• Costa Rica
1 to 24 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Host Family Hostel
Small Group (1-15)


Starting Price
Price Details
Program fee includes:
Orientation, accommodation, 3 meals per day, support from the local staff, program supervision, in-country 24/7 support, local administration costs, and donation to support community projects.
Registration fee is only $149 and covers marketing costs, pre-placement support from our staff, a complete country information guide, volunteer training booklet, fundraising guides and tips, administration costs, travel to run inspection visits in all locations, communication costs, and office staff.
Extra costs are the costs to prepare for your trip and leisure activities when in-country.
Volunteers are responsible for their own flights, visas, travel insurance and vaccinations (if necessary).
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Airport Transfers SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Jan 15, 2020
Nov 14, 2017
12 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Iko Poran offers a wonderful turtle conservation project in a paradisiac Caribbean community.

It is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself into the Spanish language at the same time you help to protect endangered species of sea turtles. You will see giant female sea turtles nesting on the beach and baby turtles crawling out of their nests in the sand towards the ocean.

Volunteers accompany local guides on 4-hour night patrols searching for nesting sea turtles. The eggs are collected and relocated to the project’s guarded hatchery. Day work involves hatchery duty, beach cleaning and assisting in nest exhumations and release of hatchlings. There are also a lot of other environmental projects to help with around the village.

Special condition for volunteers staying 8 weeks or more!!

This project takes place from March to September when the turtles are nesting.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Volunteerism should not be expensive for those want to lend a hand.
  • Only Volunteer Abroad Organization based in a developing country; Other providers are profit-oriented traveling companies based in First World nations;
  • Most affordable registration fee, only $ 149! Program fees starting at only $275, no 5% transfer fee on top.
  • All money charged is used to further achieve our mission and contribute to our local programs.

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Program Reviews

4.00 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 5 rating 50%
  • 4 rating 25%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 25%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.25
  • Support 3.5
  • Fun 3.75
  • Value 4.5
  • Safety 4
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Turte Expirience

I lived in this place for three months and got used to the life here, there are amazing things about this but there are some details that could tottally improve the program.

The life here is amazing, you get to relax during the day and make friends with the local people, there are a few things to do but if you are looking to have a nice relaxing time enjoying the caribean lifestyle then this is the place to go definitely.

It was hard to find a volunteer progrm as affordable as this one and it was worth it, the time I've spent working with the program I learned a lot of things about turtles and it's amazing how under appreciated thesese tutrle conservation programs are, patrolling was hard but with the local guides it was way better, they always tought me something new and were always looking out for me.

My homestay experience was amazing, they are really lovely and welcoming people and the food is amazing. However when I moved to the volunteer house it was a bit shocking, I was prepared for really simple conditions of living but the place is about to fall apart due to termites, the bugs I get because it's normal and expected from this place but it would be really nice if they fumigate it.

The local staff was really nice once I got to the village but it was hard to arrive to Parismina, I was not picked up at the airport and I was also waiting for someone at the bus station in siquirres and ended up calling the former president of the association to tell me that I was supposed to go to another bus station.

When I got to the program there was a long term volunteer who was leaving and she told me that she was like the volunteer coordinator which seemed wired because the contact with the local guides should be done through the local staff, I do believe that there should be a local volunteer coodinator other that the long term volunteers like me to organize activities and schedules and everything.

What would you improve about this program?
volunteer coordinator.
22 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience with turtles

My experience at the turtles project was amazing. I had a lot of fun and met fantastic people from all over the world. The village is totally safe and local people are really kind.
The patrols at night were fine, you have to walk for four hours on the beach with guides, and if you're on a lucky night you'll get to see turtles coming slowly from the ocean, crossing the beach and laying eggs just in front of you. It's something you want to live in your life, and something you want to protect.

22 people found this review helpful.
Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Hi Marine,
Great to hear from you! We are so happy to hear that you had an amazing experience at the turtles project in Costa Rica. We appreciate your help and for taking the time to write a review. It will be very helpful for volunteers that are looking to participate in this project in the future. We hope to keep in touch and maybe receive you in one of our other projects. We wish you all the best! Iko Poran

No, I don't recommend this program

1 Week in Costa Rica with no support from the staff

I spent an interesting and sometimes challenging week volunteering with my boyfriend in this programme in August 2017.

