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South America Inside

Sea Turtle Protection

Matapalo, Costa Rica show on map

Help protect sea turtles! Patrol the beaches, guard nests, monitor the behavior of turtles, and collect and record data for research and conservation efforts.

The Project

As an activist for the protection of sea turtles, you will work on North Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The project is located in the province of Guanacaste, and takes place on the beaches of Zapotillal and Nombre de Jesús. The area consists of 5 km (3 miles) of beach and approx. 3 hectares of tropical forest.

As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to study three different sea turtle species: The Black Turtle (June - March), the Leatherback Turtle (October - March), and the Olive Pacific Ridley (all year round). All species are endangered in today’s marine world. Therefore, it is very important to protect their natural habitat and gain additional knowledge regarding their behaviors and needs. 

Your Tasks

During this project, volunteers will support local staff who focus on nesting sea turtles. Your tasks will include watching the nests and monitoring the sea turtles, so that the baby turtles can hatch out after approx. 45-60 days. Another important part of your work will include collecting data on the turtles in order to accumulate as much information as possible about the turtles, hatchlings, and sensitive environment that surrounds them. The data makes it possible to understand complex correlations between the animals and their surroundings, something that is essential for the protection of these species.

Throughout your time as a volunteer, you will have the unique opportunity to approach the majestic turtles and admire their beauty. Together with the local team, volunteers will patrol the beaches at night (always in groups) to find nesting sea turtles (they only nest after sunset). They measure and examine each sea turtle to record the data. The volunteers also guard and supervise the nests during day and night until the baby turtles hatch and find their way into the ocean. The purpose of this is to protect the eggs and the hatchlings from wild animals and poachers.

Free-time activities

In your free time, you can go hiking and swimming. Diving and snorkeling are also an option.


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 Spanish (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
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


Included Services

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Change your reservation at no extra costs
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We refund your fees if South America Inside cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by South America Inside.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
South America Inside (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 South America Inside

Consultation from our experienced staff | Translation of application documents | Placement in Volunteer Work Project | Orientation session upon arrival | Orientation kit | Local support | 24-hr emergency number | Accommodation (dormitory) | Full-board (3 meals/day) | Airport Pick-up and overnight stay in San José | Transfer to accommodation in San José | Application fee | Advice concerning adequate travel insurance

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

The transportation service will pick you up at the San José airport and bring you to an accommodation where you will stay overnight.
The next day, the transportation service picks you up at the accommodation to bring you to the bus station for your journey to the project's site (approx. 6 hours).


All volunteers will stay in two wooden volunteer houses, one for females and the other for males. Each house can accommodate up to 8 people. The staff of the project works and lives in another house. All houses are close to the wonderful beach. The houses are simple, but fully-equipped with furniture. Drinking water and electricity are available 24-hours a day. Volunteers are asked to use these resources responsibly.

Dorm Room Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

The project will provide you with full-board (breakfast, lunch, dinner).

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
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.
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)
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
25 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Matapalo/Costa Rica between 2 weeks and 25 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. South America Inside 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 South America Inside during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Costa Rica  Matapalo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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