Costa Rica – Montezuma Sea Turtle Volunteer Program – Videos

Volunteer on the beautiful Pacific beaches of Montezuma to protect sea turtle nesting sites and newborn hatchlings. Live and work with other wildlife volunteers and experience the joy of releasing baby turtles into the ocean.

  • Take advantage of your program’s first week in San Jose to fully immerse yourself in Spanish language and culture.
  • Gain hands-on experience in sea turtle conservation on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
  • The program is based in the town of Montezuma, so you can enjoy fun activities, nightlife and stunning beaches during your free time.
  • Travel during your free time and visit natural wonders, such as the Arenal Volcano National Park.


Your Schedule at a Glance – minimum two weeks commitment (itinerary subject to change):

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). A representative will transfer you to your new host family in San Jose, followed by an orientation meeting about your schedule, safety, traveling, and volunteering in Costa Rica.

Week 1, Monday – Sunday: Spanish Immersion Week:

Your first week in Costa Rica starts with our Spanish language immersion course at one of the best Schools in the country. Live with a local family and gain essential Spanish skills to travel around easily, interact with staff and other volunteers. This includes:

  • Lodging with a host family in a private room
  • Breakfast and dinner throughout the week
  • 20 hours of Spanish lessons, 5 hours a day (Mon-Thu)
  • 2-6 students per classroom with one instructor
  • Latin Dance and Costa Rican cooking classes
  • Spanish classes run from 9 to 12 noon, with one hour for lunch, and continue from 1 to 3 pm (total 5 hours a day, Mon-Thu).
  • Evenings and weekends are free to enjoy the city or travel in Costa Rica, see tour options below.
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are open during the long weekend, giving you the chance to explore the wonders of Costa Rica and choose from many tour options with our team.


Week 2, and beyond: Sea Turtle Volunteer program:

Monday to Friday: The transfer day to the program is Monday. Transportation to the program site is approximately 5 hours and involves the following transfers which are included for GoEco volunteers: a private van ride from San Jose to the ferry, followed by a ferry journey to Paquera, and finally, another private van ride from Paquera to Montezuma. On-site orientation is on a Monday or Tuesday depending on your travel day duration, followed by meaningful volunteer work at the sea turtle project through-out the week.

Saturday-Sunday: One day off a week is guaranteed for volunteers on usually a Saturday or Sunday. Taking into account the workload assigned, volunteers have the ability to negotiate their exact days off with the local project coordinator. Transfer back to San Jose is on your last Saturday at the program. You will spend one night in San Jose with our host family, and on Sunday, catch your flight home.


Important Note Important Note – Spanish week and Transfers: The Spanish Week and local transfers are included for all volunteers who have registered to join this program after October 1st, 2023. Volunteers who registered before this date, the Spanish week was an optional add on and local transfers to/from Montezuma and San Jose are organized locally with our team.


We highly recommend! 
Planning to come for one month or more? Combine this project with our Animal Rescue and Conservation program, for a diverse wildlife experience. We will assist with the transfers.



Location icon Location of the Project: Montezuma Beach, Nicoya Peninsula (Pacific Coast)

Project length Project length: Minimum 2 weeks – Maximum 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Beach patrolling, nest relocation, building hatcheries and assisting new hatchlings.

Age Age:Min 18. Families are welcome with kids from the age of 12 and have to option to book a hostel/hotel room near the program at an additional cost.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: A private room while staying with a host family in San Jose and a shared dorm in a volunteer house during the project. Private rooms are available in Montezuma for an extra fee.

Food Food: Two meals per day during orientation week and three meals per day during project

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: We provide airport pickup upon arrival to San José

Orientation Orientation: You will receive an on-site orientation in San Jose before departing to the volunteer location.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

  • Flights, visa (if required), travel health insurance and personal expenses
  • Lunch during orientation week
  • Daily transportation by bus to/from the language school (approx. $1-2 USD per day)
  • Departure transfer from homestay to airport on the last day (around $35, if desired).

