Save Turtles In Buena Vista

founded in 2006
first hand Costa Rica
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Coordinator | Frank
Coordinator | Frank
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
Help protecting marine turtles from poachers and animal predators in a magnificent bay. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 17+

About the Program

On this breathtaking bay you protect the marine turtles that are in danger of extinction. Volunteers play a crucial role in conservation efforts! 

Here in Buena Vista you will mainly work with Olive Ridley turtles - in Spanish these turtles are called 'loras' as they have a mouth similar to a macaw. 

During this time you will live directly in the camps under very basic conditions, sometimes without water and electricity. Your food - breakfast, lunch, dinner - will be prepared in the camp and consists of the typical costarican cuisine: rice, beans, vegetables, meat and fruit. The camp is only accessible by crossing a river, so you will not be able to leave the camp or the beach during working days. You have one day off and then you may leave the camp and the little town 'Sámara' is a 30 min walk away. In your free time during the day you can relax or read or swim or learn to surf.

The Location

The main project is the camp in Playa Buena Vista, 3,5 km north of Sámara, pacific coast, Guanacaste.

Our Volunteers

You should bring love for nature and fun of outdoor-living and also be prepared for sometimes physically demanding work and work at unusual hours as most of the turtle nesting occurs at night. 

You also should be prepared for very simple living conditions as the camp doesn't have electricity. There are solar chargers for cameras or cellphones. You are living very close to the beaches where turtles do their nesting, so there will be no infrastructure around and there will be sand 'everywhere' ... ;-) When you will free little turtle babies for the first time then you will be rewarded for hard work and low comfort conditions!

Typical day

You will work between 4-6 hours every day. 

In the mornings you will do some work in the camp like cleaning and building new breeding grounds for the eggs (viveros). Be prepared that it might be hard work to get sand from the beach to build new breeding stations. Also, you will be cleaning and marking the beaches. There will be some free time around the hottest time of the day for relaxing. 

The work starts again in the afternoon: collecting data for the turtles and protecting the eggs in safe breeding grounds (viveros), freeing new born turtle babies, nest exhumations. Starting in the late evening and throughout the night there will be patrol walks on the beach to find turtles and their nests. You will go for these patrol walks in turns with other volunteers until morning.

Free-time activities

During the project time you will mainly relax. If you plan to go for excursions you should plan some time after your project.

There are wonderful National Parks (Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Santa Rosa), the volcano Arenal, the caribbean side and so much more to visit!

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Required Documents
Copy of health insurance and valid in Costa Rica
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
If you are 17 years old you need to bring the allowance of your parents - we provide a document for this.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by first hand Costa Rica

We provide airport pickup, we organize the journey to the project and we also do hostel reservations in San José if needed (mostly it is needed!) - and, if you will combine projects, we will also organize the transportation between the projects. You will have to pay the cost for the pickup and the transport.

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

You will be picked up at the airport by our driver with a sign with your name and you will directly get in contact with your german, english, spanish speaking coordinator via phone. The driver will drive you to the reserved hostel (if necessary), give you the bus ticket (he will buy a ticket in advance to reserve you a seat in the bus), pick you up at the hostel the day of your journey to the project and bring you to the bus.
The cost will be around 60 US$ plus the hostel night (between 10-12 US$ (dorm) and 30 US$ (single/double room).
A Taxi will bring you to the river where the camp staff will pick you up - so, be sure to bring a backpack ... and not a suitcase! ;-)


You will be living directly in the camp in a wooden house, that is build very open to ventilation reasons, in a dorm-room in simple stock beds. You should bring ear plugs and a mosquito net. 

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Your food - breakfast, lunch, dinner - will be prepared in the camp and consists of the typical costarican cuisine: rice, beans, vegetables, meat and fruit.

Internet Access
Limited 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.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

This program is available all year - but best from June until January when the turtles nest and babies hatch. The rest of the year there is maintenance work on the camp and the beach. It starts every Monday. Please arrive at least one day before the programs starts.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
4 weeks
8 weeks
8 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$334 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. first hand Costa Rica will let you know about the final price during your application process.
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 first hand Costa Rica during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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 first hand Costa Rica 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 first hand Costa Rica.

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Save Turtles In Buena Vista

Help protecting marine turtles from poachers and animal predators in a magnificent bay.


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