Volunteer with Sea Turtles in Costa Rica

By: David Stevens

Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south-southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the worlds landmass, it contains 5% of the worlds biodiversity. About 23% of the country is composed of protected forests and reserves.

Costa Rica is a wonderful country to go volunteering. There are a lot of volunteer projects for you available in Costa Rica. You can join a volunteer teaching program with children in orphanages or do conservation volunteering or turtle conservation volunteering in National Parks.

Volunteering as a teacher in Costa Rica includes working with children in homes for abandoned children, community homes, schools and day-care centres for low income families and so on. The children in homes for abandoned children, community homes, schools and day-care centres come from low income families. The volunteer work involves organizing educational and recreational activities for the children, helping the institution workers with the care of the children and other daily activities, and assisting the teachers in the schools. You can teach in the capital San Jose or in other cities.

Conservation Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica are very popular. The conservation volunteering work is based in National Parks throughout the country. There are volunteering projects available in different National Parks and Natural Reserves located on the coasts, in the mountains, near volcanoes. The work involves conservation and maintenance of the park, assisting park visitors and any other specific activities or projects that each park has during the year.

You can also volunteer in the Turtle Conservation Projects. Costa Ricans have established various conservation and sustainable development programs to protect sea turtles visiting our Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The National Park will provide volunteers with basic accommodations and three meals per day. Park rangers will assign volunteer work, facilities and materials. Some of the volunteer work includes: making or maintaining trails, guiding park visitors, setting up signs, watching over ranger stations, patrolling, animal protection, construction and maintenance of park facilities, including cooking and cleaning facilities.

Costa Ricans have established various conservation and sustainable development programs to protect sea turtles visiting our Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Refuges were created to protect important nesting sites for the Pacific olive ridley, leatherback, green turtles and occasionally hawksbill turtle.

Working with turtles is a marvellous, unforgettable experience. However, this is not an experience for everyone. Volunteers who wish to help save the endangered sea turtles must remember this is hard work. Most of the work is at night, between the hours of 8pm and 4am in the dark, on soft, wet sand.

Sometimes volunteers will be asked to work both during the day and at night. Work might include night patrol and daytime hatchery monitoring. Night patrols will take place under the rain, even when there are a few or no turtles nesting.

Wether you go to Costa Rica to volunteer as a teacher or to help in the conservation of sea turtles, it will be an unforgettable experience!

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