Costa Rica Turtle and Surf
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From £599, 1 week, Costa Rica Trip code: CRTS

  • Adventure 3 out of 5
  • Relaxation 3 out of 5
  • Culture 3 out of 5
Learn to surf in Costa RicaLearn to surf in Costa RicaLearn to surf in Costa Rica

Trip Highlights

  • Help hatch and look after baby turtles ready for release to the wild
  • Monitoring turtle behaviour
  • Releasing turtles into the wild
  • Learn and improve your surfing technique in one of the most stunning locations in the world in central America

 

Trip Summary

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Set on some of the world’s finest palm-lined beaches, the surfing in Costa Rica and turtle conservation programme gives you the unique opportunity to protect the wildlife of Costa Rica while enjoying the incredible surf.

 

As a volunteer working on one of the two conservation projects based in Costa Rica you will have the opportunity to help protect four different species of sea turtles that inhabit the Pacific Coast of this beautiful country. From beach patrols, to hatchery duties the work you will be involved in will play an important role in the survival of the species. 

 

For those of you who are also interested in catching some waves and honing your skills on the surfboard, this trip is ideal, as you will have plenty of time for surfing lessons and supervised practice on some of Costa Rica’s most incredible beaches.


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What will I be doing?

  • Head to the Beach (1 to 2 weeks)

  • Your role as a volunteer: Turtle projects (1 to 2 weeks)

  • Lets hit the surf (1 to 2 weeks)

Head to the Beach: 1 to 2 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

It is very easy to see why Costa Rica is such a popular destination with travellers from all over the world. It has something to suit everyone, from the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast to the untouched rainforest that covers much of the country. With over 27% of the country being made up of protected habitats and national parks, this is a haven for nature lovers with its variety of landscapes, flora and fauna. Your experience of Costa Rica will take in everything from wildlife conservation and surfing to getting to know its rich colonial heritage and vibrant, friendly people.

  • Location: Buena Vista or Playa Matapalo

As a volunteer on this trip you will be based at one of two turtle conservation centres in Costa Rica. You will be helping to protect and preserve some of the few remaining natural nesting sites of four turtle species that currently receive no official protection from the Costa Rican government. 

 

These species are currently in danger of extinction as a result of various human activities such as infrastructure development, pollution and the capture of adult turtles. This is not just an important environmental project for you to get involved in, it is also an incredible experience to be working so closely with these beautiful creatures.

 

The Costa Rica surfing and turtle conservation programme may not have a set itinerary, however our travel advisers are always on hand to answer any questions you may have about this trip. 

 

You will be based at one of two locations dependent on the project needs at the time. If you are travelling with a friend don’t forget to let us know so that we can ensure you will be based at the same location:

 

  • Buena Vista, located 3km from Samara, Guanacaste

  • Playa Matapalo, about one hour from Quepos in the province of Puntarenas 

Depending on which beach you are based at, your turtle conservation volunteer duties may include anything from helping to construct and maintain hatcheries, monitoring laying females and nest sites, observing and collecting information, and releasing baby turtles back into the wild. 

 

Hatchery duty takes place in two-hour shifts and night patrols can last for around three hours and sometimes more.

 

At both locations in Costa Rica you will be able to take advantage of your surroundings and fit some surfing in around the conservation programme. This is a great opportunity for beginners to learn to surf or for more experiences surfers to practice their skills and have some fun in the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. Each week you will have two hours of surf lessons along with two hours of practice time.

Your role as a volunteer: Turtle projects: 1 to 2 weeks

Next Leg

Destination info

It is very easy to see why Costa Rica is such a popular destination with travellers from all over the world. It has something to suit everyone, from the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast to the untouched rainforest that covers much of the country. With over 27% of the country being made up of protected habitats and national parks, this is a haven for nature lovers with its variety of landscapes, flora and fauna. Your experience of Costa Rica will take in everything from wildlife conservation and surfing to getting to know its rich colonial heritage and vibrant, friendly people.

  • Location: Buena Vista or Playa Matapalo

As a volunteer on this programme you will be playing a vital role in helping to preserve this species and prevent the decline in population further. During your time as a volunteer you will undertake various activities such as those listed.

