Pacific Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

Volunteer with sea turtles in Costa Rica as one of our marine conservation volunteers, and join this Olive Ridley turtle programme in the spectacular Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica on Drake Bay, home to over 25 dolphin and whale species and the Olive Ridley Turtle. Marine conservation volunteers will take part in night surveys, monitoring eggs and baby turtles, releasing baby turtles into the ocean and helping with local conservation education projects.

You can join for 1 week up to 12 weeks from July to December every year. We have places all throughout the year.

Individuals, groups and students doing research all welcome.

Cost includes lodging in main camp/homestay, 3 meals a day, training & supervision, snacks for patrols, materials; starts at £370.

In the study area there are four species of sea turtles. We have identified protect the nests of the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) although the presence of Pacific Green (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) turtles has been recorded too. Between 150 and 250 Olive Ridley turtles arrive every season at the 3.6 km Drake Beach. The scientific mission of the project is to generate the data necessary to support the conservation of this nesting population. Marine conservation volunteers will gain experience in numerous aspects of the investigation and conservation of sea turtles.


Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

Marine conservation volunteers live in the community of El Progreso. There are two types of accommodation offered by the programme: private rooms in homestay houses in the village, and a shared dormitory at the main camp. All volunteers must stay in homestay for at least 7 nights and are encouraged to remain in homestay throughout the duration of their stay. However, limited space is available at the main camp and volunteers may apply to stay there for some of their stay. Both options include three meals per day plus snacks for night patrols. At the camp, a rotation system is in place so that all volunteers get a chance to cook, and a similar system is in place for duties such as cleaning the camp and preparing the patrol equipment. The communal space at the main camp also includes a chill-out area equipped with hammocks.

All volunteers should be at least 18 yrs old age.  English is required and Spanish is very helpful, even if basic, but a small amount of Spanish would go a long way.  A strong interest in conservation is required, as is good team work spirit and flexibility.  You should also be in good health and fit - you need to be able to work 2-3 nights per week (rest the next day) and walk several kilometres on soft sand.  The work at the project can be extremely tough and is not necessarily for everybody. Weather conditions can be extreme, especially since the nesting season coincides with the rainy season, with heavy rainfall and storms often a daily occurrence (rainy season = turtle season!). The majority of the work is nocturnal and it will be necessary to adjust to sleeping in the daytime, often enduring high temperatures and humidity. The way of life is rustic, but the environment is full of jaw-dropping natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity. After a little time at the project you will no doubt find yourself adjusting to the life of a local.

  • Program ID: # 2572
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
  • location:
    El Progreso
    Costa Rica
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    San Jose (SJO)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

Map Location

You may also be interested in