Turtle conservation on a remote
tropical island? Yes please!
Enjoy the “Tico” lifestyle in Costa Rica
- Start dates every Monday between Mar & Aug
- Start dates every Monday between Mar & Aug
Costa Rica Caribbean sea turtle conservation
There are no words that can describe this vital project that is located on a remote tropical island on the Caribbean Ocean – we shall try our best though!
This is your chance to go on a unique adventure where you will live life on the beach, enjoying the beauty of the remote island, the turtles and the friendly small community.
Set in one of the most stunning backdrops in the world, you really will get away from it all and enjoy the laid-back “Tico” lifestyle. This tropical island is paradise, with a population of just 28 and no roads or vehicles, you will get to explore the lush rain forests, deserted beaches, and the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Get hands-on conservation experience and make a valuable contribution to important research where you will play your part in securing the future of these endangered, fascinating and enigmatic creatures.
The hard work of our volunteers over the past few years has resulted in thousands more turtles making their way out to sea and since the project started, over 192,000 turtles have been released into the ocean.
The sad fact is that turtle populations around the world are plummeting. In such a tropical paradise, it is hard to imagine the extinction of the turtles, however, due to natural predations from animals and severe human interference this is fast becoming a reality.
One of the biggest problems in the area are poachers. Not only do they sell the turtle eggs that are mistaken to have many potent aphrodisiac powers, but they also use the adult turtles for their meat.
Another major concern is the increase in industrial fishing for tuna that results in many turtles getting caught in the large fishing nets.
Working alongside our resident biologist, the local community and other volunteers, you will be protecting nesting turtles and their eggs, and ensuring that more adult and baby turtles can make it safely to the sea.
You will be required to volunteer 7 days / nights a week on the project, but it won’t all be work with plenty of free time to relax and explore this beautiful island. Everyone will be assigned a rota for the week so you know exactly what you are doing and we can promise you that no 2 days will be the same!
After breakfast, everyone will come together for the morning meeting where you will hear all of the exciting stories from the night before! You will then carry out tasks for an hour or two followed by another hour after lunch. In the afternoon everyone relaxes in preparation for the nightly beach patrols that start from 7pm.
By carrying out daily night patrols, you will collect newly laid clutches of eggs and take them into our hatchery protection where they will have the best chances of survival. Witnessing turtles emerging from the sea under a glittering Milky Way is an unforgettable experience!
While guarding the hatchery, nests may explode at any minute with energetic little babies! You and one other volunteer will be responsible for measuring, weighing and releasing the hatchlings straight away.
Our hatchery is currently achieving a 65% survival success rate that is well above the normal figure if left in their natural nest site. With our hatchery looking after over 500 nests in any one season, your help is desperately needed to continue the huge success.
You will be staying and working on this remote island where all you will be able to hear is the tropical wildlife and the waves crashing down on the beach. Right behind the project lies, what people call “The Amazon of Costa Rica” where there are rain forests, rivers, canals and lagoons.
The area is not only unique in every way but is also famous as being the nesting site for many Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles who come to lay their eggs here.
This beautiful, pristine and remote wilderness paradise makes this programme unforgettable. With so much wildlife living around you, including; turtles, sloth bears, monkeys, fish, crocodiles, 145 species of birds, iguanas and even jaguars, we cannot think of any better way of spending our time than helping for such a good cause!
Accommodation & meals
Accommodation & meals
Isn’t it everyone’s dream to live on the beach? Swinging in the hammocks reading a book, listening to the waves crash down while enjoying the company of like minded volunteers – sounds bliss to us!
We can think of no better place to be staying than on this remote and tropical island on the Caribbean Ocean – paradise!
You will be staying in mixed gender bedrooms on bunk beds with up to 8 other volunteers. There are western style bathrooms and refreshing cold showers that you will get to love thanks to the heat and humidity!
Most communal areas can be found outside, where they take advantage of the amazing panoramic views. You will spend your afternoons relaxing, playing card games, getting competitive at volleyball or strolling along the endless coastline.
There may not be electricity, except for the solar power panels that light up the communal areas and getting mobile signal can be challenge (standing in a very specific spot holding your hand in the air!) but this just adds to the appeal and charm of the programme.
There’s no better place to wash the dishes than outside watching the monkeys swinging around the trees in front of you!
During the busier months, a daily snack boat will dock and offer a range of refreshing cold drinks and food!
Valuables can be stored with our local coordinator in their safe.
All meals are provided at the volunteer house and are included within the programme fee. Meals are aimed to be as varied as possible across the week. You can expect some of the following meals:
Breakfast – Pancakes, bananas, eggs
Lunch – Lentil soup, falafel wraps, sandwiches, omelette, freshly baked bread
Dinner – Lasagne, curry, vegetables, spaghetti, pizza
Most dietary requirements can be catered for, but due to the remote location we do need to know these in advance.
All of the below prices exclude the £149 registration fee. The total price payable is the below price + £149, as will be confirmed in the application process. To find out exactly what's included as part of fees, please click the What's Included box on the programme page.
The fees you pay go towards the structure and support put in place in order to provide you with an organised and safe environment in which to volunteer. The programme fee goes directly to our local team in Costa Rica and is used towards the following:
- Three meals per day
- In-country orientation
- 24-hour in-country support
The registration fee that you pay to confirm your place on the volunteer programme is retained by our team in the United Kingdom. This fee is used towards the following:
- 24-hour UK based emergency support
- Unlimited telephone and email support
- A comprehensive volunteer handbook
- Assistance with all aspects of your trip
- 100% financial protection
- Regular programme inspections
- Certificate of completion
What's not included
There are still some parts of your trip that will need to be funded by yourself, these include:
- Flights to San Jose (£500 - £800)
- Airport pickup (£25)
- First night's stay in San Jose (£15)
- Travel insurance (18 per week)
- The transfer back to the airport (£40)
- Visa (£0)
- Criminal background check (£25)
- Spending money (estimated at £50 - £100 per week)
Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
What are the programme start dates?
The peak sea turtle season in Costa Rica is between March and August every year. During these months, we have start dates every Monday.
In 2020, the first start date will be the 2nd of March 2020 and the last start date will be the 24th of August 2020.
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 18 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it dose not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive at San Jose Airport (SJO) on your selected start date, being any Sunday. You should check into a local hotel (we can recommend one) where you can then go and explore the capital and get any needed essentials.
The next day you will start your adventure and make your way to the project site. Full details will be provided on your successful application or can be supplied in advance on request.
After your selected duration has come to an end, you will be transported back to the airport for your return flight home or onward journey.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 18 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 - 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
What is the minimum age for travelling with my family?
If you are travelling with family and at least one member is aged 18 years old or over, then we welcome anyone from 13 years and up.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise all volunteers to apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates.
Generally speaking, you need to book at least 60 days before your programme start date, although if you are wanting to apply after this, please contact us and we will do our best.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback, we believe 2 - 4 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved in the placement. This also allows you to make the most of free time and explore the local areas and participate in any activities.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are.
The majority of volunteers that we host, come from the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
You can travel and volunteer with friends, family and / or your partner.
If you are wanting to request to stay in the same accommodation please outline this in the special requirements section within the application form.
Is it safe to travel to these destinations?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of £149 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due to less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application was successful.
How do I arrange my travel insurance?
We have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy that is suitable for all of the programmes we offer. You will receive information about this policy along with your volunteer handbook.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, that all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try are best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that effect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. Its recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that £50 - £100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
Due to the isolated location expect to be on the island for the duration of your volunteer participation. We suggest and encourage travel around Costa Rica before or after your placement.