Costa Rica Turtle Conservation Experience

Company : The Great Projects
Location : Costa Rica
Duration: 1 week to 3 months
Approx Costs: 500 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Help protect turtles who are in danger from poachers by volunteering in Costa Rica.

This project was set up at the Reserva Play Tortuga site by community members and Costa Rican scientists in an attempt to create a culture of environmental conservation in the country. The project site is based on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and once you arrive at the project you will immediately be immersed in a wide variety of habitats and locations which are unique to this part of the world and also home to four species of sea turtle.

The aim of the project is to work with the local communities, national and international governments, and non-governmental organisations to promote environmental awareness and conservation actions which they in turn hope will help to promote the development of responsible tourism in the area.

Whilst on the project you get the chance to learn about and aid in the conservation efforts of the Olive Ridley Turtle. You will do this by caring for the babies at the hatchery, collecting crucial scientific data, and relocating eggs to the hatchery or beach as and when it is needed. All of these tasks are crucial in protecting the endangered turtles which nest on the island, and your efforts as a volunteer will help to secure the future of these incredible marine animals.

Day 1

Upon arrival into San Jose, volunteers will transfer to the project site. The rest of the day will be spent settling into the accommodation, and receiving an induction including brief summary of the project activities they will be involved in. 

Day 2

Today volunteers will learn all the sea turtles, including their biology, the species differences, and behaviour. Later in the day there will be a visit to Tortuga Beach to find out more about the research protocol and turtle hatchery.

Day 3

This day is spent exploring the reserve, seeing many of the other different mammals. At night, turtle duties will take place, with 3-4 hours searching the site for nesting sea turtles, collecting any eggs and bringing them back to the safety of the hatchery.

Day 4

After turtles duties the night  before, volunteers have the morning off to catch up on some rest! The afternoon is spent helping the educational collaboration officer, take care of the butterfly garden or produce educational materials for the schools.

Day 5

Today will be spent in the forest helping to set up trail cameras to try and spot the mammals that live in the area. Volunteers will learn how to set up the camera, identify footprints, as well as pick up skills from working in the field.

Day 6

Today is a free day. Volunteers can spend time relaxing on the beach, or book one of the excursions in the local area such as a trips to a waterfall. If travelling between July to October, there are trips to Marino Ballena National Park with the chance to spot Humpback Whales!

Day 7

Dependent on weather conditions, today could be spent monitoring crocodilians by kayak along the waterways around the reserve, making notes on the number, species and size of any you may come across. At night, there may be walks along the rivers and estuaries under starlight, or perhaps a boat trip down the Terraba river, which is the longest river in Costa Rica to capture, mark, and identify individuals.


Project Activities

On this project you will get the chance to take part in a variety of exciting activities. Below are some of those included in this project.

Data Collection
Including monitoring the turtles nesting in the area whilst gathering crucial information on them

Beach Clean Up
A major part of the work here, volunteers will need to make sure the nesting sites are kept healthy and safe to provide the turtles the best chance of survival.

Night Patrols On The Beach
Night time monitoring  of the beaches where the turtles nest, looking out for poachers and other threats.

School Visits
Helping educate the local school children about the wildlife in the area with the help of the Butterfly Garden. Volunteers will prepare workshops, make crafts, and take part in other outreach activities like beach and river clean ups.

Crocodilian, Mammal, and Bird Inventory
The project is not just about turtles, volunteers will be helping with monitoring and inventory of the small mammal, crocodillian and bird species in the region!


Start Dates

Any day of the year. Turtle Season in Costa Rica is from August - December

Costs / Benefits

Price from £540. Minimum stay one week.

What's included in the price of the project?
- Airport transfers to and from San Jose Airport or a nearby hotel (any transfers from the city centre are subject to an additional $20, payable to the driver on arrival)
- Three meals a day (lunch prepared by a member of staff Monday-Friday; all weekend meals to be prepared by volunteers)
- Accommodation at the project site
- Wifi Access
- Snacks
- Use of the washing machine and drying room once a week
- Knowledgeable project coordinator

What's not included?
- Flights
- Travel and health insurance (please check you have one covering all aspects of the trip)
- Weekend leisure activities
- Alcoholic drinks (not permitted)
- Visa fees if applicable


Volunteers will need a moderate level of fitness to take part. No particular skills or experience are required, except a passion for turtle and animal conservation!

Booking / Enquiry

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