Experience life in a tropical paradise. You will be based on the Costa Rican coastline, where you’ll be working to help conserve adult and baby turtles. You will patrol the beach at night time to identify nesting mother turtles and help release hundreds of young turtles out to sea. You may also have the opportunity to be teaching children to conserve the local beaches and get a real taste of rural life in Costa Rica.
Long stretches of lush turtle nesting beaches make up this unspoilt Costa Rican coastline. Due to natural predation from animals and human interference like selling turtle shell products, turtle egg poaching and industrial fishing, all turtle species from the Pacific Coast are in danger of becoming extinct.
The work of volunteers like yourself over the last few years has meant that thousands of turtles have made it safely to sea. As a volunteer you will work alongside an NGO, the local community and other volunteers to protect nesting turtles and their eggs to reduce the risk of the extinction of this wonderful creature.
What will I be doing?
Your day to day tasks can include, but are not limited to:
- Conservation projects You will be passing on vital information to local people and educating them in the importance of preserving the turtle’s nesting habitat. You will be involved in beach clean ups, teaching local children about sea turtle conservation and assisting with any ad hoc research and data collection.
- Beach patrols and data collection At night you will patrol the beaches, trying to spot nesting turtles coming up out of the sea. This is an amazing sight that you will never forget. Research and measurements on the turtles are recorded, and the eggs are transported to a hatchery to hatch in safety.
- Working in the hatchery Throughout the day and night you will check the hatchery for hatching turtles. As the turtles hatch, you collect data on the incubation period and hatching success rate. The research is linked to a worldwide study and helps with global campaigns to end industrial fishing close to land. Baby turtles generally start hatching from early – mid August onwards.
- Helping around your new home You will also be responsible for general housekeeping around the project house. You are encouraged to engage with the local children who often pop by to practice their English.
When can I go?
This project is runs from July – December which is the turtle nesting season. Mother turtles are normally seen during this period. Baby turtles start hatching from early – mid August onwards.
Where will I be based?
There are two sites where this project is carried out:
- The paradise beach project: A buzzing little community of Costa Ricans and American expats, made up of stunning white beaches, excellent for surfing and other outdoor activites.
- The tropical beach project: This is a close-knit community with only 100 local residents. Volunteers live in a beach front property here. The beach is lined with coconut trees and faces a small fishing port. This is a beautiful base, with great access to the beach, opportunity to surf, improve your Spanish and form strong community ties.
- One night’s accommodation at a guest house in San Jose at the beginning and end of your project
- Basic beach-side accommodation in Costa Rican houses or cabins
- Expect to share a mixed dorm with up to 5 other people
- Bathrooms are en-suite with cool showers
- By rural Costa Rican standards, the accommodation is very good – but it may feel rustic to you!
- 3 meals per day
- Breakfast consists of cereals, fruits, toast etc
- Lunch and dinner are prepared by the local community- a mixture of traditional Costa Rican foods as well as more western foods
- The staple diet is rice and beans, although you will also find a lot of meat, especially beef and chicken, salad, tortillas and soup
- The project caters for all dietary requirements, however please remember that you are in a very rural area and the same products that you buy at home won’t be available here