Who we are?
LAST (Latin American Sea Turtles) Association (formerly WIDECAST-Costa Rica) is a Costa Rican group with 11 members and a directive board of 5, working together to make a change in sea turtle conservation. We are member of WIDECAST, an international scientific network with country coordinators resident in more than 40 countries and territories of the Wider Caribbean Region. Our field teams are integrated by local assistants with unparalleled experience in sea turtle research and conservation, people with vast experience working with volunteers and environmental enthusiasts developing creative strategies to avoid the extinction of these species.
With close to thirty years' experience working with Costa Rican sea turtles, Latin American Sea Turtles Association Staff are experts when it comes to sea turtle population management, community based conservation, coastal management and volunteer assisted research.
Our vision is to realize a future where all inhabitants of the Costa Rican coasts, human and sea turtle alike, can live together in balance; where healthy populations of sea turtles fulfill their ecological roles and economic potential; and critical natural habitats are sustainably managed.
In our effort to create environments where humans and sea turtles can live together in balance, we have developed different programs. The first, a group of conservation and research programs both on the Caribbean and Southern Pacific coasts of Costa Rica. The Caribbean program is located in Cahuita, Moin and Pacuare beaches, where we focus on the nesting of leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles, while the South Pacific program is located in Osa Peninsular, where we work in the recovery of mangrove forests and sea grass beds as well as the studies of the rare Eastern Pacific hawksbill turtles.
We have also generated a voluntourism program to create alternative livelihoods by training local partners on how to receive volunteers and tourism in community homestays. This increases strongly their local opportunities to have a better income and reduces the pressure over the turtles, their eggs and their critical habitats.
Besides that, we initiated programs to monitor reefs, train the park rangers in monitoring turtle nesting and educate hundreds of local students on the importance of marine and coastal conservation. Finally we also advise the government on marine environments, participate in several local, national and international networks and publish articles to improve the knowledge about the ocean and its life.
Why do we need your help?
The global oceans are showing an important decline in health and abundance. Sea turtles as important creatures of these ecosystems do not escape from this critical status. The multiple anthropic threats and the permanent impact of several human activities over sea turtles keep them in a critical endangered condition.
You and your help are crucial for the future of the oceans and sea turtles. Your time and hands make the difference to many baby turtles, to nesting turtle mothers and to incredible and productive tropical coastal ecosystems. Also your contribution supports the economy of the local communities we are working with. The results are better living conditions for local people and turtles alike.
Finally, you will be better human being, with great memories and incredible experiences for future. In our win-win programs you will enjoy hands on participation, undertaking conservation like no other.
What can you expect from us?
Latin American Sea Turtles guarantees a full experience of hard work, a direct interaction with sea turtles and their critical habitats. You will be participating in the development of proven, effective and interesting conservation practices, that will lead to understanding the true conservation with the participation of key stakeholders in the community. Full of experiences that enrich their lives, rebusterecean knowledge and skills for the future. It will work in multi-ethnic, multicultural and multilingual human teams that lead to extreme challenges of experience to save the life of our oceans. There’s no doubt that you will make a difference by supporting the survival of these amazing creatures: Sea Turtles!
Do I need to speak Spanish?
No, but it helps to communicate with your host families and locals.
When is the best time to volunteer?
Minimum participation time is one week at Latin American Sea Turtles. The best time to volunteer depends on the program you choose. Working with turtles is at some programs only available certain months a year because they depend on the nesting seasons.
Why do I have to pay for my volunteering experience?
Our prices reflect the needs we have as a non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle conservation and the improvement of local livelihoods. The rate includes an introduction; training for the work; volunteers' manual with general information about us, the program, sea turtles and your expected duties; professional assistance; three meals, and lodging in shared facilities. The money you spend for volunteering will be used towards your host family or accommodation, salaries of our local Latin American Sea Turtles staff, operation costs of the project (including boat and motor) rescue and rehabilitation center, and equipment and materials used for all the sea turtle conservation, as well as activities in environmental education and outreach.