Projects from 1068€

Istria, Croatia

If you love the dolphins, well who doesn’t, this bottlenose dolphin volutneer program is the one for you. Not only you will get the hands-on experience – you will literally help in their protection. The NGO, established in 2002, is research oriented and dedicated to the conservation of dolphins off Istria, Croatia. Observe their inteligence and elegance first hand.

Dolphin Conservation Volunteer, Croatia, Adriatic


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The NGO, established in 2002, is the research team dedicated to the conservation of the bottlenose dolphins off Istria, Croatia. This dolphin conservation volunteer program in North-eastern Adriatic focuses on the relationships, group size, composition and population dynamics. It also tries to collect scientific data on dolphin interaction with the fishing boats. On the other hand there is a big negative influence from nautical tourism on a dolphin community. To volunteer for these last resident marine mammals in the area is of great importance to keep the project viable. One of the aims is to ensure that sustainable and environmentally safe tourism is accomplished by offering certified training programs for dolphin watching.


Why volunteer in protecting the dolphins off Istria, in Croatia?


It was only possible due to the help of the dolphin conservation volunteers that the first scientific article about the dolphin population was published! The baseline about dolphin abundance and distribution off Istria is so published. Dolphins play an essential role in maintaining balance, long term livelihood and sustainability for the entire marine ecosystem. Thus it is of key relevance that we help keeping the bottlenose dolphins in the area. With this dolphin conservation volunteer opportunity you indirectly help in saving the functionality of the North East Adriatic. The mission is also, that more volunteers would help in education of the local people and will try to inspire them about the conservation issues. Join us in this mission and get one of the best volunteer experiences! Last dolphins that need conservation and more sustainable approach.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”middle” css=”.vc_custom_1507284335031{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 50px !important;background-color: #157a7c !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}” el_id=”project-cta-blue-color-white”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]


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Zambratija near Umag and Funtana, Croatia



11 days


 Airport of Arrival:

Pula (PUY) in Croatia; alternative Trieste (TRS), in Italy.


Volunteer Contribution:

Dolphin conservation volunteer main contribution is data collection and protection of the last marine mammals in the area – common bottlenose dolphin.



18 – 60


 # of Volunteers:

6 International volunteers (e.g. USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, Austria, UK)


 Languages spoken:

English, German, Croatian, Slovenian;


 Essential info:

There are following team dates for the year 2018: 16 Apr -26 Apr; 4 May-14 May; 21 May-31 May; 11 Jun-21 Jun; 25Jun-5 Jul; 16 Jul-26 Jul; 6 Aug-16 Aug; 3 Sep-13 Sep; 24 Sep-4 Oct; 8 Oct-18 Oct;

You can pay also in USD. After applying you will receive an email. Then please follow the guidelines about the price conversion.


What is included?


 Airport Transfers:

Volunteers will make their own way, via public transport, to and from the airport of arrival to Umag, where they will be collected.



Shared rooms in the research station



All inclusive; vegetarian, vegan also available; typical Mediterranean food.



Volunteers must provide their own comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage.




Optional excursions:

There will be at least one excursion within the program; other attractive excursions are available prior or after the team dates.



24h emergency support and local in-country with the dolphin conservation team.


Not included:

Flights, personal[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner content_placement=”middle” css=”.vc_custom_1507284844516{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 50px !important;background-color: #02ab4c !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}” el_id=”project-cta-green-color-white”][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

Get live chat for the volunteer experience with dolphins.

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Minimum conditions:

  • Minimum age: 18
  • Must be a swimmer
  • Language: basic English, German, Slovenian or Croatian
  • Enthusiastic and a team player
  • No vaccines are needed
  • No police Background check is needed


The country is one of the safest in the world however, like everywhere, precautions must be taken with your personal belongings.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-camera-retro” add_icon=”true” title=”Photos” tab_id=”photos”][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”240,241,242,243,244,246,247,248,249,250,251,252,253,254,255,256,257,258,239,259,260,261,262,263,264,265,266,267″][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-comments” add_icon=”true” title=”Reviews” tab_id=”testimonials”][vc_column_text][testimonials ids=”553,551,552,550″ paging=false][/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-map-marker” add_icon=”true” title=”Location” tab_id=”location”][vc_column_text]



Zambratija, 5km north from Umag

Zambratija is a small village in Croatia, situated in the northern part of Istrian peninsula in the north-east of the Adriatic. Just in March 2013, only 400m from the coast there was an ancient underwater discovery announced, of the world’s heritage importance: a boat wreck, dated back into 1,200 BC. The finding captures our imagination as it is wooden and literally sewn together with the ropes. The technique was used till Roman times.

Beautiful views over the sea

In the background Zambratija has extensive olive groves with beautiful views over the sea and the area resembles Tuscany. The bikes will be available for an even better volunteer experience to enjoy the scenery when not going out with the boat. Only 20 minutes bike ride along the coast to the north is a panoramic view towards Slovenia as well as Italy with the Alps in the background. Attractive combination for a dolphin volunteer conservation: an important work for dolphins and a free time at the same time – almost like perfect vacation![/vc_column_text][vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_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” size=””][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-question” add_icon=”true” title=”About” tab_id=”about”][vc_column_text]


Bottlenose Dolphin Population in the Adriatic

The bottlenose dolphin population in the Adriatic Sea has declined by about 50 per cent in the last five decades. The decline is largely the result of a deliberate killing since these marine mammals were perceived as pests in the 60.-ies. Though the practice is now illegal, and the animals are protected, a further decline might be expected due to the rise in anthropogenic pressures, such as overfishing and a rising nautical tourism, underwater noise and other disturbances. Therefore dolphin conservation volunteer work is highly appreciated.

