Set on a pristine coastline on the Pacific side of beautiful Costa Rica, the sea turtle hatchery and its facilities provide an exceptional setting in which you can make a significant contribution to the local endangered guests. Volunteers enjoy a fun, social setting with other like-minded volunteers, while living in a rugged, natural setting in an environmentally-protected area. You can expect an active and variable work environment, with hours split between day and night shifts, and tasks varying based on the turtle activity at the time. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, work odd hours, see some amazing sights and make a difference. Come with a decent level of fitness, otherwise those beach patrols can take their toll!
Work revolves around the hatchery, where endangered turtle eggs are incubated. You’ll also roam the beaches in search of eggs to deposit in the hatchery, ensuring a successful start for the hatchling turtles when their time comes to take on the open water. Time off can be spent surfing at nearby beaches, enjoying any of the other abundant outdoor activities, or heading into populated areas for some culture.
To round out the program even more, you’ll get to spend a few days in San Jose (at the start and end of your experience), Costa Rica’s largest city, where you’ll get orientated and take in some culture in the form of cooking and dance classes.
- Project Activities: Physical maintenance of hatchery, collecting and protecting eggs, data collection, releasing baby turtles into the ocean, cleaning beach, beach patrols
- Project Availability: Year-round. There are some limitations in high demand / peak season. There are a variety of different turtles that call this area home and they return each year to lay their eggs. There are different turtles at different times of the year. In off-peak seasons there are still many tasks to be completed to prepare for the peak seasons. Volunteers can arrive and start their programs nearly every Monday of the year. Demands vary with turtle egg-laying timing.
- Project Duration: Minimum 2 weeks. CISaustralia recommends 4 weeks for optimal cultural and environmental immersion.
- Working Hours: 6 days per week. An average of 5 hours during the day and 3 hours at night.
- Location: North Pacific coast of Costa Rica, 15km from Samara Beach, in Guanacaste Province
- Excursions: Nearby attractions include beach resorts, good surf breaks and lazy beach towns. City tour (only when multiple participants), plus cooking and dance classes included. Participants on group programs have the option to spend one full day each weekend off-site at a local beach or small local beach town to relax and refresh. Transport will be organised for you but participants will need to pay approx. A$15 per head for the day's transport. Individual students on the program can also opt to head to numerous local beach towns but will need to organise and pay for local transport. Local staff can assist in these areas with recommendations.
- Support: 24-hour on-site support from Project Leaders and Site Director (in San Jose)
- Minimum Age: 18+
- Language: English. Introductory Spanish is recommended – classes can be arranged at an additional cost before and/or after the program. Contact CISaustralia for further details.