. Once your morning survey was done you head back to camp this is normally around 9.30 10 then you have free time until about 5.30 which is when you have presentations. For me free time was napping in the hammocks but for most it was heading to the beach and tanning or sitting at the taverna. For the first 2 weeks of your trip there's an education program and this taught me so much about the world and epecially conservation and what effects it so much for example plastic pollution, since learning about that and seeing photos of how it harms turtles I try my hardest not to use plastic. After 2 weeks you do other activities like shading where you put shading up to shade the hatchlings from lights you also do data logging or beach profiling.

You get the weekends off and getting to experience the Greek culture is amazing, the whole GVI environment is relaxed and welcoming, from the moment you meet the staff in the airport even after leaving the camp, the staff are very supportive and extremely passionate about what they do it makes you want to do more. For me it's made me want to go on other GVI programs doing conservation for animals and also welfare for children. The staff are brilliant and very knowledgeable so any questions you have they can answer.

My favourite thing in Greece was being able to see and help the turtles then building protection for them in person, its a once in a life time opportunity. Eventhough the smell was hard to cope with exevations were fun to see and do too, seeing what happens to the eggs and nests after they have hatched is very interesting.

I would totally recomend GVI Greece to anyone who loves conservation or science but even if your like me who didn t know anything about conservation but loves sealife and wildlife it's amazing and now its completely changed my life for the better and the way I see things now. Don't hesitate just go for it.

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Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Turtle conservation in Greece

My experience with GVI in Greece was incredible. I never thought I would be able to get so close to loggerhead turtle in their natural environment while helping to protect future generations of turtles. Life in Greece was basic but comfortable, the campsite had clean facilities and the GVI camp was well equipped. Morning and night surveys were great fun and allowed us to protect the turtles in most efficient way possible. Towards the end of my two week trip hatchlings started to appear and nest excavations could be conducted. One morning we saw 14 hatchlings and I've never been so amazed and inspired as I was watching them make there way down to the ocean.

I cannot recommend GVI highly enough, they are an amazing group that provide incredible experiences for a variety of ages. They are helpful and are always happy to give advice about the trip they run. I would really encourage anyone with an interest in any of GVI projects to go for it as it will be one of the best experiences of your life!

What would you improve about this program?
The program could be improved by working with locals to educate them about turtle conservation.
Default avatar
Bruno
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My 🐢 experience in Greece

I aint got a lot of experience in writing reviews but if you search a place where you can both spend your summer by doing something useful for both yourself and the planet volunteering is the best possible way there is and I say this one from experience. I enjoyed my time on the program from the first time I put my foot out of the bus. I although I need to admit that the campsite itself is a little different from the place what I’m used to but the program in whole change my life and made me a “greener” person. Turtles are wonderful creatures and helping them is a marvelous experience. Don’t miss this opportunity.

What would you improve about this program?
In my opinion there should be more activities/competitions and so on.