Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Pacific Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

1 - 12 weeks from

minimum age

  • Volunteer and explore the beauty of the amazing Playa Hermosa
  • Research and monitor Green, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill sea turtles
  • Live on a stunning beach and experience the best sunsets in the world
  • In your free time you can organize zip lining, ATV, horseback riding, and catamaran tours

Food, Lodging & Travel

Playa Hermosa

The accommodation is located just 50m from the beach of Punta Mala. The camp is located directly on the coastline, with one of the best views of the sunsets!  Volunteers stay in mixed cabins with a shared bathroom in simple but comfortable accommodation – this includes three meals provided per day.  The site is also near a swimmable river and trail, and equipped with a yoga and meditation area and several chill-out areas with hammocks.  There is no Wifi currently, but there is a phone signal so that you can get the internet on your phone with a local SIM card.

Esterillo Oeste is a small town nearby with only one very basic grocery store (local shop), but it is home to a number of remote hostels and hotels. While Playa Hermosa and the town of Jacó have the largest population in the area with the highest services, supermarkets, shops, restaurants and sodas and hostels and hotels.

Volunteers crossing on a boat

Working Conditions & Requirements

All volunteers should be at least 18 yrs old age.  English is required and Spanish is very helpful, even if basic, but a small amount of Spanish would go a long way. A strong interest in conservation is required, as is good team spirit and flexibility. You should also be in good health and fit – you need to be able to work 2-3 nights per week (rest the next day) and walk several kilometres on soft sand.  The work at the project can be extremely tough and is not necessarily for everybody. Weather conditions can be extreme, especially since the nesting season coincides with the rainy season, with heavy rainfall and localised flooding –  often a daily occurrence (rainy season = turtle season!).

The majority of the work is nocturnal and it will be necessary to adjust to sleeping in the daytime, often enduring high temperatures and humidity. It can be very difficult to plan activities too, as priorities can suddenly shift according to what resources are available at the time, and volunteers will often find that the work plan changes with very little notice. The way of life is rustic, but the environment is full of jaw-dropping natural beauty and extraordinary biodiversity. After a little time at the project, you will no doubt find yourself adjusting to the life of a local.

Typically, each volunteer will be allocated around five-six work shifts per week, the workload will equate to around 4-6 hours of work per day, six days per week. There is, of course, always more work available, so if you are ever bored, just ask a Coordinator or Research Assistant how you can help.

Volunteer with sea turtle at Hermosa

How to get there?

Multiple airlines fly to San José, Costa Rica, via the United States, including United, American Airlines and Delta. From Europe, KLM, Iberia and Condor all fly to San José either directly or with a short stopover in the Dominican Republic. Please remember not to look for San Jose in California, it is San José International Airport (Juan Santamaria) – code SJO.

Arrival information for Playa Hermosa– We recommend that volunteers take a bus from San José to Esterillos Oeste, or a taxi colectivo from San Jose to Esterillos Oeste.

Please email Victoria.McNeil@workingabroad.com for more specifics.

Pacific Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

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