Gap Year Conservation: Save Turtles in Costa Rica, Central America

Company : Oyster Worldwide
Activities: Career Break / Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Country: Costa Rica
Location : Costa Rica, Central America
Duration: 1 week to 3 months
Approx Costs: 750 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Volunteer in wild coastal areas of Costa Rica with a local charity, working with adult and baby turtles striving to protect the species from extinction.

Turtle lovers needed

You will be working with a Costa Rican non-profit marine and research organisation in small village communities, helping to protect nesting turtles and their eggs, and ensuring that the baby turtles make it safely to the sea.

You can volunteer to work with turtles at beach sites along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Locations are in or close to small villages in basic but comfortable accommodation, set on or near the beach, in close vicinity of the mountains and rainforests.

What will I do in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is home to stretches of lush turtle nesting beaches all along its coastline. Due to natural predation from animals and severe human interference such as turtle egg poaching, industrial fishing and selling turtle shell products, all turtle species from the Pacific Coast are, to some degree, in danger of becoming extinct. There are three project sites in which you can volunteer, each with its own charm and beauty. You can choose to volunteer at as few or as many sites as you please.

* The community project: A small beach in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, it boasts high numbers of turtles throughout the season. There is an excellent community spirit here, and you can really get involved with many other community based activities as well as helping with turtle conservation. 

* The paradise beach project: A buzzing community of both Costa Ricans and American expats, this project site has a stunning white sand beach and plenty to keep you busy, with excellent surfing and other outdoor activites, a few bars and restaurants, and lots to explore.

* The tropical project: The most turtle abundant of all the beach sites. This project is located in a stunning location facing a fishing port where the beach is lined with coconut trees.  Volunteers are spoiled with beach front accommodation in a small, close-knit community of about 100 people. This is a fantastic place to improve your Spanish by chatting with the locals. 

What about my free time?

Costa Rica is a stunning country, offering plenty of opportunities for surfing, horse riding along the beaches, exploring the mountains, rainforests and waterfalls, swimming, helping out in the community and seeing some amazing wildlife on your doorstep, from monkeys to toucans, from whales to macaws.

How will I get there?

You will fly in to San José, where you will be met by a member of the team. You will be put up in the capital for a night before making your way out to your project location the next

Start Dates

The turtle hatching season is from July - December

Costs / Benefits

1 week = £899 (excluding flights)
Additional weeks = £240 per week

We offer full support throughout including a UK preparation course. The price includes transport to and from the airport to the project sites, food during your stay with the turtles and accommodation - with the first and last night spent in a hotel in the capital San Jose.

Booking / Enquiry

Apply Online Visit Website

Oyster Worldwide Gap Year Conservation: Save Turtles in Costa Rica, Central America Reviews

Costa Rica turte conservation

This trip was excellent, it far exceeded my expectations. It was a tropical paradise. My highlights were the waterfall, lagoon and midnight sky over the Pacific. My advice is to whistle while you work and sing while you hike the jungle. Thanks for a great adventure!

By: Ernestine
Nationality: USA
Age: 48

Volunteering as a family in Costa Rica with Turtles

We loved the beach, the village and the experience of searching for turtles and collecting eggs. Meeting local people and those working on the project was great. My family loved the opportunity to be in a remote, tropical place as well as learning more about the animals and environment. The amount of 'work' was just right for us as a whole.

Make sure you find out as much as possible about the living conditions, weather (temperature, humidity) etc so you know what to expect, and consider further travel in Costa Rica after the project.
Personally, my husband found the humidity overwhelming at times and the fans at the house were just about enough to keep cool enough to sleep. I can imagine some families needing more warning about this as it was more challenging than expected. Similarly, some families may struggle with the food offered (we didn't) but it might be useful to emphasise what to expect in that respect. Thanks again.

By: Lynn
Nationality: UK
Age: 46

Costa Rica with Turtles

I had an absolutely amazing time. I’d definitely look into doing something like this again in the future! It was hard sometimes – not having the luxuries we’re so use to at home (like AC or hot water), but nonetheless, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I knew what I was getting myself into, thanks to all of Oyster’s information and packages, so I wasn’t expecting anything more or less than we got. As for the turtles, I will miss them as well! Thank you so much for all your help. Without it, we wouldn’t have been so prepared going into it.

By: Merilyn
Nationality: Canadian
Age: 20

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