Costa Rica - The Sea Turtle Initiative - Untours Ventures
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Costa Rica - The Sea Turtle Initiative

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From July to December, we are based on the Nicoya peninsula in the Pacific Ocean. This is one of the most breathtaking parts of the country and is home to sea turtles, ocelots, monkeys and many other animals. The trip starts in Liberia and takes you to the pristine beaches of the Nicoya peninsula, immersing you in a kaleidoscope of wildlife, beaches and rainforests.

Regardless of the location, on this volunteer vacation to Costa Rica you will meet inspirational environmentalists, immerse yourself in the local culture and see a slice of Costa Rica that most travelers never visit.
The population of Costa Rican sea turtles has declined by 90% since 1980. Sea turtles face myriad threats such as boat traffic, domestic animals, climate change, accidental catch by industrial fisheries, and increased trash in oceans and beaches (which they mistake for food). We’ll spend three days volunteering at a turtle conservation organization. Given the declining population of turtles, every bit of help is welcome and each turtle is precious.

During the peak nesting season (Pacific: mid Aug.-Dec. / Caribbean: May-July), we’ll dig up hatched nests to determine the hatch success rate, do a beach cleanup, and release baby turtles back into the ocean. We’ll also do night patrols to gather eggs and collect scientific data.

During the off-peak nesting season (Pacific: Jul.-mid Aug. / Caribbean: Mar.-Apr.) when adult females come to nest (but babies have not yet hatched), we’ll go on patrols to search for the Mama Turtles and locate newly laid eggs, taking them back to the hatchery for incubation. Go out on morning patrols with the staff of the conservancy, help with maintenance projects in the hatchery, and make signs to raise awareness of the turtles on the beaches.

Besides three days of volunteering, during your Costa Rica volunteer vacation you’ll experience the full spectrum of natural wonders of the region. Ride a boat through unspoiled rivers and mangroves where you might catch a glimpse of crocodiles and other small mammals rummaging around. Visit an animal sanctuary (on the Pacific side) that takes in injured monkeys, pumas, ocelots, and other animals. Explore the lush rainforest that hugs both coasts and be on the lookout for the wildlife Costa Rica is famous for.

After the days at the turtle conservancy, stay in a eco-resort where you’ll experience the lush rainforest riding a zipline and also on a river raft.

Pacific Coast

Set amongst stunning rainforest landscapes and the Pacific Ocean, the Nicoya Peninsula is one of the most breathtaking parts of Costa Rica. We’ll start in Liberia and head down to the coast where we’ll work hand-in-hand with a local turtle conservation organization. Depending on the season, engage in night patrols on the beach, take a boat in the ocean to track turtles or free new hatchlings into the wild.

We’ll also visit a rescue center for injured pumas, ocelots and monkeys, venture into the mangroves and spot crocodiles and relax along the pristine beaches. Towards the end of the trip, we’ll venture into the lush mountain forests via zip-line, inner tubing and horseback riding.


Adventure Details | Itinerary | Excursions | Pre-Post-Trip Options

About This Adventure

Itinerary Highlights

From July to December, we are based on the Nicoya peninsula in the Pacific Ocean. Highlights include: Liberia, Costa Rica; Nicoya Peninsula; visit a rescue center for injured pumas, ocelots and monkeys; venture into the lush mountain forests via zip-line, inner tubing and horseback riding.

Included:

Our trips are all-inclusive, and our “no tipping policy” makes your experience hassle-free. Here’s a sample of what’s included:
  • All activities: zipline activity, inner tube down a river, boat ride through the rainforest, visit to an animal rescue center, and more.
  • All meals included: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
  • 3 nights coastal Home Base lodging at sea turtle conservancy
  • 4 nights lodging at 3-star hotel
  • Volunteer project at sea turtle conservancy for 15 volunteer hours
  • Bilingual guides
  • Airport transfers from the airport and all ground transportation

Air Options

While we have no specific air deals on this adventure, please call 1-888-868-6871 if you would like us to assist with your airfare.

Not included:



Costa Rica Lodging

This program moves based on the breeding patterns of the turtles. From January to July, live on the Caribbean coast. Arrive in San Jose and spend a night near the capital, then three nights will be spent at a rustic bunkhouse near the turtle conservancy. The following two nights, stay at a sustainably constructed eco-lodge surrounded by primary rainforest and over 40 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls and natural swimming pools.

From July to December, arrive in Liberia, spend a night nearby and then spend four nights on the Pacific coast in private cabinas near the beach and turtle hatchery. The cabinas are equipped with air conditioning and have access to a swimming pool. The last two nights are spent at a lodge located in the heart of Costa Rica.

Itinerary

Dive into Costa Rica's animal kingdom, and get up-close and personal with rare and endangered species – and the conservationists who protect them.

The population of Costa Rican sea turtles has declined by 90% since 1980. Volunteer with a conservation organization and help ensure the survival of these fragile creatures. Also, visit inspirational places that rescue animals and preserve the rainforest while enjoying all of the natural wonders the country offers.

