Projects Abroad | Environmental Conservation

Peru: Natural Resources Protection & Surfonomics (online and in-person)

Talara, Peru


Location: Talara, Peru

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 6 months

Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability

Cost for the in-person placement: from $1230 USD for the first 2 weeks + from $448 for each week thereafter – see Costs tab for further details

Cost for the online placement:from $920 USD for the first 2 weeks + from $335 for each week thereafter – see Costs tab for further details


  • Gain personal hands-on experience working with a growing Peruvian NGO.
  • Work alongside experienced & passionate professionals and local communities
  • Learn from our educational seminars given by our Directors on topics including but not limited to: international development, NGO/social enterprise creation and management, marketing and outreach, research techniques and more.
  • IMPACT –  your financial contribution helps fund our projects and it also sponsors food for a family in need which has been affected by COVID19. In appreciation the family will, with our help, plant a tree in your name. A thank you photo will be sent to you during your placement.
  • Live and work in a north Peru surfing hot-spot (relevant to the in-person placement)
  • Keywords: Engineering, field work, sustainable development, community development, serious internship.
Costs Explained


During this internship, you will be working with a surfing-inspired sustainable development non-profit (NGO) driving the development of poor Peruvian coastal communities through a path of sustainability, improving the quality of life of their inhabitants. The NGO develops educational, infrastructure, environmental, social and economic productivity projects working hand in hand with local communities and with international volunteers/interns. They take a “shared value” approach, working with the private, public, academic sectors and other NGOs, to come up with relevant and lasting sustainable solutions. The approach towards sustainability consists of three pillars:

– Nature conservation;

– Social justice; and

– Economic wellbeing for all.

Peru has a magnificent coastline that extends for 3,080 kms along the Pacific Ocean, from the southern border with Chile to the northern border with Ecuador. Apart from its beautiful sandy beaches and warm climates, much of the coast contains extraordinary world class wave breaks, perfect for the practice of surfing and other watersports. Lobitos is particularly renown for the quality and consistency of its wave breaks, receiving thousands of tourists due to surfing every year. Over time, the survival of many of these wave breaks has been threatened by carelessly planned and executed infrastructure and big industry projects. In some cases, these projects have resulted in their complete destruction. We are leading the protection of the wave breaks in Lobitos.

In 2013 a true historic milestone occurred, Peru became the first country in the world to approve a law (Law No. 27280) that protects wave breaks. As a requirement for this law to apply, each wave break must have a technical hydrographic study and be registered in the National Registry of Wave Breaks in Peru. Registering the waves in Lobitos and protecting them by law is the first step for their permanent protection. Once this is step is completed, the next steps are to develop the following:

Daily Life

Surfonomics Study: Economic valuation of the benefit surfing brings to the community of Lobitos. Throughout one year we will conduct surveys and interviews to tourists, local business owners, other key stakeholders and the community at large to understand better the impact of the surfing industry in Lobitos, how much income it generates for the town and how this income is being distributed.
World Surfing Reserve (WSR) Application: Save the Waves is an international organization that together with the NSR (National Surfing Reserve) Australia and the ISA (International Surfing Association) seek to preserve wave breaks and their surrounding areas by giving them the international recognition as ‘World Surfing Reserves’. In order to obtain this designation, each locality must complete a very rigorous application process.

We are looking for someone with a passion for protecting natural resources. A university specialization or work experience in environmental, conservation management, geography and/or economics is preferable but not required. Someone who is proficient in spanish and is capable of working as part of a team and in remote areas. Good communication skills and the ability to multitask will be essential.

The town of Lobitos and its inhabitants largely depend on the income from the tourism industry that is primarily based on surfing. Therefore protecting the wave breaks by law will ensure that this industry can continue to grow and prosper and together with it, the community of Lobitos. The project also directly benefits the environment by protecting the existing natural resources vital to the coastal-marine ecosystem and biodiversity.

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accommodation

You will be met at the local airport in Talara and transferred directly to the project location.

Throughout your placement you will be living in comfortable accommodation at the NGO headquarters with access to an office workplace and resources, fully equipped kitchen, shared bathroom and shared bedrooms, access to clean water, electricity and Internet (99% of the time). The house also has a shared living room/chill-out space with a DVD-player.

All meals are included during your stay (excluding restaurant meals). Peruvian cuisine is considered as one of the best in the world and is also generally very healthy, incorporating lots of fruits and fresh produce.

Fundraising Help


  • Minimum age 18.
  • Minimum 2-week commitment.
  • Intermediate to fluent Spanish (proficiency is preferable but not required).
  • Experience working away from home.
  • Ability to be flexible.
  • Positive attitude (this one is critical!).
  • Willingness to learn and work as part of a team.
  • Genuine interest in sustainable development & NGO Management.
  • Relevant academic background.
  • Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment.
  • Travel & medical insurance.
  • Necessary vaccinations and visas.
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Below you’ll see the financial contribution required for the in-person and online placements.

Cost per week Total Project Fee
First 2 weeks $538 (in person) $368 (online) $1,326(in person) $986  (online)
3 weeks $529 (in person) $362 (online) $1,837 (in person) $1,336 (online)
4 weeks $529(in person) $362 (online) $2,366(in person) $1,698 (online)
2 months $514 (in person) $352 (online) $4,362 (in person) $3,066 (online)
3 months $491 (in person) $337 (online) $6,142(in person) $4,294


* Currency in USD
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** $250 admin fee included
**** 30% deposit required to confirm place.

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes food, accommodation, local transfers, 24-hour in-country support, orientation and integration into the project. Your contribution also helps fund our projects and also sponsors a vulnerable family in need, affected by COVID19, with food. You are having a positive impact just by joining.

What’s not included:

Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate

Past Participants Say

Liam Innis
Nomad Rating
Project Impact
Extra Activities
When I, a complete stranger walk around Lobitos with my EcoSwell t-shirt on, I am met by smiles, waves and even calls of ‘Hola EcoSwell!’. As member of the team, irregardless where I come from, I am regarded as part of the movement which brought solar energy and a biodigester to the community hall, whose community afforestation project brought...
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