The volunteer program takes place in the town of Montezuma, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Once a remote fishing village, Montezuma started attracting many backpackers and tourists since the 1990s. There are several beautiful beaches in the area, scenic waterfalls and the nearby Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve. Montezuma has a laid back vibe and a growing number of wellness and yoga programs and retreats. There are a variety of hotels and hostels for all budgets, as well as restaurants, bars and tour operators.


On the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, on the Pacific coast, Montezuma’s beach is an important nesting ground for endangered hawksbill sea turtles. However, in recent years, it has become a fast-growing tourist destination which affects the nesting cycle of sea turtles, because of costal development and light pollution.

The Sea Turtle Conservation Program at Montezuma Beach is an association and governmental organization that was established with the following goals:

  • Create a safe environment for turtles who arrive to lay their eggs,
  • Protect sea turtles from poachers and animals
  • Preserve the nests in order to ensure a greater hatchling survival rate
  • Generate scientific information for conservation policies by collecting important data during each turtle season.
  • Educate the local community and tourists about the environmental harm caused by disturbing the turtles and their nests.


As a volunteer, your tasks will change depending on the season and the duration of your stay. The longer you can commit to the program, your volunteering activities will become more varied and involved. You will be assisting the project staff with some or all of the following tasks:

  • Night Patrols: Volunteers will walk along the beach in groups to protect turtles/eggs from poachers and predators. An experienced leader usually leads night patrol duties, which also include searching for nesting females.
  • Egg Reallocation: After the turtles lay their eggs on the beach, volunteers will move them to a protected hatchery. Tasks also include creating new nests (according to specifications), transplanting and counting the eggs, recording the nest location and turtle identification information (tag number).
  • Hatchery: Volunteers constantly monitor the hatchery to make sure it is clean and protected from predators and poachers. The approximate incubation time for turtle eggs is 60 days. Therefore, during the season, the duties of the hatchery increases as the eggs hatch.
  • Hatchling Release: The newborn turtles need constant attention to ensure that they are continuously hydrated until we release them. As a volunteer, you will help count newborn turtles and release them in the evening to an appropriate location along the high tide line.
  • Data Collection: During night patrols, volunteers will help the program coordinator take bio-metric measurements of the adult turtles and keep a record of the turtles spotted at night. It is also important to identify and account for turtle tracks on the beaches.Construction and Maintenance :
  • Construction and Maintenance: Volunteers will help with the general maintenance and repairs in the hatcheries. During the rainy season, some hatcheries need frequent maintenance. The volunteers will also assist with the construction of new hatcheries when and if necessary.
  • Beach Clean-up: Volunteers will help with beach clean-ups at least once a week to pick up garbage and debris. It is important to keep the beach clean so the turtles can nest with no obstacles.
  • Education and Conservation Programs: The program regularly organizes sea turtle education programs for local communities, schools, and tourists in the area.


Seasons: The Montezuma project is open all year long. However, the turtle nesting season is from May to November/December. The peak of the season is August to November, when turtles are still nesting and baby turtles are hatching. Turtle nesting seasons typically remain consistent, but they can be influenced by climatic factors like water temperature, delayed rainfall, and shifts in atmospheric temperatures, which can impact the number of turtles nesting.

A typical day: During turtle nesting season, participants start with breakfast at 7:00 am. Afterwards, there is time for cleaning the facilities, bathrooms and dorms from around 8-10am. The rest of the morning volunteers divide into groups for tasks which include working in the hatchery and beach cleanups. Sometimes volunteers help guide tourists who visit the project or take part in environmental education programs. Lunch time is at noon and in the afternoon volunteers switch activities. After 4:00pm, when the sun’s rays are less strong, volunteers help release baby turtles, if it is hatching time. There is usually some free time in the afternoons when you can relax in the station, go to the beach or town. After dinner, there are several night shifts for patrolling the beach to protect nesting turtles laying their eggs.

