Eco projects for the REAL conservationist from @hostelbookers

Responsible tourism goes beyond eco-friendly travel, it means spending time getting involved in projects that leave your vacation destination a little better place than when you arrived. Whether you’re into chilling in a cheap hotel in Goa or going native in the rainforest in Honduras, you’ll be welcomed to volunteer in projects that range from preserving natural habitats to restoring sacred sites to their original glory.

For inexpensive lodgings in exotic locals, check for listings on Hostelbookers.com, the budget travel specialists.

Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer Project – Sri Lanka

Turtle

Do your bit to help endangered momma sea turtles have a safe nursery for their babies along the beautiful west coast of Sri Lanka. Participants stay in a spacious house with three meals per day provided by the fully trained in-house team that manages the program. At the end of the project, you can see the results of your labors as a new set of healthy baby turtles make their way to their ocean home.

Utila Centre for Marine Ecology – Honduras and Utila

UCME hosts a low cost working holiday volunteer packages for visitors interested in preserving the lush tropical coastlines from rampant tourism. Guests are educated by experts in the conservation of this delicate environment and plugged into programs to deter the collection of unsustainable souvenirs like conch shells that are crucial to the survival of the coral reefs. Along the beach, volunteers help maintain the mangrove forest and wetlands that promote healthy sea life. Your efforts are greatly appreciated by the locals who reward volunteers with special festivals.

Jungle Conservation & Research – Peru
Macaw

Set off from the Inca capital city of Cuzco to journey into the rainforest where you’ll get up close and personal with fascinating wildlife that inhabitAcjanco Park. Work with trained scientists to monitor endangered species like the Blue Headed Macaw and document theirefforts to increase local sustainability projects that do not harm the landscape. Volunteers stay in a modern lodge with an open floor plan that brings the beauty of the surrounding rain forest indoors.

Arunachala Greening Project – South India

Organized in partnership with a British conservation volunteer organization, this program trains teams of 15 to repair the damage done by tourist and pilgrims on the sacred mountain of Arunachala. Help plant trees, maintain pathways and revive the mountainside that is considered by many the spiritual center of the world. Legend claims that once a year a column of light, the “peace-giving beacon,” appears on the mountain as a manifestation of Siva himself.

Pocalove Basic Image Activities – Hawaii

On the North Shore of the Big Island of Hawaii, this community -based organization puts visitors together with locals to restore damaged lands and create viable open spaces in urban areas. By the time you leave, you’ll have fostered a strong sense of “kuleana” (responsibility) and will see why their motto is “Don’t change Hawaii, let Hawaii change you!”

Volunteer Underwater Archaeological Fieldwork – Scotland

Be a local hero when you sign up with the University of Edinburgh’s School of History, Classics and Archaeology to dive intolocal reservoirs to survey submerged archaeological sites. Learn how to takeunderwater photographs and set up a marine grid system under the waters of the South Lanarkshire and Glendevon Reservoirs while learning about the local history from experts. You can this project and others on archeaologyfieldwork.com.

Golden Monkeys Volunteer Research - Uganda

Sponsored by the Mgahinga Community Development Organization, volunteers are welcomed to maintain programs that preserve endangered species like golden monkeys, forest elephants andmountain gorillas in southwest Uganda. This program allows self-funded volunteers to stay up to three months at their campsite in the Mgahinga National Park.

Thanks to Earthrace and Suneko for your photos from flickr.