Sea Turtle Rescue in Costa Rica

Sea Turtle Conservation Volunteer

Protect endangered marine life

Sea Turtle Conservation
Volunteering in Costa Rica

Being one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, five different sea turtle species call Costa Rica their native home. Although these turtle species play a vital role in maintaining the health of our oceans, each face threats from habitat destruction, local poachers, and commercial fishing. As a volunteer, you will 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.

Set in one of the most remote tropical locations in Costa Rica, this project puts the volunteer on the beach and in the heart of nature. Meet travelers from around the world while you disconnect from technology, explore the lush rainforest, and make a significant impact on the native sea turtle population of Costa Rica.

Min age 18

1-24 Weeks

From $380

Starts Every Week

Sea Turtle Rescue Volunteer

Sign up to receive information on how you can start making an impact on local sea turtle life in Costa Rica.

Anyone who is enthusiastic and open-minded is welcome in the program. Volunteers will be working alongside 15-20 other volunteers whom come from all over the world. Looking for nesting turtles can sometimes be physically demanding, so we advise registrants to be in decent physical condition.

– At least 18 years of age
– Participants ages 13-17 are welcome when there is a faculty leader, parent, or guardian present
– Healthy and physically prepared to work and live in a remote area with very few amenities
– Flexible; willing to do various tasks based on season and project needs
– Positive mindset
– Hard working, ready to do anything!
– Responsible and safety-minded

Volunteers work alongside the resident biologist and support local community leaders and other volunteers to protect nesting turtles and their eggs. Your goal is to ensure that more adult and baby turtles can make it safely to the sea. We do this by getting involved in different activities:

Night beach patrols – Going out on nightly beach patrols in search of nesting sea turtles in one of the most important duties of a volunteer. You will be responsible for transporting any eggs you encounter back to the safety of our hatchery where they will have the best chance of survival.

Hatchery guarding & releasing turtles – Looking after the turtle hatchery on a shift like basis, volunteers will be guarding all of the nests from any potential predators. 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.

Beach cleans – Ensuring that the stretch of coastline along the project site is clean and tidy will result in more females coming up to lay their eggs.

Hatchery maintenance – A clean and tidy hatchery is vital for keeping our hatch rates high. Anything from litter to natural debris needs to be removed as soon as possible. Volunteers will check that hatchery labeling is correct and the details of each area in the hatchery are correct. When nests hatch, you will get to exhume the nest and follow the correct procedure.

The sun is up early in Costa Rica and breakfast is served typically around 6:30am. After breakfast, project leaders and volunteers will come together for the morning meeting where you will hear all of the exciting stories from the night before! This is also when you will be assigned your role for the day

As sea turtle activity generally occurs during the night time and early mornings, most volunteers will be assigned to night beach patrols and should be prepared to start work around 7pm and finish around 3am and to also be involved with any morning activities scheduled.

Other volunteers will be assigned to the hatchery or beach cleans and should be expected to be available for at least 4-hours / day to keep watch of any hatching baby turtles and maintain a good level of cleanliness.

Lunch is typically served around 12:30pm while dinner is usually around 5:30pm. During free time volunteers will have time to relax on the beach, play volleyball and soccer with other volunteers, read a book from the project’s vast library, and practice their Spanish with locals.

Sleeping quarters are mixed gender bunk rooms with up to 8 other volunteers in each room. Western style bathrooms and a showers station are on site and provide volunteers with a clean place to wash up after a long day’s work of volunteering on the beach.

Except for some very basic solar power panels on site, electricity is not available at the project. Likewise, finding cell-phone signal can be a bit of a challenge (like standing in a very specific spot on the beach holding your hand in the air!) but most volunteers enjoy being “off-grid”

Communal areas can be found outside and provide volunteers with panoramic views of the jungle and it’s amazing wildlife. Hammocks are aplenty and picnic areas are used for sharing meals, playing card games, reading books, or looking for monkeys and sloths. 

All meals are provided at the volunteer house and are included within the programme fee. Meals are aimed to be as accommodating and 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.

Program Fees and Details:
– Turtle Volunteer Programs start every Monday and include beachfront accommodation, 3 generous international meals daily, turtle patrol & hatchery training, all necessary volunteer materials, and a round trip 4×4 + boat ride in and out of the project.
– All our volunteer projects require a minimum 1-Week Spanish program
– Spanish students staying with a homestay family have airport pickup included.
– The transfer to the project is required and includes an extra night of homestay accommodation with meals, private transportation to San José, and a round-trip pre-paid bus transfer to and from the Caribbean volunteer meeting point.
– Not included; flights to SJO, travel insurance, covid-19 health insurance needed to enter Costa Rica.

Turtle Volunteer Program 1-Week 2-Weeks Extra Week
– Beach hut accommodation
– 3 generous international meals daily
– Turtle patrol & hatchery training and materials
– Transfer by 4×4 and boat to project
$380 $720 $360
Program Transfer | Spanish to Turtles Price
– 1-night homestay
– Evening meal and breakfast
Pick-up and transfer to city bus station
Pre-paid bus transfer to Caribbean volunteer meeting point

Frequently Asked Questions

This is of course down to personal preference, however, on gaining feedback from previous volunteers we believe 3 to 6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer for. You will you be able to get fully involved with all aspects of the programme and integrate yourself within the local community. We regularly have volunteers come for 1 to 2 weeks that tell us they wish they stayed for longer.

Tico Lingo welcomes volunteers from all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. No previous experience or qualifications are required to volunteer and we look forward to hosting everyone who is willing to come and help make a difference and bring lots of positive energy.

We ask that all volunteers have a good level and understanding of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You of course do not need to speak the local dialect, but you will find learning a few words will go a long way.

Volunteering abroad can at times be both physically and mentally challenging, therefore we ask that all participants be fit in both areas. If you do have any medical / mental health conditions that you believe may affect your time volunteering, then these must be declared to us during the application process. If you have any questions regarding your suitability, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

You are more than welcome to apply at any time for any of our programmes, with start dates available at least two years in advance. We recommend that you apply as soon as you know it is something you 100% want to do, to ensure the best chances of availability on your chosen dates. Many of our programmes have limited capacity and at times these spaces can get filled very quickly – this is particularly true for our peak period between June and August.

We generally recommend applying at least 60 days in advance to give you ample time to ensure everything has been arranged. However, if you are looking to volunteer sooner than this, then it should not be a problem. Please do get in contact if you have any concerns about arranging any essentials within a shorter timeframe.

Once you have applied and confirmed your place on the programme, then it is possible to amend your start date and / or duration. Any changes need to be made at least 60 days prior to your start date and are subject to availability.

Sea Turtle Rescue Volunteer

Sign up to receive information on how you can start making an impact on local sea turtle life in Costa Rica.

Still have some questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact us and talk directly to Program Advisor about volunteering in Costa Rica!