Pacific Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

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Program Description

Join our Olive Ridley turtle programme and get the chance to work with sea turtles in Costa Rica as a marine conservation volunteer. Drake Bay is located on the Southern Pacific coast and boasts dolphins and a variety of whale species alongside the turtles. Volunteers will assist with night surveys, monitoring eggs and baby turtles, releasing baby turtles into the wild and helping with education initiatives.

The aim of this project is to record data in order to protect the nesting population. There are four species of turtles and while we focus on the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), we also record information about the Pacific Green (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate). You will learn a lot about the conversation and habits of sea turtles.

Volunteers will:

- Perform night surveys on the beach to find nesting turtles and helping to protect them from illegal extraction and predators (4-6 hours depending on the availability of volunteers).
- Relocate eggs, build new nests and bury the eggs on the beach.
- Monitor eggs and baby turtles.
- Track nests through daily patrols on the beach.
- Tag female turtles.
- Collect biometric data on the beach.
- Release baby turtles into the ocean.
- Excavate (exhume).
- Maintain beach and camp.
- Help with local conservation education initiatives.

After you have arrived, you will be trained in your duties, the biology of turtles, and on our methodology A Scientific Supervisor will supervise you during your time as a volunteer.


Playa Drake’s beaches are accessible by foot or boat so they are pristine. Drake Bay boasts dolphins, whales, 367 species of bird, a multitude of freshwater fish, many amphibians and reptiles, over a hundred species of orchids and thousands of species of insects. This is an area with rich biodiversity.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn what it is like to work with sea turtles in the field and also about the intense biodiversity of Drake Bay.


All volunteers should be at least 18 yrs old age.
English is required and Spanish is very helpful, even if you have a basic knowledge
A strong interest in conservation is required, as is teamwork and adaptability
You should also be in good health and fitness - you need to be able to work 2-3 nights per week (rest the next day) and walk several kilometres on soft sand.
The work at the project can be extremely tough and is not necessarily for everybody. Weather conditions can be extreme, especially since the nesting season coincides with the rainy season, with heavy rainfall and storms almost daily (rainy season = turtle season!). The majority of the work is nocturnal and it will be necessary to adjust to sleeping in the daytime, often enduring high temperatures and humidity. The way of life is rustic, but the environment is full of awe-inspiring natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity.

Volunteer Types

Marine conservation

What`s Included

The cost is the same whether you live in a homestay or the main camp. You may also combine 1 week in the main camp and 1 week in a homestay if you wish. This cost includes three meals a day, accommodation, snacks for patrols, equipment (for patrols), guide during the volunteering, back up and support.

Program Locations

Drake Bay, Costa Rica

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Program Details

WorkingAbroad Projects
  • Costa Rica: Drake Bay
Fall, Summer
Program Duration:
1-2 weeks, 1-3 months
The cost for 1 week is £312, 2 weeks is £454, 3 weeks is £595, and 4 weeks is £643, 5 weeks is £761, 6 weeks is £879, 7 weeks is £997, 8 weeks is £1115 and 12 weeks is £1589.
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