Turtle Conservation

Do you love wildlife conservation? Would you like to live and work on a beautiful Costa Rican beach? Then become a volunteer on our amazing Turtle Conservation projects! We offer project locations all throughout Costa Rica and depending on the season we will place you in a project where you'll be able to help out most.

Age requirement: 18+

Dates: The projects run year around.

Working Schedule: Monday to Friday for about 6-8 hours a day and NIGHT! Sea turtles nest in the dark, and usually patrolling beaches, taking eggs to the hatchery, and seeing sea turtles happens at night. You’ll get your shifts when you arrive at the project, and you’ll have to different shifts and tasks throughout your stay. So you will have to be flexible and ready to work when you’re needed.

Location – Different Locations throughout Costa Rica, Pacific Coast season is generally from June – December, and Carribean Coast season from February – July

Language Requirement: It would be great if you speak some basic Spanish – but staff on the project also speak and understand some English.

Costs: A one week experience starts from $599, for each additional week add on $229 per week.

Accommodation –  Basic Dormitory Style Accommodation (shared and mixed-gender)

Food – 3 Meals daily

 

We collaborate with Costa Rican turtle conservation organizations with years of experience with volunteers and sea turtle conservation. They are in urgent need for more help! They receive thousands of sea turtles each year – but they have few volunteers to help cope with the amount of eggs and turtles. Throughout the project you’ll learn everything about sea turtle conservation and methods to preserve them – and at the same time you’ll live on a beautiful remote beach in Costa Rica.

Mainly four sea turtle species arrive at the beaches of Costa Rica:  Leather Back Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), Green-turtle (Chelonia mydas), Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Olive-Ridley Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea).

  • Patrol beach daily
  • Move nests to hatchery and prepare the nests
  • Mark turtles that are nesting and that are trying to build a nest or are returning to the ocean
  • Search for marked turtles and gather data regarding the percentage of turtles that return to the beach during “arribada”
  • Count all turtles that arrive at the beach
  • Help the most amount of baby turtles to get safely into the ocean
  • Help build a watering system to help the hatchlings develop during the dry months
  • Help patrol the beach to protect nests from illegal extraction and predators
  • Taking the sand’s temperature in specific sections of the beach in the morning, at noon and at sunset
  • Gather information regarding egg development (or lack of) in all the nests and the and check for the presence of organisms inside them
  • Help extract and pack the eggs that are sold legally (only 1% of all the eggs laid are allowed to be sold).
  • Translate documents for the office

Examples of other activities you may participate in:

  • Clean the beach of tree trunks and other debris that has been washed on the beach
  • Clean the beach of all unwanted vegetation that takes over the nesting areas reducing the space available for turtles to nest
  • Plant trees in different areas of the beach and the town
  • Help with infrastructure activities like building schools, bridges, roads and other similar community activities

 

An ideal volunteer on this project has a passion for animal conservation and biology, enjoys physical labor and loves being outdoors! You should be 18 years of age or older to participate. You don’t have to speak Spanish for this project, as project staff and other volunteers speak English.

We have various turtle conservation project locations on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and a couple on the Caribbean Coast.

Depending on the season we’ll place you where help is most needed at the time.

The Caribbean turtle high-season is usually from around February until late July, and the Pacific Coast season is generally from June until February.

Our locations on the Pacific Coast include Refugio Romelia close to Montezuma, Nombre del Jesus in Bahia de los Piratas, Refugio Camaronal near Tamarindo, Playa Matapalo near Quepos, La Leona on the Osa Peninsula, and Playa Preciosa on the Osa Peninsula.

The Caribbean locations include Pacuare and Parismina, both closely located to Tortuguero National Park.

Read more on the Nicoya Peninsula (Pacific side) project locations here.

Read more about the Caribbean side project locations here.

 

 

The turtle projects offer shared mixed-gender dormitory rooms with bunk beds. You’ll share the accommodation with your fellow volunteers.

Typical Costa Rican meal with Coffee

Food is Costa Rican typical food cooked for you and prepared by a chef. You’ll all eat together in a common space at certain hours. Breakfast is usually around 8am, lunch is around 12pm, and dinner is around 6 -7pm.

Below please find some photos of the shared mixed-gender dormitory type accommodations the different turtle project locations we send our volunteers to.

Note that most dormitories hold anywhere from 6-10 people per room.

The beds are generally basic bunk-beds. Also please be aware that housing are usually simple cabinas, and not all are completely sealed off. They’re located on the beaches of Costa Rica – there are crabs, bugs and little critters that may also be inside your housing.

The costs for this project are:

  • First week’s fee: $ 599
  • Every Additional Week: $ 229 (It does not matter many weeks you choose, this fee stays the same)

FEES EXPLAINED:
Our organizational fee of around 299$ is included in the first week’s fee and covers the “behind the scenes costs”, such as staff salaries, office space rental, transaction and bank fees, and more. Our weekly fee for additional weeks covers the costs of your host family or project accommodation and food, the local staff on your project, and a donation to help with the daily running costs of the program you will help on.

NOT INCLUDED IN THE FEE:
First and last night in San Jose in a hostel, travel to and from the international airport (airport shuttles are around 30$ each way to San Jose – We can set this up for you, just ask us during sign-up), travel to the project site (usually by public buses, which are from around 10-16$ one way), national/ International flights, travel insurance, visa costs, Any additional food or snacks besides the host family meals, extra-curricular activities.

 

 

 

Finally our Turtle Conservation Handbook is available to view and download here:

Click here to view FULL DETAILS of the Internship

Turtle Conservation Gallery

Reviews of the Turtle Project

Turtle Conservation Project Review by Jazzy

Jazzy was part of a student volunteer group in December 2016 who volunteered in Refugio Romelia one of our turtle project locations. Definitely a great experience to have in life. The slow-pace tropical life made everything become so relaxing. I enjoyed every second...

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Turtle Conservation Project – Cassie Daigle

Cassie’s Review (taken from Go Abroad): I had such a wonderful time during my month's stay in Costa Rica. Janina was so wonderful in helping me prepare before I left for Costa Rica and every step of the way. She was so reliable and helpful the entire time I stayed and...

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Would you like to apply for this project?

Our Turtle Conservation Project Locations

Camaronal Turtle Project

Camaronal Turtle Project

Bahia De Los Piratas - Nombre del Jesus - Turtle Project

Bahia De Los Piratas - Nombre del Jesus - Turtle Project

Refugio Romelia Turtle Project

Refugio Romelia Turtle Project by Montezuma

Playa Matalapo Turtle Project

Playa Matalapo Turtle Project by Quepos

Playa Preciosa Turtle Project

Playa Preciosa Turtle Project on the Osa Peninsula

La Leona Turtle Project

La Leona Turtle Project by Carate on the Osa Peninsula

Pacuare Turtle Project

Pacuare Turtle Project on the Caribbean Coast

Parismina Turtle Project

Parismina Turtle Project on the Caribbean Coast

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