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Become involved in every aspect of sea turtle conservation, from protecting eggs to caring for hatchlings along the coasts of Costa Rica! 

Program Highlights: 
  • Gain hands-on experience in wildlife care
  • Volunteer for the conservation of sea turtles during any time of year
  • Attend the best Spanish language academy during orientation to brush up on your Spanish skills
  • Combine volunteering with tourism is one of the top-rated destinations in Central America
  • Experience Costa Rican culture through host family accommodations while in San Jose
  • Latin dance classes, Costa Rican cooking lessons, yoga classes and informal Spanish conversation sessions are available during orientation

Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum two-week commitment): 

Before Your Trip:  At least a week before arrival, our Costa Rican partner will schedule an interview to answer your questions and provide useful, pre-travel information.  

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). You will be picked up at the airport and taken to your homestay on the east side of the capital city of San Jose.  Spend the day settling into your new home and getting to know your host family.

Days 1-4, Monday-Thursday: If you are taking the Spanish language immersion week, your host will accompany you to the language school on the first day. You will spend five hours a day studying Spanish and will participate in orientation talks that will help you choose your sea turtle project location, in the afternoons. You can also join Latin dance classes, cooking classes and yoga groups during your free time. (Volunteers that are fluent in Spanish are required to attend the orientation talk on Monday and will depart to their project on Tuesday.)

Days 5-7, Friday-Sunday: Enjoy the long weekend, taking the time to explore this small country: surfing and swimming at beaches on both coasts, trekking in national parks, river rafting, zip lining, hiking to visit a volcano crater, relaxing in hot springs and so much more.
 
Day 8, Monday: Transfer to your project location and begin your volunteer work. Depending on your placement assignment you might depart a day before on Sunday or a day later on Tuesday.  Your daily duties may include work at the hatchery, beach clean ups and night patrols where you will look for sea turtles and their nests. Eggs are collected and brought back to the hatchery for protection and monitoring, before being released into the ocean upon hatching.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule with one day off per week, depending on your placement. You will spend the last Saturday evening back in the city before departing on Sunday.

Please note: A minimum stay of three weeks is highly recommended.


Check out what our past volunteers had to say!
 
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Location of the Project:  Various locations on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, assigned according to demand and time of year. Placements will be assigned during the orientation meeting in Costa Rica.
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)
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Volunteer Work:  Beach patrolling, nest relocation, building hatcheries and assisting new hatchlings
Age:  18 - 49
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Important Note:  Some placements have a minimum of a three week duration; your exact placement will only be determined during orientation in Costa Rica.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared rooms with a host family and in a volunteer house
Food:  Two meals a day during Spanish course and three meals a day during project
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is provided upon arrival to San Jose
Orientation:  Volunteers will take part in an orientation week prior to beginning the volunteer program. This week includes Spanish lessons and various cultural activities.
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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, lunch during 1st week Spanish course, daily transportation to and from language school (approx. $1.50/day), transportation to project site from San José after Spanish course and orientation week (depending on location, approx. $20 - 70 round trip) + cost of taxi from bus terminal to the homestay for last night in the city ($10 – 12.00), personal expenses
Costa Rica is one of the world's most popular eco-tourism destinations, primarily because of its incredible biodiversity. It is estimated that Costa Rica may contain as much as 6% of the world's plant and animal species! Costa Rica aptly translates to "rich coast" in Spanish for its diverse landscapes, which include rain forests, tropical and temperate forests, volcanos, beaches, high mountains, and marshy lowlands.
Spanish and Culture Week:
The first week of this minimum two-week program consists of Spanish lessons and cultural enrichment activities! The Spanish lessons help prepare volunteers for their time in Costa Rica, to enhance your cultural exchange experience throughout your trip. Participation in the orientation week is mandatory unless you are a native Spanish speaker.
 
A typical day during orientation:
Spanish class begins at 9:00 AM, with a one- hour break for lunch, and finishes for the day at about 3:00 PM. You will then have the chance to join different cultural enrichment activities such as Latin dance classes, a Costa Rican cooking lesson, yoga class and informal Spanish conversation sessions. After 5:00 PM, you will have the evenings free to explore the city with fellow volunteers, study or relax at home before dinner is served.

