Central America Volunteer Projects Volunteering

SAVING BABY SEA TURTLES IN COSTA RICA

During our time in Costa Rica we had the incredible opportunity to volunteer for a week at a sea turtle conservation project with GoEco. This was our second volunteer experience and to say we were both excited and up for the challenge would be an understatement.

We had heard stories from friends who had volunteered in the past at sea turtle conservation projects mentioning it was hard work, but the idea of saving hundreds of turtles and allowing them the chance to live in the ocean was enough to convince us to spend a week helping out, hard work or not.

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Why Sea Turtles?

Though sea turtles have been living and thriving in the world’s oceans for 150 million years, they are now in danger of extinction largely because of changes brought about by humans. Since the 80’s, all seven species of sea turtles have declined by 90 percent – three being critically endangered, two endangered and one considered vulnerable.

Effected by fisheries, poachers, coastal development, pollution and climate change – sea turtles need our help more than ever across the globe.

Sea Turtle Conservation: What To Expect

Okay we need to warn you first, volunteering with sea turtles is tough work. Little sleep, long hours, rain, heat, bug bites and strenuous physical labour – but all totally worth it!

We were located on a small beach on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica ready for a week of volunteering. Living with others from around the world all here to do their part in saving these incredible animals. Our days were spent patrolling the beach, planting trees, cleaning the dunes, building the hatcheries and cleaning out old nests. At night we were on 3 hour shifts, taking turns patrolling the hatcheries and surrounding area for poachers and racoons while the other volunteers walked the stretch of beach with only a red light, looking for turtles laying to take notes and collect her eggs to keep them safe until they hatch.

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Cleaning empty nests

 Costa Rica Sea Turtle

A special moment during our time at the conservation project was the day we released 650 baby turtles into the wild. During an afternoon check on the hatcheries we discovered 4 nests hatching at one time! We quickly started collecting the hatchlings, all scurrying as fast as they could to try get to the ocean.

It’s hard to describe the feeling watching hundreds of tiny turtles entering the sea for the first time. It gave us lumps in our throats, and feeling tired and sore we released in that moment how much of a differencing we were making to this beautiful animals future.

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Costa Rica Sea Turtle

Organising Volunteering Abroad

If you are thinking about volunteering abroad, with sea turtles or in any another way, we highly recommend organising this with an organisation that can set you up with a project that best suits you. We teamed up with GoEco who help people eager to volunteer abroad find their perfect project. You simply tell them what kind of volunteering you are interested in experiencing and what country you would like to travel to and they will help find you your perfect project.

If you are interested in the volunteer project we experienced check out the Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica with GoEco.

Costa Rica Sea Turtle

Our Experience

As always, we filmed our entire experience here at the project. If you want to see exactly what it’s like to work at a sea turtle conservation you can watch our 5 day’s at the center below.

Day 1: Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

Day 2: Releasing 650 Baby Sea Turtles Into The Wild

Day 3: Sea Turtle Laying Eggs

Day 4: Building A Hatchery To Save Sea Turtles

Day 5: Hottest Day in Costa Rica

Day 6: Biggest Mangoes Ever

Day 7: Stomach Bug In Paradise

Day 8: Back To Civilisation

Have you ever volunteered abroad? We would love to read about your experience below.

Thank you to GoEco for allowing us to experience this incredible volunteer project in Costa Rica. Our opinion is, as always, our own.

Stephen and Jess signoff

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  • When I was studying abroad in Costa Rica, a few friends and I took a week to travel to El Salvador. We happened to switch up our travel plans in favor of a beach recommended by a local. It was the best decision — the beach we ended up at just happened to be home to a major turtle conservation center, and we were invited to come along for the baby turtles’ release that evening! Hands down one of the best travel experiences of my life. Would LOVE to have a more in-depth experience volunteering one day!