In water Sea Turtle Studies

Monitor the feeding habits of turtles in the Peninsular de Osa, by laying nets, catching and taking data from feeding turtles.

About the Program

The Osa In-water project is located in Playa Blanca on the Dulce Gulf of the Peninsula Osa, South Pacific of Costa Rica. The region is one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots of the world including the Dulce Gulf, which is one of the 4 tropical fiords worldwide. Surrounded by different kinds of beaches, mangroves & estuaries it creates unique habitats for permanent and migratory species. More than 40 different fish species, as well as dolphins, whales, whale sharks and sea turtles thrive in various ecosystems of the Gulf. The Osa Peninsula hosts a large variety of tropical ecosystems, providing habitats to numerous animals like scarlet macaws, monkeys, sloths, wild cats and other wildlife, and countless tropical plants. A truly lush nature that still needs to be explored and researched is awaiting volunteers, to turn conservation work into a really exceptional experience!

On Playa Blanca, our work focuses on Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Easter Pacific Green turtles (Chelonia mydas). We carry out in-water studies and operate a rescue and rehabilitation center, which has opened its doors at the end of 2011. Since then we have received more than 100 sea turtles, which we could rehabilitate and afterwards release back into the wild. Most of the turtles suffered different traumas or epibionts. Although Olive Ridleys (Lepidochelys olivacea) don’t forage in the Golfo Dulce, this is still a transit area for them. This is why we also treat this species when it is needed. Our rehab procedures and installations follow international best practices and provide us with 9 tanks for sea turtles. Our plan for the future is to include a hospital area to enhance veterinarian treatments.

The in-water studies consist of monitoring the feeding habitat used by sea turtles in different life stages to collect data about population structure, genetic origin, health status and in-water habitat use. This will help us to assess the types of threats that sea turtles are exposed to in this area. We capture individuals, tag them, take biometric data, tissue and sometimes blood samples and release them back to the ocean.

Since mangroves play an essential ecological role for coastal ecosystems and therefore for sea turtles, we have implemented a mangrove reforestation project in Playa Blanca together with a local grassroots organizations, in our conservation activities. In the long term this will improve the health status of mangroves and water quality in the area.

Another important but vulnerable ecosystem are the off shore sea grass beds, on which sea turtles and other marine animals feed, and which provide a living habitat for a wide range of organisms and small marine species. In 2013, LAST started to conduct sea grass bed studies near Playa Blanca to gain knowledge about the health status and biomass production. We found two species of sea grass which are essential in their contribution to a healthy ocean – the main condition for maintaining its biodiversity.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Families
Groups

Typical day

Usual working days are Monday - Saturday from 08:00 AM - 3:30 PM including the following tasks.

  • Preparation of boat equipment
  • Maintenance of turtle nets
  • Taking data and samples from animals
  • Seagrass monitoring

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Required Documents
Letter of motivation
Other Skills
Enthuisasm, willingness to work. Basic Spanish is an advantage.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 15:30

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Costa Rica? Volunteer World directly connects you with Latin American Sea Turtles

In water Sea Turtle Studies Mangrove reforestation Sunset in Osa hands on experience research a day in the office in water studies going back to the ocean

Free-time activities

The project lies close to Corcovado National park - which volunteers can visit.
The nearest town is Puerto Jimenez, with many shops, bars, restaurants and tours.
In Playa Blanca, it is possible to rent kayaks, horseride, or even take a canopy ziplining tour or an ATV tour.
Volunteers have one free day per week to enjoy activities. Our staff at the project will be happy to help organize.

Water Sports
Swimming
Hiking
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Services

What's included?
  • Accommodation
  • 3 Costa Rican meals per day
  • Training
  • Materials used for conservation work
  • Manual
  • 24 hour staff support
$45 inscription fee not included
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Accommodation

Fees vary according to category of accommodation - volunteers can choose from basic homestays to air conditioned hotels.

We work with local families who are committed to the conservation effort in the area.

Guest Family Youth Hostel
Food & Beverages

Breakfast will usually consist of "gallo pinto" - rice and beans, eggs, corn tortillas and coffee. Main meals will consist of rice and beans, plantains, salads, vegetables, pasta and some protein.
There will occasionally be fresh fruit.
Coffee is very common in Costa Rica, as is fresh fruit juices.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs
1 week (min. stay)
$350
2 weeks
$700
3 weeks
$1050
4 weeks
$1400
7 weeks
$2450
9 weeks
$3150
12 weeks (max. stay)
$4200

You can volunteer at the project site in Tibas/Costa Rica between 1 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Latin American Sea Turtles will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$350/week
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 Latin American Sea Turtles during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaría International (SJO) in San José. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
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Free-time
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P.O. Box 496-1100, Tibas, Costa Rica