The Casa de Coco is sea turtle conservation and sustainability project. We offer all projects related to conservation and community sustainability
Casa de Coco is a non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle conservation on the Costa Rican island of Barra de Pacuare. We are a part of the Program for the Conservation and Research of Marine Turtles, and work together with the Queonios del Caribe Station on projects to save the turtles.
Casa de Coco's approach to conservation on the island is through providing an alternate economy for local residents, who often turn to poaching as their only source of income. Through homestays and conservation camps, volun-tourists provide an alternate source of income for local residents, and the chance to have a direct impact in sea turtles conservation on the island.
The main focus of the Casa de Coco project is the protection of marine turtles, as well as the improvement of quality of life for the local communities. At the time of the project’s inception, people from the local communities were engaged in the illegal removal and trade in turtle eggs, as well as illegal sale of turtle meat for profit. However, far from being hardened black marketers, these people had turned to illegal trade simply as the most accessible means of support and livelihood for their families and themselves. So, the idea of starting a conservation program in the area threatened the basic survival needs of these same people.
From the beginning, Casa de Coco needed to guarantee that income generated by the conservation program(s) would be invested in the local communities to help provide much needed support and to achieve sustainable livelihood benefits. Initially, one of the biggest hurdles was to convince the people who had been involved in the decimation of the turtle populations, to take on the complete opposite role of caretakers and stewards of the turtles.
When the program idea of Casa de Coco finally came to fruition, it was with a firm commitment to the local populace that they would be provided on-going employment and income by cooperating with the various conservation projects. Since then, the people have been trained and qualified for various positions within the project, including working with volunteers and a variety of other program activities.
Hence, the Casa de Coco Sea Turtle Conservation Project was createn in conjunction with Quelonios del Caribe as a joint effort with the peoples of Barra de Pacuare (local township and its surroundings) for the purpose of the preservation and conservation of marine turtles, in particular, giant Leatherbacks, Hawksbills, and Green Sea turtles, which not only depend on the area for nesting, but are also threatened with extinction.
Of equal importance to marine turtle protection is the conservation of the area’s surrounding rain forests.
Casa de Coco works to establish and maintain an alternate economy for the residents of Barra de Pacuare through volun-tourism and homestays. We give local families the opportunity to host volun-tourists who come to the island, providing them with an income at 20 U.S. dollars a day per volun-tourist. Aside from hosting, as more volunteers come to the island, the demand for conservation camp guides increases, providing options for employment for the locals.
Homestay families sign a good-will statement with Casa de Coco that states that the families will not to poach when they are hosting a tourist, and if they are caught poaching, they will lose any potential homestay income in the future. Income from homestays solves the low-income problem of the locals by providing a fair and sustainable wage so they will not need to poach.