Costa Rica Sea Turtle Rescue

Costa Rica has miles of beaches on its east side to the Caribbean and on its west side to the Pacific Ocean. This unique location has attracted for hundreds of years an animal that now finds itself threatened by the actions of humans- from climate change to fishing obstacles, and even erroneous information on the effects of consuming sea turtle eggs.

Join Globe Aware in our fight to help save this magnificent animal. Take a volunteer vacation and help to preserve the habitat of the baula (Dermochelys coriacea), tortuga verde (Chelonia mydas), tortuga carey (Eretmochelys imbricata) y tortuga lora (Lepidochelys kempii) in the southern area near Manuel Antonio, Quepos. You will find yourself in one of the most unique environments, working to build an ecologically sustainable reforested habitat to give this wonderful animal a second chance. With a volunteer vacation, you can be a part of the solution and help change the fate of sea turtles.

Volunteer Work Projects

Save the sea turtles from extinction by helping the locals protect them and their environment as well! This volunteer vacation program is geared toward the nature, loving volunteer explorer and most program tasks involve work with locals and other volunteers from around the world. The projects can include:

  • Monitoring the beach at night or early morning to locate the nests and inform the local egg collection committee
  • Remove trash, stones or debris which prohibits the turtles from building their nest
  • Replace and monitor the nests
  • Guide the baby turtles’ as they hatch to prevent their going in direction of rainforest where they would die
  • Build sea turtle nurseries
  • Help with other animals in their natural habitats, such as birds and sloths.

Projects will vary depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers. For these reasons, specific projects are often not fixed until the week before your arrival and can even change upon arrival.

Other Community Work Projects

Because work with the sea turtles is reliant on so many factors, time will be allotted to participate in other community-building projects. These projects may include:

  • Cleaning and painting schools
  • Planting coconut palms and almond trees
  • Reforesting

These additional community projects protect and are for the benefit of scarlet Macaws as well as Capuchin monkeys. The entrepreneurship efforts by the citizens allow the community to grow and depend less and less each year on the sale and commerce of turtle eggs. We, at Globe Aware, are committed to supporting the locals of Quepos to bring sustainable market forces that allow the green sea turtles to live in harmony with the residents.

Accommodations and Food

Volunteers are housed in dorms located inside the project. Western-style bathrooms are available, though they are modest and not as nice as what you might be accustomed to. As of 2018, there is now also reliable wi-fi.

Flavorful traditional Costa Rican-style meals are cooked fresh, with your help, throughout the day. Abundant, safe drinking water is always available in the home and throughout your working vacation. Please note: only vegetarian food is served on this program.

Sample Sea Turtle Program Itinerary - Click Here

Leisure Activities

Costa Ricans know how to relax! You will truly immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture. Life moves at a delightful, slower pace on the Quepos beaches. The program begins with a traditional welcoming ceremony followed by a bonfire at the beach (when conditions permit it), an event the average tourist would never experience. There are plenty of things to do in the area, from walking tours to watching monkeys and sloths, to fishing tours in the community. Cooking and Latin dancing lessons with locals can be also offered.

Arranging Your Volunteer Vacation Airfare

You will need to arrange to be at the meet-up point in San Jose by 11:00 am on Sunday before your program begins. Volunteers will need to use public transport from the airport to the program location with help of a private guide. The program ends at 10:00 am the following Saturday and it takes approximately 5-6 hours to return to San Jose. Do not arrange a flight any earlier than 3:30 pm on the return trip.

Note: You will need to arrange to be at the meet-up point in San Jose no later than 11:00 am on Sunday before your program begins. Transport between the airport and the program site is via public transport with a private coordinator escort to help for the entire journey.

Important notes:

  • As it is a sea turtle project, sometimes the nests & turtles monitoring walks occur at night.
  • Volunteers must be very careful with the ocean and tides even if they are expert swimmers.
  • Working/helping at a local primary school needs a more modest dress code. No short shorts, tank tops, or very tight clothing.
  • Weather conditions at the beach can change schedules and projects.

Health and safety concerns are minimal at this program site. As always, caution and common sense minimize risks. However, if you decide to travel independently to urban areas such as San Jose, special care should be taken to prevent pickpocketing when in crowded areas. There are on occasion incidents of dengue fever and malaria in Costa Rica, though not common. It is always best to check with your health professional before travel.

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