About the Pacific Sea Turtle Project
This project runs at Playa Hermosa along Costa Rica’s west coast with the aim of working with local communities and the county’s environmental ministry to protect Olive Ridley, Green and Hawksbill Sea turtles from the ever-present threat of poaching.
Costa Rica’s west coast is one of the most biodiverse and naturally beautiful stretches of untouched beach and rainforest habitats in the world. Located close to Manuel Antonio’s National Park, this protected area encompasses rainforest, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. It is known for its vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife, from three-toed sloths and white-faced capuchin monkeys to hundreds of different bird species.
Playa Hermosa Volunteer Programme
This programme has been working with SINAC (the environmental ministry of Costa Rica) to protect sea turtles on the Playa Hermosa and Punta Mala beaches from the ever-present threat of poachers.
When is the best time to come?
Volunteers are needed at Playa Hermosa from the beginning of July to the end of December for 1 to 12 weeks in duration, every year.
Adult turtles can be seen nesting on the beaches from July, while babies may start to hatch from the hatchery in late August at the earliest.
Punta Mala Beach
This project has a great deal of turtles visiting its nesting beaches. The project shares its main campsite with the rangers and offers volunteers the chance to protect turtles on this beautiful, pristine and remote wilderness paradise. This stretch of coastline also provides a nesting site for Olive Ridley and Green Sea Turtles, and welcomes a massive 1500 turtles per season!
The volunteer site is located at Punta Mala beach (around an hours walk from Playa Hermosa), which is next to the road leading to Manuel Antonio National Park. Volunteers will walk out of the house, 20m onto the beach for surveys on Punta Mala and will drive to do surveys on Playa Hermosa. It is a remote area, with a small community and some of the best sunsets in the world!
Sea Turtle Volunteer Activities
As a volunteer, you will be working under the direct supervision of a Scientific Supervisor throughout your time at the programme. Activities include:
- Performing night surveys on the beach to find nesting turtles and help protect them from illegal extraction and predators
- Relocating eggs to the hatchery
- Monitoring nests and baby turtles in the hatchery
- Collecting biometric data on the beach
- Releasing baby turtles into the ocean
- Nest excavation (exhumations)
- Beach cleanup.
- Maintenance of beach and camp
“Volunteers play an essential role in our sea turtle conservation project by relocating the turtle eggs to a nursery, protecting them 24/7 and then releasing them back to the ocean as soon as they are born. By removing all the threats until the hatchlings make it to the sea, we are giving them a better chance to make it to adulthood and reproduce, which is key to the survival of the species” – quote by Project Director