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Help Exchange

All Year: June-September
Area (ha):
Persons: 6 in total
Category: Other
Host ID: 38802
Country: Turkey

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Last Updated: September 11, 2015



Cirali is a small touristic village just 80 km from Antalya International airport, and is especially popular amongst nature lovers. The village is located in wild nature -the turquoise coastline at the seaside, impressive mountains cover the land side. Cirali lies at the end of a valley and opens to several kilometers of unspoiled beach.

From the end May to end of July, the Caretta Carettas (endangered protected sea turtles) come to the beach and lay their eggs, and between August and September, young turtles hatch out of their nest and try to find their way to the sea.

But tourism, even at a smaller scale, has had an impact on their habitat, and a lot needs to be done to make sure that Caretta-carettas will continue coming back to reproduce on our beach.

15 years ago, a turtle conservation initiative was launched in Cirali by WWF, which trained local volunteers, including local resident Mr Bayram Kütle, in how to monitor and protect the nests. WWF is no longer involved in the project and the conservation initiative has relied solely on the voluntary efforts of Bayram Kütle and the local Ulupinar Kooperatifi.

We suggest that you watch this great video which was produced by WWF in 2010. Although WWF is no longer part of the project, the video is a great introduction to Cirali, Bayram, the carettas and how volunteers can help.

Bayram Kütle and the 2 or 3 people who are actively involved in turtle protection need more help during the reproductive season (from June to September) to monitor and protect the nests over several kilometres of sand. Volunteers‘ contribution is crucial.

We are Silvia and Dom, two Cirali residents committed to helping Bayram with the initiative. We offered to help him with recruiting and coordinating volunteers and are looking to form a team of six people throughout the season.

Each helper should stay for a minimum of 2 weeks between the beginning of June and the end of September. You will be accommodated in small guesthouses, who will provide you with accommodation (in a tent) and all meals. These guesthouses want to support the project but they will also expect that you provide help at their place with daily tasks. That means that your helping time will be divided between the turtle project and help at the guesthouse. Expect to spend about 4-6 hours helping a day, six days a week.



In June –July (nesting time):

Between 9:30 p.m. and midnight:

Assist Bayram Kütle with patrolling the beach at night when turtles come out of the sea to lay their eggs. You will form a team of two equipped with walkie talkies, and walk along the beach kindly reminding people not to behave in any harmful way that could disturb the turtles. For instance people should not make fires on the beach, use a torch or other light, make loud noise, sleep on the beach or enter with a car. This task might be demanding, but it is a crucial part of turtle protection.

In the morning at sunrise:

Assist Mr. Kütle Bayram with monitoring the beach to detect freshly formed nests and protect them with a cage before the public comes to the beach.


In August-September (hatching time):

Between 9:30 p.m. and midnight:
Assist Bayram Kütle with patrolling the beach at night when baby turtles hatch and walk to the sea. You will form a team of two equipped with walkie talkies, and walk along the beach kindly reminding people not to behave in any harmful way that could disturb the babies. This task might be demanding, but it is a crucial part of turtle protection.

Before sunrise:

Assist Bayram with monitoring the nests which are supposed to hatch that day. This very unique moment attracts a lot of people. So you will help to make sure that no one disturbs the babies while they are clumsily trying to make their way to the sea at sunrise. Other tasks include: counting the babies, keeping them hydrated by pouring water on them, and sometimes even helping them getting out of the sand.


The guesthouse where you stay will not expect long shifts. However we believe that helping them is also a way for you to integrate into village life and make new friends.

The guesthouses come in different standards and shapes. Some are family run guest houses, other are little bit more sophisticated, some are camps. All of them are sympathetic to the cause and run by nice people. All are within cycling or walking distance from each other and the beach, so you can easily meet up with your teammates when you want to. You will be accommodated in tents. Turkish home made food and friendliness waits for you. All the pensions are equipped with the wifi.

The tasks will have to be discussed in detail with the guesthouse owner, but they typically include:

Garden work
Maintenance and cleaning rooms
Helping in the kitchen and in service

We welcome applications from environmentally conscious single travellers who don’t mind to wake up early in the morning! Each helper should be able to stay for two weeks. We will provide you more information about your guesthouse before your arrival.

There are many ways to enjoy Cirali’s beautiful region during your free time:

- the beach and its crystal water
- one-day hikes along the coast and on the Lycian way, south Turkey’s beautiful trekking route, which passes through Cirali
- rock climbing: over 200 routes for all levels in nearby Olympos
- local excursions: the antique cities: Olympos, Phaselis; the natural gaz flames burning out of the mountain at Chimera.
- yoga (Silvia is a yoga teacher herself)
- fishing (angling)
- nightlife (bars) in nearby Olympos
- boat trips
- very frequent bus services to Antalya (1h30) and to the nearest town, Kulumca (30 mn)

Please bear in mind that Cirali’s micro-climate is quite tropical and hot in summer.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Silvia and Dom on behalf of the Ulupinar Kooperatifi

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