 

These activities may depend on which beach you are located at:

 

  • Helping to construct a hatchery
  • Describing the nesting dynamics of the female sea turtles that arrive to the beach enabling their protection for the next season
  • Protecting and closely monitoring the recovered nests in the hatchery
  • Patrolling the beach to look for sea turtles and their nests either during the day or the night, taking turns of two or four hours. During the high season, the patrols could last longer, up to four or five hours.
  • Moving nests to the hatchery
  • Marking turtles that are nesting, trying to build a nest or returning to the ocean
  • Searching for marked turtles and gathering data
  • Collecting the eggs you find on the beach, and taking them directly to the hatchery ('vivero') for their protection
  • Collecting information on the whole process by monitoring the hatchery and keeping track of every event
  • Release neonatos (baby sea turtles) from the hatchery, taking them to the beach and releasing them near the ocean
  • Helping with the maintenance of the facilities of the project (the shelter), and being in charge of keeping the beach clean (during the day)
  • Planting trees in different areas of the beach and town
  • You will be assigned to one of the two locations. If you are travelling with a friend don’t forget to let us know so that we can ensure you will be based at the same location.

Please note that hatchery duty takes place in two-hour shifts and night patrols can last for around three hours and sometime even more. At both locations, work can take place during the day and also at night. 

Lets hit the surf: 1 to 2 weeks

Destination info

It is very easy to see why Costa Rica is such a popular destination with travellers from all over the world. It has something to suit everyone, from the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast to the untouched rainforest that covers much of the country. With over 27% of the country being made up of protected habitats and national parks, this is a haven for nature lovers with its variety of landscapes, flora and fauna. Your experience of Costa Rica will take in everything from wildlife conservation and surfing to getting to know its rich colonial heritage and vibrant, friendly people.

  • Location: Buena Vista or Playa Matapalo

At both of the locations you will have the chance either to practice the sport or learn it while volunteering on the programme. Each week you will have two hours of surf lessons along with two hours of practice, if you are already able to surf and do not require lessons then you will be able to use the lesson time for practice.

 

Please Note that there is a time limit for surfing each day, which coincides with the work of your project. You will need to be flexible according to the daily demands of the programme. If you are travelling with somebody else, then it is important that you advise of this prior to departure so that we can make sure that you placed at the same location.

Trip Notes Download

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Trip Notes include a full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather. By filling in your details you'll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!

What's included?

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Airport pick-up
  • Support in-country
  • Surf lessons
  • 24-hours emergency support

What's not included?

  • All flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Return airport transfer
  • Local transport

Additional Information & FAQs

Minimum age

Minimum age 17 years with parental consent, maximum dependent on health and fitness of potential participant.

 

Minimum numbers required on this trip

There are no minimum numbers on the trip.

Please note: you may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us

 

Accommodation

On arrival in Costa Rica, you will be taken to a hostel in Alajuela where you will be spending your first two nights for your orientation. Following this you’ll be transferred to your project location, this will be decided by our in-country team and is determined by the needs of each project at the time.

 

Buena Vista: The accommodation at the project is rustic and very basic but comfortable with a lovely relaxed atmosphere. There is no electricity, however both a shower and a bathroom are available (cold water only).

 

Matapalo: The accommodation at this project is also very basic with just cold water for showers but it does have electricity. However you will be close to a local supermarket, internet access and a number of local and international style restaurants. 

 

Meals

At both locations there is an on-site cook who will prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for you. Meals will mainly consist of rice, beans, pasta, meat, cereals and a variety of vegetables and seasonal fruits.

 

Is this trip for you?

You may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. However, you will still have the full support of your in-country team and those at the project. If you are looking for a group volunteering experience we have plenty of options for you to consider.

 

Advice & Safety

Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.

 

You will be assigned a personal travel advisor who will co-ordinate your programme with you. Feel free to contact them at any time before you go, or when you are on your travels.

 

In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our staff at any time should you need to.

 

FAQ

1. Do I need to be able to surf before?

No, you can be a complete beginner.

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2. Do we have hands on experience with the Turtles?

