Turtle Rescue Center

Caribbean Costa Rica

general overview

This non-profit organization is run by volunteers for volunteers, so it needs all the help it can get. Its sole mission is  keeping the sea turtles safe and finding a way for the locals and turtles to live together in harmony. Poachers, fishing nets and pollution have led to a serious decline in both the Leatherback and Green Sea turtle population.

As a volunteer, you’ll patrol the beaches, lend a hand with turtle rehabilitation at the rescue center and help out at the hatchery. At the same time, you’ll contribute to improving the living standards of the locals, who will act as paid guides during your beach patrols.

Title Address Description
Costa Rica
Limón Province, Batán, Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Caribbean

MINIMUM 1 WEEK

wildlife conservation

1°TIME VOLUNTEER

no SPANISH NEEDED

+18 YEARS OLD

Turtle Rescue
In the Caribbean, Costa Rica

This project is all about inspiring humans to live in harmony with nature. As a volunteer, you’ll protect the sea turtles of Costa Rica and help the locals achieve a balance with their native wildlife at the same time. It’s all about an isolated community working together to create a safe, happy home for the turtles – and for each other.

Started by two Dutch friends back in 2006, the project is run entirely by passionate volunteers and volunteer managers. As a result, the beaches radiate an atmosphere of real energy and dedication.

Volunteering with the project, you’ll lend a hand with the rehabilitation of injured turtles at the rescue center, patrol the beaches to keep the turtle eggs safe and help out at the on-site hatchery. You’ll also bring some much-needed income to the locals, as they will act as paid guides during your patrols. Right now, the Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles of Costa Rica are in serious decline, constantly under threat from poachers, fishing nets, pollution and more. Leatherbacks are the most critically endangered, as their eggs are believed to hold mysterious aphrodisiac powers. The Green Turtle is famous for its delicious meats and eggs, so it fights off poachers on all fronts. By becoming part of the 24/7 turtle watch, you’ll literally be keeping these beautiful creatures alive. When the eggs have been laid, you’ll whisk them off to the hatchery, to ensure that the baby turtles are born in a safe place, giving them the best chance of survival.
Fancy learning some Spanish to get you off on the right foot? This project has its very own language school, making it the perfect place to knuckle down to some serious Spanish.

What is included?

    • Project donation
    • Orientation meeting
    • Local support volunteer coordinator
    • Accommodation in dorms
    • Three meals a day, tea and coffee (vegetarian options available)
    • Transfer from San Jose to the project and back

What is NOT included?

  • Pre and post stay in San Jose
  • Medical insurance (mandatory to confirm the reservation).

 

What to consider…

  • Projects starts and ends on Mondays.
  • Available from March 1st to August 31st
  • Longer stays are possible
  • No WiFi and electricity (there is solar for basic lights).
  • You can buy a local phone chip for basic communication. There is no town closeby, so you will need to buy what you will need during your time there before you arrive at the project. 
  • Work can be physically demanding
  • No Spanish is needed
  • Maximum of 15 volunteers (during COVID only 7)

VOLUNTEER  ACTIVITIES

Some examples of the activities:
• Patrol beaches at night
• Manner the hatchery and care for recuperating adult turtles
• Cleaning and reparation of the facilities and different areas
• Maintenance of different areas
• Assistance to the keepers
• Involved with the day to day operational duties of running the project

A TYPICAL SCHEDULE
AS A VOLUNTEER

The adventure begins on Monday morning with the transfer from your accommodation in San Jose to the bus station where you will take the public bus to Bataan, a small banana plantation town approx. 2.5hrs away. On arrival, a project representative will meet you off the bus at Bataan. They always meet the bus, so you do not have to worry to be left stranded!

Once you meet with the people of the project, you will travel all together in a 4WD during 40 minutes through banana plantations to the dock and then by a volunteer shuttle boat through the canals to the turtles’ center. Upon arrival, a welcome introduction is given to start with the designated tasks.

Volunteers work around 5 hours daily. Mainly patrolling the beaches at night (in all weathers) looking for adult nesting turtles, transporting of the eggs to a central hatchery for reburial and study and release when hatched. Also, in the turtle rehabilitation center taking care of any turtles that maybe injured or sick. There are daily operational duties too. This means that volunteers will be working irregular hours, work can be physically demanding, but no 2 days are the same!! Rest days are coordinated on spot as volunteer requires, usually after 10 days volunteering.

Your last day at the project (Monday) you will be taken back to San Jose, arriving at about 10.30am.

WHAT TO DO IN
YOUR FREE TIME

The beach really is a hidden tropical paradise, so life here is all about the simple things. After volunteering you can fish, snorkel and sunbathe on the beach, swing in a hammock, play soccer or volleyball and go hiking.

As you’ll be in a remote location, you’ll have plenty of time to learn Spanish in total peace at the project’s own school.

The ACCOMMODATION

You’ll sleep in a dorm-style cabin right on the beach that houses up to six people. You’ll need to expect the simple life here. With no electricity and no wi-fi, it’s time to tune out of technology and tune back into nature. The cabins are located in the jungle on an isolated beach, so there are no shops nearby. It’s all about the bare necessities.

Upon arrival in Bataan, you can pick up a few last minute things at a supermarket before heading off by 4×4 and boat to the project itself. All of your food is included in the price of your volunteering stint and the project happily caters for vegetarians.

about the Carribbean

The project is situated almost 3 hours from San Jose on a beautiful isolated beach 1km north of the mouth of the Pacuare River. It covers almost 10km of the coastline between Tortuguero National Park and the harbour town of Limon. Right behind the beach, you’ll find the Amazon of Costa Rica, a mangrove rainforest criss-crossed by rivers, canals and lagoons. The area can only be reached by motorboat, making it a wild, remote location. Tortuguero is the largest green turtle nesting site in the Caribbean, but hawksbill, loggerhead, and giant leatherback turtles also trundle ashore to breed. Although the population is now stable, the turtles are still vulnerable and conservation efforts are extremely important to their future.

Volunteering here, you’ll be staying in a true tropical wilderness, living in a cabin on the beach. There’s no electricity, no wi-fi and only the tiniest hint of cellphone reception. Prepare to be out of touch with the rest of the world for the duration of your stay. Unplugged from technology, you can tune into your natural surroundings and become part of a welcoming, isolated community.

more experiences in Costa Rica

Looking for more inspiration? have a look at the experiences below:

IS VOLUNTEERING A
PASSION OF YOURS?

We know our destinations, volunteer programs and language schools by heart. If you dream about experiencing Latin America the real way, helping and learning together and creating a positive impact, we can help you do that!