WHY we need you in Costa Rica
HOW can you help?
WHAT you can do?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: TURTLE CONSERVATION
LOCATION: OFFSITE LOCATION
START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: HOMESTAY (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: 2 WEEKS
MIN AGE: 18+ (16 with guardian)
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
The sea turtle population in Costa Rica is sadly in danger of extinction. The turtle species can vary, and each species distinctively affects the local environment, ecosystem and habitat. They play an important part in preserving the health of our oceans. The turtle conservation project in Costa Rica is run by both local and international environmentalists and biologists. The main focus of this program is to increase the birth rate and survival of turtle hatchlings. You will also be taught how to collect data and educate the local community about environmental and conservation issues, as well as how to maintain this precious marine ecosystem.
You will work with a supervisor who will teach you how to do everything such as hatchery management, beach patrols, beach clean-up, data collection, and community education. You will help to support local biologists and researchers who are involved in overseeing the turtle nesting grounds.
The turtle projects are situated offsite from the volunteer centre. These locations may not have reliable internet, but a phone is available in case of emergencies. Our local coordinators will check in with you by phone and in-person throughout your project. You will spend 1-2 days in San Jose at the start of your project for orientation.
- Night patrols on the beach
- Tagging turtles
- Relocating nests into hatcheries
- Counting eggs and turtle numbers
- Beach clean-up efforts
- Community education
Food & Accommodation
The majority of our volunteers will stay with a pre-approved middle-class Costa Rican family. You have the option of a shared or a private room. For shared rooms, you are placed with 1-3 other people of the same gender and age group. In San Jose, the host families live in the San Pedro area, which is around a 10 to 60-minute walk or bus ride (depending on where you’re placed) from the volunteer centre. You’ll be given a key to the house and are free to come and go as you please, but you must respect the house rules and practices of your host family.
The host family can help you with washing laundry. There is a small charge of ₡2,500 or $5 per kilo (2.2 lbs) which is paid directly to the family. If you are staying at a student residence, hostel, hotel or apartment that does not have a laundry service available, you can use a nearby laundrette (lavanderia).
Breakfast and dinner will be served 7 days a week and will usually be local cuisine, cooked by your host family. The food in Costa Rica is a mix of African, Italian, French, Chinese, and Spanish cuisines. Common food are grains such as rice, corn, and beans and different meats mixed with spices like coriander, saffron, parsley, oregano, thyme and nutmeg. The food is usually mildly seasoned and has plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Below images show a typical South American homestay, and some of the San Jose volunteer hub/ centre.
- English Teaching
- Animal Care
1 Week - N/A
2 Weeks - N/A
3 Weeks - $1345
1 Month - $1690
2 Months - $2675
3 Months - $3655
1 Day Orientation
24/7 In-Country Support
Project Materials & Equipment
Pre-departure Expert Advice
Preperation Tools & Checklists
Certificate of Completion
If you have a love for the ocean and wildlife, there is not better project for you! This is a great way to help on the important issues of climate change and turtle conservation. You may be placed on accommodation that is quite remote and so must be willing to be able to live without your usual luxuries. You must also be prepared to work late night time shifts, as well as daytime shifts.
- Airport pick-up
- Host family accommodations
- Breakfast and dinner, 7 days/week
- 1 day orientation
- 24/7 in-country support
- Walking tour
- Official certificate of volunteer service
- Letter of recommendation
- Spanish language tutoring table
- Tandem Conversation Program
- WiFi and computer lab
- Salsa dance classes
- Cooking classes
- Free coffee and tea and on-site snack bar
- Volunteer centre open 7 days/week
- Travel insurance
- Daily transportation
- Travel and tours
- Transfer back to the airport
- Personal spending money
Each project will include a 1-day orientation to familiarise yourself with the local area, rules, safety advice and general information. Your host family will show you the best way to get to/from your accommodation to the volunteer centre. Orientation will include health and safety advice, do’s and don’ts, cultural norms, activities and tours you can do on weekends, and a short walking tour, showing you the local area. You are also able to take a free Spanish placement exam. On your first day the local coordinator will take you to the placement, where you will be introduced to everyone and shown around the project.
