With the turtle nesting seasonin full swing, Oyster are offering a massive £100 reduction on placements of four weeks or more- click here to find out more
Living in remote village communities on golden sand beaches, help protect nesting turtles and release hundreds of baby turtles along miles of Costa Rica's unspoilt coastline.
You will be working with a Costa Rican non-profit organisation, helping them to protect nesting turtles and their eggs, and ensuring that the baby turtles make it safely to the sea. The sea turtle population is rapidly plummeting, and the hard work of volunteers has resulted in thousands more turtles making their way out to sea- with more of them surviving to promote future development. This is a vital project, set in one of our most stunning backdrops on the Pacific Ocean.
You can volunteer to work with turtles at four beach sites along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Locations are in or close to small villages, where you really become a part of the local community. The accommodation is basic but comfortable, and in three of our beach locations just metres away from the sea. The beaches are unspoilt, making the perfect place for relaxation and exploration as well as protecting the turtles.
Costa Rica is a stunning country, offering plenty of opportunities for surfing, horse riding along the beaches, exploring the mountains, rainforests and waterfalls. The sea makes natural lagoons for swimming and for those wanting to improve their Spanish, you are encouraged to help out in the local schools. With the amazing wildlife on your doorstep, this project feels a long way from the hustle and bustle of life in busy San Jose.
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.
By night you patrol the beaches, watching for nesting turtles coming up out of the sea. This is an incredible sight - one which many volunteers will never forget. Research and measurements on the turtles are recorded, and the eggs transported to a hatchery, where they can hatch in safety. This all takes place under the Milky Way, seen in incredible clarity due to lack of light pollution.
In the day time you check the hatchery for hatching turtles and help with the background research for the campaigns. The research is linked to a worldwide study, and helps with campaigns to end industrial fishing close to land. It's not all work though, with plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful beaches, taste the delicious Costa Rican cuisine and relax in the hammocks between the palm trees.
There are four 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 other than turtles.
- 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 rustic project: A remote camp on an uninhabited stretch of beach 9km from the closest civilisation will be your home, with an outdoor toilet, showers from a bucket and incredible sunsets. This is a beautiful, rustic and simple camp, not for the fainthearted!
- The tropical project: Breathtaking black sand beach shadowed by mountainous rainforests provides the setting for this project site near Panama. The next village boasts the longest wave in the world, offering amazing surfing. The surf in this village is pretty impressive too, and you will never be a loss for things to do, between the rainforest to explore and the beach to enjoy.
You will fly in to San Josť, 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 day.
You will be living in simple Costa Rican houses or cabins, sharing with other volunteers. The accommodation is on site, usually in the centre of the community, so you are always surrounded by plenty of things to do and people to meet.
Your meals will be prepared by the local community, who will offer a variety of traditional Costa Rican foods as well as more western influenced foods.
Cost and what is provided
Volunteers may choose a date between July and December, as this is the nesting season of the sea turtles. The total cost of a placement at all sites starts at £677 for one week including a first and last night in a hotel in San Josť but excluding flights. Additional weeks are at £215 p/w. We are currently encouraging people to volunteer for as long as they can, with a discount of £100 for all volunteer periods of four weeks or more
What is Provided?
- Phone or face-to-face interview and informal briefing
- Pre-departure advice covering medical, safety and placement advice
- Help and advice from our UK office 24/7 whilst in Costa Rica
- Advice on obtaining a visa
- Food (three meals a day)
- Accommodation with en suite facilities at most sites
- Meet and greet at San Josť airport and transfer to accommodation.
- Full orientation and induction to project before you begin
- All transport to and from project sites
- Free access to InterHealth's Travel Health Advice Service
- Free myTsafe secure document storage account - worth £25!
What do I need?
- A full passport valid for the duration of your stay
- If you will be flying through the USA you need to comply with US regulations- make sure you have an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) at least 72 hours before you leave
- Insurance (covering your placement time and any planned independent travel)
- Return flights to San Jose. We can help organise these.
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £25 per week depending on lifestyle)
- Departure tax from Costa Rica is $28. This is not included in your flight. Make sure you have enough money left over, as you are not allowed to take Costa Rican currency either into or out of the country.
- No visa is necessary for under 90 days from UK and most western European countries
- No compulsory inoculations are necessary although do check with your doctor to make sure polio, typhoid and Hep A&B jabs are up to date
One more thing...
Costa Rica is a stunning country with lots on offer in the way of tourism. Consider extending your trip for a week or so to take in the incredible Monteverde cloud forest, walk up the Arenal volcano or chill out at the beautiful Montezuma beaches.