Jamie’s Review (taken from Abroad Reviews):
I volunteered on the Sea Turtle conservation project via Green Life Volunteers and absolutely loved my experience.
I was travelling alone, and was a bit worried about finding my way to the remote location where the Sea Turtle project was. I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Janina, the program coordinator made sure to answer all my questions and send me all the information I needed. During the months previous to my departure, we exchanged many emails and I felt reassured by her quick and informative responses. The location of the project was quite far from my original destination in San José, however there was someone from the project to help me along at every step of the way. Someone picked me up form the airport, I then had someone from the project brief me and answer any additional question I may have and then bring me to the bus station. There was then another person from the project to meet me as I transfered buses…I felt very safe.
The project itself was not exactly as I imagined, but I kept an open mind which I think is a very important thing to do when going to this type of project. The area was indeed very remote as I had been told. It was the leatherback sea turtle nesting season. We did some work during the day- which was kept short as it was so incredibly hot and we mostly worked by night. this is important to know about working with nesting Sea Turtles. You will be up most of the night. You NEED to be in shape. I consider myself someone of great shape and was sometimes out of breath. You patrol in complete darkness (the turtles don’t like white light) and walk quite a few kilometres per patrol. The sand is soft and the jungle is full of fallen trees, it’s not a simple walk on the beach But you get to appreciate the beauty of Costa Rica at night, clear skies full of shooting stars and fireflies so bright they hurt your eyes and glow in the dark plankton at your feet!
Maybe it’s hard work- but there’s nothing as exciting and as rewarding as finding a nesting turtle and then making sure that her eggs are safely collected and counted and returned to the hatchery for safe keeping. Poachers are real, and we had some nest stolen while I was at the project and it was absolutely heart breaking. My favorite moment was helping a turtle with a missing back flipper lay her eggs…she couldn’t grab on to the edges of her nest so our patrol leader helped us build a sand ledge for her so she could grip on and it worked!
I met so many wonderful people during this project, people who love animals and love travelling. People willing to give their free time to a great cause.
Some advice to appreciate this experience even more. Bring bug spray, a lot of it. You will need to wear it, the mosquitos will bite you. At some point you will realize that there isn’t much you can do. They were biting me through my clothes but luckily I had some bite soothing cream. Bring towelettes- sometimes there is no running water and you will be sweaty and dirty. And bring snacks, We received 3 wonderful meals a day, but sometimes as you work nights and it’s quite physical work, you do get a little hungry!
I would strongly suggest experiencing this amazing adventure. It will most likely be one of the best moments of your life.