Most volunteers either walk or take the bus, depending on how far their project is. Journey time varies widely from project to project, and you should expect to spend 15-60 minutes traveling each way. You might also need to change buses during your trip. Taxi’s are also widely available but do cost more than buses. It can be hard to change your project after you start volunteering, so please be ready to travel to your designated project every day.
We will explain to you how to get to your project site and you will be given transportation tickets. You will leave on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning to reach your offsite project. Transportation back is included and this will usually be Friday evening or Saturday morning.
Sunday – Arrival / Welcome and Home Stay Introduction
Monday – Orientation day
Tuesday to Saturday
Here is a rough guide on what to expect:
- Breakfast at the accommodation
- 5-6 hours of volunteer work either in the morning or afternoon or evening
- Your own lunch at the accommodation or project site
- Free time
- Dinner at the accommodation
San Jose is the capital city and has plenty to do from city tours, watching a show at the theatre, markets, museums, parks, and city walking tours. You can also take day trips to mountains, volcanoes and the beach.
Situated about 90 km northwest of San Jose is Arenal volcano, measuring 1,633 metres high. This scenic volcano is one of the most popular tourist attractions, with daily tours walking around it, plus it’s proximity to the nearby rainforest and waterfalls make it a popular place to visit.
Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio
Close by the where a lot of our projects are, this National park is one of the most popular in Costa Rica. With beautiful beaches, rainforest walking trails and an abundance of wildlife, this is a must visit for any traveller!
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Another stunning destination to visit and a lush oasis of green rainforest and misty fog and clouds sitting at the top of the canopy. There are around 420 different types of orchids, ferns mosses, as well as a large bird population- perfect for nature and wildlife lovers. There are also night time walking tours.
Corcovado National Park
A stunning national park with plenty of hiking trails, natural swimming holes, waterfalls, rainforest, wildlife, flora and fauna and camping. Here you will find more than 400 bird species, monkeys, sea turtles, over 40 frog species, 100 butterfly species and perhaps even a jaguar.
Costa Rica has so much to do for those who like to live on the wild side! From ziplining, white water rafting, canyoning, surfing, snorkelling, diving, horse riding and paddle boarding. This is a nature and adventure lovers paradise!
There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. From white sand, black sand, beaches that meet jungle and all with crystal clear, blue waters. Many of the beach town have cafes, restaurants, accommodation and places to grab a fresh coconut juice, the perfect way to chill out after a hot day!
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Those under 18 are welcome when there is a faculty leader, parent, or guardian present
- Have a good level of fitness (the work can require manual labour)
Costa Rica is a small country in Central America and is bordered by Nicaragua to the North, Panama to the South, the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the Caribbean Sea to the East. The country has a population of 5 million people and is roughly the same size as a large city in the USA! Costa Rica offers incredible mountain trails, coffee plantations, lush rainforests and some stunning beaches, with a huge variety of landscapes.
Volunteer projects are situated in the beach town of Manuel Antonio and in the capital city of San Jose. Some projects are situated in areas further afield, offering a more ‘off the beaten track’ option. These areas are Guanacaste (beach), Caribbean (beach), and Monteverde (cloud forest).
Manuel Antonio: Located at sea level, you can expect average temperatures from 19 degree Celsius to 28 degrees. The dry season is from December to April with hot and humid weather. The wet season is from May to November. The weather will be humid, with showers throughout the day. The plus side of travelling during this time is that everything will be so green!
San Jose: At 1170 metres above sea level, temperatures can range from 20-33 degrees Celsius. December to April has little to no rain, moderate temperatures and can get cooler during the evenings. May to November experiences warm days, cool nights and short intermittent bursts of rain and sun.
Costa Rica still has much of its Spanish heritage (the national language), with a vast amount of the population being of Afro-Caribbean descent. There is also a small population Jewish and Chinese communities. A large proportion of the country is Catholic and Latino music and dance are enjoyed throughout the country, as well as a love for soccer. Cost Rica disbanded their armed forces in 1949, as the area is so safe. The people are happy, laid back and welcoming.
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