La Tortuga Feliz offers a turtle conservation program based in Costa Rica, whose aim is the protection of sea turtles with the help of volunteers.
La Tortuga Feliz offers a turtle conservation program based in Costa Rica, whose aim is the protection of sea turtles with the help of volunteers. The participation of volunteers contributes to the improvement of the living conditions and education of the local inhabitants.
By helping to generate an income for the locals through an affordable turtle volunteer program, our goal is to take away the necessity for them to poach the turtles and their eggs.
The turtle conservation project is almost 4 hours travelling time away from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica and is located on the Caribbean coast approx. 1km north of where the River Pacuare enters the Caribbean sea. La Tortuga Feliz is situated at a beautiful isolated beach and right behind the project begins, what people call, The Amazon of Costa Rica, a mangrove rainforest of rivers, canals and lagoons. They form a unique area to visit and one can only get there by motor boat.
The conservation and protection promoted by La Tortuga Feliz is focused predominantly on the endangered leatherback and green turtles that come to nest in large numbers in this area of Costa Rica. Leatherbacks can exceed 540 kg (1180 lbs). Leatherback turtles are generally not killed by poachers for their meat but for their eggs which are among the most desirable turtle eggs. Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are not actually green but take their name from the colour of their body fat. These turtles are hunted for both their eggs and their meat, which is widely held to be the most delicious of all the sea turtle species.
Poachers, fishing nets, pollution and other threats are the cause of an alarming decline in turtles hatching on this beach. Escpecially the 9 km covered by our volunteer turtle conservation program La Tortuga Feliz is in danger, for it has no protection whatsoever. Volunteer conservation efforts play a very important role in changing this situation for the turtles of Costa Rica.The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the most critically endangered of the marine turtles and is also the largest.
The collective vision of la Tortuga Feliz is to realize a future where all inhabitants of the wider Caribbean Region, human and sea turtle alike, can live together in balance; where healthy populations of sea turtles fulfil their ecological roles and economic potential; and critically natural habitats are sustainably managed.
Most of the local inhabitants are now working for the turtle project as turtle guides. Before La Tortuga Feliz was established, all the inhabitants were turtle poachers. Now they work together with the volunteers to save the turtles. And they have enough income to maintain their families without having to harm endangered species.
By your participation in our volunteer turtle conservation program you not only help with the protection of the sea turtles but also help to improve the living conditions of the local inhabitants in this often forgotten about area of Costa Rica.