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ZAKYNTHOS GREECE SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION - 14-Day Custom Itinerary

$3495

Contact us about our payment plan option

inside/out has developed an exclusive small group experience for its clients by special arrangement with the local sea turtle rescue organization on Zakynthos.  This opportunity for sea turtle conservation and adventure on Zakynthos is a unique privilege only available to travelers with inside/out. Volunteer opportunities here are typically limited to longer-term individual placements. 

Your project work will focus on assisting in the construction of a new sea turtle rehabilitation center on the island, monitoring sea turtle nesting activity and a beach clean up. You may have the opportunity to assist technical volunteers with hands on sea turtle assistance, but our project will surround protection, education and work on rehabilitation facilities. The Mediterranean Loggerhead Sea Turtle is an endangered species with its primary nesting grounds on the beaches of Gerakas, adjacent to where you will live, work and play during your adventure.  We will stay in small local eco-village accommodations, family-owned and operated. Food is locally grown and organic.

Adventure activities include a trek up Mt. Skopos, snorkeling and a 2-day catamaran sailing tour of the Ionian Sea where you will have the option of actively learning and participating in the sailing of the vessel or relaxing and enjoying the sea tour. There may be opportunities for you to see and swim with turtles in the wild.

Our work will have a longer lasting impact in sustaining the viability of the species, whose continued reproduction is threatened by tourism and development.  This area is home to the Mediterranean Monk Seal as well, with a population of these seals living in near proximity to our eco lodges.

We will also spend a day at the Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Athens, touring the facility and volunteering with the sea turtles in rehabilitation there. We'll have a few extra days in Athens to explore the ancient city.

This trip will be suitable for solo travelers, couples and friends as well as families.  Rooms and lodging can be arranged to accommodate families separately.  Single supplements also available.

A portion of proceeds from the trip will also be earmarked for the projects. We also welcome donations below.

Reserve your spot on this trip by registering now. Limit of 12 participants, so register early. Slots are filled on a first come first served basis. A $500 deposit is required for registration.

ITINERARY

DAY 1
Arrive in Athens
Overnight in Athens

DAY 2
Tour and volunteer at sea turtle rescue center in Glyfada
Overnight in Athens

DAY 3
Travel by bus & ferry to Zakynthos
4 hrs Athens to Kyllini by bus, 1 hour ferry
Orientation for project
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 4
Project work building new rescue facility in Gerakas
Monitor and report turtle nesting activity
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 5
Project work building new rescue facility in Gerakas
Monitor and report turtle nesting activity
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 6
Project work building new rescue facility in Gerakas
Monitor and report turtle nesting activity
Distribute educational materials in the local community, handing out leaflets and interacting with local population
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 7
Beach clean up day.  Collect and remove litter from turtle nesting beaches
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 8
Trekking up Mt. Skopos (moderately easy hike, approximately 8km)
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 9
Snorkeling
Overnight in Gerakas, Ionian Eco Village

DAY 10-11
Active sailing adventure around Ionian islands, with optional hands on participation as an active crew member on the excursion.  Instruction provided.  Active participation is optional.

DAY 12
Return by ferry 1 hour, and bus to Athens, 4 hrs.
Overnight in Athens

DAY 13
Free day in Athens
Overnight in Athens

DAY 14
Send off and departure

Background

Due to the significance of Zakynthos as a loggerhead nesting ground in the Mediterranean, the Greek government introduced protective legislation as early as 1984. The purpose of this legislation was to control further development and maintain the quality of the nesting beaches so that turtles may visit Zakynthos for many more generations. The 1984 measures assumed a stronger status in 1990, when a Presidential Decree was passed. Under this legislation apart from restrictions on visitation and beach furniture:

1. Development is restricted behind the nesting beaches under a Building Control Zone. Hence, no tourist development is allowed in the protected areas
2. No lights are allowed to shine directly on the nesting beaches
3. No vehicles and horses are allowed on the nesting beaches.

In 1988, a ministerial decision established two maritime zones in a large portion of the Bay. No boating or fishing activity is permitted in Zone A. The speed limit in Zone B is 6 miles per hour and no anchoring or mooring is allowed. Fish farms are banned from both zones. In 1994, following a campaign by ARCHELON and the support of other NGOs, a third zone, Zone C, was set up where the speed limit is 6 miles per hour. Consequently, speedboats were banned from the whole Bay of Laganas.

In 1994, night flights-from 10pm to 5am-were banned as the landing/take-off air way passes over the Laganas nesting beach. The lights and noise of the aircraft disturbs nesting turtles.

Unfortunately, legislation was poorly enforced, allowing illegal umbrellas and sunbeds to occupy vital nesting grounds or illegal buildings (tavernas and holiday homes) to sprout on Daphni. The legislation did succeed though in halting large hotel complexes from been built on certain beaches. Marathonissi islet was not developed thanks to concerted reaction by conservationists, local communities and the local Church.

The long-standing struggle of ARCHELON and other NGOs, eventually urged the Greek government to proceed with the establishment of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ) in December 1999. This is the first National Park to protect sea turtle nesting beaches in the Mediterranean. It was the first protected area in Greece with a Management Agency.

 

 



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