Starting at just $727 for a complete, one-week itinerary!
Our Osa In-Water Sea Turtle Project is appealing to volunteers with a passion for sea turtles looking to gain a hands-on environmental education in one of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica, Golfo Dulce. The dynamics of the local sea turtle populations – including the Hawksbill and the Black Turtle – are poorly understood. While some information on females has been gathered from nesting beaches, little is known about population structure, genetic origin, in-water habitat use or health status. Sea Turtles spend only 1% of their life nesting on the beaches, and in these circumstances only adult females may be studied. Little, if no information is available about juvenile populations or sex ratios of adult populations, including how the human threats affects them.
Consequently, this project aims to gather more information on local sea turtle populations throughout their different life stages in order to prevent sea turtles from going extinct. Our monitoring and tagging efforts are critical to understand the presence of different size classes of these species, the role of these animals in the reef and sea grasses, and also their use of various habitats. This is an extraordinary way for you to work in a natural environment with sea turtles while making a real difference in the conservation efforts!
As a volunteer working at our Osa In-Water Sea Turtle Project, you will work side-by-side with the local team, researching sea turtles and monitoring the health of injured sea turtles. You will also work with the mangrove reforestation program aimed at improving these critical habitats of sea turtles.
Typical volunteer responsibilities include:
Assist the project staff in sea grass monitoring
Capture of sea turtles
Characterize feeding habitats
Help staff prepare for in-water activities, including untangling sea turtles, preparing tanks for turtles and maintenance of equipment and rescue center
Obtain and record scientific data for statistical information
Assist with external tagging
Assist with extraction of tissue & blood samples for DNA study
Care for the turtles in our rescue center
Treat sea turtle disease
Participate in mangrove reforestation, including looking for seeds, getting mud, plant seeds and water them, plant propagules in their final destination
Volunteers can expect to work 6-8 hours per day, 6 days per week.
Most of our volunteers stay on-site in one of our shared volunteer cabins. However, there are also a variety of local cabinas in the area, as well as host families. When space is full on-site, or for those wanting their own private space and air conditioning, we will provide you with a list of other options in the area. Please note there is a small extra charge for all off-site accommodations.
The Osa In-Water project is located in Playa Blanca, 30 km (19 miles) from Puerto Jimenez and 3km from La Palma on the Osa Peninsula in the Southern Pacific Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Playa Blanca is part of the Golfo Dulce, the bay that separates the Osa Peninsula from the mainland of Costa Rica. The surrounding landscape is flat farmland and there is a beautiful sand and coral beach called “Playa Blanca” at the east end of the town. The Dulce Gulf is one of the four tropical fjords on Earth where you can find unique hydrological conditions.
The Osa Peninsula is located in the Puntarenas province and is home to at least half of all species living in Costa Rica:
2-3% of Earth’s flora found nowhere else
323 endemic species of plants and vertebrates
Largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Central America
4,000+ vascular plants
700+ tree species
463 species of birds
140 mammals, including 25 species of dolphins, whales and even the gigantic whale sharks
4 different sea turtle species
Age: Minimum age for children not traveling with a parent or guardian is 18 (or 16 with parent permission and an exception from our Director).
Participants: Individuals, groups and families are welcome. While veterinarians, marine biologists or environmental students may find this project particularly interesting, no previous experience is required to experience this project, however participants should know how to swim.
Length: Minimum -1 week (exceptions can be made for groups); Maximum – unlimited.
No trip is complete without experiencing the local surroundings. Available excursions for this project include, but are not limited to, the following:
Airport pick-up by Tropical Adventures driver / guide
One-night stay in a San Jose area hostel (free breakfast and WiFi included)
Transportation to our San Jose office for your orientation
Transportation to bus station
Public bus to Playa Blanca (our driver will help you get on the correct bus and a staff member will be waiting for you as you get off the bus)
Accommodations in our Volunteer Lodge
3 meals per day while at project
Last night stay in a San Jose area hostel (free breakfast and WiFi included)
Transportation to the airport for your flight
Country information and orientation
Sea Turtle Volunteer Manual
Project training and in-country support
Assistance with planning excursions and activities
Reference letter of evidence of volunteer service hours
24 hour in-country emergency service
Upgrade to 30-minute, round-trip flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez instead of the 8-hour public bus = add $300
Upgrade to Private, English-speaking driver (round-trip) in air conditioned vehicle instead of public bus = add $600
Upgrade to a very comfortable 3-½ – star hotel with WiFi, pool, restaurant, bar, tropical breakfast for the 2 nights in San Jose = add $150
Upgrade to a really nice 4- star hotel with WiFi, pool, award-winning restaurant, bar for the 2 nights in San Jose = add $379
Upgrade to a cabin near the Osa project with air conditioning and a private bathroom = add $140 per week
Most of our volunteer individuals, families and groups add on tours and extra days for travel to either one of our beautiful beaches, a volcano area or cloud forest. Our experienced travel coordinators will be glad to help customize the perfect itinerary for you.
Please be aware we can combine projects, as well as create specialized itineraries that include less than one week of volunteering – in addition to tours and adventure!
Please Contact Us for more information and for your personalized quote!
Participants: Individuals, families and groups are welcome.
Our Osa In-Water Sea Turtle Project is appealing to volunteers with a passion for sea turtles looking to gain a hands-on environmental education in one of the most beautiful parts of Costa Rica, Golfo Dulce.
A variety of accommodations are available. One option is to stay with a host family. A second option is to share a volunteer cabin with other volunteers. A third option is to have your own cabin.