Dolphin Conservation Organisation

Conservation organisation is active to protect the last resident bottlenose dolphins. While their efforts began in Slovenia, they have expanded into Croatia. Actually with no bigger surprise the researchers found the same individual dolphins here but much more difficult times for them. The research area, which partially belongs to Natura 2000 (an EU-wide network of nature protection areas), is an important feeding and calving ground for more than 160 dolphins. These dolphins are the last constantly present marine mammals in the NE Adriatic and play a vital role in indicating the ecological state of the sea.

Crucial to understand is…

The work of the organisation is crucial to understand the factors influencing the local dolphin population and educating the public on their findings. Besides the help of dolphin conservation volunteer work the organisation is committed to preserve marine environment in broader sense. It is to benefit marine life, including large marine vertebrates (turtles, sharks), which regulate the ecological balance of the entire marine ecosystem.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-compass” add_icon=”true” title=”Orientation” tab_id=”orientation”][vc_column_text]



Each volunteer will receive orientation in the dolphin volunteering and research office in Zambratija. Volunteer work roles will be explained, why volunteering in dolphin conservation is needed and give helpful tips to help in obtaining the best possible volunteer experience.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-user-plus” add_icon=”true” title=”Contribution” tab_id=”contribution”][vc_column_text]



Your dolphin conservation volunteer work is certainly of the key importance to the protect. Even more so as we are talking of last resident dolphin population living in the sensitive and quite shallow and closed marine ecosystem. During the first few days, your marine volunteer tasks will be also to attend morning lectures.  Topics will be inviting, such as marine mammals, marine ecology, marine mega-fauna in the Adriatic and more.  Throughout your dolphin conservation volunteer opportunity, you will learn how to read and understand research data and actively help in dolphin conservation.


Dolphin conservation volunteer tasks will include:
  • Dolphin observation
  • Data analysing
  • Entering data directly into the catalogue, including observation notes
  • Educating the local public (mostly local children) on bottlenose and their importance for the entire marine ecosystem
  • Learning how to distinguish between dolphin species


Please note: Going out to sea for research is dependent on the weather conditions. If the weather is not favorable or the sea is above 3Bf, there will be on-land activities arranged instead.

Typical Day

A typical Day: You will be active as a dolphin conservation volunteer about 4-6 hours day, 8 days out of 11. Your days will begin at 9 a.m. with a briefing of daily tasks during the breakfast.  After that, you will analyse data from the previous observations and enter them into the main dolphin catalogue. You might be also engaged with our social media platforms and learn some marketing tools. Following will be a lunch that you will prepare for yourself along with other team members. You will also prepare a snack to take it with you, when going out to the sea.

On the good weather days…

…in the early afternoon you will depart for the dolphin research which could sometimes last till 8:30 p.m.  It depends on the encounter success. In the evening, volunteers will return to cook the dinner with the team followed by the opportunity to engage in social activities or relax.

Please note that you will not volunteer on the first and last day of your placement or on the day of the excursion. Depending on the volunteer roles during your stay you might also be involved in daily house-keeping roles, such as gardening, cleaning and similar.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_type=”entypo” i_icon_entypo=”entypo-icon entypo-icon-signal” add_icon=”true” title=”Living set-up” tab_id=”living-set-up”][vc_column_text]

Living set-up



You will stay in an apartment for volunteers with two shared rooms available (with 1-3 other volunteers in a room). One room is equipped with bunk beds. There is also an air conditioner with cooling and heating capabilities along with a western-style bathroom. The apartment’s entrance extends to a spacious terrace overlooking the sea and the surrounding area. It is simply a great place to hang out. In addition, there is a common room with a TV and computers for your use and enjoyment.



You need to bring your own bedding with you. If you bring a sleeping bag you still need to bring your own sheet. In case you don’t have anything an additional charge of 10 EUR will incur.



Three meals a day are included (meals are mostly vegetarian). There will also be regular visits to a supermarket possible for to purchase snacks and other items for individual needs.



WiFi is available for free at the research base until 10 p.m. each night.



A washing machine is available for 7 EUR per wash.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-suitcase” add_icon=”true” title=”Travel focus” tab_id=”travel-focus”][vc_column_text]

Travel focus


There will be at least one organised excursion for the dolphin conservation volunteer! After or before dolphin volunteering you may have the chance to visit Brijuni National Park or Kamenjak National Park, in case you will prolong your holidays in the area. There will be the possibility to visit one of these famous touristic towns: Umag, Rovinj or Grožnjan (a typical Istrian village situated right at the top of the small hill with beautiful views right till the sea).  In addition, there will be an organized walk under the stars into the inland of Istria on one night during your stay.

Geographical location

Lucky for you, Funtana and Zambratija are situated in an ideal geographical location as it only a few hours’ drive from most of the major European capitals. You can visit places like Venice, Dubrovnik (another Adriatic pearl town), Ljubljana (Slovenian capital) and Postojna cave (3rd biggest cave in the world). If you are interested in these particular adventures, you can ask your volunteer project coordinators upon arrival.

Your own activities

You are also free to organise your own activities, such as morning exercises on the terrace or running on the beautiful pathways next to the sea. There may also be a bike or two available for your use (depending on availability).[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1512544405677{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-bottom: 50px !important;background-color: #157a7c !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}” el_id=”project-cta-blue-color-white”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Apply now and secure yourself a place in this amazing volunteer project.

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Additional information


11 days

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