Volunteer Work, Animal Welfare
Ostional, Nicoya Peninsula, close to Nosara
All year round.
Your arrival to San José is ideally on a Saturday, as the onward journey to the volunteer project takes place on a Monday.
Encountering sea turtles in their natural habitat is an experience that really gets under your skin. It is indescribably impressive to see these huge creatures in real life and to contribute to their protection.
With this volunteer project you will help protect sea turtles on the picturesque Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.
The project was founded in 1984 and serves to protect the sensitive ecosystem on land and in the sea, in particular the habitat and breeding grounds of sea turtles. The project site includes an area of over 500 hectares made up of a marine and land reserve. The dreamlike landscape is characterized by mountains, small bays, beautiful beaches, mangrove forests and countless small islands. Local communities support and benefit from this project through sustainability work such as ecotourism, environmental education, beach cleaning and similar efforts.
The reserve is located on the coast where the so-called "arribada" takes place. This is a natural phenomenon and describes the natural synchronized mass nesting of the olive ridged turtle.
In the main season, an average of 200,000 turtles come to the beaches, making the region the second largest sea turtle breeding site in the world.
In addition to the olive ridged turtle, there are two other species of turtles that nest in this region. The leatherback turtle and the green sea turtle are also among the 7 turtle species worldwide that can be found on this part of the coast of Costa Rica.
After arriving at the nature reserve, all new volunteers will have a welcome talk and the project introduction. You will learn important things about the project and the sea turtles.
At night you will make exciting patrols along the Pacific beaches to observe rare species of turtles and to monitor their habits and behavior. These inspection rounds are always carried out in teamwork with other volunteers and / or with local project staff. The sea turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs all year round. Nevertheless, the main season is between August and January (olive ridged turtle, leatherback turtle).
The project's research program is extremely important in protecting the turtles. Here, data on the population and the success of breeding are collected. To protect the eggs of the sea turtles from natural and human predators and illegal theft (turtle eggs are traded as delicacies) and to ensure the growth of the animal population in the Pacific, some of the turtle eggs are collected by the volunteers and kept in incubators until the baby turtles hatch after about 45-60 days. After successful breeding, the hatchlings are then released again.
During the day, the volunteers help with beach cleaning and collect garbage on the beaches to keep the breeding grounds of the sea turtles clean. Great importance is attached to the recycling of the various materials such as plastic, glass and aluminum.
We would like to point out that mother nature is unpredictable and we cannot give any guarantee about the number of sea turtles for a certain period of participation.
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as the number of volunteers, time of year, weather, current needs of the project and self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
You will live directly in the natural reserve at the Pacific beach, surrounded by evergreen rainforest. There is a volunteer house where the volunteers live together. There is also a kitchen and shared bathrooms. The spacious terrace is a popular meeting point and serves as a communal area.
You live with other volunteers and project staff in the project accommodation. The volunteer house is simple but cozy according to local standards. The house has electricity; volunteers are encouraged to use it sparingly.
Three meals a day are prepared by the kitchen staff. Water and fruit are also available outside of meals. There is also a refrigerator that volunteers can use to store personal groceries.
Internet is available in the project, but the connection is not always very stable. In the nearest town of Samara there are internet cafes, as well as a great beach, trendy bars and restaurants and small souvenir shops.
In order to involve the local community and promote intercultural exchange, single rooms are also available with host families in the vicinity if the volunteer house, in case the volunteer house would not be available. The families are only a few minutes' walk away. You will have your meals with the families or in the volunteer house.
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 turtle protection project is located on the Nicoya Peninsula, in the Guanacaste Province in the north-west of the country. The capital San José is about 5 hours away by car.
The beautiful seaside resort of Nosara is very close by. Especially in the last 10 years, Nosara has turned out to be a very popular holiday destination for tourists from Costa Rica and abroad.
Samara is the next larger town and is about 45 minutes away by car/taxi. Samara is a laid-back sunny town with beautiful beaches as far as the eye can see and a variety of outdoor sports, mainly water sports.
The Sea Turtle Project and its surroundings offer the ideal place to relax and enjoy. Species-rich flora and fauna, impressive coral reefs near the coast, evergreen landscape in the hinterland, great national parks and a wide range of outdoor sports await you here.
In our animal and nature conservation projects in Costa Rica, our volunteers get by with English language skills.
However, for optimal cultural integration in the destination country, we advise our volunteers to take part in a Spanish course (optional). This gives you the opportunity to slowly get used to the local language, culture and mentality.
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 or two overnight stays in San José in a single room in a local homestay including breakfast and dinner.
Before you continue your journey to the project site, you will take part in an orientation talk with our staff in San José.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer program in Sea Turtles Protection in Costa Rica includes:
- Shared room in Volunteer House
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Airport pick-up in San José with 2 overnight stays in San José (single room, breakfast & dinner)
- Transfer from San José accommodation to bus terminal for journey to project site *
- Advice from our experienced staff
- On-going support via WhatsApp, phone or mail
- Elaboration of your application profile in Spanish
- Your placement in the volunteer project
- Pre-departure information
- Packing list
- Country handbook
- Intercultural guide
- Welcome meeting in San José
- On-site volunteer coordinator
- 24/7 emergency number
- Advice on travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
*the costs for the bus ticket to the project site are not included.
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