As a volunteer you can help with the protection of the sea turtles as well as the improvement of the local inhabitants' living condition.
Poachers, fishing nets, pollution and other threats are the cause of an alarming decline in turtles hatching on this beach. Escpecially the 9 km coast 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. Leatherbacks can exceed 540 kg (1180 lbs). 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. However, 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. 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. They are hunted for both their eggs and their meat, which is widely held to be the most delicious of all the sea turtle species.
As La Tortuga Feliz is a non-profit organization, we can only stay successful if volunteers participate in the project. With your contribution you help with the protection of the sea turtles and the improvement of the living conditions of the local inhabitants. Maybe even more importantly you will have the best time of your life!
The project area is on a unique place at the caribbean beach with lots of wildlife! This way you will not only be able to experience and protect the sea turtles, but maybe encounter some other species that you have never seen in their natural habitat before.
As a volunteer you can help with the realization of the projects’ objectives by patrolling the beaches for turtles at night (in all weathers) together with the local inhabitants. This is important to protect the turtles as well as their eggs from thieves and poachers.
Furthermore, it stops the locals from turning to turtle poaching. Having no job and thus no money many times drives them to earn a living stealing turtles and their eggs. While they work for us, there is no need for them to continue poaching but to save the turtles and rean enough money to maintain their families at the same time.
Another task of yours will be manning the hatchery and caring for recuperating adult turles in the turtle rescue and rehabilitation centre.
In addition, you will be involved with the day to day operational duties of running the project. In the off-season (late November to late February) you help with maintenance of the buildings and preparations for the next season by creating an ideal environment for turtles to lay their eggs
After volunteering you can go fishing, sunbathe on the beach or read a book in a hammock.
Also you can do freetime activities in a goup such as playing several games like soccer or volleyball, or go for a hike.
Being in Costa Rica there is of course also the possibilty to learn Spanish.
You will lodge in a dormitory style beach cabin that houses up to 6 people.
Besides the local & international meals three times a day, there is tea and coffee. Furthermore we have our own fresh water source. We cater for vegetarians too.