Our main mission at Tortugas de Pacuare is to protect endangered sea turtles such as the Leatherback sea turtle and the green sea turtle. With the support of the people of the local community and of you, the international volunteers, we aim at conserving the environment. By working with sea turtles and communal and environmental education programs, we will be able to educate people on the importance of caring about and protecting such a valuable part of the maritime ecosystem.
Working with Turtles
Working with the turtles means that you will be doing walks by night at the beach. Together with local guides and a group of people you will patrol the beach to collect turtle eggs and relocate them to a turtle hatchery where they will be safe from poachers. Furthermore, you will be working at the hatchery, taking care of the turtle eggs and the freshly hatched turtles and making sure that they are well prepared for their dangerous journey back into the sea.
The Leatherback Turtle - Leatherbacks are the largest turtles on Earth, growing up to seven feet (two meters) long and exceeding 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). These reptilian relics are the only remaining representatives of a family of turtles that traces its evolutionary roots back more than 100 million years. Once prevalent in every ocean except the Arctic and Antarctic, the leatherback population is rapidly declining in many parts of the world. Thisis partly becaus of their shell. While all other sea turtles have hard, bony shells, the inky-blue carapace of the leatherback is somewhat flexible and almost rubbery to the touch. This makes it more vulnerable to predators and poachers. Furthermore, their eggs are often taken by humans from nests to be consumed for subsistence or as aphrodisiacs.
The Green Sea Turtle - The green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. It is named not for the color of its shell, which is normally brown or olive depending on its habitat, but for the greenish color of its skin. Weighing up to 700 pounds (317.5 kilograms) green turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world. While most sea turtles warm themselves by swimming close to the surface of shallow waters, the Eastern Pacific green turtle will take to land to bask in the sun. This habit makes them extremley vulnerable to predators and poachers that want them for their meat and eggs.
But there is communal work as well. You, the volunteers, will work in the maintenance of the camp or in our recycling program. We spend our time doing community service work and helping to maintain community facilities, local schools, sports fields, and execute beach cleanups in conjunction with the Blue Flag committee. In addition we help the local population with construction of gardens.
Our program is a communal initiative and we work closely with the people from Barra de Pacuare. You will learn lots about our culture. It is especially important for us to promote contact with locals. In return they will be offering you the opportunity to do fishing tours, kayaking, or tours by boat to Tortuguero National Park.
The project is located 40 km south of Tortuguero in a small town called Barra de Pacuare in the middle of the Caribbean. This makes us one of the most important points for the arrival of leatherback turtles, green turtles, and hawksbill turtles. These are the most threatened species and extinction is a serious danger.
Our main goal is to save turtles. This is the reason why we keep the participation fee of the program very low. It helps us to maintain the station and to save one of the most amazing animals in the ocean.