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SEE Turtles

About

SEE Turtles offers trips to participate in sea conservation projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Projects are focused on protecting sea turtles and inspiring travelers to take an active role in the preservation of their natural habitat. Volunteer projects, expeditions, and adventure travel packages are available in Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Belize. Visit the SEE Turtles website to learn more.

Founded
2008
Headquarters

7227 SW Linette Way
Beaverton, OR 97007
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Jennifer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my second trip with SeeTurtles. This trip was amazing. Working with the turtles was the most rewarding part of the trip, but it was awesome to get to see the whale sharks and gray whales. The trip really inspired me to want to do even more for our small world. For me, one of the highlights of the trip was the food provided at the camp. It was delicious. The staff at the camp were mindful of everyone’s dietary needs and restrictions. Overall, the Baja trip was amazing and would be worth doing again!

Shalia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was such an amazing experience! I truly enjoyed every aspect of my trip. Yes, it was hot, but you're in Nicaragua - it's hot there! The staff was very friendly, the events were well organized and enjoyable. I experienced some difficulties with my travel with delayed flights, lost luggage, etc. Brad and the others were very supportive and made extra accommodations to ensure I was well taken care of. To witness the miracle of the females laying their eggs and the babies hatching was such a profound moment. I truly love that this organization partners with locals to help preserve, protect and ensure the survival of these magnificent creatures! I would absolutely go again!

What would you improve about this program?
If anything, maybe add a few extra fans for the sleeping areas. Perhaps if a nest hatches while volunteers are there, they could watch some of the process of the studies done on the hatchlings.
Chris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nobody told the hawksbills that they don't nest in mangroves! Hawksbills are endangered so when people scoured the world for more populations, they were surprised to find this one nesting in an unexpected place. Thick mangrove forests stretch around Padre Ramos Estuary giving the turtles ample places to nest.

This trip was my second to volunteer with turtles. My first was with leatherbacks in Costa Rica. Most of the Costa Rica work was at night, wheras the hawksbills were seen at various times of day. The most fun was releasing hatchling turtles at night.

Also, the political and military problems one associates with Nicaragua were from decades ago. We travelled all over the north western corner of the country and met only friendly folks.
I recommend this trip.

What would you improve about this program?
Structure of dormitory upper level could be improved. It is hot there at night, but some minor modifications to the windows and doors, specifically leaving some open to encourage air flow and running the generator longer to use fans to cool down the place would have been useful.
Default avatar
Eley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Cuba Sea Turtle Expedition with SEE Turtles was an incredible experience. I am so happy that I was able to travel abroad with such a great group to such a great place. Brad did a wonderful job at organizing the trip. I felt very fulfilled with what I was able to do and what I learned. Being able to work up close with Dr. Julia Azanza and the beautiful sea turtles was quite a treat. I would definitely recommend this program as well as go again!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would say about improving this program would be to spend a couple more days in Havana. Otherwise, it was an amazing experience.
Default avatar
sara
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was a great trip to experience lots of marine wildlife up close. Our group of 12 or so had lots of hands-on participation with turtle research helping to catch, measure and weigh them. Also, went out in the bay to see several female and baby gray whales breaching and spy-hopping within yards of our boats. Very exciting!! Our trip leaders were very knowledgeable and the entire trip was well organized. Accommodations were very pleasant (even the camping!) and food was tasty and plentiful.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Guido Negri

Guido Negri, born 21 December 1976, in northern Italy, is a physics researcher at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland. He volunteered in Costa Rica with SEE Turtles from 20-26 August 2009 in Parismina (at ASTOP) and traveling around Costa Rica from 26 August - 7 September 2009.

Why did you decide to volunteer with SEE Turtles in Costa Rica?

It was a great occasion to do something useful while having fun, getting to know more on the sea turtles and having the possibility to get in touch with a different culture.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Me and my friend decided to take mostly the nightly shifts to patrol the beaches and secure the just laid turtle eggs: shifts were from 10pm to 6am. In the afternoons we had ~2 hours of different activities (we played with the children and helped in their educational activities and we painted the beds in the ASTOP hostel.)

What made this volunteer experience unique and special?

During the few days in Parismina we learned a lot: about sea turtles, about Costa Rica culture, about local plants and wildlife. And also a little Spanish!

And seeing a sea turtle laying eggs is just amazing and the excitement magically washes away the tiredness of a sleepless night!

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

This experience has shown me that adventure is a state of mind rather than an activity. And no matter how far a country can be, the distance between cultures can be made so small with some effort.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Brad Nahill

Job Title
President & Co-Founder

Brad has worked in ocean wildlife conservation and ecotourism since 1999, working for organizations including Ocean Conservancy, Rare, and EcoTeach. He co-founded SEE Turtles in 2008 as a way to help turtle conservation projects benefit from ecotourism and volunteer programs.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is taking my young (at the time) daughter to visit a sea turtle conservation project in Baja and to meet the friendly gray whales.

She had the chance to touch a gray whale which became my favorite photo I have ever taken. She also had the chance to help take care of a sea turtle which was then named after her. That trip was an incredibly emotional experience for both of us and our memories from that trip will last forever.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Since I helped launch SEE Turtles, my professional capacity has grown exponentially. To manage this organization, I need to be a fundraiser, marketer, tour guide, bookkeeper, and customer service specialist at the same time.

The most rewarding part of the job has been visiting many impressive conservation programs around Latin America and getting to know the dedicated conservationists working hard to protect sea turtles and other wildlife.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We get lots of fun stories from previous travelers but my favorite is from this past summer when a high school student who came with her mom on a research trip to Belize.

She was one of the most engaged travelers we have had on a trip and I learned shortly after the trip that she had decided to pursue a career in marine biology because of her experience. We look forward to working with her in the field in the future!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why

I love all of the trips we run but I think the most impactful one is to work with hawksbill turtles in Nicaragua. This population of sea turtles was considered by some to be basically extinct less than a decade ago, but a previously unknown nesting area in the Padre Ramos Estuary was discovered a few years ago and our partners have now saved nearly every egg for the past several years.

This trip gives travelers the unique opportunity to see all three life stages of sea turtles (hatchlings, juveniles, and adults) while interacting with the local community and truly helping to study and protect these critically endangered turtles. And the area is gorgeous, great for swimming, hiking, or kayaking and is very safe and quiet.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

SEE Turtles started as the first non-profit effort to support sea turtle conservation through travel.

Every trip benefits local conservation and research efforts and offers travelers the opportunity to meet and interact with local conservationists.

Since our launch, we have generated nearly $1 million in benefits to turtle conservation programs and nearby communities, completed more than 4,000 work shifts, and saved more than 1 million endangered turtle hatchlings.

More Interviews