Baby Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

Video and Photos

The beautiful fjord that is your backyard.
The beautiful fjord that is your backyard.
Volunteering with sea turtles.
Volunteering with sea turtles.
Volunteers tree planting
Volunteers tree planting
Volunteers tag a sea turtle before she is released.
Volunteers tag a sea turtle before she is released.
Biometrics
Biometrics
A mama leatherback turtle lays her eggs.
A mama leatherback turtle lays her eggs.

About

100% of the eggs laid by these creatures along the beach would be taken by poachers.

Volunteers are needed to patrol the beaches at night when the turtles are active, searching for recent nests or turtles that have come ashore to lay their eggs. The eggs are then relocated to a hatchery where they are protected by the organization until the eggs hatch and the baby turtles can be returned safely to the ocean. This project is only accessible by boat through the beautiful Tortuguero canals, offering volunteers a unique experience where they are fully immersed in nature.

Volunteers assist with in-water research that is conducted by the research team to assess the threats that sea turtles are exposed to in the area. Turtles are carefully captured and tagged, and samples collected before the turtles are released once again into the ocean. Their facility also houses a Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre where sick and injured turtles are cared for and eventually returned to the wild.

Highlights
  • Hands on work with leatherback turtles!
  • Turtle releases during hatching season.
  • Live at the site for easy commute from bed to turtles in no time! :)
  • All you can drink coffee, tea and fresh fruit juices... and enough hammocks for all the volunteers!
  • Live in rustic accomodation on the wild Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Impact

This organization is composed of an expert network of biologists, managers, community leaders and educators. These people are committed to the recovery and sustainable management of sea turtle populations that are dangerously low in number. The project on the Nesting Beaches has been very successful and hundreds of turtle hatchlings are released each year. This is an important accomplishment considering 100% of the eggs would be poached without these efforts. There are many factors to address with respect to turtle conservation, including cultural and economic considerations. The project engages the local community and actually employs ex-poachers to assist with the conservation work. Through their educational efforts and Nesting Beach project this organization has been able to make a significant difference in the region. Your participation ensures that their hard work can continue and that sea turtle hatchlings will safely reach the ocean this season.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 6 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
Default avatar
Sean
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a Lifetime Experience

Mags and her team were such an amazing group to be working with. They were very informative and allowed us hands on tasks that we will never forget. I planted mangrove trees, cleaned up the ocean side, visited a locally Women ran recycling center and of course studied and observed the amazing Sea Turtle. I learned a lot of different aspects about Sea Turtle Conservation that I had not thought about prior. This program helped me feel that I am doing something to better our environment and there is also so much more to be done. I really appreciate everyone's time and efforts that went into this program. It was very beneficial for me!
I am now armed with fictional data and real life experience to explain to people why change is a must and it needs to happen immediately.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
While staying near the facility I went swimming one day after volunteering with some other members of the course. The view for me was breathtaking. One side of the gulf was raining and the other was sunny. A large rainbow appeared almost perfectly in the center of the two gorgeous scenes. A few meters out there were dolphins swimming together. Nearby sea turtles would pop the heads up for air within an arms length of me. At that very moment a scarlet macaw flew over us making its bird calls as only they can. I just took a moment slowly inhaled and realized I was in a literal paradise.
Default avatar
Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing, amazing experience!

What an incredible experience! Nora, from AEI, perfectly planned every detail of this trip. We were connected with an outstanding host in the local community and an inspiring organization (LAST). Nora was available before the trip to video call and answer all of our questions. She also communicated with our group throughout the entire trip to ensure we were having an amazing experience. I was also impressed with the organization of our transportation. Being in an unfamiliar location, it could have gotten quite overwhelming, but, with AEI's help, our transportation was always well organized. We worked with sea turtles, mangroves, and a local spay and neuter clinic. This trip was truly life-changing thanks to AEI, and I learned so much about conservation.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To get the most out of your experience, entirely immerse yourself in the local community. Take time to explore the area and meet new people. After an amazing day working with the sea turtles, I would also recommend heading to the beach, which was just a short walk down the road. We saw beautiful sunsets, dolphins, and other marine life.
Default avatar
Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

My trip to Costa Rica was unlike any other trip aboard I've experienced! Thanks to AEI, I had the best time and also gained so much valuable knowledge from this trip. I had assumed I would just being doing a lot of manual labor while in Costa Rica, but the education aspect of this program really helped me understand why the work was so important and needed to be done in the first place. LAST (Latin American Sea Turtles) was the organization that I worked with and because of them I was able to learn so much about sea turtles, their habitats, the ecosystem in the Osa Peninsula, and about the importance of conservation. Without AEI I'm sure I would've never found LAST or been able to plan a trip like this on my own, so I am very grateful for everyone at AEI who handled the logistics because everything went smoothly and I felt very safe and comfortable at all times.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
In addition to working with turtles and planting mangroves for their habitats, my group also did a beach cleanup. It truly shocked me at how much trash we picked up within a 3 mile stretch, but it also really drove home the message about conservation and how people need to do better and work to create less waste for the betterment of our planet and wildlife who suffer the consequences of actions.
Default avatar
Amy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica trip with App State

It would be so much work to try to put a trip together like this on your own, and going through AEI is an awesome option. They provide support leading up to the trip, and are also available for help during the trip, which is very comforting. Everything ran so smoothly for our trip there, thanks to their careful planning.
Working with LAST (Latin America Sea Turtles) was an amazing experience, and I was confident in them and their work because I know AEI had already done their research and worked with them before. If you want to work with animal organizations overseas but do not know which ones to trust or choose, working through AEI is a great option for you. They do research on organizations, and carefully plan trips that are environmentally friendly and do not cause harm to places, people, or animals. They are a great organization to work with.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pack clothing/towels that can dry easily because it is humid at all times. We had some t-shirts and towels that never fully dried due to the humidity.
Default avatar
Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience In Costa Rica

Some of the unique features that I loved was being able to be surrounded by the rural community of Costa Rica. We were able to experience the culture first hand while getting to help researchers with sea turtles and other animals. Staying in a smaller setting made you realize just how connected the community is. Dogs are constantly roaming around while Scarlett Macaws fly through the air. It is something that you will never forget. The amount of diversity can't be beaten and you will be able to meet some of the most friendly people that treat you like family.

Some of the activities that my group conducted were sea turtle research day, mangrove reforestation and bringing a company to animals at a spay and neuter clinic. These were each very different while we were able to help both animals and plants. This trip really made me appreciate our environment and encouraged me to continue to save our planet.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make sure you stay hydrated because the sun is very prominent and the humidity is always very high. Also make sure that you are aware of your surroundings and not infringing on the customs of the locals. Care for your environment and keep the wildlife in mind.
Default avatar
Danielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved Costa Rica

I had the pleasure for volunteering at Playa Blanca in Costa Rica last December for about a month and it was the most memorable experience that i Have had. The people were wonderful and it was so much fun staying at the beach. I made incredible friends and working with the turtles is definitely unforgettable. I thank the team at Animal Experience International for being so open, warm, transparent and reliable. They helped me with everything from before I booked the trip until well after I came back. I can't wait until I can do another experience!

What would you improve about this program?
More communication between the staff at the Playa Blanca and Animal Experience International to make sure that there are no issues related to accommodations.