Sea Turtle and Ray Conservation Assistant

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founded in 2006
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Coordinator | Jamie
Coordinator | Jamie
You will assist in sea turtle and ray monitoring projects in the waters and beaches of El Jobo on the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
The Sea Turtle and Ray Research Volunteer will assist in ongoing sea turtle and ray monitoring projects in the waters and beaches of El Jobo on the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You will work side-by-side with local community members to conduct night patrols of the beach, looking for nesting sea turtles, collecting data, and tagging the turtles.  The sea turtles seen in El Jobo (Green, Olive Ridley, and sometimes Hawksbill) are all endangered species.  Your work will help collect needed data about these populations of turtles as well as help protect them from poachers.

In addition to the sea turtle monitoring, you will also monitor the local ray populations by snorkeling and collecting data on the species and sometimes tagging them to better understand their migratory patterns. Other potential activities are sea grass and coral reef monitoring.

Our volunteer program is important because you are helping to protect endangered sea turtle and ray populations and helping generate an income for the local people. Normally, community members of towns like El Jobo depend on extracting natural resources to make a living. For example, robbing sea turtle nests and selling sea turtle eggs on the black market can happen in coastal Costa Rican villages. In El Jobo, however, community members are working with local scientists and volunteers like you to protect their natural resources. The volunteer program has given them a reason to switch from fishing or sea turtle poaching to patrolling the beach or monitoring rays with volunteers. Your participation in our volunteer program directly support the conservation work. We firmly believe the only way to engage in effective conservation is by working with local communities.

As a volunteer you will help collect data necessary for conservation of the species. The fact that you show up everyday (or every night in the case of the sea turtles!) shows to community members that there is value in conservation.

Typical day

Your time will be divided among the activities and each day will vary. For example, ray, sea grass, and reef monitoring take place in the morning, about 8am-12pm. Sea turtle monitoring will take place at night, about 9:30pm-1am. Your exact schedule will depend on the weather conditions and needs at that time.

All of your meals will be cooked for you by your homestay family, so you'll wake up every morning to a homecooked Costa Rican breakfast! You will typically have the afternoons free, after volunteering to explore the town, spend time with the locals, or go swimming at the beach.

The town of El Jobo is a single road rural community. The road is lined with small wooden houses surrounded by rolling hills. The nearest big town is about a half an hour away by bus. Your homestay family will be near the center of El Jobo and is a short drive away from the sea turtles nesting beaches where you will be patrolling. The community members who patrols the beach with you will drive you from beach to beach. When at the beach you will walk the beach, patrolling for nesting sea turtles for sometimes up to 3 hours straight. Be prepared with shoes that are good for walking on the sand, long sleeve and pant lightweight clothing that cover up the bugs, and a headlight with a red light setting that does not harm the turtles.

For the ray monitoring you will spend a lot of time in the water snorkeling, so make sure you bring a rash guard to protect against the sun, plenty of sunscreen, and your own snorkel, mask, and fins if you have them.

Free-time activities

There are a number of beaches within walking or biking distance of El Jobo where you can spend your free time. There are also restaurants and cafes with internet. If you are staying for an extended time period, you can explore the surrounding area of Guanacaste (known for it's beaches!) by bus on the weekends. There is not a shortage of things to do, especially if you like to spend time outdoors!

Water Sports


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)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
• Basic level of Spanish
• A genuine passion for animal conservation
• Ability to work independently as well as in a team
• Flexibility in work schedules and tasks to accommodate day to day needs of a local institution
• Physical ability to work outdoors with potentially high sun, element, and temperature exposure
• Ability to independently collect and register data
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 12:00

What's Included

Services by IOI-Empowering Costa Rica

A $200 reservation deposit is necessary and included in the total fee breakdown. The program fee is necessary to cover your cost of living and logistics. Our overhead is covered by other means, and thus, 100% of any funds that exceed your direct cost will go towards the project you participated in.


You will live with a Costa Rican family near the center of town. Staying with a family is a great way to learn about Costa Rican culture, eat typical food, and practice your Spanish!

Guest Family Guesthouse Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

Your homestay family will cook all of your meals for you and can adapt based on your dietary preferences. You will get a true taste of typical Costa Rican cuisine!

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Liberia Airport (LIR) in Liberia. 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

Volunteer can join our program throughout the year and fortunately, sea turtles nest near El Jobo year around! We encourage all volunteers to stay as long as possible to maximize local and personal benefit.  Minimum stay is 1 week, maximum is 4 weeks.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 4 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$ 700
2 weeks
$ 1,200
3 weeks
$ 1,700
4 weeks (max. stay)
$ 2,200
Average fees
$ 625 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. IOI-Empowering 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 IOI-Empowering 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

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Quality Assurance
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Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if IOI-Empowering Costa Rica cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by IOI-Empowering Costa Rica.

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Sea Turtle and Ray Conservation Assistant

You will assist in sea turtle and ray monitoring projects in the waters and beaches of El Jobo on the North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.


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