Leatherback Turtle Research, Costa Rica

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Program Description

Volunteer as a sea turtle volunteer in Costa Rica and work to conserve and protect critically endangered populations of Olive Ridleys, Pacific Green Sea Turtles, and East Pacific Leatherback. You will be situated in the Nicoya Province on the Pacific Coast, on a site on the amazing phenomenon called “arribadas” where Olive Ridley turtles come up in thousands.

We have placements throughout 2014 and 2014 and you can volunteer for 1 week to 12 week throughout the year.

Families, individuals, students, and groups are all welcome.

By 2016, there is a chance that the Pacific Leatherback sea turtle will be in danger of being extinct. Take action by joining this project!

While this may be a challenging experience, it is a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone by helping to conserve an incredibly endangered species. This project is in need of volunteers and you will have a memorable experience working with sea turtles.


You will reside in a homestay during the project within Ostional which has a nesting beach located right in front of this lovely community. While homes are basic and small, they are very comfortable with plenty of room of a bathroom, living room, kitchen, and two or three bedrooms. There are 110 families and 400-500 individuals in this community with a distance learning high school, elementary school, and preschool. There are pre-paid phone cards for pay phones and stores for you to buy drinks and food.

Many of the local communities do not speak any English or only a minimal amount and so a little practice on your part and a Spanish dictionary will go a long way. Your hosts and the community will be thrilled at any effort you make to speak Spanish. These are friendly and welcoming folk. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements since your homestay family will make meals for you while you clean up and patrol.

If you bring your own computer, we have WIFI access at the Research Station and other hang out facilities and areas.


Sea turtle volunteers should be aged 18+, have an interest in biology, conservation or a related field, and be fluent in either English or Spanish. You should have a positive attitude and willingness to communicate with the local community. Volunteers also need to be physically fit, and able to withstand a hot, humid climate, and sleep deprivation. Volunteers will have to walk long distances (up to 12kms per night) on soft sand. Patrols take place regardless of weather conditions and there will be nights when no nesting turtles are encountered (especially early and late in the season). There may be times when volunteers are required to work during the day as well as night.

Sea turtle volunteers do not need any prior experience as full training will be provided upon arrival to the project site. We appreciate people who use their initiative, are problem solvers, look to be useful in their spare time, and are interested in getting to know the community, understanding what community life is like, and what the community is trying to achieve without compromising their values.

Volunteer Types

Animal welfare

What`s Included

This cost includes private (or shared with another volunteer), clean and simple room in homestay, three meals a day, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, equipment (for patrols), guide during the volunteering, backup and support.

Airfare and transportation to the project, lodging in San Jose, travel/medical insurance and personal expenses are not included in the cost. It is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project.

Program Locations

Ostional, Costa Rica

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Program Details

WorkingAbroad Projects
  • Costa Rica: Ostional
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
1-3 months
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide
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