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Sea Turtle Volunteer Costa Rica

Do you want to be part of a team trying to save endangered species in one of the most pristine locations in the world? Are you motive in live in a rustic but beautiful landscape and work with scientists to track turtles and save their environment? You should check out Global Crossroad’s volunteering in the turtle conservation program in Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica, scientists have been involved in research and habitat protection for years. The work is extensive and their data is slowly building pictures of the treatment sea turtles face.

These turtles always return to nest on the beach at which they were hatched, but many turtles never return due to natural predators and the ones who do face eroding beaches, pollution and other physical challenges upon arrival.

Conservation efforts can do little to combat natural predators, but focus on protecting the nesting population who does return "home". Human poachers also pose a threat on top of natural challenges. The rate of decline is so high that, if not slowed, the sea turtle will be extinct in two decades.

The project needs dedicated volunteers to help them gather data and protect nesting sites. This will be a wonderful hands-on learning experience. You will feel highly satisfied knowing that your contribution to the volunteer with turtle conservation program in Costa Rica makes a huge difference in the present and future lives of these special marine animals.

Volunteer Responsibilities & Impacts

The Turtle Conservation volunteer project in Costa Rica is in rural beach areas near disadvantaged communities. Volunteers assist biologists, interns, project staff, and locals in safeguarding turtle eggs and maintaining nesting grounds.

It's important to note that these projects often involve programs for sustainable egg harvesting. These programs help feed or provide income to local communities. They are designed to prevent excessive harvesting and poaching and are supervised by the Costa Rican government.

As a volunteer, you'll have the chance to do beach patrols during the day or night to find nesting turtles, tag or count turtles, move nests to protected hatcheries, count or collect eggs, assist with beach cleanup, participate in community outreach programs, and/or help with project maintenance.

Skills and Qualifications

While it's not necessary, having a basic understanding of the Spanish language is recommended. Having a "go-getter" attitude ensures that you can get as involved as you want. We strongly encourage a proactive approach to volunteering – be outgoing and ready to help wherever and whenever needed. Keep in mind that consistently attending and respecting the schedule contributes to the best possible impact on both you and your project.

Beach patrols require a lot of walking in the sand. You should be physically fit and prepared for this.

The Sea Turtle Conservation program starts with a mandatory 2-day orientation in San Jose, where you'll receive crucial information about your project and the journey to the project site. Work hours vary based on project needs, typically 5-7 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Weekends are your free time to relax, explore the reserve, or visit nearby towns.

First and Second Day


Sea Turtle conservation projects are offsite from our San Jose headquarters, with no reliable internet but an emergency phone available. Field Managers check in by phone and in person during your program.

If you're on the Sea Turtle Conservation project, Day 1 is your general orientation, followed by a project-specific orientation. Travel details are explained, and you receive transportation tickets included in your program fees. Depending on schedules, offsite volunteers leaving on Monday might arrive at their placement on Tuesday or Wednesday. Return transportation from the project site is also included in fees, usually on Friday night or early Saturday morning.


Your volunteer work officially begins on the second day, with a daily schedule varying based on your specific placement. A typical day may look like this:

7:00 to 7:30 AM: Start the day with a traditional Tico breakfast with your host family, possibly including gallo pinto, rice and beans with signature spices, eggs, tortillas, fresh juice, and café con leche.

7:45 AM: Depart from your host family's residence to your project site, enjoying a fulfilling day as a volunteer in Costa Rica!

12:00 PM:: Take a lunch break, either returning home or bringing a packed lunch. Use this time to connect with fellow volunteers.

3:00 PM:: After completing your volunteer duties, evenings are free to explore. Relax with your host family or team up with fellow volunteers to explore the surrounding areas.

6:45 PM: Share a traditional dinner with your host family every evening, immersing yourself in local culture, practicing Spanish, and making the most of your time in this captivating country.

Sea Turtle Conservation Costa Rica Volunteer: Dates and Fees

Dates: Volunteer in Costa Rica

All volunteer programs in Costa Rica start every Monday of each month. However, if there is travel constrains, you can start any project on any day.

Fees: Volunteer In Costa Rica

Global Crossroad is committed to offering the most affordable and highest quality volunteering programs in Costa Rica. We strive to keep our costs low. The humanitarian side of the business is our passion.

Global Crossroad's volunteer program in Costa Rica application and registration fee cost US $299. The application fee covers the cost of advertising, program promotion, and office expenses (rent, utilities, and staff salaries in USA office).

In addition to the application fee, you are required to pay a weekly program fee. You will pay your weekly fee directly to the country coordinator, who in turn will allocate it to your host family, project and other in-country support we offer to our volunteers. This way, the fees that you pay will benefit those who rightfully deserve them, and not for company profit.

    Duration Turtle Conservation
  1 Week   N/A
  2 Weeks   $955
  3 Weeks   $1,360
  4 Weeks   $1,725
  5 Weeks   $2,005
  6 Weeks   $2,285
  7 Weeks   $2,565
  8 Weeks   $2,845
  9 Weeks   $3,125
  10 Weeks   $3,405
  11 Weeks   $3,685
  12 Weeks   $3,965

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day ( below 28 years) and $4.49/day ( above 28 years) »
No Spanish Language Program with the Turtle Conservation Project
The volunteering in Costa Rica program fees will cover expenses from the first day of the program to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses.
How your fee is allocated?

