Volunteer to save whales and dolphins in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica.


Marine Mammals and Predators in Costa Rica


Who: Earthwatch

Where: Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

Focus: Carrying out critical research on marine mammals and predators to better understand what areas are critical to breeding or feeding, and the food web that exists in the Golfo Dulce.


  • Adult Teams – Over 18s, although volunteers aged 15-17 are welcome when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Teen Teams – All volunteers aged between 15-18
  • Group bookings on request.

When: Set expedition dates

Duration: 9 days

Cost: Available here.

As a volunteer, you will:

  •  Carry out vital research on the pan-tropical spotted dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, and the humpback whale. This research aims to develop a permanent marine protected area.
  • Observe and document cetacean behaviour through surveys and record information such as GPS location, size and behaviour, as well as photograph and film the sightings.
  • Operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to support the collection of photo and video footage to measure the body condition and key behaviours of cetaceans. Participants will help with the launch and landing of the UAVs, the operation of the camera, as well as data logging and monitoring.
  • Photo-identify individual dolphins by sorting pictures of each species, so that scientists can identify individuals using the markings on their dorsal fins.
  • Observe and document aggregations of schooling fish and their predators, such as dolphins, seabirds, sharks, and rays.
  • Perform snorkel surveys to record data on golden cownose rays such as where they gather and the number of rays in each group.
  • Take part in educational activities for local schools and other community stakeholders.

The Base

Volunteers stay at El Chontal, an eco-lodge run by a local family. The lodge has four handcrafted cabins, each with its own bathroom complete with cold-water shower and  flush toilet. Electricity and telephone service are available within the complex.

  • Sleeping: Basic, wooden cabins which sleep a maximum of four volunteers.
  • Food: 3 meals a day. Lunch is eaten on the boat.

The next step

Visit Earthwatch for more information and to book. Please say that you heard about this project from Sea Fans.


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