Expedition: Costa Rican Sea Turtles
Where: Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica.
Focus: The protection of Pacific leatherback turtles and research into why their numbers have declined so rapidly in recent years.
When: December – January (set expedition dates).
Duration: 9 days
Suitability: Over 18s. Volunteers aged 15-17 welcome if accompanied by parent or guardian.
Cost: Available here.
As a volunteer, you will:
- Play a vital part in helping determine why the population of Pacific leatherback turtles has declined by 90% since 1980.
- Visit each nesting leatherback to take measurements and record any unusual markings or injuries.
- Identify any sea turtle nests that are in danger of being washed away then relocate those eggs to the hatchery where they can incubate safely. Leatherback numbers have declined by 90% since 1980 so every turtle is important (October to mid-December).
- Release hatchlings into the ocean. When babies start to emerge from the eggs in the hatchery, volunteers take the baby turtles down to the water’s edge and release them into the wild (Mid-December to February).
- Survey the beach to count all sea turtle nests on the beach, take nest temperatures, and look for signs of erosion that could put nests in danger.
Volunteers stay at the Goldring Marine Biology Field Station, a hub for marine research that’s right at the edge of the beach.
- Sleeping: Shared, single-gender rooms with bunk beds.
- Food: 3 meals a day. Breakfast and lunch will be typical Costa Rican food served at a local restaurant, while light lunches will be served at the field station.
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