Marine biology internship in Ecuador
Marine biology internship in Ecuador
Marine biology internship in Ecuador

Useful information

Ecuador, in the heart of Latin America, is the ideal destination to learn Spanish and participate in a sustainable development program. Adapted to gap year projects, this marine biology internship is divided into two projects: a 4-week mission at the humpback whale research center, followed by the sea turtle preservation project. Develop cross-disciplinary skills through this immersive field experience in a gap year or internship within an international team.

Bachelor or Master's degree in marine biology
Bachelor or Master's degree in underwater ecology
Environmental Sciences
Engineering degree (ecology, environment, agronomy)
DUT Génie biologique


Puerto López


Intermediate English


Description of the program

For this gap year project, arrivals are on Saturday in Guayaquil. After 4 weeks at the whale research center in Puerto Lopez, you will be transferred to the turtle protection project in a small coastal town for a project in total immersion with the local community.

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Like all of our gap year programs with animals, this marine research internship in Ecuador provides a professional experience while having a positive and sustainable impact on the region's ecosystems.

History of the whale protection project

Since 1997, the Foundation, located in Puerto Lopez, has been dedicated to gathering data and information on whales in order to contribute to the scientific research of the South American Commission. This research is carried out each year during the humpback whale migration season when they pass through Ecuadorian waters.

Every year from June to October, humpback whales swim through the warm waters off the Pacific coast of Ecuador to find a mate to mate with. They travel a very long distance to the southern coast of Colombia before returning to Antarctic waters.

The role of volunteers

The volunteers participate, during this gap year with internship, in the observation of these incredible animals and contribute to scientific research. Since 1997, the Foundation has identified and cataloged approximately 2,200 different whales by photographing their fins and has participated in various scientific studies on the determination of migratory routes and places where whales feed. In addition to whales, seabirds and dolphins are also monitored.

7-day volunteer schedule:

Day 1 :

- Morning: Arrival on the project.

- Afternoon: Presentation of the scientific team, orientation and methodology.

Day 2 :

- Morning: Field day of research on whales and the Pacific Ocean.

- Afternoon: Data analysis/Lunch.

Day 3 :

- Whale research day/Isla de la Plata/Hiking and snorkeling.

Day 4 :

- Morning: Field day of research on whales and the Pacific Ocean.

- Afternoon: Data analysis/Lunch.

Day 5 :

- Free day.

Day 6 :

- Morning: Field day of research on whales and the Pacific Ocean.

- Afternoon: Data analysis/Lunch.

Day 7 :

- Results and conclusions.

End of the program carried out during this gap year internship in Ecuador.

Host organization

Since 2002, Lydia and her team have been dedicated to setting up international volunteering projects in Ecuador: educational projects and environmental projects throughout the country.
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Their motivation and dedication has allowed them to surround themselves with 30 people to manage students from all over the world and ensure that their experience in Ecuador is authentic. They also offer Spanish classes and excursions throughout the country to complement the social and environmental missions.

Active member of the national organizations Optur and Captur recognized by the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador.

At the end of 2017, our NGO received the Travelife certification which meets the ISO 26000 standard: social responsibility, environment, biodiversity, human rights. All their projects are officially recognised and supported by the United Nations Committee on Responsible Tourism.


Strong points

Observation of animals in their habitat
Support of a team of researchers
Wildlife monitoring
Analysis of data collected

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