Volunteer in Costa Rica
Volunteer to work in turtle rescue projects along Costa Rica's Pacific and Caribbean coasts. There are two different programs working with two species of turtles, the Leatherback and Olive Ridley. These programs will give you the chance to make an important contribution to the preservation of these species. You will also gain first-hand knowledge about Costa Rica's biodiversity and its culture.
Volunteers will work with Leatherback Turtles between January and July and Olive Ridley Turtles between August and December. The Leatherback Turtle is the biggest marine turtle in the world, weighing as much as 1,900 pounds and reaching nine feet in length. The Olive Ridley, 'Lora' or “Carpentera” Turtle is the smallest of its species, weighing in at 75 pounds and measuring only 2 feet. Both species' populations are in sharp decline due to over harvesting of eggs, beach development, fishing, pollution, and being killed for their meat and leather.
The work is very "hands on" and involves close contact with the turtles. Volunteers are not required to have particular biological knowledge, and so the projects are both rewarding and educational. Volunteer roles include beach patrolling, clearing the beach of obstacles, preparing nests, relocation of nests, handling eggs, helping to release baby turtles in season, counting and recording eggs, taking temperatures in nests, repairing protection around nests, and recording the number of turtles arriving. Volunteers will work night and day on a rotation basis. This means that each person will work shifts of 4 hours and then rest, and will work 6 to 8 hours a day in total with one free day per week. Days off are negotiable with the director of the project.
Volunteers are expected to arrive on the first or middle Monday of each month. You can volunteer anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. If you would like to take Spanish lessons, you need to arrive a week earlier.