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The main goal of this project is to ensure the protection of various turtle species on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Costa Rica. These turtles face numerous threats, including poachers and, more recently, erosion. Each season, this project recruits volunteers to help with research and conservation work, such as night patrolling, working in the hatcheries, collecting eggs and rescuing turtles.

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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 3 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:  Your exact placement will only be determined during orientation in Costa Rica.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Cabin, tent, or volunteer house depending on project location
Food:  Two meals a day during Spanish course and three meals a day during project
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Airport Transfers:  Provided on arrival and departure days
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  One-week orientation in San Jose including cultural enrichment activities and Spanish courses
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24-hour emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, visa (if required), personal expenses, lunch during 1st week Spanish course, daily transportation to and from project (approx. $2.00/day), transportation to project site from San José after Spanish course (depending on location, approx. $18-$74 round trip), transportation from project site to San José for departure (approx. $9 to $15)

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.

Orientation and Spanish Courses (included)
The first week of this minimum three-week program consists of Spanish lessons (5 hours/day, Monday - Thursday) and cultural enrichment activities to facilitate communication at your project and help you acclimate to Costa Rica. During the Spanish course, you will learn vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and conversational skills. Participation in the orientation week is mandatory unless you are a native Spanish speaker.
 
On the first day of your Spanish course, you will take an oral exam to determine your current language level. After you register and submit your application, you will also submit a written exam. Both the oral and written exam will be taken into consideration to determine which class you will placed in upon arrival. During your orientation week, you will also be assigned your project location.

A typical day during orientation: Spanish class begins at 9:00AM, with a one hour break for lunch at noon and then finishing for the day at about 3:00PM. You will then have the chance to join different cultural enrichment activities such as Latin dance classes, Costa Rican cooking courses, yoga lessons or informal Spanish conversation practice. After 5:00PM, you will have the evenings free to explore the area with fellow volunteers, study or relax at home.

If you speak basic or no Spanish, you will need to enroll in extra Spanish lessons for an additional fee.  
If you speak fluent Spanish before coming to the project, an exception may be made to waive the language course requirement (though it is highly recommended in order to have the most fulfilling experience). Your fluency will be determined by your written exam and during your phone interview. Please contact GoEco to discuss this option prior to registration.

Your exact project location will only be determined upon arrival. Your tasks will vary according to the season and the needs of the project. It's important to come with an open-mind, motivation and flexibility to cope with unexpected changes.

Some of your tasks 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 (done in 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.

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 vary depending on your location, and may include cabins, tents, and volunteer houses. Facilities are rustic, basic, yet comfortable, with shared rooms, showers and bathrooms.
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, vegetables and fruit.

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

Internship

For an additional $200 volunteers can join this project as an intern. Internships are designed to provide participants with professional experience for career exploration and development. To ensure a valuable experience, you need to join this internship for a minimum of 4 weeks.  An intermediate level of Spanish proficiency is usually required and, regardless of the Spanish level, at least one week of Spanish Immersion course and orientation prior to the start of the program is recommended.
 
This Internship Program includes accommodation in San Jose with a host family for the first week (2 meals included), accommodation at your respective project site (cabins or a volunteer house with 3 meals included), Spanish course, orientation, weekly follow-ups and 24/7 support during the program with a final evaluation. Interns will be required to work 6 days per week.
 

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