The Corcovado Foundation sea turtle conservation and volunteering program is now in its 12th year! We offer the opportunity for locals and volunteers to actively participate in the conservation of endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica’s spectacular Osa Peninsula. As a volunteer you will take part in conservation, environmental education and ecotourism activities. You will meet new people and have the opportunity to immerse yourself in pristine wilderness and genuine Costa Rican culture. Our successful strategy works to combine environmental education and conservation activities to give local communities a viable socioeconomic alternative to poaching. We believe that through supporting children, we can create conservation leaders of the future.
This year, the Corcovado Foundation is proud to announce that it will work with 3 local projects. We are aiming to support small projects that have been working on sea turtle conservation for several years and may not have the scientific and logistical resources needed to develop them further. They are projects created from the hearts of communities like El Progreso, Drake Bay and Carate- or the enthusiasm of individuals such as Don Ricardo and Jonathan in Rincon, Drake Bay. All of them have been protecting the beaches of their community for more than 5 years and they have been able to achieve a considerable reduction in poaching. In the case of Progreso, more than 90% of nests are being protected and incubated in the hatchery, and more than 10,000 reach the marked year. The community of Carate, very small, but very committed to the cause, has joined forces with us for a year now, protecting one of the most important nesting beaches in the South Pacific. And the dedication of Don Ricardo, “Clavito” and Jonathon, who have been caring for the beaches of Rincon and San Josecito for more than 10 years, have stopped the small population of sea turtles in this special place from disappearing forever.
Thank you for sharing your passion and experience about the turtle program, ecotourism and the community. It has been an amazing, enriching experience.
Volunteering for the 2017 Season
In 2017, we will focus our activities on 3 turtle projects in the Osa Peninsula: El Progreso de Drake, Rio Oro and Rio Claro. You can choose one, or visit them all during your stay. Once there, you will be part of and collaborate directly with the local organization and the community.
Placements are available from
01 July – 31 December.
Minimum stay: Two weeks. In order to optimize the orientation and training process, all volunteers must begin their placements on Tuesdays.
Requirements: Aged 18 or over, in good physical condition, with a basic Spanish or English. You must be friendly, communicative and able to work in extreme weather conditions for 4-6 hours per day. You must have a medical travel insurance policy for the duration of your stay.
El Progreso, Drake Bay- Drake Bay Turtles- ACOTPRO:
The project in Progreso is managed by the community and the local association- ACOTPRO. The accommodation is in homestays with local families and may be in private or shared rooms depending on availability. This also includes 3 meals per day. There is a common area in the Corcovado Foundation’s non-profit hostel, Drake Bay Backpackers where there is Wifi, hammocks and a rest area to share with other volunteers and tourists.
The beach receives between 100-150 tortugas per season, especially between August and November, and has a hatchery where the sunsets are incredible and you can enjoy the release of turtles almost every afternoon from September. It has been observed in the last few years that there has been an increase of green and hawksbill turtles nesting on this beach. The community has been managing the project for 10 years and is part of the engine of its tiny economy.
Carate, Rio Oro- COTORCO:
The project in Rio Oro is managed by the COTORCO organization in the community of Carate. The camp is located in La Hacienda Rio Oro, in the community of Agua Buena, Península de Osa, 6km from the beach. Volunteers are housed in mixed dormitories, with private bathrooms, housed in a tent camp, and accommodation includes three meals a day. The camp also has several common areas with hammocks, soccer field and volleyball, table tennis and laundry for hand washing. There is no electricity in the area, but the camp has some solar panels that provide power during the night. The area now has phone signal and the camp has limited wifi.
The project site for sea turtle conservation is located in the Río Oro Wildlife Refuge, the most important nesting beach on the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The beach receives about 3000 olive ridley turtles and green turtles every year, and the area is a natural, unspoilt and remote paradise.
Rio Claro, Playas de Rincón:
The project is run by Don Ricardo and Jonathon, who have unselfishly been protecting the northern beaches of Corcovado for more than 10 years. The camp is located in Life for Life Hostel, located on Rincon beach and surrounded by spectacular wilderness. The accommodation is in mixed cabins with private bathrooms and 3 meals per day are included. The camp has several common areas, and incredible views of beach. There is electricity in the area but there is no telephone signal or internet to date, although several hotels in the area can supply this.
The site of the project, from Rincón beach to Punta Marenco, near Corcovado National Park, has many small beaches between dramatic volcanic cliffs that shelter hawksbill, green and olive ridley turtles. The project has several hatcheries distributed between the beaches so that transport does not affect the eggs.
About the Work
As a volunteer you will take part in sea turtle conservation activities, including night patrols, relocating nests, recording scientific data, tagging of turtles, nest exhumations and the liberation of hatchlings. You may also be required to work on eco-tourism, environmental education and construction activities.
What about Free Time?
We know that volunteers come not only to work but also to discover the incredible nature of the Osa Peninsula. Each of the projects offers the possibility of unforgettable tours and activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, rural tourism and farm activities, trips to Isla del Cano and Corcovado National Park, or simply hiking around on surrounding rainforest trails… countless opportunities for the nature-lover.
How much does it cost?
El Progreso and Rio Claro: $35 per night or $30 per night for volunteers who stay 28 nights or more.
Rio Oro: $40 per night or $35 per night for volunteers who stay more than 28 nights.
This amount covers accommodation, three meals per day and training. It does not cover the arrival and departure costs, nor tours and spending money.
Important Note: There are no ATMs in Drake Bay, but almost all establishments accept credit and debit card. The nearest ATM is in Puerto Jiménez, and volunteers participating in the programs may travel there on their days off if needed.
Please complete the Volunteer Registration Form and send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 2 weeks prior to your arrival. You will receive a confirmation email, along with a comprehensive Volunteer Orientation Manual with detailed information about transportation, what to bring and what to expect.
Payment for your stay must be received before you arrive. In order to pay, please use this secure link and select ‘Volunteer Program’. Please note that payment for the first two weeks is non-refundable.
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