Costa Rica Turtle Conservation

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1. In Brief

Set between tropical Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most breathtaking countries in the world. Even though it covers just 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it is home to an incredible 500,000 species including jaguars, spider monkeys and five species of turtle.

Join this incredible project to discover a world of fragile beauty and help safeguard Costa Rica's precious wildlife and unique habitats for future generations.

      

  

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gain a lifetime of incredible memories
  • Visit this tropical paradise and explore its deserted beaches
  • Work to protect endangered turtles

FAST FACTS

Location Costa Rica
Activities Sea turtle monitoring
Constructing hatcheries
Turtle nest protection & beach patrols
Releasing sea turtle hatchlings
Maintaining the facilities & shelters
Transport Airport pick-up
Accommodation Volunteer house

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
In-country Accommodation
Food
Airport pick-up
Local orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup

QUALIFICATIONS

A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.

PADI DIVE TRAINING

On the Frontier Marine Conservation Group Projects, we will train you to PADI Advanced Open Water before you begin undertaking important biological surveys. Depending on how long you spend on the project, you may also have the option to take further courses up to Divemaster!

Please see the "Dates and Costs" tab for dive qualification prices or ask your volunteer advisor for more information.

Find out more about PADI qualifications.

2. The project

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

Four different species of sea turtles can be found on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Olive Ridley, Green, Hawksbill and Leatherback.  The aim of this project is to help protect and preserve some of the few natural nesting sites of these turtles that do not hold an official category of protection from the Costa Rican government.

In danger of extinction as a result of human activities such as infrastructure development, light pollution, transportation of vehicles and the capture of adults, the future of sea turtles is becoming increasingly dependent on the protection and conservation of important nesting sites. Volunteering on this amazing programme could be your opportunity to play a part in securing the future of these fascinating and enigmatic creatures.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

As a volunteer you could be involved in a range of activities such as observing and monitoring the nesting dynamics of female sea turtles and constructing hatcheries where at risk nests can be relocated. You will also be required to patrol the beach during the day or night which, depending on the season, can last anywhere from two to five hours.

Other activities could include marking adult turtles, releasing hatchlings (depending upon season), maintenance of the centre’s facilities and shelters, beach clean-ups and tree planting projects as well as a range of scientific data collection and monitoring exercises. You will be assigned to one of four possible project locations so if you are travelling with a friend don’t forget to let us know so that we can ensure you will be based at the same location.

Locations available include:

Northern Section of the Caribbean Coast 

This project runs from mid-February to July for Leatherback sea turtles (high season in May), and from June to November for Green sea turtles (high season in September).

The project is located on an isolated Caribbean beach, covering 7 km of coastline in front of tropical rainforest and several coastal lagoons surrounded by palm swamp forests. The beach is part of the 50 km stretch between the Tortuguero National Park (famous for its sea turtles) on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean coast and the harbour of Limon. It is surrounded by an intricate system of fresh water channels. The area is famous for being the nesting site for many Leatherback, Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles who come to lay their eggs here. The local community, known as the Nuevo Pacuare, participate as local conservation assistants taking volunteers to help them address some of the threats to the sea turtles like marine debris, erosion and also poaching.

You will be staying in shared, dormitory style accommodation in volunteer cabins that can sleep up to eight people.  There is no electricity but there is a solar panel that provides lighting in the common area.  Access to the project is by boat.  Facilities are available in the nearby town.

Santa Rosa National Park

Project runs between July and March, high season September to October for Black and Olive Ridley turtles.

This project is located to the South of the Santa Rosa National Park in the Guanacaste Conservation Area of the north Pacific region.  It has an extension of 1.4 km and is surrounded by mangroves that provide a vital habitat for an array of bird species, and other animals.  This location has been identified as a nesting site for both the Loggerhead and Olive Ridley sea turtle, which ultimately led to the establishment of the conservation project in this area to help protect these incredible species.  Despite being a relatively small beach that is quite isolated, this site still experiences problems with poachers and erosion, underlining the need for the conservation work of our volunteers.  

You will be staying in shared dormitory style accommodation.  There is no electricity but there is a small solar panel that provides lighting for the common area and also the opportunity to charge batteries for your camera.

