Sea Turtle Conservation Program
Costa Rica has reopened to international arrivals. See the additional info. section for procedures in place.
This essential program aims to conserve Costa Rica's sea turtle population which has been decimated by human activities to the point of endangerment. Sadly, without preservation efforts, this incredible creature may cease to exist. Working primarily with the endangered Green and critically endangered Hawksbill turtle species on Costa Rica's Oso Peninsula, the main focus of this project is to ensure the survival of the Eastern Pacific sea turtle species through population and ecological research activities as well as rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts. Volunteers assist with in-water data collection, habitat conservation activities and ensuring the sustainability of food sources. There are many tasks associated with this work and volunteer help is greatly appreciated.
Goals of this Project:
- To save the sea turtle from extinction
- Work on projects to improve the environment in which sea turtles live, feed, breed and nest
- Rescue, rehabilitate and release turtles in need of assistance
- Research these wonderful creatures for a greater understanding of how to ensure their survival
- Enable inter-cultural exchange between international volunteers and locals.
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an integral role in achieving the goals of this project. Like many conservation programs funds are greatly lacking and a willing volunteer labor force is essential to its success. Those working on this program will support research and conservation work which involves counting turtles, measuring nests, collecting scientific information and night beach patrols. They will also help protect turtle nests from human poachers, assist on the egg-harvesting programs and helping in the hatcheries. Volunteers may also get the fantastic opportunity to participate in the rescue of injured turtles, rehabilitation and release of both hatchlings and recovered adults!
Outside of the breeding season (which peaks from August to January) volunteers will be involved in research, habitat improvement and rescue activities. This is a wonderful program that has a direct impact on the safety of sea turtle populations on the Pacific Coast of Coast Rica. Volunteers will gain unique experience on conservation projects, learn more about the Costa Rican people and culture and travel to beautiful locations.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Work on beach and turtle hatching ground conservation projects
- Undertake on-water research tasks to record population numbers and ecology data
- Mangrove reforestation activities
- Monitoring sea grass beds for sustainable food sources
- Assist as needed in rescue, rehabilitation and release tasks
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over (17 with parental consent) who wish to give their time and energy to help protect and conserve the sea turtles of Costa Rica. The project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by one of local project leaders. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
This project is based on the stunning Oso Peninsula on Costa Rica's South Pacific coast. A haven for wildlife and marine species this location offers volunteers an immersion into the unspoilt natural beauty of Costa Rica and a genuine insight into the Tico way of life.
Puerto Jiménez is the peninsula's largest town and provides a great base for exploring the region, providing easy access to both the vast expanse of the Parque Nacional Corcovado for hiking and wildlife and the emerald waters of the Golfo Dulce for beaches and surf.
Due to the nature of these projects the locations are often remote and facilities rustic. Where possible, volunteers can use free time to travel to a nearby town to explore shops and restaurants, or to explore further afield. Offsite travel options will be discussed with volunteers during their project orientation. This project is a wonderful option for those volunteers who wish to be fully immersed in the astounding nature and beauty that Costa Rica has to offer!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 10 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Volunteers typically fly into San Jose international airport and either take a short domestic flight to Palmar Sur airport or public transport to Ciudad Cortes de Osa. Pick-up is provided from Palmar Sur or Ciudad de Cortes and volunteers are transported to the accommodation to settle in.
On Monday a full orientation session is provided to cover all aspects of the local area and placement. This is a great opportunity to meet the program coordinators and other volunteers and ask any last minute questions.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- International Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose (code: SJO)
- Domestic Airport: Palmar Sur, Punarenas Province (code PMZ)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this program are accommodated in a Volunteer House a short bike ride from the beach and project site. Rooms are dormitory in style and shared by up to 4 volunteers.
All of the basic amenities are provided including western bathroom facilities with cold water showers, electricity, ceiling fans and free wifi. Bedding is provided so volunteers need only bring toiletries and towels.
Volunteers are provided 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) throughout the placement. Dinner is not included but can be arranged with the hosts, prepared yourself or eaten out at one of the local cafes or restaurants where you can try cheap and tasty local food. The meals provided are local cuisine and predominantly vegetarian.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
- Visitors traveling to Costa Rica will need to provide proof of a medical insurance policy to cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment or quarantine lodging while in Costa Rica. In the case of international insurance, tourists must request from their insurer a certification issued in English or Spanish, noting:
1) the validity of the policy during the dates of visit to Costa Rica,
2) guarantee of coverage for medicals expenses in cases of COVID-19 related medical treatment in the amount of 50,000 USD and,
3) minimum coverage of 2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses due to COVID-19 related illness. It is also possible to purchase a Costa Rican medical insurance policy through the National Insurance Institute (INS) or Sagicor of Costa Rica, covering the duration of your stay in Costa Rica.
- All visitors must also complete an online Health Pass (pasa de Salud) 48 hours prior to travel to Costa Rica. The Health Pass can be found at https://salud.go.cr.
Want to get certified to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages? Just let us know and the local team will arrange for you to complete the qualification in conjunction with your volunteering placement.
Other courses and activities are also available, just ask!