You will be able to get up close and handle the baby turtles if and when they need releasing.

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3. Do we get a day off?

Yes, you will get one day off a week to go sight seeing.

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4. Do I need to speak Spanish

No, you do not need to speak Spanish.

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5. Can I go with my friend?

Yes and we will make sure you are together.

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What will I see in Costa Rica?

19 photos

What other travellers thought

I've done this trip

Write review
Overall rating: (9/10) (3 reviews)
Costa Rica Turtle and Surf

Luke Yates - November 2013

How would you rate your overall experience?
(9/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Incredible setting for a worthwhile cause - most definitely 'Pura Vida!'

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(10/10)
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
(8/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(9/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(7/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
Please rate your airport pickup (where applicable)
(8/10)
Please rate your in-country orientation
(9/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

The highlights of my trip was having four nests hatch over midnight whilst I was on my own amidst a spectacular thunder and lightning storm over the sanctuary - hard work trying to do all the measurements under red light from a head torch, but well worth the scene at the end where I released over 300 baby turtles into the churning Pacific Ocean. The surfing was also incredible, the instructor was so easy to get along with and had me paddling, standing up on the board, and riding the waves early on; it was then up to me to practice and by the end of it I hardly missed a ride!

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

1. Really check what time of year you are going and pack accordingly. I took a three-season sleeping bag in November (as listed on the inventory), which took up significant bag space, and I never used it because it was so hot; I ended up just using the cotton sleeping bag liner, which was more than enough. Also there is no need for a UK-style raincoat as you would have for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions - again it's too bulky and all you need is a durable plastic poncho to wander out to the hatchery and back. 2. Mosquitos will bite you regardless of how much repellant you use, or how well treated your mosquito net is. I would say look on the internet and explore what you can use to repel the bugs without using sprays or lotions as you can't wear any repellant two hours prior to your hatchery duty, which can then last up to four hours if there aren't that many volunteers - that's six hours possibly not protected! Get inventive - but anti-itch / scratch cream and a electric shocker to stop you from scratching and breaking the skin is an absolute must - a lifesaver! 3. The morning's are very early, and the hard work happens immediately as you get up (replacing sand for the hatchery, clearing paths); the best way is to just get into it because after breakfast you will have the whole day to relax and paddle in the Pacific. You are always getting wet from sweating too much, crossing Buenavista River, or running into the sea whenever you can so take a few pairs of boardies - two weeks with only one pair could get interesting...

Would you travel with our company again?

yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Costa Rica Turtle and Surf2013-11-19

Ben Arthurs - September 2013

How would you rate your overall experience?
(8/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

Sometimes hard work, sometimes relaxing, always a great experience!

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(7/10)
Please rate the accuracy of your pre-departure information
(6/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(9/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(7/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(10/10)
Please rate your airport pickup (where applicable)
(9/10)
Please rate your in-country orientation
(8/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

Seeing all the local wildlife, the beautiful beach, the feeling that I was really contributing to the project, meeting great new people, and of course the turtles.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Take good quality bug spray. Be prepared to work hard at times.

Would you travel with our company again?

yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Costa Rica Turtle and Surf2013-09-03

Joshua Shelley - July 2011

How would you rate your overall experience?
(10/10)
Give us up to 10 words that sum up your experience: for example - "Great experience, made new friends, totally unforgettable!"

The best thing I have ever done, exhilarating and fun.

Please rate the service received from our team before departure
(9/10)
Please rate the service provided by the team in country
(7/10)
Please rate the accommodation during your stay
(8/10)
Please rate the worthwhileness of any volunteering in your trip if applicable.
(8/10)
What were the highlights of your trip?

The people from different places around the world, travellers and locals, that I met.

Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?

Don't worry about going by yourself, you will always meet fun and interesting people who are like yourself. Accept the cultural mind-frame and leave behind your attitudes towards things at home, take things with an open mind. Make sure you always take more money than you think you will need, because you don't know what other opportunities may become available. Also try to get a flexible leaving date for the same reason.

Would you travel with our company again?

Yes

Would you recommend us?

Yes

Costa Rica Turtle and Surf2011-07-04

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