Program Details

  • Program Type: Volunteer
  • Location: Costa Rica
  • Starting Price: EUR 1,945.00
Costa Rica

Assist with the monitoring of endangered green turtles and critically endangered hawksbill and leatherback turtle species

 
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General info 

Location: Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica

Duration: from 2 to 24 weeks

Dates: see dates tab below 

Our in country program partner runs the project in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and have committed to running ethical and sustainable projects. 

Project Highlights​​

  • An opportunity to work hands-on with sea turtles
  • Witnessing the entire nesting process
  • The area where we work on is closed to tourism, we are the only people allowed to live there due to the nature of the research we do
  • Observe Costa Rican wildlife species in their natural habitats
  • Visit an incredibly jaguar-dense area and one of the only locations in the world where jaguars are known to prey on adult sea turtles

International Volunteering in Costa Rica

Each year during season (April through to October) mother turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach in the Tortugeuro National Park. In the park,  jaguars will predate the turtles and so the objective is ensure protection of turtles in Costa Rica.

After receiving training by highly skilled staff, you will conduct night-time patrols on the beach looking for nesting mothers. You may assist in collecting & recording data on the turtles by measuring them, counting the effs being laid, looking for previous tags and distinctive markings.

This project works closely with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment, Energy & Telecommunications.   

All this data will help researchers to determine the number of turtles who return to the beach to lay eggs as well as the number of new ones, how they spread out in nesting season and also how migration between beaches work.

During the mornings you will continue with patrols. Depending on the season, you may also be lucky enough to see and record the baby turtles emerging from the nest and record data on hatchling success, poaching rates, and mortality rate

You might also have the opportunity to conduct jaguars and aquatic birds research, as well as carrying out biological assessment surveys of the area, contributing to long-term conservation efforts along Costa Rica.

Transport info 

You will be asked to arrive the day before the departure date of the program in San José between 6pm and 10pm, our local partner will collect you from the airport and transfer you to your self arranged hostel. 

If you are arriving outside these hours, you will have to organize the transfer to the hostel yourself. A taxi costs about 22USD from the airport to the hostel. 

You will meet the team at Hostel Casa Colon on your program start date. 
 

Accommodation and meals info

Accommodation is in shared (mixed sex) dorms with shared bathroom facilities at the field station. There is running water available for washing and cooking, with suitable water for drinking and brushing teeth. Supplies are limited and usage may be restricted when necessary. Bucket-flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share responsibility for base duties, including cooking, cleaning, and other chores. 

Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is very basic and mostly vegetarian, with meat rarely available. Breakfast could be porridge or occasionally pancakes, typical lunches and evening meals may include lentils, chicpeas, pasta, beans, or rice, with vegetables. Fresh fruit is provided each afternoon.

Possibility of adding on a community program to your wildlife conservation project:

Volunteers can combine 2 or 3 volunteer projects during their stay in Costa Rica. Generally missions on animal projects (turtles and jaguars) are linked, so volunteers often opt for the combination animal + community development to gain an optimal experience.

Community development, Early Childhood Development and Teaching English

Volunteers have the opportunity to work in Quepos (Central Pacific coast), a small community, in developing programs for Early Childhood Development or Teaching English.

The programs are based on the needs of the community and the main focus is to provide children with educational activities before and after school.

Alternatively you could choose to join on the Teaching English program; with this project, the volunteers work with adult and young children in El Cocal and Quepos.

Volunteers assist with the basic learning of English, this a great opportunity for the community members to develop skills in order to secure better job opportunities.

On both these programs in Quepos, have the opportunity to learn & practice Spanish.

 

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Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Safe and basic accommodations

- 18 years or over

- Intermediate english

You must apply for this project at least 4 weeks before the start :

- Application form to be send to info@freepackers.com

- Passport copy

- CV/ Resume in spanish

Payment & Cancellation

The non-refundable deposit payment is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program. Deposits are currently €300(or equivalent) or €900 (or equivalent) for Programs costing €5000 (or equivalent) or more, or for Programs with a duration of 90 days or more.

For Programs with a deposit of €300 or equivalent 50% of the balance will be due 16 weeks before departure and the outstanding balance must be paid by the Participant no later than 10 weeks prior to departure. For Programs with a deposit of €900 or equivalent 50% of the balance will be due 20 weeks before departure and the outstanding balance must be paid by the Participant no later than 12 weeks prior to departure.

For Programs with a deposit of €300 or equivalent the Participant will be entitled to cancel at any time up until 16 weeks before departure. For Programs with a deposit of €900 or equivalent , the Participant will be entitled to cancel at any time up until 20 weeks before departure. In the event of timely cancellation, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of the deposit, but will be entitled to a refund of any other monies paid. All refunds are subject to an administration fee of €15, or equivalent. In the event of cancellation after the deadlines above, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.

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Earlier this year the Volunteer with Children programme made it on to the National Geographic Traveler's prestigious '50 Tours of a Lifetime' list and as a result continues to be a popular choice for volunteers wanting to improve their Spanish while contributing to long term, sustainable teaching and childcare projects. 

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