Monitor Endangered Sea Turtles: Volunteer + Adventure

We invite you to join this life-changing adventure and make an impact on your own lives and the world you live in. Our program will challenge, inspire, and educate you, and will help to make a significant contribution to the protection of sea turtles in Costa Rica!

International Student Volunteers (a non-profit organization) offers you the chance to help protect the delicate balance of nature by researching and monitoring endangered sea turtles and their habitat. After giving back, you will then reward yourself by participating in an incredible two week adventure tour, where you will go jungle kayaking in the canals of Tortuguero National Park, horseback riding, zip-lining and rappelling in La Fortuna and so much more!

Costa Rica is considered one of the most important nesting grounds for sea turtles in the world. More than 50 nesting beaches are found along its coastline, with five out of the world’s seven sea turtle species that come ashore to lay eggs. One of these beaches is Ostional, where the community has been active in sea turtle conservation for the past 40 years and is one of the very few nesting beaches on which sea turtles nest year-round. Three species that use Ostional beach include Olive Ridley, Pacific Green and Leatherback turtles, all of which are in danger of extinction. Factors that have contributed to their demise are egg poaching, hunting, ocean pollution and non-friendly fishing devices, among others. Over the years, ISV volunteers have assisted in data collection for these sea turtles and have made a significant contribution to research for the egg harvest program and analyzed the causes of low hatchling success.

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

Volunteer Project:
Volunteers on this project will conduct beach patrols to protect the nests of Leatherback, Pacific Green and Olive Ridley sea turtles. You will collect data from the sea turtles effectively nesting in solitary and in unusual mass, specifically measuring their length and width, nest location, oxygen and carbon dioxide in their nests, temperature, moisture content, etc. Hatchlings will also be monitored and then released to the water.

You may also be asked to construct and monitor hatcheries where endangered nests are relocated. Most volunteer tasks will be carried out during the night and early morning. Daytime activities may include beach cleaning and collecting debris that would impede the movement of nesting females or hatchlings. Walking on the beach can be very tiring as most of it is done late at night, between 8 pm and 4am. Each volunteer should expect to walk 6-8 mi (10-13 km) per night. Students need to take time to rest during the day but are also encouraged to get to know their host families and enjoy the culture and the community as this is a very important component of the whole experience. Volunteers will have one night off each week. You will have a remarkable opportunity to view wildlife and may wish to spend much of your free time in this pursuit.

Adventure Tour:
On the Adventure Tour, participants will travel throughout Costa Rica including the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, discovering primary rainforests, plentiful varieties of wildlife, volcanic landscapes, cloud forests, reefs, national parks, and private reserves while staying in some of the best eco-lodges in the country. You will have the opportunity to participate in activities such as snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, treks through several ecological reserves, jungle kayaking in the canals of Tortuguero National Park, zip-lining and rappelling in La Fortuna, observing two of Costa Rica’s many volcanoes, tubing on the Negro River, getting personalized surfing instruction in Samara, and exploring the local nightlife in Heredia. Explore and experience the natural wonders in the jewel of Central America!

There are also additional packages available for adventures in Machu Picchu/Peru, Galapagos, and Spanish Language courses.


About our organization:

International Student Volunteers is committed to impacting our world by providing life-changing volunteer experiences abroad. ISV has been operating student programs since 1983, but has focused on Volunteer and Adventure Travel since 2002. Since then, more than 20,000 participants have contributed to ISV’s global volunteer efforts, making a significant impact across six continents. ISV programs offer unparalleled opportunities to get involved in the front lines of sustainable community development and conservation initiatives internationally, in addition to exploration, adventure and cultural exchange, while traveling through one or more countries. This program is open to everyone, not just students. We are not a sending agent –we run our own programs with our own trained staff to ensure you have the most amazing experience possible. ISV sets the industry standards for best practices, safety, opportunities to learn, and of course fun!

International Student Volunteers, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation in the U.S. organized under the Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable and educational purposes.

  • Program ID: # 1650
  • duration:
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
  • location:
    Costa Rica
    9° 59' 57.4152" N, 85° 42' 19.3536" W
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
  • Closest Airport:
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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