The good parts:

- The local guides were excellent, they took us on patrol at night to search for nesting turtles. The aim of these patrol's was to stop Poachers from killing turtles and stealing their eggs. We undertook several patrols and saw two beautiful green turtles laying eggs.

-the Project is mostly run by volunteers, who were very passionate and hands on. We've met lovely people and made some new friends.

The bad parts:

-The local employees of the programme were terrible and disengaged from day one. They didn't bother showing up at the bus station to collect us as arranged and failed to inform us about it. We've had to go round in circles phoning out of date contacts to finally get somewhere. When we arrived in at the project they briefly showed us to our homestay and for the rest of the week we never saw them again.

-The people of our homestay were lovely and very welcoming. We were prepared for humble living conditions, however the homestay lacked basic hygiene and was infested by bugs and roaches.

At the moment I would not recommend this particular organisation, as it feels that they are completely detached from the project. The volunteers are left to organise their own schedules and activities throughout the week. It wouldn't take much to improve the experience, but I feel an internal restructure of the organisation is needed.

What would you improve about this program?
Please please do not rely on long term volunteers to do the work for you. When we left the programme an 18 year old girl was left in charge with hardly any support to coordinate new arrivals, volunteer schedules etc. That is completely unacceptable, the organisation needs to employ reliable people who show up and do their job. Very unprofessional. We had no one to go to and had to rely on fellow volunteers.
23 people found this review helpful.
Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Dear Gaja and Stephen,
Thank you very much for taking your time to write a review for us.
Your feedback is invaluable in letting us know how you felt about your program, which in turn helps us continue to improve our services for future volunteers.
Iko Poran puts a lot of work into ensuring the local staff knows how to host our volunteers and place them effectively, but we also know that sometimes things might not go right. We were in contact with you all the time via email and WhatsApp, and as we told your boyfriend Stephen, there was a serious medical emergency with the mother of the main volunteer coordinator, Maria, who was waiting for you at the bus station, but had to rush her mother to a hospital in San Jose to go into surgery. She could only go back to the village last Tuesday; that is why other long-term volunteers were coordinating the activities of the new volunteers, but the President of the Association, Roxana, and Pito, from the board of Directors were there to help you solve any other problems you were facing.
The local program staff really wants you to be happy and they will often not know that there is a problem unless you approach them and raise the issue. In 99% of cases this will fix any problems immediately. They thought everything was OK with you because you did not say anything when they offered a lunch for volunteers.
I understand that the arrival is one of the most important parts of the program; it is the first contact of the local staff with the volunteers. It is very unfortunate that this medical emergency happened right when you were arriving and Maria had to leave immediately; on the very same day there were 3 other arrivals earlier that were greeted and taken to the community. We were monitoring everything from our main office and were relieved to know you made it to the community safely. You can be sure this was a big lesson and from now onwards we will always leave somebody on standby in the case there is any other emergency in the future.
This is the very fist time we receive a complaint about the living conditions on the home-stays, the general feedback is that the people are lovely and very welcoming, just like you said, but we take your feedback seriously and the director of Iko Poran is going to Costa Rica within the next two months to double check the living standards for the next nesting season from March to September of 2018.
On the other side it is great to know you were happy about the project and activities that they do to help preserve sea turtles, and that you even had the opportunity to see two turtles nesting. Thank you very much! You helped us to save hundreds of sea turtles.

Please be aware that every volunteer who leaves a review gets 50% discount on future registration fees.

We look forward to receiving you in other destinations soon.

Best wishes

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica- Work with Turtles!

I would HIGHLY recommend this volunteer experience. I did lots of research going into this trying to find the most affordable program, and Iko Poran was definitely the most affordable. I was doing the same volunteer work as volunteers from all over the world, but I was paying much less money to do so. I had a fantastic time in Costa Rica with the turtles and I met many people and created memories I will never forget. I definitely recommend Iko Poran and the Sea Turtle experience in Costa Rica and I cannot wait until I volunteer with them again. Pura Vida!

21 people found this review helpful.
Response from Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA

Dear Paige,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review. We are happy to hear you had an amazing experience in Costa Rica. We do our best to offer affordable volunteer programs around the world and help people connect and help projects in low income communities. As you already know Iko Poran is based in a developing country and we also receive volunteers locally. Which keep us grounded and with lower costs.
Thank you for your words and for choosing us.
We offer a 50% discount on the registration fee on your next destination.
We wish you all the best
Iko Poran Team

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