South America Inside

Help Save Sea Turtles

Camaronal, Costa Rica show on map
founded in 2003
Coordinator | Sergio
Coordinator | Sergio
Protect endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica! Lend a helping hand to help save these beautiful sea creatures.
This volunteer program is especially suitable for:

The Project

As a volunteer for this project, you will support the sea turtle population at Camaronal National Wildlife Refuge, which is situated in the province of Guanacaste in the north-western corner of Costa Rica. This area is one of the most important areas for sea turtle nesting. 

In addition to sea turtles, you can also find many different species of plants, mammals, birds, and reptiles in this wildlife area. This makes it one of the most biologically diverse regions on our planet. This diverse range of animal species means that there is a great need for volunteers to help protect them, and people come from all over the world to observe and care for the region's fragile wildlife. As a volunteer, you will observe the sea turtles laying eggs, watch over turtles’ nests, excavate nests, and collect eggs for incubation. 

The work in this project is extremely exciting and a once in a lifetime experience. Witnessing and studying sea turtles that can reach a weight of up to 1,650 pounds with shells up to 100 inches long is a very unique opportunity that most people don’t have. Despite their huge size, you will witness the majestic creatures dig holes at impressive speeds and lay up to 60 eggs!

Your Tasks

As a volunteer, you will provide support to this project, which devotes itself to the protection of different species of threatened sea turtles, their eggs, and hatchlings in the province of Guanacaste. The region where you will be living and working is part of the Camaronal National Park, which is located on the beautiful Pacific Ocean of Costa Rica.

At the beginning of the project, you will be warmly welcomed and given an introduction regarding your tasks and duties. There are numerous exciting tasks in the project, all of which offer a great insight into the work of environmentalists in Costa Rica!

While working, you will be studying and protecting rare leatherback sea turtles and other sea turtle species in their natural environments. You will patrol in groups, typically alongside local scientists. There are turtles all year round, but their activity peaks July-December. 

On a typical day or night, you can expect to patrol beaches that are around 3 km long to help protect and observe the sea turtles. While observing them, you will collect as much research as possible in addition to excavating nests and collecting eggs in order to protect them from predators. 

Throughout this project, you will feel personally rewarded knowing that you are helping an endangered species repopulate. You don’t want to miss this unique volunteer opportunity. 


Tropical climate, year-round daily average temperature of 30° C (86° F). During the night, temperatures can be a bit cooler. Rainy season is June-October, and peaks in September.

Recommended Packing List

  • Comfortable work clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Flash light and extra batteries
  • Mosquito and sun protection
  • Rain jacket

Please Note

There are no special vaccinations required, but be sure to check in with your doctor for additional advice.

If you are interested in joining this program with your family, please keep in mind that the youngest family member should be at least 14 years old.

Typical day

During this project, you will patrol approximately 3 km of beautiful beaches at night, where you can observe and study the actions of rare Leatherback sea turtles and other sea turtle species in their natural habits. Volunteers never patrol alone, but always go in groups or alongside local biologists. Turtles are present throughout the year; however, July-December is the peak season when turtles lay their eggs. During this time, volunteers can observe sea turtles making up to 30 new nests each night! From January-June, an average of five sea turtles appear per night to make their nests on the beach. No matter which season you volunteer, you will have the unique chance to see sea turtles up-close and help protect them.

When patrolling at night, it’s extremely important to collect data on the turtles so that the population can be evaluated and analyzed.

During this exciting project, will have the unique opportunity to approach these mystical animals that are threatened with extinction. In this region, rare Leatherback Turtles are seen regularly. Their incredibly enormous shells can grow up to 100 inches long, and they can weigh up to 1,650 pounds. They typically appear from October-February on the region's beaches to lay their eggs.

Since this project aims to protect turtle eggs and hatchlings from predators that eat or trample them, you will collect some of the eggs and store them in incubators so that they can safely develop. After a period of 45-60 days, you can observe the baby sea turtles hatch. Afterwards, you will help release them into the ocean. Your efforts to support the sea turtle's population growth in the Pacific Ocean will be greatly appreciated. 

Details on Arrival

This program starts on any day of the week, and you can enroll at any time, with at least a 4 weeks' notice.

Please Note
Before leaving to the project site, you will receive an orientation from our local staff. It is best if you can arrive in San José on Sundays or Wednesdays. The program includes between 1-3 overnight stays in a single room with a Host Family (incl. half board) in San José.

Free-time activities

There is a wide range of activites to choose from in your spare time, such as swimming in the sea and exploring the beaches. You can also go hiking in the local area and enjoy breathtaking views.

Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (basic level) and English (basic level)
Education Requirements
at High School level
Required Documents
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No special skills are required, but you should be an animal lover and committed to animal protection.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 - 17:00

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if South America Inside cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by South America Inside.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
South America Inside (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by South America Inside

  1. Accommodation in volunteer house
  2. Full-board (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  3. Airport pick-up in San José and transfer to overnight stay in San José

  4. Consultation from our experienced staff
  5. Translation of application profile
  6. Volunteer work placement
  7. Advice regarding travel insurance
  8. Advice on local travels
  9. Orientation session upon arrival
  10. Orientation kit
  11. Country handbook
  12. Local support
  13. 24/7 Emergency Number
  14. Certificate of Participation

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

  1. Airport pick-up in San José and transfer to your overnight homestay in San José
  2. Transfer from your homestay in San José to the bus station to start your journey to the volunteer site

You will be picked up at the airport in San José and brought to your homestay (single room) where you will stay overnight. The next day, after an orienation session, our local staff will bring you to the bus station where you will start your journey to the volunteer project site (costs for bus ticket not included).

Note: If you arrive on a friday or saturday in San José you will stay at the homestay in San José until monday.


 Volunteers will stay in the volunteer house on the project site. It is located slightly higher than the beach, which offers an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. The houses are simple, but fully furnished. There is a fully-equipped kitchen, large porch, and bathrooms with showers. 

Dorm Room Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

Full-board is provided (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Volunteers usually cook their meals together and the ingredients are provided by the project.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Costa Rica provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Costa Rica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Costa Rica.
Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$ 870
3 weeks
$ 1,060
4 weeks
$ 1,250
5 weeks
$ 1,440
6 weeks
$ 1,630
24 weeks (max. stay)
$ 5,050
Average fees
$ 323 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Camaronal/Costa Rica between 2 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. South America Inside will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Costa Rica.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with South America Inside during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Costa Rica  Camaronal, Camaronal, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

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The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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