Costa Rica: The Sea Turtle Initiative

Become a conservationist for Costa Rica’s sea turtles as you explore the unspoiled coast.

Highlights

  • Protect an endangered sea turtle nesting beach
  • Assist with night patrols and visit a turtle nursery
  • Soar through the rainforest canopy on a zipline adventure
  • Learn to surf the warm, mild waves of Costa Rica
  • Explore a small beach town and the local market

Overview

The population of Costa Rican sea turtles has declined by 90% since 1980. Sea turtles face a myriad of threats, including boat traffic, climate change, accidental catch by industrial fisheries and pollution in their ocean and beach habitats. As a volunteer, you'll live and work on the coast of Costa Rica, assisting a turtle conservation organization with critical efforts to preserve the natural areas where this endangered species lives. Ensuring that the turtle population will thrive for generations depends largely on our ability to educate the local community and protect the places where turtles nest. With the right timing and luck, you might be rewarded with the sight of turtles hatching.

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Community Service

Each year, leatherback and green turtles come to Costa Rica’s beaches to lay their eggs. Poachers steal the turtles and their eggs to sell on the black market for profit. Although this practice is illegal in Costa Rica—as it contributes to the depletion of the endangered sea turtle populations—it is hard to enforce without the help of the local community’s participation. You’ll be assisting on night patrols with a local nonprofit and anti-poaching organization started by a Peace Corps volunteer, to protect nesting animals and safeguard their eggs. During the day, you’ll participate in beach cleanups, survey nesting sites and raise community awareness of environmental challenges. Your projects will improve living conditions for turtle species hovering on the brink of extinction.

Hands-On Learning

You’ll be fully immersed in topics centered around the animal world. Learn how critical each species is to the health of all life in the ecosystem. Hear local speakers’ and community members’ perspectives on sustainable conservation efforts, and begin to understand how competing interests of the civilized and natural worlds can intersect. Visit an organic farm and learn about growing and maintaining local fruit trees such as the cacao, vanilla, and banana.

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Adventure

In Costa Rica you’ll be constantly surrounded by incredible natural wonders. Fly through the treetops of the nation’s lush inland as you go on a thrilling zipline adventure. On the coast, ride a boat through a local mangrove, where you can spot sloths, monkeys and exotic birds. You’ll also connect with the strong cultural roots of Costa Rica’s coast by visiting a local artisans market and taking workshops on traditional dance and cooking. Finally, learn Costa Rica’s soul sport—surfing—with a lesson on a calm beach.

Lodging

Home Base is a rustic ecolodge nestled in the jungle, and is just a short walk to the Caribbean Sea. Students stay in gender-segregated rooms with roommates, enjoy delicious, home-cooked Costa Rican meals and have bathrooms with cold-water showers. If you look closely, you might even spot local wildlife in the trees surrounding the Home Base!

Dates & Tuition

The Sea Turtle Initiative
Duration:
Tuition: $0
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: Please Inquire (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours:
Language Hours: -
Additional Notes
See What’s Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
More Information
Fundraising

Tips to raise funds for your trip

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.