Sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica

VOLUNTEERING IN THE CARIBBEAN OF COSTA RICA

Some of the problems faced by sea turtles in Costa Rica are the destruction of their nests by people who sell their eggs, indiscriminate fishing, construction on nesting beaches, and lack of awareness in communities near these beaches.

Sea turtles perform important ecological functions such as maintaining the dynamics of coral reefs and also feed on jellyfish, which control the growth of this species. The work done in the construction of nurseries, beach cleaning and relocation of nests, helps the conservation of this species and its habitat.

OBJECTIVE

  • Collaborate in the protection and care of the different species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches where we work in Costa Rica.

WHAT WILL I DO AS A VOLUNTEER?

During the high sea turtle nesting season, which runs from March 31 to July 30 in Costa Rica, activities such as monitoring and nocturnal vigilance are carried out. These last approximately between 4 to 6 hours, where you will be accompanied by the working group assigned by the biologist or local coordinator of the project.

The following tasks are carried out during night-time monitoring:

  • Beach surveillance
  • Protection of nesting turtles
  • Record of nesting female turtles
  • Location of nests to the nurseries
  • Egg counts
  • Identification of nests

During the day there are activities such as:

  • Release of offspring and data collection. (releases from May)
  • Beach cleaning
  • Work in the ecological orchard with the plantation of Banana and different vegetables for the own consumption, besides the conservation of the humid forest of the Forest Reserve.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE A VOLUNTEER?

This experience is available to anyone interested in contributing and helping with their knowledge and skills. It is also aimed at university students and nature lovers.

  • You must be of legal age.
  • Be willing to complete assignments.
  • Good communication with the people you work with and the community.
  • Be empathetic, participative and committed to the program.

Volunteers must be the age of majority otherwise parental consent is required.  Your must be in good physical condition, since the routes carried out during the night trips can be long and the terrain a bit difficult because of loose sand.

WHAT DAYS AND DATES CAN I VOLUNTEER?

ARRIVALS

  • The volunteer program with turtles in Costa Rica is open from March to August.
  • You can arrive any day of the week.

TIMETABLE AND PICK-UP POINT

  • The pick-up point is Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO).
  • Pick up time is from 8:00 to 21:30 hours. If you arrive outside these hours, the volunteer will have to pay the plus of 50€.
  • The first night you do it in San José and the next morning (8:00 a.m.) a taxi will take you to the bus station, where you will take a bus to Batan, there will be Barbara or Jonny (local coordinators) to take you to the project.

COORDINATION IN THE TURTLE PROJECT

In your project will be Barbara (biologist) and the local project team. Your coordinator will give you guidance and instructions on the sea turtle conservation program in the Caribbean of Costa Rica.

Their knowledge through marine biology will help you to know well the problems of the marine species as well as all its environment.

HOW ARE THE LODGING AND MEALS?

Volunteer accommodation is located in the project area. It has common spaces such as:

  • Bed in a shared room
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Common bathroom
  • Hand wash area

Accommodation includes 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Meals are 100% Costa Rican and include rice, beans, salads, meats, pasta, vegetables, or fish. At breakfast, coffee, tea, fruits are served; and in the afternoons and during patrols, pancakes and cereals (not always).

IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW:

  • There is no electricity, it works with a generator.
  • There is no WIFI, the company Kolbi has coverage in some points.
  • There is no drinking water from the tap.

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR A GOOD COEXISTENCE IN THE PROJECT?

  • Smoking and drinking are not allowed inside, outside and in the project areas.
  • Take pictures of the turtles in their nesting process.
  • Drug use is forbidden.
  • Maintain good behavior.

WHAT CAN I BRING IN MY VOLUNTEER SUITCASE?

Volunteers who go to the sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica are advised to do the following:

Mandatory:

  • Natural repellent (no DEET)
  • Long pants (work pants) dark color.
  • Long thin sleeves (dark color)
  • Clothing that dries quickly
  • Soap, shampoo, towels, biodegradable detergent and other hygiene products
  • Small backpack
  • Crocs for turtles and sports shoes

Optional Elements:

  • Rubber boots or shoes for walking on the beach
  • Topical medicine for allergies
  • Allergy pills
  • Handkerchief
  • Raincoat
  • Work gloves
  • Shower sandals
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Beach articles
  • Many pairs of socks
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Hat
  • Natural sunscreen
  • Mosquito net
  • Frontal flashlight with red light