Marine Turtle Monitoring and Tagging Programme

Marine Turtle Monitoring and Tagging Programme

Placement Details

Concordia offers each year the opportunity to join more than 1500 short and medium term volunteer projects worldwide.

Project: The Marine Turtle Monitoring and Tagging Programme is entering its tenth year. Each year we invite volunteers and interns from around the world to live and work with us to protect three species of Marine Turtle. We protect the living dinosaur that is the Leatherback, the charismatic Green and the critically endangered Hawksbill. We collect data on nesting females, prevent poaching by being a presence on the beach and raise awareness about marine turtle conservation. We need dedicated volunteers to help us patrol the beach to protect the turtles and their nests. Without the commitment of our volunteers there would be no turtles nesting on our beach!

Language English on the project. Spanish is spoken to the local population.

Free places: 40 volunteers

Participation fee: 275 US$/week +  30 USD research permit fee.

Work: Our teams patrol the beach at night in search of nesting female turtles and their tracks. When we encounter a turtle we count eggs as they are being laid, measure the carapace (shell) and undertake a health assessment. Turtles are tagged with a unique identification number by the patrol leader and we triangulate the nests so the morning team can check them every day. Teams stay with the turtles to ensure they return to sea and are safe from poachers. There is no better feeling than watching a turtle go back to sea knowing that it is alive because of you! Patrols last for a minimum of six hours and involve walking on a beach at night in all weather conditions. Volunteers need to be physically fit as patrols can walk for up to 15 miles. Morning census begins at 5.30am and checks on nests and disguises tracks. Protective mesh are buried over the nests in an effort to reduce domestic dog predation. One of the responsibilities of the volunteers will be to help make and bury these mesh.

Accommodation.-  The station is basic with running water (cold) and electricity (most of the time). Volunteers will sleep on bunk-beds in single sex dormitories. On base we have two large dorms, showers (cold), flush toilets, a library, large kitchen and a project room. Breakfast is self-service and lunch and dinner are provided in our kitchen by cooks from Monday – Saturday and on Sundays we cook as a group. Volunteers take it in turns to bake bread and cookies which are available along with fresh fruit throughout the day. We can cater easily for vegetarians.

SPECIAL REMARKS:This is a scientific research station and volunteers are expected to participate fully in the collection of data. Research permits are required to work on our beach and we will arrange these for volunteers. This project is slightly different to an international volunteer project in that volunteers and interns are recruited independently and therefore will be arriving and leaving throughout the season; however we host volunteers from all over the world and promote an ethos of cultural awareness and respect.

Location & Leisure: The project is located at a biological research station on the canals of the Tortuguero Conservation Area in northeast Costa Rica. The station is based in lowland tropical rainforest and is only accessible by boat. It is home to biologists, researchers and conservation-minded volunteers and interns. Wake up to the sound of howler monkeys in the morning, avoid stepping on strawberry poison dart frogs around base and bird watch to your heart’s content from our boat bock. This is a wildlife lover’s paradise. We have one day off a week and in your spare time you can chill in a hammock on the boat dock or take a kayak up the canal in search of black river turtles, iguanas and if you are really lucky otters. We have a very active community programme including a weekly conservation club for the children of the local community and volunteers are encouraged to get involved.

For more information, please go to:


  • Placement Information 

  • Company: Concordia
  • Vacancy: Marine Turtle Monitoring and Tagging Programme
  • Category: Conservation projects, Marine Conservation, Environmental Work
  • Dates: 2 weeks projects
  • Cost: Volunteers pay a registration fee of £270 to Concordia and fund their own travel and insurance. Usually food and accommodation is free of charge.
  • Support in place: Pre-departure phone and email support; local project co-ordinators look after the volunteers; host organisation 24 hours full support ; evaluation and feedback once back in the UK. Predeparture and On arrival training for projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
  • Age limit: 18+ for most projects with a selection of projects open to 16-17 year olds
  • Included with this placement
    • Accommodation
    • Food
  • Locations:
    • Costa Rica
  • Options



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