During the off season for nesting turtles (Jan-April) there are no night patrols and more work in the hatchery. Volunteers have to make sure all eggs have hatched and conduct an exhumation and data collection process for turtles that didn’t hatch or perished in the nest. After this process, volunteers switch all the sand in the hatchery with new sand for the upcoming turtle season, while making sure there is no plastic or other contamination in the sand. This is physical work and takes about 1 month or more to complete. There is also work cleaning the beach and in the community.

Internship option: For an extra fee, qualified volunteers can join this program as an intern. To ensure a valuable experience, interns must join this internship for a minimum of four weeks (we recommend two to six months). An intermediate level of Spanish is required. Please contact us to discuss this option.

Alternative Placements: This volunteer program fills up quickly! In case your requested date is full, we can also place you with excellent Sea Turtle conservation programs on the Romelia Turtle program (open all year round) or the Caribbean Coast (open from March – August each year).

Internet icon Internet: Wi-Fi is available on the program (connectivity and speed may vary).

Laundry icon Laundry: There is a laundry service near the program that charges around $2/kilo for washing and drying. A sink and clothes link is also available on site.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: During orientation week, you will stay with a host family in San José, which is a short bus ride away from the language school. They will provide you with a comfortable, basic private room in their home. Your accommodations throughout your volunteer placement will be at the program station, which is very simple but has all the necessities. The volunteer house has four dorms with 2 bunk beds in each room, two shared bathrooms, kitchen, dining area, laundry area, and a porch facing the beach. There is capacity for 16 volunteers. Private rooms: couples and families have to option to book accommodation in the town of Montezuma and volunteer on the program. Prices can range from $50 per night in a hostel to $250 per night in a hotel, depending on the season. Following your application, we can provide various accommodation options and assist with the booking.

Food icon Food: In San Jose, breakfast and dinner are provided. Throughout your volunteer placement, our friendly local cooks prepare meals 3 times a day, 7 days a week. They can accommodate any dietary restrictions, such as allergies and vegetarian/vegan diets.

  • GoEco interview
  • This project recommends all participants to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Basic Spanish knowledge. Beginners should be prepared to enroll in additional weeks of Spanish lessons for an extra fee.
  • National Police Clearance Document
  • Physically fit: the three-four hour night patrols and daytime monitoring require hard physical work
  • Good eyesight for night patrols conducted with special artificial lighting
  • Comfortably able to walk 5-15 kilometers per night (even when it’s raining)
  • Adaptable to high temperatures and humidity
  • Ability to cope with remote locations and rustic living conditions (volunteer dorms offer bunk beds, shared showers and toilets)
  • Flexible and open-minded in order to carry out a variety of tasks, depending on the project needs

Local activities in Montezuma

Volunteers can enjoy various activities during their free time with close access to Montezuma town and stunning beaches. Activities are not included in the program fee and thus volunteers have the freedom to choose to spend their free time as they wish. Activities available in the area: Montezuma waterfall, Cabo Blanco Reserve, El Chorro waterfall, Boat trip to Tortuga island, Horseback riding, Zip lining, Yoga and wellness retreats, Surf lessons.

Tour options

We recommend traveling around Costa Rica before or after your volunteer placement. You can either explore the country on your own or simply join a tour. Here are a few popular options that you can book with us in advance:

  • Arenal Volcano and hot springs, one day (transportation, lunch & dinner & entrance to springs )
  • Doka coffee plantation, Poas Volcano & & La Paz waterfalls (transportation & lunch)
  • Irazu volcano, Orosi valley & Lankester gardens (transportation, tour & lunch)
  • Sun & white sand beaches (Carara National Park, Punta Leona: includes breakfast, lunch, transportation)
  • Manuel Antonio National Park, lovely beach on Pacific coast (includes transportation, breakfast, lunch).
  • White river rafting (includes transportation, breakfast & lunch)

Volunteer Experiences

Volunteer Experiences

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