Volunteer Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation

Volunteers are needed to help save Costa Rica's Sea Turtles. Volunteers assist at this Sea Turtle Conservation Project that is helping to preserve Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity by protecting the nests of magnificent endangered sea turtles and releasing turtle hatchlings into the wild. Read on to get the low down on how you can help...

Duration: 1 to 12 weeks

Hours: 6 days per week, 6 hours per day, usually a combination of day and night shifts. Nesting season is June to December. In the off-season of January-June, it is rare to see turtles.

Activities: Night Patrols for Sea Turtles, Relocation of Nests, Maintenance of Turtle Hatchery, Releasing Hatchlings

Location: Costa Rica

City info: Various, on the beautiful Costa Rican Coast.

Accommodation: Shared rooms, in rustic conditions

Requirements: Aged 18+, with a passion for animal welfare, physical fitness

Volunteer Placement Fee: GBP£750 / US$895

How you will spend your time at the project

Volunteers will be expected to work during the day and at night with specific work schedules varying depending on the needs of the project. Each day, you will undertake a range of duties at the project – beach cleaning, maintenance on the hatchery etc and will normally also have one night shift to patrol for turtles on the beach OR a shift working in the hatchery to monitor nests and release hatchlings.
Other general volunteer duties may include:
  • Releasing baby turtles into the ocean.
  • Beach cleaning
  • Construction of hatchery
  • Nocturnal Patrols to look for nesting adult female turtles and data collection
  • Collection of data relevant to nesting activity (collection and transferal of eggs to the hatchery, tagging and measurements of turtles Maintenance of infrastructure and surroundings).
  • Registering information about the hatchery and exhumations (digging up nests that have not hatched)
  • Monitoring and security of hatchery
Please keep in mind that the activities will vary depending on the time of year. The main conservation work done directly with the turtles takes place from June to December. If you come to the project at the beginning of the season or during the off-season you will be doing more preparation work to ensure that the facilities and beach are ready for the reception of nests in the hatchery.

If you come during nesting season most of your time will be spent on night patrols and transferring nests into the hatchery. Coming at the end of the season you will likely not see mother turtles lay eggs but will mostly be working to release hatchlings into the ocean.

Please be aware that nesting dates and numbers are never exactly the same each year so there is no guarantee you will see turtles during the start and end of the nesting season. 

Why the project needs volunteers

The project focuses on the conservation of four species of sea turtle - the Olive Ridley, Pacific Black and the occasional Leatherbacks and Hawksbills. The survival of these beautiful marine creatures is seriously under threat from poachers who trade in the turtles’ eggs, meat, skin and shells, from the destruction of their natural habitat and from accidental capture in fishing lines.
The project’s main objective is to alleviate the natural and manmade threats that affect sea turtles’ nests on the beaches in Costa Rica. Beaches are patrolled on a nightly basis during nesting season to protect sea turtles from poachers, predators and other threats. All identified nests are removed to hatcheries where the eggs are protected until they hatch and the tiny hatchlings can be safely released into the ocean.
Unfortunately without programmes like this, the extinction of these wonderful and ancient species could be imminent. The programme gives hatchlings the opportunity to successfully grow into mature sea turtles and hopefully, the females will in turn return to the same beaches to nest once they reach maturity. Volunteers play a key role in ensuring the safety of hatchlings and therefore the future of Costa Rica’s turtles.

More Information

Read more about the Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation Project including accommodation, location, extra activities, climate and what makes Globalteer different.

Read More about the Project

No. of weeks


Volunteer Placement Fee

One week is the minimum placement for this project, and 12 weeks is the maximum. When planning your trip, please keep in mind that the volunteer activities will vary depending on the time of year.
The volunteer placement fee includes:
  • Airport pick up and transfer from San Jose airport to Hostel in San Jose centre for first night.
  • Induction on arrival in San Jose
  • Accommodation for the duration of the stay at the project
  • Three meals a day while at the project
  • Full pre-arrival and in-country support
  • Donation to the Costa Rica sea turtle conservation project
  • Transfer back to San Jose at the end of your placement and one night's accommodation in central San Jose hostel
  • An unforgettable experience!

Your placement fee does not include flights, visas or insurance, although we can provide information as required.

Groups and families are welcome at this project. Returning volunteers and those doing multiple Globalteer projects will receive a discount of US$70 / GBP£50.

Reserve Your Place

Application process & requirements

The minimum age for volunteering is 18 years of age. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary but we do require volunteers to be passionate about animals and to be able to cope with shared living conditions in a relatively isolated location. Travel insurance is compulsory for this project.
Volunteers must be reasonably physically fit as the work entails long hours and can be demanding. You must be able to speak either English or Spanish. Volunteers must have a similar ideology to the mission of the sea turtle conservation project. Wildlife trainers and those who exploit wildlife for the benefit of people are not suitable for this project.
1.      Click on the link below to fill out an application form. 
2.      Add "@globalteer.org" to your E-mail safe list to ensure that you receive a response.
3.      Your application will be reviewed and if accepted you will be notified via E-mail within one week.
4.      Pay your deposit to secure your placement within one week of acceptance. 
5.      Research your destination, book your flight, inoculations and ask us any questions you may have.
6.      Full amount is to be paid 10 weeks before the start of your volunteer placement.
7.      A comprehensive information folder will be sent to you with all information including a packing list, Peru cultural differences, etiquette, useful language phrases, volunteer placement rules, useful phone contacts and full project information.
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