At the beginning of 2012 I made a list of things I wanted to achieve that year, and volunteering was on the list. I saw the GoEco site and decided spending a month on the beach in Costa Rica helping sea turtles would be a good choice. After spending a week in San Jose at the Spanish language school I headed to Camoronal. The staff and volunteers at the project were great, and I made some lifelong friends.
Daily duties included beach and camp maintenance, with time off to relax when it got too hot. The night patrols were my favourite experience while at the project. Waking up in the early hours of the morning to walk a dark beach for a few hours may not sound like much fun, but witnessing the sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs is an incredible experience. Also knowing you were making a difference and deterring poachers, while relocating the eggs to the hatchery, was a great feeling. Hatchery duty was worth the long hours sitting in the dark when the hatchlings emerged. After taking measurements we released them on the beach for their long, perilous journey to sea, hopefully someday to return to the beach to lay nests of their own. They are the cutest little creatures you will ever see as they make their way down to the water.
I loved my time at Camoronal, it was a beautiful place to spend time. The nearest town is a little trek away, but I loved the remote paradise that I called home. And I do get cravings for gallo pinto for breakfast every now and then.
The experience in Costa Rica changed me forever. I am now studying Marine Biology with the hope to eventually work with sea turtle conservation projects around the world. I would definitely recommend this project, and one suggestion I would have for any people interested is to learn a little more Spanish to have more in depth conversations with some of the staff who only speak Spanish.