Sea Turtle Conservation Assistant

founded in 2010
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Coordinator | Hannah
Coordinator | Hannah
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
Work on projects to improve the environment for nests and to make the hatchlings journey to the Pacific Ocean safer. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

The program

This wonderful project was created with the goal of helping to preserve the amazing sea turtle. The Turtle Conservation Program works to conserve the future of this majestic creature, which through decades of indiscriminate human plundering, has been drastically reduced in number to a point where it is now on the endangered species list. Sadly, without the help of widespread conservation efforts, including environmental, research and re-education programs, the great sea turtle could be lost forever. Working with several of the main species of sea turtles to inhabit the Pacific, the main focus of this project is to protect and nurture the clutches of eggs laid across vital beach nesting grounds during the peak nesting season (August to February) and work on conservation and research projects at other times. The aim is to create safer nesting grounds, increase understanding and ensure more hatchlings make it to the Pacific Ocean to allow for the continuation of the species.

Additionally the program uses volunteer resources to monitor local sloth populations to protect and preserve this important animal.

Goals of this Project:

  • To save the sea turtle from extinction
  • Work on projects to improve the environment for nests and to make the hatchlings journey to the Pacific Ocean safer
  • Research these wonderful creatures so a greater understanding of how to save them can be gained
  • Monitor and protect local sloth populations
  • Enable interaction between international volunteers and their local hosts.

How you can help

Volunteers play an integral role in achieving the goals of this project. Like many conservation programs funds are greatly lacking and a willing volunteer labor force is essential to its success. Those working on this program will support research and conservation work which involves counting turtles, measuring nests, collecting scientific information and night beach patrols. They will also help protect turtle nests from human poachers, assist on the egg-harvesting programs and helping in the hatcheries. Volunteers may also get the fantastic opportunity to participate in the subsequent release of hatchlings to the sea! Outside of the breeding season (which peaks from August to January), volunteers will assist with other vital conservation projects such as the development of infrastructure on the beaches, including building and lighting projects to mitigate the adverse effect of vehicle and human traffic on turtle nesting grounds, as well maintaining the beach environment itself. This is a wonderful program that has a direct impact on the safety of sea turtle populations on the Pacific Coast of Coast Rica. Volunteers will gain unique experience on conservation projects, learn more about the Costa Rican people and culture and travel to beautiful locations.

The Quepos location also offers volunteers the opportunity to assist with protection of local sloth populations and volunteers can expect to participate in sloth counts and monitoring activities.

Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:

  • Nightly beach patrols
  • Preparing and maintaining the turtle hatcheries
  • Hatchling release 
  • Beach clean-up 
  • Reforestation activities 
  • Monitor and protect local native species including sloths, parrots, macaws, alligators and more. 
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the project living areas

Typical day

Schedules on this wonderful program are largely determined by the time of year and breeding activities taking place. We ask that volunteers be flexible and prepared to work in whichever area they are required. A typical daily outline will look something like this:

4:30am Beach Patrol

Year round, even in the low season (March to July), volunteers undertake an early morning patrol of the beach to monitor and protect turtle breeding grounds. 

8:00am Breakfast at the accommodation

Volunteers generally have free time during the day and can spend this as they wish, relaxing, exploring the local area, swimming or walking on the beach, taking the bus to nearby Jaco.... This is a beautiful part of the world and there is much to enjoy. Lunch is provided at the accommodation.

Afternoon Volunteering duties 

Specific hours and duties vary during the year but volunteers can expect to work for 2 - 3 hours each weekday afternoon completing tasks to monitor, preserve and care for sea turtles and wildlife (such as sloths, parrots, macaws, alligators and more) in the local area. 

Evenings/Nights Free time/Night patrols

During the nesting period (peaking August through February) volunteers will be involved in night-time beach patrols to protect turtles, collect eggs and generally monitor the breeding grounds.

Free-time activities

This incredible project is based 30mins south of the small town of Quepos on Costa Rica's central Pacific coastline roughly 1 hour south of Playa Hermosa and Playa Jaco and 2 ½ hours from San Jose.  

Playa Matapalo boosts a restaurant and store so everyday needs are well covered.  Surfing and horseback riding are popular pursuits in the immediate vicinity and a stunning swimming hole and waterfall are a 30min hike from the site. Slightly further afield are Quepos town and Manuel Antonio National Park.     

Offering a relatively remote expanse of beach, largely unpolluted by noice and light, this is a popular nesting ground for thousands of sea turtles each year.  The most common species include Olive Ridley, Pacific Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill.  The peak nesting and hatching season runs from August through February but turtles frequent the beach year round in varying numbers.  A truly unique opportunity to witness this amazing natural phenomenon.

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 English (basic level)
Required Documents
Emergency contact
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
This project is best suited to those who are either pursuing a career in marine conservation/zoological studies, or who simply wish to explore an interest in this field. However, the project is open to all. mportantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by Love Volunteers
  • Dedicated pre-departure support
  • Exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner! 
  • Airport pick-up on arrival 
  • Orientation & full safety briefing on arrival
  • Accommodation
  • Food & Meals
  • 24/7 local support network 
  • Project placement & onsite supervision
  • Lifetime LV Alumni Membership
  • The opportunity to make a REAL difference!
  • Certificate of Completion (on request)
  • LV registration fee
Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

Volunteers are collected upon arrival into San Jose and accommodated with a trusted host family in Santa Barbara de Heredia (40mins north of San Jose) on Saturday night. 

Host families are experienced at caring for volunteers and will be happy to assist with information on the local area and advice on purchasing a SIM card and other essentials.   

On Sunday arrangements are made for the journey (by public bus) to Quepos where volunteers are met by the local team.  A full orientation session is provided by the Turtle Conservation staff onsite.

  • Program Arrival Day: SATURDAY
  • Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
  • Arrival/Departure Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica (Code: SJO)

Volunteers on this project will be accommodated in a Volunteer House in Matapalo. Rooms are dormitory in style and may be shared by up to 4 volunteers depending on the time of year and number of volunteers. 

The house has all the basic amenities including western style bathrooms, electricity, cold water showers, wifi, communal areas and a well equipped kitchen. Bedding is provided so volunteers need only bring toiletries and a towel.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided daily and are included in the program fee. Volunteers are often expected to help with cooking and cleaning up (using a roster-based system), so everyone contributes at meal times – bringing a wonderful ‘family’ feel to this project. Nice!  

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.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

This project is available year-round with arrivals every SATURDAY.  Space on this program are limited and the program does become fully booked at certain times of the year.

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)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$590 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Love Volunteers 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 Love Volunteers 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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Sea Turtle Conservation Assistant

Work on projects to improve the environment for nests and to make the hatchlings journey to the Pacific Ocean safer.


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