Volunteer Work, Animal Welfare
Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula
During this volunteer work project, you will support a Sea Turtle Protection Project on the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula about 25 minutes from the beach resort Montezuma. The refuge is located near the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. It was created in 1998 to contribute to the conservation of the Tempisque Conservation Area with the purpose of protecting coastal and marine ecosystems, especially the breeding and nesting habitats of sea turtles.
Witnessing and studying sea turtles that can reach a weight of up to 1,650 pounds with shells up to 100 inches long is a very unique experience. You will watch them dig holes incredibly fast, despite their huge size, and deposit up to 60 eggs in the sand!
This eco volunteer program is for environmental enthusiasts, who are inspired by hands-on conservation initiatives and enjoy being surrounded by exotic nature. This volunteer opportunity will let you experience being in a remote jungle with plenty of ecosystems
that include more than 57 species of birds, 26 species of herpetofauna including, 13 reptiles and 7 amphibians. There are also 26 species of mammals in this area, making this one of the most biologically diverse regions on our planet.
The season for these nesting sea turtles is between July and December.
At the beginning of the project, you will be warmly welcomed and given an introduction that covers the most important issues about your time as a volunteer at the sea turtle project. There are numerous exciting tasks involved in the project, all of which offer a great insight into the work of environmentalists in Costa Rica!
During your volunteer work, you will provide support to the ongoing effort to protect different species of threatened sea turtles, their eggs, and hatchlings in the province of Guanacaste.
The project's mission is to ensure support for long-term, sustainable strategies to restore and preserve precious wildlife and land. One of the most important goals is the protection and monitoring of the sea turtle. The project counts on the help of gentle and committed volunteers who devote their efforts and time to build the hatchery to incubate eggs, patrol every night and guard hatchery 24/7. The number of eggs, nest location, and turtle identification information (tag number) are recorded by the hatchery attendant for further data analysis. During hatching seasons, all nests in the hatcheries must be checked every 10 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes during the night. Hatchlings must be counted and released in the appropriate location and observed until they reach the sea.
You will have the on in a lifetime opportunity to approach these wonderful animals, which are threatened by extinction.
Volunteer tasks include a lot of physical work, althrough tasks will be adjusted for those who are less physically fit. The most relevant activities are monitoring and conservation of sea turtles, maintenance of the facilities related to the conservation of sea turtles and the project station. Activities like beach cleaning, trail maintenance and assistance to environmental education programs are also important responsibilities.
The research program begins after dark by night patrols that are made up of a group of volunteers led by an experienced squad leader. Volunteers will walk the 6 km long beaches searching for nesting females. An average night patrol will take 4 hours but can last longer depending on the number of sea turtle that are observed. When a turtle is spotted, the patrolling team works directly with it, making carapace (shell) and nest dimension measurements, collecting eggs, and tagging the flippers. The collected eggs are relocated to the hatchery, where the volunteers on shift will build a new nest (according to measurements that were taken) and transferring the eggs. The research program is crucial in the protection of the sea turtles.
Beach clean-up and trail maintenance
Beach clean-up and recycling is a very important activity for maintaining a clean nesting habitat for the sea turtles. This activity takes place during and after the arrival of the turtles. Because everything proliferates here, trails need constant maintenance, especially in the rainy season. The space of the refuge occupies 225 hectares (556 acres), so you can imagine there is plenty of work on the trails!
We would like to point out that nature is unpredictable and we cannot guarantee the number of sea turtles for a certain period of participation.
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer house at the wildlife refuge. Be preapred for unglamorous living conditions that are made up for by the amazing nature that surrounds you.
The station is very simple but has all the necessities. The volunteer dorm building has 7 beds, 2 toilets, 2 showers, living area, dinning area and a spacious kitchen. There is no electricity. There is an electricity transformer that is available to volunteers 1 hour a day. It is important that the volunteer bring gadget chargers for personal use. There is a sink designated for washing clothes and shared clothes lines.
Meals are prepared by the friendly local cooks. Any dietary restrictions such as allergies and vegetarian/vegan diets can be accommodated. Fruits, fresh fruit juice, and cold tap water will be available outside of meal times. There is no fridge since there is no electricity. For this reason, most of the diet does not include
meat. If the volunteer would like to eat out (e.g. have dinner at a restaurant), they must let a staff or the cook know beforehand to avoid excess food waste.
Note: In Latin America, especially in remote areas where many of our volunteer projects take place, the cellular or internet connection is not always reliable and fast.
The sea turtle project is located about 25 minutes from the popular beach resort Montezuma famous for its laid-back atmosphere and surfing spots. It is right on the southern tip of the beautiful Nicoya Peninsula, 41 km southwest of Paquera and 8 km south of the town of Cóbano.
This community is in a remote and rural place with very limited access to various services like electricity, wifi, or public road access. The closest community with access to restaurants, clinics and
supermarkets is 8 km away. The local people are very sociable and are involved in the conservation project. Volunteers will be mainly working in the station and on the beach. A lot of volunteers build friendly relationships with the locals, through volunteer activities as well as visiting the stores/restaurants.
This region and its surroundings offer the ideal place to relax and enjoy. Here you will find a variety of flora and fauna, impressive coral reef near the coast, evergreen forests and an interesting wildlife.
The closest town Montezuma offers plenty of tourist attractions, outdoor activities, adventure sports and nightlife. Volunteers can enjoy various activities during their free time. The beaches are all different and beautiful. There are activities such as visit Montezuma waterfall, Reserva Cabo Blanco or El Chorro waterfall, boat trip to Tortuga island, surf, horsebackriding.
In our Wildlife & Nature projects, our volunteers get along well with English language skills.
For optimal program preparation and cultural integration in the destination country, we recommend participating in a Spanish course in Costa Rica (optional).
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us 24/7 in case of emergency.
In addition to the assistance given by our office staff you will be supported by our partner organization in Costa Rica located in San José, as well as the volunteer coordinator on-site.
Depending on the day of arrival in Costa Rica, the program includes one to three nights in San José in a single room with a host family (including breakfast).
Before you leave for the project site, you will take part in an orientation talk with our colleagues in San José.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer project in Sea Turtle Protection at the Pacific Coast in Costa Rica includes:
- Shared room in Volunteer House
- Full board
- Airport pick-up in San José with 2 overnight stays in San José
- Transfer from San José accommodation to bus terminal for journey to project site*
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Volunteer Work Placement in Costa Rica
- English-speaking in-country support
- Welcome meeting in San José
- Handbook Costa Rica
- Intercultural guideline
- 24/7 emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
*the costs for the bus ticket to the project site are not included.
Application fee: US$ 150
Program fee: US$ 795 (minimum stay 2 weeks)
Each additional week: US$ 265
Additionally, you can book:
Our tips (experience more + see more = save $$)
Is it difficult for you to decide between the many great projects? You want to see and experience as much as possible during your stay in Latin America? Then build your own itinerary - experience more & see more! Our program combination makes it possible!
All our stay abroad programs can be combined with each other: So, you can combine different volunteer projects in the same country or in different countries, or you mix Working Holiday with volunteer work or Farm Stay with Working Holiday ...and so on …
Your creativity knows no limits. The longer your stay abroad in Latin America, the greater the discount you get from South America Inside. Below you can see how much you can save:
Note: Language courses are excluded from this promotion. These discounts can not be combined with other promotions.
If you need assistance in putting together your personal experience abroad, then please contact us. Our experienced staff will help you to set up your tailor-made stay abroad.