Costa Rica Leatherback turtle conservation holiday

“A week of turtle conservation work on Costa Ricaís remote Caribbean coast, with full supervision, accommodation and time free to explore.”


San Jose | Tortuguero | Stay at a remote turtle research station | Night beach patrols | Work with hatchlings | Full support and supervision from researchers | Boat rides on the rainforest canals to look for wildlife | Butterfly farm visit

Description of Costa Rica Leatherback turtle conservation holiday

Travel to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica to join leatherback turtle conservation work on this seven day holiday. You will be working with local researchers to patrol the beaches at night where leatherback turtles nest, helping to gather up the eggs and move them to safer locations. Youíll also be collecting data on the turtles and releasing baby turtles back into the sea.

During the day, there are lots of planned activities to enjoy, too, including a visit to a butterfly farm and a boat trip through the rainforest canals to spot wildlife such as sloths, monkeys and caiman. Your base will be a simple research station on the Caribbean coast, deep in the rainforest, with cabin accommodation, limited electricity and no internet. Itís possible to see monkeys, sloths, toucans and giant blue butterflies from the base.

From mid-May to June you can work with turtle hatchlings, doing some simple research work and also releasing them into the sea. Poaching is a huge issue along this coast, so itís important that we move the eggs to a hatchery. Best practice for sea turtle hatcheries is followed here, with eggs buried and hatchlings moved into the sea as fast as possible. Anyone volunteering or working here uses gloves to touch eggs and hatchlings. The hatchlings are released in different locations, too, to prevent predators from gathering. As a volunteer, youíll be fully trained and research staff will support and supervise your work, before and during you work with turtles, eggs or babies.

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

This trip involves observing and recording data on sea turtles in partnership with a local conservation organization. Trained staff use best practices for wildlife handling when tagging and other tasks. Researchers and conservationists lead the activities to make sure the animals are respected and not stressed during observation and that appropriate distances are kept.

The data collected is part of long-term research programs which help researchers to understand behavior and health of wildlife populations. The trip also generates funds for turtle research and conservation efforts and provides volunteer help for the researchers. In addition, we educate travelers on how to travel in ways that support sea turtles, such as avoiding the purchase of products made from turtleshell.

We reduce plastic use by offering filtered water for reusable bottles (no plastic bottles are sold) and often include beach clean-up activities during trips depending on time available. Energy is produced from solar panels and limited use of generators.

The Impacts of this Trip

This trip is managed by a Costa Rican ecotourism company in partnership with the local conservation program, which is a family-run operation. Only locally-owned accommodations, guides, and restaurants are used. The research program is staffed by local residents and provides income for more than 20 people based in the area. There are opportunities to purchase locally-made souvenirs that support residents and the conservation program.

This trip is a great opportunity to get to know dedicated conservationists who work long hours to protect these sea turtles. Many of them grew up eating turtles and their eggs and are now integral to efforts to protect these turtles and. Learn a little Spanish and converse under the stars while waiting for the turtles to emerge on the beach each night, learning about Costa Ricaís unique culture and emphasis on public health, education, and protecting nature. Our trips have generated more than $1 million for conservation and nearby communities.


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