Sea Turtle Conservation
Volunteering with turtles
What`s it about?
The project was founded in 2015 as an initiative of a group of people who live here and want to protect the remaining Olive Ridley sea turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches around Tambor Bay.
The mission is to reduce threats to the sea turtles still coming to the turtle bay, so that by 2020, we will produce enough hatchlings to actually increase the population, so that in around 20 to 25 years there will be once again enough adult Olive Ridley sea turtles to sustain the local population naturally.
They operates under the direction of a qualified biologist, and the project coordinator is a marine biologist with several years of related experience. It operates under a Scientific License and Hatchery Permit issued annually by the government of Costa Rica. The project enjoys having a very strong support base in the local community.
Night and early morning patrols of the beach, searching for nests.
Collecting data on nesting turtles.
Collecting the eggs and taking them to the hatchery.
Monitoring the hatchery to ensure that every baby hatched is returned safely to the ocean.
Regular beach clean-ups, working on various community projects.
Help us carry out a myriad of tasks that need to be done annually at the hatchery
Help us raise funds and prepare for our annual ‘Bash and Auction’ fundraiser
Help us raise awareness and deliver conservation education programs
Help us carry out other worthwhile conservation and community projects
Promote our Adopt-a-Nest campaign
English or Spanish is not required but very helpful
Willing to work at any hour, usually in shifts of 2-4 hours duration, the workload will equate to around 8hours a day or also some hours at night.
A strong interest in conservation is required, as is good team work spirit and flexibility.
You should also be in good health and fit - you need to be able to work at night (rest the next day) and walk several kilometers on soft sand.
The work at the project can be 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 localized flooding
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.
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
Tours and Free Time
We know that volunteers come not only to work but also to discover the incredible nature of Costa Rica, and the program offers unforgettable tours and activities.
You can enjoy
golf cart night wildlife tours
boat tours on the bay
bird watching tours
ping pong, darts, pickleball, tennis
excursions to the local waterfall,
They have a very high-quality hatchery facility, one of the finest in Costa Rica. Also they are involved in the community here, supporting several related environmentally initiative (such as an annual Nature Festival, trail development, beach clean-ups, recycling initiatives, etc.). They are dedicated to fostering environmental education and to assisting with the development of sustainable ecotourism opportunities.
These bay and beaches are rich with life, because they have six rivers that drain into the bay from the surrounding mountains. Nature abounds there, scarlet macaws, deer and lots of other wildlife are everywhere it seems! During the turtle season, humpback wales are common offshore and sometimes even come right into the bay. The birding here is amazing and, just to remind you ……. Of course we have turtles too!
You sleep in a beautiful and modern house with a maximum of 6 other volunteers. The house is located in a beautiful residence with mainly other foreigners about 50 meters from the beach where the turtles arrive.
We offer amenities such as good WiFi. Whats actually rare to find.
The project owner stand ready to help you have the best "experience" possible in beautiful Costa Rica.
You sleep in a hostel close to the project in a shared room with 2-3 people maximum.
Its a beautiful and clean place where you can also take some yoga cases if you want to.
The rooms are basic and comfortable. Each has a different hand painted mural done by a local artist.
We offer amenities such as good WiFi. Whats actually rare to find.
The hostel owner stand ready to help you have the best "experience" possible in beautiful Costa Rica.
Threats to marine turtles
natural predators such as birds, raccoons, snakers, coatis and stray dogs
illegal trade of shells and eggs
urbanization & development
and the humans
How to help save sea turtles!
There are seven species of marine, or sea, turtles, and almost all of them are endangered. 4 of them are in Costa Rica. These ancient sea creatures voyage between land and sea and swim thousands of miles throughout their lives, leaving them vulnerable to a number of threats.
In fact, the Leatherback Sea turtle population in the Pacific has dropped by more than 90 percent since 1980, while the hawksbill global population, with little more than 8,000 nesting females remaining, has fallen 80 percent in 100 years. The bottom-line?
Endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles still come to our beaches to lay their eggs – in numbers greater than we had at first thought. In 2017, we found about 300 nests.
Olive Ridleys are the smallest of our sea turtles, weighing in at between 25-40 kg, and being less than a meter long. The females lay between one and three clutches of eggs each year, but they don’t necessarily return every year. They lay, on average, almost 100 ping pong ball sized eggs. They are beautiful, gentle, harmless animals.
On our beaches, very few of the eggs that are laid are hatching naturally (less than 10 percent in 2016), due to a number of threats, most significantly egg poaching. Coupled with this, the natural mortality rate once they get into the sea is very high (made even worse in recent years by pollution in the oceans, habitat loss, getting entangled in fishing gear, global warming, etc.). The result is that the population here is in sharp decline. Without our help, the local population here will not likely survive for long.
From commercial fishing - in which hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are accidentally caught in shrimp nets and on long line hooks each year - to habitat loss to illegal trade, marine turtles could use our help. Costa Rica's beaches are home to the nesting sites of four turtle species: leather back, hawksbill, green and olive ridley. To protect this critical nesting habitat, there are several ways to help out, both in-person and from home.