Camaronal National Park 

This project runs all year round.  High season May to November, low season December to April. Turtle species frequenting this location include Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Black turtles.
 
The project is located in the Camaronal National Park, in the Guanacaste region. Of the seven species of sea turtle that can be found throughout the world, four of them can be found at this site, including the Olive Ridley, the Leatherback, the Hawksbill and the Black sea turtle. Each of these species is endangered, so the Camaronal National Park is one of very few places around the world where travellers can view these impressive creatures.  Access to the refuge is limited and at night there is the possibility of participating on a guided patrols of the area.
 
Here you will be living in shared dormitory style accommodation (volunteer house) with electricity and drinking water.
 

Playa Hermosa National Park 

This project runs from mid-August to December, high season is September for the Olive Ridley.

The Project is located in the Playa Hermosa National Park. There are four permanent park ranger staff that collaborate on the sea turtle protection project which is located 106 km from San Jose on the Pacific coast, close to the Carara Biological Reserve. Because it is a national park (wildlife refuge), access to the public is limited meaning only rangers and volunteers are permitted onto the beach at night for patrolling.
 
You will be staying in shared dormitory style accommodation with your fellow volunteers (4 to 6 people per room).  There is electricity.
 

3. What to expect

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

You will be met upon arrival at San José Juan Santamaria Airport on the Sunday by a helpful local staff member, who will escort you to your accommodation.

During the first few days you will attend an orientation and introduction to the life, culture, language and projects in Costa Rica. After this you will be given instructions for how to reach your project site by bus, please be aware you will be responsible for covering the cost of this (approx. $40).

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

During your orientation period in San Jose you will be staying with a warm and welcoming homestay family for your first two nights before transferring to the project site.  Once at the project you will be staying in dormitory style shared living accommodation with your fellow volunteers which is the standard across all four potential sites.  Accommodation will be basic but of course clean and comfortable.  You will need to bring along a sleeping bag and pillow as these are not provided.   

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

During your orientation period in San Jose you will be provided with two meals per day (breakfast and dinner).  Whilst you are on the turtle project you will be provided with three meals per day.  Meals will mainly consist of beans, pasta, rice, meat, cereals and a variety of vegetables and seasonal fruits, typical Costa Rican food characterised by gallo pinto. 

4. The reviews

I WISH I HAD LONGER IN COSTA RICA!  | 2 May 2013
This project was amazing. I loved every minute of it. The people I met were such lovely people an...

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THIS PROJECT WAS AMAZING!  | 26 Mar 2013
This project was amazing! I loved every minute of it. The people I met and shared a house with we...

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Crucial work in Costa Rica  | 4 Apr 2010
I didn’t really know what to expect as I landed in San Jose, but I was quickly reassured as...

Read more


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5. Gallery

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6. Extras

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

You will have free time at each of the locations although this will vary slightly depending on where you are based. You will not be allowed to leave the project during your free time in the evenings with the exception of your day off.

You will be given one day off each week which will be arranged with your project coordinator. There are plenty of options available to you, whether you are interested in day trips such as kayaking or wildlife trips or you simply wish to head into town to use the internet, bars and restaurants. There is also the opportunity to kick back and relax and enjoy some of the many beautiful local beaches.

Evenings can be very laid back and quiet, so you may wish to bring along a good book or a pack of playing cards to play by candlelight when you are not on shift.

7. Dates and Costs

COSTS

2 weeks US$1,495

3 weeks US$1,895

4 weeks US$2,245

DEPARTURE DATES

Monthly (orientation is on the first Monday of the month so please try to arrive on the Sunday before). Please refer to the information provided in the project brief for specific turtles season dates at various locations.

This project is not available during following dates:

July 25- Guanacaste Annexation Day

August 2- Virgin of los Angeles Day

August 15- Mother’s Day

September 15- Independence Day

October 12- Columbus Day

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 2 weeks.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Advice on visas & equipment
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt

In-country

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Airport pick-up
  • Ground transfers & in-transit accommodation
  • Local orientation
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ backup

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): San Jose Juan Santamaria Apt (SJO)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

8. How to apply

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.


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