Sea turtles conservation in Corcovado, Costa Rica

You are the one who can assure these children to have the chance to grow up safe and healthy.

Until six years ago, the reality in Drake Bay was not different to hundreds of other beaches where the sea turtle trade was considered a source of income. In the years prior to the implementation of this conservation program, the harvesting of eggs by local poachers resulted in the loss of over 85% of the nests laid in the area each year. The Olive Ridley population, the main species in this area, declined dramatically in Drake Bay to the point at which it became endangered, and the protection and recuperation of this population became essential due to its biological and ecological value. There were several failed attempts to establish a sea turtle monitoring program at Drake Beach prior to 2006, mainly due to the low confidence of the local population regarding conservation initiatives in the area. The presence of foreigners, a fear of adopting new habits, and the enforcement of restrictions designed to protect natural resources that were previously exploited, brought about confrontation that took a long time to neutralize. In 2006, however, an urgent appeal was made to the Corcovado Foundation from locals in Drake Bay regarding the rapid disappearance of the turtle population, one which motivated the organization to reallocate resources and create a permanent program at Drake Beach.

Join this project and make the difference!

  Three Field Coordinators were initially sent to initiate a conservation program designed to facilitate the recovery of the local population of nesting turtles after decades of egg poaching. The appointment of a Scientific Coordinator, with experience working on similar programs all over the world, brought about the standardization of methods and the implementation of field techniques necessary to study the population. The program was also able to take advantage of the combined knowledge and experience of the Field Coordinators, by selecting the very best ideas from other existing sea turtle programs around Latin America. Where the Sea Turtle Conservation Program differed from previous aborted initiatives in the region was through its recognition of the importance of achieving a balance between conservation objectives and local socioeconomic development. Conservation programs that focus solely on the biological aspects of the ecosystem are invariably doomed to failure, as conflicts arise continuously with the needs of the local population. By pursuing a policy of clarity, transparency and respect, and engagement with the local community from the outset, the program aims to empower local people and equip them with the prerequisite skills and infrastructure to take control of their own sustainable economic future, facilitated by the conservation of their natural resources. The primary Objective of this project is to promote the conservation and sustainable recuperation of the population of sea turtles that nests in Drake Bay, in an effort to permit its long-term survival, whilst simultaneously attending to the needs of the community with which it interacts. Volunteers can participate on this project only during the turtles season: from July to December. 


Families & Homestays

Our families know, due to their experience, what it means to be a real host. They have received many students from different nationalities, occupations and ages. We will take into consideration your likes and preferences. Living with a local family is the best way to learn their customs, likes, and style while you learn a new language.


Usual Volunteer Tasks

  • Over 18 years old
  •  Hard working skills
  •  Ecologically sensitive
  •  Willing to learn about new cultures
  •  Enthusiasm
  • Night patrols
  •  Search for turtle nests
  •  Monitor relocated turtle nests and nest temperatures
  •  Assist in freeing baby turtles for their initial journey to sea
  •  Counting baby turtles and releasing them
  •  Take biometric measurements of turtles
  •  General infrastructure maintenance
  •  Making Information signs
  •  Beach cleaning
  •  Work in organic gardens and in trail building activities
  •  Participate in local cultural activities
  •  Other duties may be asked according to the ne
The tasks described above will vary according to the amount of turtles and the season: when is not turtle season the maintenance tasks are very important as well as beach cleaning and information signs. Six days per week. Flexibility depends on work schedule and arrangements made by volunteers.

Project Hightlights

  • Get to know this amazing nesting site for marine turtles and help them increase their survival possibilities.
    Seize the opportunity of participating in the daily treatment of sea turtles that usually bear injuries as a result of their accidental capture in fishing gear.
    Collaborate in exploration, research and maintenance duties
    Make long lasting friendships with the local staff getting immersed in Guatemalan culture.
    Make friends from all over the world and learn about marine turtles and what you can do to help
    Help in raising public awareness among the community as well as in the maintenance of the beach.

Daily Routine

Generally, volunteers are on duty from 8 am to 4 pm. However, the principle work takes place during the nightly patrols for marine turtle protection and collection of information.
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