First of all it is amazing that you live and work right next to or rather on the beach! Moreover you arrive in a super relaxed atmosphere and you are surrounded by a dazzling green nature, delicious fruit and fascinating animals. But of course another highlight of the turtle conservation projects is … the turtles!! You really get to know the conservation work in the hatchery as you take care of it during the day or during the night shifts – mostly in a team of two. The nights are definitely exciting as you keep watch of the hatchery and need to scare off wild animals that try to eat the buried eggs (raccoons, crabs …). Moreover during the nights the chances are higher for the beach patrol team to find a turtle that is laying its eggs on the beach or at least her tracks that often leads to a nest. If that is the case, the eggs are excavated and brought to the hatchery, where they are buried in a safer environment (no tourists, wild animals, poachers or incoming tide). The benefit is, that more turtles are likely to hatch and as you release them on the beach again and watch them crawl to the sea, also less are eaten by other animals. It is a unique experience to stand by the sea at night and watch those really tiny turtles make their way into the waves!
The camps in Montezuma and Sámara are not luxurious and you need to prepare for sand in the house as well as basic facilities! Moreover Sámara is more like an outdoor adventure, as there is no electricity and a really open house on a remote beach. It also took me quite a few days to get used to the occasional gallo pinto breakfast (basically rice and beans), as I usually don´t have such solid meals for breakfast! :D
In the end I am really glad that I participated in the projects as I met so many nice people in the projects as well as around the country and it was a really good and unique conservation experience in a stunning environment! I would definitely go again, if I had the chance:)