The Costa Rica Project work will focus on protecting endangered sea turtles which nest in Costa Rica. Global populations of sea turtles have decreased significantly in the last 30 years. While there were once many species of sea turtle, only seven remain today, and all of them are either threatened or endangered, two of them critically.
Our Costa Rica Volunteers will help protect the sea turtles which nest on the beaches in the community of Punta Banco located on the Burica Peninsula, 65 km south of Golfito, along the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Project work will consist of late night and early morning beach patrols to locate, excavate, and relocate sea turtle nests to a protected turtle hatchery. Projects will include working in and around the turtle hatchery, recording scientific data, as well as beach cleanups inside the project area and surrounding rivers and beaches. The sea turtle projects will be carried out under the auspices of the Punta Banco Sea Turtle Conservation Project, a part of the Punta Banco Neighborhood Association responsibilities.
In addition to the sea turtle projects, the volunteers will assist two Costa Rica National Parks, partnering with ProParques, a non-profit national parks conservation association committed to projects that assure the long-term sustainability of the National Parks of Costa Rica. Our work in the national parks may include trail work, including clearing brush and debris.
Because local conditions and the project needs continually evolve, please remember that detailed project plans are often finalized or revised after the group arrives and the trip leaders review the conditions at the site and consider the capabilities and special interests of the volunteers. Volunteer trips offer the opportunity to experience the land in a unique way not available to the average tourist.
Group Size: 8 – 12 plus trip leaders
IMPORTANT NOTICE Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 Meet the group in San José, Costa Rica.
Welcome to Costa Rica! Our trip begins at 5:00 p.m. with an orientation where you’ll get acquainted with your ConservationVIP® trip Leaders and fellow volunteers and get an overview about the exciting week ahead. Our group meets at the Park Inn by Radisson in San José, Costa Rica. After the orientation briefing the group will share its first dinner at the hotel (dinner and hotel lodging included).
Day 2 Travel to Dominical on the Pacific coast, stopping en route to volunteer at Carara National Park.
After breakfast, we will load up our gear, board our private bus and drive for approximately 1-½ hours to the Carara National Park near the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Carara National Park is a favorite with bird watchers and home to many scarlet macaws. We will cross the Río Grande de Tárcoles via the Crocodile Bridge at the main entrance of Carara National Park where our first volunteer project will begin. We will work with our Costa Rica nonprofit partner, ProParques, along the accessibility trail. After lunch we will drive to Dominical, along the Central Pacific Coast where we will check into our hotel before dinner. (All meals and lodging provided).
Day 3 Volunteer at Marino Ballena National Park and then Drive to Punta Banco.
After breakfast we will drive south for half an hour to Marino Ballena National Park for another volunteer project with ProParques. We will spend the morning clearing underbrush, maintaining trails or cleaning the beach. After lunch, our bus will take us on a 3-hour drive to the end of the road in southern Costa Rica where we will check into our lodging for our five-night stay in Punta Banco. In the evening, we will have an orientation briefing on the volunteer work projects ahead. (All meals and lodging included).
Days 4 – 7 Sea Turtle Conservation Projects in Punta Banco
During these volunteer project days, the group will participate in late night and early morning beach patrols to locate, excavate, and relocate sea turtle nests to a protected turtle hatchery. Project work will also include working in and around the turtle hatchery, painting signs, recording scientific data, as well as beach cleanups inside the project area and surrounding rivers and beaches. (All meals and lodging included).
Day 8 Journey to the Costa Rica Highlands
After breakfast and morning volunteer projects, we will say goodbye to our Punta Banco partners and journey north to the highland forest area near Cerro de la Muerte. This region is very likely the best place in the world for observing resplendent quetzals, birds so spectacularly beautiful they were considered divine entities by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. We will have lunch along the drive, then continue to our hotel in Cerro del Muerte. (All meals and lodging included.)
Day 9: Build quetzal nests, then return to San José
In the morning after breakfast, we will build quetzal nests that will be placed within the quetzal protection zone. After lunch we will drive to our hotel in San José, approximately 3 hours away. Our hotel is the Hotel Don Carlos, in the old historical section of San José where we will share a final dinner together in the evening. (All meals and lodging included.)
Day 10: Complete your trip to Costa Rica
The Costa Rica Volunteer Trip ends with breakfast. You may transfer to the San José airport for homeward-bound flights or opt to extend your stay in Costa Rica.
Note: Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including changes in the local project needs, weather, and terrain conditions.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING AIR TRAVEL: Before purchasing your airline tickets, please check with us to ensure the trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
$2,590 per person double (or more) occupancy for ten days; single supplement $300 (subject to availability – see below)
(Note: Your trip expense may be tax-deductible. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page and consult your tax adviser for details.)
- all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 10
- all lodging: The lodging in Punta Banco may have up to 5 people per cabin; all other hotels are double occupancy, unless a single supplement is requested
- all transportation as noted on the itinerary
- gratuities for services provided to the group
- project leadership and support staff
- group tools
- orientation and training
Price does not include:
- travel costs to and from San José, Costa Rica
- medical immunizations
- insurance (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip)
- excess baggage charges
- alcoholic beverages or soft drinks
- personal items
- A $500 deposit will be required to reserve a spot on the trip
- The remainder of the trip price will be due 90 days before the trip starts
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. The gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. View the the Gear List PDF.