IMPORTANT:  If you speak basic or no Spanish, we highly recommend you to enroll in extra Spanish lessons for an additional fee, so you can better communicate with your host family and feel comfortable using local transportation. If you are fluent, an exception may be made. Please contact GoEco to discuss this option prior to registration.


Please note that your project placement will be only assigned to you during orientation. The possible placements are listed below. 

Nicoya Peninsula (Pacific Coast): This program location is in a Protected Area, seven kilometers from Carrillo Beach and is home to leatherback, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles. This location has a minimum duration of two weeks and is approximately six hours from San Jose. 
 
Pacific Coast 2:This project location is in a Protected Area, and is a 45-minute walk from Montezuma, a walk all volunteers must do to reach the site. During low nesting season (September-March), volunteers may have a chance to assist at a small vineyard, greenhouse, organic farm and other locations within the Protected area. This location has a minimum duration of one week and is approximately six hours from San Jose. Please note that this project location has no electricity.

Caribbean Coast: This program is in a remote location; the closest town is one hour away. To get to the location, volunteers travel by boat through canals leading to the beach, allowing them to enjoy the fabulous tropical vegetation and wildlife. Leatherback, green and a few hawksbill turtles nest at this site. This location has a minimum duration of two weeks and is approximately four hours from San Jose. Please note that this project location has no electricity.

Some of your tasks at all locations may include:
  • Monitoring sea turtle nesting activity (night patrols and morning surveys)
  • Installing signs at the beaches regarding location and adaptation of the hatchery
  • Building hatcheries
  • Patrolling the beach to look for sea turtles and their nests, either during the day or the night (4-hour shifts)
  • Collecting eggs found on the beach and taking them directly to the hatchery (vivero) for their protection
  • Collecting information in the hatchery
  • Releasing “neonatos” (baby sea turtles) from the hatchery into the ocean
  • Maintaining the facilities of the project
  • Keeping the beach clean and free of debris
  • Participating in any specific environmental projects developed by the community
  • Assisting in community-oriented activities to improve local facilities

A typical day: Breakfast is at 07:00. From 08:00 until 12:00 you'll assist with a variety of chores at the hatchery or on the beach. You'll break for lunch and afternoon chores starts at 14:00. These assignments will depend on project needs and weather conditions (at facilities, hatchery, beach, etc.). Dinner is served at 18:00. If you're assigned to night patrol (20:00 until 05:00) you'll help search for turtles and their nests and gather eggs to bury in the hatchery. You'll have one day off a week to spend as you wish.

Internship Option: For an additional fee, volunteers can join this program as an intern. To ensure a valuable experience, interns must join this internship for a minimum of four weeks (2-6 months are recommended). An intermediate level of Spanish proficiency is usually required.
 
Internet
Internet:  Internet is not available at all the project sites, however, there will always be an available mode of communication for volunteers to use.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  During your orientation, 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 room in their home. Your accommodations throughout your volunteer placement will be in volunteer house with bunk beds and shared bathrooms. Facilities are rustic, basic, yet comfortable.
Food:  During your orientation week, you will be provided with breakfast and dinner. Throughout your volunteer placement, you will be provided with three meals a day, which consists of typical Costa Rican dishes, including rice, beans, pasta, red meat or poultry, vegetables and fruit. Check packing list for items you may want to bring to the project, such as snacks which you can buy in the city before your trip.
Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Basic Spanish knowledge. If not, you should be prepared to enroll in additional weeks of Spanish lessons 
  • Physically fit: the 3-4 hour night patrols and daytime monitoring require hard physical work
  • Good eyesight for night patrols conducted with special artificial lighting
  • Physically able to walk 5-15 km per night (even when raining)
  • Adaptable to high temperatures and humidity
  • Ability to cope with remote locations and rustic living conditions (volunteer dorms with bunk beds, shared showers and toilets) 
  • Flexible and open - minded to carry out a vriety of tasks, depending on project needs

 
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