Program fees cover:
  • Shared Accommodation with a host family or in dormitory-style accommodations, from Sunday to Saturday
  • 2 meals per day (Breakfast & Dinner) when in San Jose, 3 meals per day when at the Sea Turtle Conservation project
  • Airport Pick up
  • In-country support
  • Program Orientation, Walking Tour, Safety Presentation
  • Project Management
  • Volunteer Certificate
  • Discount for returning volunteers
  • Letter of Recommendation (upon request)
  • Emergency contact 24/7
Program fees exclude:
  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses such as soft drinks and snacks
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer
  • Extra nights of housing (can be booked at an additional cost)

Accommodation and Meal

While volunteering in sea turtle conservation program in Costa Rica, you will have a choice of housing options, all owned by local Costa Rican families meaning you’re supporting the local economy as well as helping sea turtles. Options range from a private room to shared bunks, and one choice even has a/c! All rooms are basic, clean, and comfortable.

Learn more about GCR’s accommodations and meals in Costa Rica.

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

The project is stationed on beautiful Playa Blanca beach on the Osa Peninsula of Southern Costa Rica, so downtime can mean toes in the sand or hitting the waves. Use your weekends to explore the beautiful surrounding area. Nearby Puerto Jiminez is a fun town and a great place to book tours, and you won’t want to miss Corcovado National Park.

Learn more about the places you can visit while in Costa Rica.

Safety and In Country Support

Your safety is our top priority here at Global Crossroad. We don’t want you to worry about a thing while volunteering in Costa Rica conserving sea turtles, so we carefully vet every detail of your trip to ensure a safe and satisfying experience abroad. You’ll also have the guidance and support of our in-country team.

Learn more about our safety and in-country support.

Sea Turtle Conservation Costa Rica Volunteer: FAQs

It’s only natural you have a few questions before you’re ready to head off to Costa Rica for the volunteer trip of a lifetime. We’ve done this a time or two, having helped over 20,000 volunteers since 2003, so we’ve compiled some helpful info here to give you the answers you’re looking for:

Arrival and departure

You’ll fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Your airport pickup is included in your volunteer fee, and we’ll have someone waiting for you when you land who will take you safely to your accommodations. You will need to arrange your own departure transportation after completing the project.


To join this turtle conservation volunteering opportunity in Costa Rica, you may be eligible to simply ask for a visa stamp after your arrival at the airport in San Jose. However, do your research to learn the requirements. Most volunteers will be eligible for a 90-day tourist visa. You should know you will need to provide proof of onward travel. If you have a round trip ticket, this will serve as all the proof you need. Research the visa requirements at the official Immigration site of Costa Rica:


Be sure to make an appointment with you doctor a few weeks before you travel in order to get up to date on your vaccines. You should be up to date on your routine vaccines, as well as Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid. You can also find information on CDC website.

What should I bring?

Pack lightweight, fast-drying fabrics of shorts, t-shirts, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts and pants. Think hot weather and humid conditions. You’ll need lots of sunscreen, bugspray, anti-itch cream, and your own mosquito net to fight off the insects who you’ll have to learn to share the rainforest with.

You’ll want a pair of flip-flops, boots or sneakers for hiking, and waterproof closed toed shoes like Crocs for when you are working on the beach in Costa Rica volunteering with sea turtles. You’ll need a headlamp with a red light for working with the turtles at night to avoid damaging their sensitive eyes.

You’ll be on the beach, so don’t forget a couple of swimsuits, a sun hat if you need it, and a fast-drying towel.

Why Sea Turtle Conservation Costa Rica Volunteer?

Contribute to groundbreaking research

Up until now, almost all the scientific knowledge gathered about sea turtles has been collected by studying nesting mothers. Since their time on land only accounts for 1% of their lives, clearly there is a huge gap in what we know. Help close the gap and participate in groundbreaking scientific research projects!

Help protect an endangered species

The research being carried out at this project will help scientists better understand the threats faced by the sea turtles, their overall life cycle, and how we can best protect them. Help protect endangered sea turtles before it’s too late!

Gain experience working with professional scientists

Volunteer in Costa Rica sea turtle research and gain valuable experience working alongside passionate and experienced scientific professionals. If you’re pursuing a career in the field, this is a great chance to get your feet wet, and the experience looks amazing on a resume.

Learn fascinating scientific techniques

If you’re looking to increase your repertoire of field work skills, this is your chance! Learn how to do live capture, tag turtles, take tissue samples, gather biometrics, do wildlife rehabilitation, and more!

Contact Global Crossroad today to learn more about helping research sea turtles in Costa Rica!

Other Volunteer Opportunities Available in Costa Rica:

No matter your passion or interests, we offer a variety of life-changing, volunteer programs in Costa Rica such as

Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation (Pacuare)
Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue (Natuwa)
Wildlife Research and Sea Turtle Conservation (Reserva Playa)

For more information on our exciting programs in Costa Rica, contact us today.