Tortugas de Pacuare

Leatherback Turtle Ambassador

Limon, Costa Rica show on map

Get in direct contact with turtles and help us to conserve the biggest turtle in the sea, here you will have the chance to meet and work saving this awsome animals.

Our main mission at Tortugas de Pacuare is to protect endangered sea turtles such as the Leatherback sea turtle, Hawksbill sea turtle and the Green sea turtle. With the support of the local community and of the 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.

Turtle seasons: 
Leatherback season from the last week of February to the end of June 
Green turtle from July to September 
Hawksbill from April to August 

Working with Turtles
Working with the turtles means that you will be doing night patrols on the beach. With local guides and a group of people you will patrol on 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, take care of the turtle eggs and the freshly hatched turtles and make 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 has rapidly declined in many parts of the world. This is 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 reach the land to bask in the sun. This habit makes them extremley vulnerable to predators and poachers, looking for their meat and eggs.

Communal Work
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. 

Location
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 strategic destinations for the arrival of leatherback turtles, green turtles, and hawksbill turtles. These are the most threatened species and are in a serious danger of extinction.

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 of the ocean.

Typical day

Your schedule as a volunteer can vary each day, but mostly it will look like this one:

Meals
  • 8:30 am: breakfast 
  • 12:30 am: lunch 
Communal work
  • 9:30 am: communal work
  • 2:30 pm: communal work 
The total communal work during the day is approx. 2 hours 

Turtle hatchery
The turtle hatchery has to be protected 24/7. These are the timetables that have to be respected. Of course, you won't work the whole day there.
  • 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • 10:00 pm to 4:00 am
  • 4:00 am to 8:00 am
Beach patrolling 
The most important time to patrol on the beaches is at night. This is when the turtles usually come ashore to lay their eggs and thus, the most dangerous moment for them. 
  • 8:00 pm to 12:00 am
  • 12:00 am to 4:00 am

Details on Arrival

Your arrival could be any days except Sunday.

For your arrival: from San Jose CR take bus in the Caribeños bus station at 11 am destination Siquirres, bus spend 2 hours 20 minutes, there in siquirres a member to our staff will be waiting for you with pleasure to continue the rest of your trip, taking another bus to Las Vegas de Imperio there is the place where the boat driver is waiting to bring us to the camp.

Free-time activities

Our volunteers will have the chance to spend their time enjoying the wild life and meeting many different animals.

Furthermore, they can do sports on the beach or simply tan and relax while enjoying a good book. 

Also they can spend time together with the locals and enjoy getting to know a new culture. This is always a great opportunity to make new friends as well.

Water Sports
Swimming
Hiking
Sports

Program Requirements

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)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Tortugas de Pacuare cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Tortugas de Pacuare.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Tortugas de Pacuare (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Tortugas de Pacuare

Fees include accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

They also include a turtle training and tour of the forest.

Accommodation

Our camp is a house with two dorms. One of them can host up to ten people and the other one eight people.

You will wake up every morning with the ocean in front of your door.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

We offer vegetarian and vegan food.
Breakfast: pancakes, omelet, Gallo pinto, empanadas, tortillas con huevo, and many different tropical fruits.
Lunch and dinner: different kinds of picadillos with rice and beans, tortilla de papa, spaghetti with coconut milk sauce, focaccia, pizza, bread, patacones with beans paste, and many variable and Caribbean food.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
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.
Vaccines
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
$200.00
2 weeks
$400.00
3 weeks
$600.00
4 weeks
$800.00
8 weeks
$1,600.00
16 weeks
$3,200.00
35 weeks (max. stay)
$7,000.00
Average fees
$200.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Limon/Costa Rica between 1 week and 35 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Tortugas de Pacuare will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Costa Rica.
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 {project.name} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Costa Rica  Limon, Barra de Pacuare

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