Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

Description of Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

Take your family off the beaten track and onto some of the most stunning beaches that Costa Rica has to offer. Become part of an important mission to help with turtle conservation, working as a team to protect this endangered species.

In line with the turtle nesting season, you and your family can volunteer between the beginning of July and the middle of December. Join a team working to protect both nesting and hatching turtles off the Pacific Coast. Kids love the hands on nature of this, as well as knowing that what they are doing is going to help hundreds of turtles from each nest to survive to adulthood. Last year 15,000 turtles were released back to the sea.

Much of the volunteering actually happens at night on this project, as this is when the turtles come up to nest. We understand that this can be disruptive for sleep patterns for the youngsters, but the kids are often the ones begging their parents to let them patrol! There is plenty of time in the day for taking a nap and getting in some rest. We will always arrange for your family to patrol at a time that would be best for the kids' sleep patterns.

You will be patrolling the beaches in search of nesting turtles, monitoring turtle nests, protecting new hatchlings and recording observations for the charity’s research. This will be used to help form campaigns to change regulations that endanger the species in Costa Rica.

The communities in which we work are quite remote. This means that they are unspoiled by tourism, and really give you the opportunity to get involved in the local community and enjoy the spirit of Costa Rica and its stunning scenery. There is loads for both children and adults alike to enjoy. Releasing the baby turtles and protecting the nesting turtles is something that captures everyone's imagination. In addition to the volunteering, there are lagoons for swimming in, horse riding, surfing lessons, a butterfly farm, hammocks to relax in, the beautiful beaches to stroll along... and you can even get involved in helping out in the local community with the kids. Our recent volunteer youngsters have loved learning about the lifestyles of their Costa Rican counterparts, and playing on the beaches with them. Any language barriers simply disappear here!

We will arrange private accommodation for you and your family, and will always try to ensure the specifications that you are looking for. Please be aware that we rent accommodation from local families, and these are very traditional cabins. They are basic but comfortable. You are never far from the beach here, and our main project house is just 20 metres from the sea!

Private transfers can be arranged for your family to the project sites from San Jose at an additional cost.

Day-by-day itinerary

1Arrival in San Jose. Arrival between Monday and Thursday encouraged. You will be collected from the airport and taken to a central hotel in San Jose.
2Transfer from San Jose to the beach project. Public transport transfer included as standard, but private transfers are also available.
7/ 10/ 14We can arrange for your family to stay for 7, 10, or 14 days. Other durations available too- please ask. On your last day we will transfer you back to San Jose (public transfer as standard). You will stay in a hotel in San Jose for your last night.
Last dayWe will collect you from your hotel and take you back to the airport. Alternatively, you can stay and explore more of Costa Rica!

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica


Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this - but we make sure that the project directly benefits local people and wildlife too.

The threat of extinction for sea turtles is very real. Projects such as this are playing an important role in stemming this decline. You will be working with a well-respected marine conservation and research organization, staffed by biologists and enthusiastic volunteers. Turtle protection is an important aspect of its work, but it also campaigns against pollution, unsustainable and inhumane fishing practices too.

While in Costa Rica, you and your family will be helping to protect the marine environment and limiting their own impact by living basically and eating locally sourced food. Our organisation is an environmentally responsible one that operates recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid.

We use public transport as our main means of transportation to the project sites. This reduces emissions and invests in the local economy and infrastructure.


Meeting local needs
Many in the local community rely on the marine environment for their livelihood (whether through fishing or tourism). The work of charities such as this is essential to safeguard their future. The organisation provides some paid work locally, but has to rely on extra help from volunteers to be able to protect the turtles effectively. As well as protecting the turtles, you will also contribute directly to the local economy, eating, shopping and using leisure facilities in the surrounding area.

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in Costa Rica’s rural communities. One of our greatest achievements on this project is for local residents to have chosen to help volunteer on this project to protect their environment. This has been a huge change, as traditionally they would use the turtle eggs for cooking or for aphrodisiac purposes.

Reviews of Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 19 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

This project and experience was absolutely amazing. As a family of 4 (2 adults & 2 children, 8 & 10 yrs old) we decided it was important to not just have a holiday but to do something that would play a part in making a different to our
environment for the future. Our 8 year old son, in particular had an interest in Turtles so we decided this would be a great project to work on. We weren't disappointed. The location was stunning, remote (so off the tourist route, which
we loved) and gave us an feeling of living a little like a local family and we loved being constantly in the outdoors. Our children met & played with the local kids which was incredible and everyone was so welcoming. The turtle conservation work in particular was incredible, the night patrols & hatchery work made us really appreciate the work undertaken by all volunteers and the project team and we felt honoured to think that we made a little difference to the
Olive Ridley Turtle Conservation program.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't expect the luxury's of home and know that you will quickly understand and appreciate you can enjoy a pure, happy time without not not much at all. All facilities and services are available and the food it terrific given the location. Go into the holiday with a open mind, be prepared to muck in, learn heaps, have fun and you won't be disappointed. As a family we were made so welcome by volunteers and locals alike. We had plenty of time during the days to do what we wanted and we never got restless, infact we go into relax & go slow mode quite quickly and the days just flew! Having the Spanish language wasn't essential but was helpful in getting to know the locals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we felt the project really gave back to the local community and respected their lifestyle & views. We stayed in a family cabana as part of a local families property and they were so helpful, kind & generous. We understand that our fees went to paying them for our stay. We learnt a great deal about the environment & the turtles and that the project did everything it
could to reduce environmental impacts ie composting, lighting, etc. The project provided a presence on the beach but not in a way that dictated to took over from the way the locals live there lives. There are some really dedicated local people who believe in the cause and are so grateful for the support they receive from volunteers.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Amazing, so humbling, incredible to think we could do a little bit to help and have fun at the same time. As a young family, our kids really have an appreciation for conservation work, have a deeper connection and understanding that animals and the environment require our help to keep it safe, they realise the human impact on the environment isn't always positive and that it requires true dedication & a commitment to make a difference.

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