Going on an adventure to a new place has the power to change you, but you can also change a place—for better or worse. Make a positive impact with one of these ten trips that are full of adventure and also benefit local communities and conservation. —Kate Siber
Sea turtles are easy to catch and—according to some—delicious to eat. They also get tangled in fishing nets and are losing much of their coastal habitat to development. It all adds up to one sad but indisputable fact: Six of the seven major species of marine turtles are threatened or endangered. The good news is that there are a number of grassroots projects aimed at helping these ancient seafarers survive—and many could use the help of travelers.
Magdalena Bay, a labyrinth of mangroves off Baja’s Pacific Coast, is the home of one innovative project. Founded by conservationist Wallace J. Nichols, Grupo Tortuguero is a collection of former poachers who have committed to changing their ways. Every month, they catch sea turtles in nets; measure, weigh, and tag them; then let them go. A travel company, Red Sustainable Travel, brings volunteers here to help the group record data—used in studies by organizations like NOAA—and to defray the costs of the research project. In turn, trip fees pay for staffers’ salaries, fund a local children’s education project, and prove to locals that sea turtles are worth more alive than stewing in broth.
For travelers, the three-day trip can hardly be called work. Volunteers stay in tents on a small, remote islet so perfect it could be airbrushed. When not tagging sea turtles, hike in desert studded with coyote tracks, slurp fresh oysters and salsa, and dig your toes into the white sand of a wild dune field with views of crashing Pacific swells.
Choose your next Conservation Adventure.
This article was originally published in National Geographic Adventure by Kate Siber. View the original article: 10 Great Adventure Trips That Give Back