Due to nesting patterns, we’ll split our time over the course of the year between two coasts. From January to July, we are based in a small village on the Caribbean coast. From July to December, we are based on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Ocean. On both coasts, we’ll volunteer our time with the turtles, ride a boat through the unspoiled jungle, zip line, raft down a river and experience firsthand the wildlife that Costa Rica is known for.

Your Community Project: Sea turtles face a myriad of threats such as boat traffic, domestic animals, climate change, accidental catch by industrial fisheries, and increased trash in oceans and beaches (which they mistake for food). We’ll spend three days volunteering at a turtle conservation organization working to protect the turtles. Given the declining population of turtles, every bit of help is welcome and each turtle is precious.

During the peak nesting season (Pacific: mid Aug.-Dec. / Caribbean: May-July), we’ll dig up hatched nests to determine the hatch success rate, do a beach cleanup, and release baby turtles back into the ocean. We’ll also do night patrols to gather eggs and collect scientific data. During the off-peak nesting season (Pacific: Jul.-mid Aug. / Caribbean: Mar.-Apr.) when adult females come to nest (but babies have not yet hatched), local staff will measure and tag their flippers for monitoring and we’ll do morning patrols with the staff of the conservancy, help with maintenance projects in the hatchery, and make signs to raise awareness of the turtles on the beaches.

Day 1:

You will arrive at the airport in Costa Rica where a member of our staff will meet you and take you to a nearby hotel where we’ll spend the first evening. After a warm welcome into Costa Rica, your host will discuss the schedule for the coming week. Enjoy an authentic local dinner together and have a relaxing evening getting to know one another.

Day 2:

Enjoy a classic Costa Rican breakfast and freshly brewed local coffee before taking off to the beaches of the coast. We’ll drive for about three to four hours through the mountains to the sea turtle conservancy. We’ll settle into our accommodations near the beach and receive a briefing about the work of the conservancy and how we will support them the next few days. That night, we’ll go out on a moonlight patrol with one of the staff members to scope the nesting area.

Day 3:

After an early breakfast, we’ll spend a couple of hours doing a beach cleanup as well as other projects around the conservancy. The cleanliness of the beach is an important factor in the health of the turtles. Turtles mistake plastic bags for tasty jellyfish and choke after eating them. Have some free time at the beach or cool off in the shade before returning to work at the hatchery in the late afternoon. After dinner, we’ll do our beach patrols in shifts again.

Day 4:

After breakfast, we’ll ride a small artisanal boat through unspoiled jungle where you might catch a glimpse of crocodiles and other types of fish rummaging around the river floor. This is an amazing place for birdwatching and soaking in nature’s wonders. In the afternoon, we’ll spend a few hours volunteering at the turtle hatchery or enjoying the natural surroundings. Enjoy dinner with a local Costa Rican conservationist and learn more about the challenges facing local wildlife. We’ll take turns on different shifts doing patrols at night or in the very early morning.

Day 5:

Between January-July on the Caribbean coast, we’ll have breakfast together before taking a boat from the village back to the mainland. We’ll take a short drive to the small town of Siquerres where we’ll spend the next three days tucked in pristine Costa Rica rainforest. Spend the morning rafting down a river that meanders through jungle stopping along the way for lunch on the river. After lunch, we’ll continue down the river to our jungle lodge, our home for the next two nights. Spend the afternoon exploring the nearby trails and waterfalls before an evening dinner together at the lodge’s restaurant nestled in the trees. Between July-December on the Pacific coast, we’ll spend the morning helping with some maintenance work around the hatchery. We’ll have some free time to enjoy our last day at the beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a hike along the beach with our staff for the afternoon. In the evening, we’ll have a farewell dinner together at a beautiful restaurant on the beach.

Day 6:

Between January-July on the Caribbean coast, today will be a full day of immersion into the Costa Rican rainforest. Spend the morning zip-lining through the jungle and across the river spotting wildlife along the way. Enjoy a fresh Costa Rican lunch followed by hiking and visits to a local waterfall in the afternoon. You can also opt to relax at the lodge and simply take in the natural beauty surrounding you.

Between July-December on the Pacific coast, we’ll return to the region around Liberia. After driving a few hours we will visit an animal rescue center that rehabilitates endangered wildlife such as pumas, ocelots, and even jaguars! After lunch, we continue on to a mountainside hacienda where you’ll have time to visit a natural hot springs, butterfly farm, and a serpentarium where you’ll have a chance to take a picture with a live boa!

Day 7:

Between January-July on the Caribbean coast, we’ll enjoy a nice breakfast at the eco-lodge before loading into boats for a morning of rafting on local rapids (class III & IV). For those 12 and under, enjoy a morning riding in a basket pulley-system over the river as well as horseback riding through the rainforest with a stop at a butterfly center along the way. After lunch, hop in the van for our three hour drive back to San Jose. Check-in to our accommodations for the night and enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Between July-December on the Pacific coast, we’ll have a day packed with adventure! Ride a horse down a short trail to a natural watering hole and ride a zip line through the tree tops. After lunch, ride an inner tube down the Rio Negro and watch the dense rainforest pass you by. At night, we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner together and reflect on all the amazing memories we’ve collected over the past week.

Day 8:

Wake up with breakfast at the hotel. Throughout the day, travelers will be taken to the airport for their flights home.



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