Costa Rica has miles of beaches on its east side to the Caribbean and on its west side to the Pacific Ocean. This unique location has attracted for hundreds of years an animal that now finds itself threatened by the actions of humans- from climate change to fishing obstacles, and even erroneous information on the effects of consuming sea turtle eggs.
Join Globe Aware in our fight to help save this magnificent animal. Take a volunteer vacation and help to preserve the habitat of the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Playa Bandera en Parrita, Puntarenas. You will find yourself in one the most unique environments, working to build an ecologically sustainable reforested habitat to give this wonderful animal a second chance. With a volunteer vacation, you can be a part of the solution and help change the fate of sea turtles.
Volunteer Work Projects
Save the sea turtles from extinction by helping the locals protect them and their environment as well! This volunteer vacation program is geared toward the nature loving volunteer explorer and the majority of program tasks involve work with locals of Bandera Beach. The projects can include:
- Monitoring the beach at night or early morning to locate the nests and inform the local egg collection committee
- Remove trash, stones or debris which prohibits the turtles from building their nest
- Replace and monitor the nests
- Guide the baby turtles’ as they hatch to prevent their going in direction of rainforest where they would die
- Build sea turtle nurseries
Projects will vary depending on the number of volunteers, which projects were finished with the prior group, what priorities have changed, weather conditions, which supplies are available, and often the interest and fitness level of the volunteers. For these reasons, specific projects are often not fixed until the week prior to your arrival and can even change upon arrival.
Other Community Work Projects
Because work with the sea turtles is reliant on so many factors, time will be allotted to participate in other community building projects. These projects may include:
- Cleaning and painting schools
- Planting coconut palms and almond trees
- Learn about the coconut oil production and other local entrepreneurships
These additional community projects protect and are for the benefit of scarlet Macaws as well as Capuchin monkeys. The entrepreneurship efforts by the citizens allows the community to grow and depend less and less each year on the sale and commerce of turtle eggs. We, at Globe Aware are committed to support the locals of Bandera Beach to bring sustainable market forces that allow the Green sea turtles to live in harmony with the residents.
Accommodations and Food
Volunteers are housed in a villa-style home very near the project location. Each room has a fan. Western style bathrooms are available, though they are modest and not as nice as what you might be accustomed to. As of 2018, there is now also fairly reliable wi-fi.
Flavorful traditional Costa Rican style meals are cooked fresh, with your help, throughout the day. Abundant, safe drinking water is always available in the home and throughout your working vacation.
Costa Ricans know how to relax! You will truly immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture. Life moves at a delightful, slower pace at Bandera Beach. The program begins with a traditional welcoming ceremony followed by a bonfire at the beach, an event the average tourist would never experience. There are plenty of things to do in the area, from walking tours to watching the capuchin monkeys, to fishing tours in the community. Cooking and Latin dancing lessons with locals are also offered.
Arranging Your Volunteer Vacation Airfare
You will need to arrange to be at the meet-up point in San Jose by 12:30pm on the Saturday your program begins. The program ends at 10:00 am the following Saturday and it takes approximately 4 hours to return to San Jose. The airport is one of the return drop-off stops our driver will make. Do not arrange a flight any earlier than 3:30 pm on the return trip.
Special note on transport: You are picked up and dropped off from the airport using a modern van with seatbelts and air-conditioning.
- Because it is a sea turtle project, sometimes the nests and turtles monitoring walks could be at night. We will let the volunteers know in advance.
- Volunteers must be very careful with the ocean and tides even if they are expert swimmers.
- Working/helping at local primary school needs a little different code of dressing. No short shorts, tank tops or very tight clothing.
- While making monitoring walks on the beach, be aware that weather conditions can change rapidly.
- Safety and Security During Your Volunteer Vacation
Health and safety concerns are minimal at this program sites. As always, caution and common sense minimize risks. However, if you decide to travel independently to urban areas such as San Jose, special care should be taken to prevent pick pocketing when in crowded areas. There are on occasion incidents of dengue fever and malaria in Costa Rica, though not common. It is always best to check with your health professional prior to travel.