Volunteering in Costa Rica – Learn Spanish and Save Turtles

Posted by: Lauren

During my year off before entering university, I decided that I wanted to travel, and I am so thrilled that I chose volunteering in Costa Rica with GoEco. After countless hours of researching places to go, and programs to go with, I came across a Sea Turtle Conservation project and I knew that it was what I wanted to do for my first trip!

For my first week in Costa Rica, I was able to study Spanish, meet all kinds of people from all kinds of places, and participate in activities such as yoga, cooking, and dancing. For me, it was kind of hard to learn a new language, and I was slightly embarrassed as I was the ONLY student there who spoke one language, but everyone, the teacher and the other students, were so helpful and made my week of studying the best time possible!

I became really close with a few girls, each from a different country, and we decided that the first weekend we would travel from San Jose to the Pacific Coast and stay at a hostel for a few nights! It was AMAZING! Everyone in Costa Rica is so helpful and happy, and they make your stay worthwhile. The ocean was so warm and the views were so beautiful. There were waterfalls that we went to, so obviously I found it important to jump off of them. It was so great learning about the area from the locals as well!

After our weekend in Montezuma was up, I traveled further up the coast for a two-week program with the sea turtles. It was such a wonderful experience that I will always have with me. Our “home” was a short 15-minute walk from the beach, with a hill that must have had a 70 percent incline to it. It was always funny to race people up the hill, or dread the climb up after a day at the beach!

During the days we all had different chores, whether they were simply just tidying up, or even counting turtle tracks at the beach or cleaning up any litter that polluted the vegetation. At night when we would get to go on patrols, we would gear up in our night patrol outfits and load on the bug spray. Then, once the turtles would come to the beach, the real work began! Sometimes the turtles had parasites growing in their shells so we would remove them, and once they started digging their body pit/nest the volunteers would assist the turtle to dig a deeper hole, catch the eggs, and re-locate them to a better spot possibly further down the beach, or further away from the dense vegetation. It was so amazing to watch the turtles lay their eggs, and see how incredibly strong they are!

My time volunteering in Costa Rica was truly amazing and it’s hard to sum it up into a few short paragraphs. I would definitely travel back one day, and I recommend this program and trip to anyone hoping to travel!