Sea Turtle Preservation Volunteer

Drake Bay Turtles - Bahía Drake, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-951 Location: Bahía Drake, Costa Rica Sector: Wildlife and the Environment Category: Animals and Wildlife Min Duration: 2 weeks Lodging: Host Family / Lodge Language: Basic Placement Fee: 50 USD
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Volunteer Job Description

Drake Bay Sea Turtle Conservation Program arose from the need to work towards the protection and preservation of sea turtles and their nesting beaches in Drake Bay. The project strategy was built around the creation of a viable socioeconomic alternative to consumption of sea turtles for the local communities, while promoting environmental conservation activities at the same time.

Drake Bay Turtles aims to sensitize local communities about the importance of protecting and preserving sea turtles, coupling this protection with the opportunity to increase their incomes directly from contracted work at the conservation project and/or indirectly from the housing of volunteers in homestays and the development of ecotourism initiatives in the area.

In this way, it aims to achieve a reduction of the consumptive use of the sea turtles in Drake Bay through the preservation of this natural resource. Sea turtle volunteers are needed in this placement to help with the protection of the Sea Turtle in Drake Bay and also to contribute with the education of the local community.

Volunteers will help in different areas that go from taking care of the hatchery, night patrols and educational awareness.

There is no background needed for this position just a lot of enthusiasm to learn and to help nature and the community.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Night Patrols

Sea turtle volunteers will walk areas of the beach to protect turtles/eggs from poachers and predators. Staff from the organization will accompany each volunteer group. The reason why sea turtle volunteers are important to help with this job is because poachers try to gather the eggs or turtles during the night; so if there is a large patrol of people watching the shoreline the poachers will not approach the site as they know it is illegal to hunt sea turtles.

Night patrol duties, led by an experienced patrol leader, also includes searching for nesting females and when found appropriate action is taken.

Eggs Reallocation

Sea turtle eggs are considered a delicacy and if not brought to the hatchery to be monitored they can easily be eaten by animals or taken by poachers.

After the turtles have laid their eggs on the beach, the sea turtle volunteers will take the eggs to reallocate them in the hatchery. There volunteers on shift will help to build nests, (according to specifications) and transplant the eggs.

The number of eggs, nest location and turtle identification information, (tag number) is then recorded for further data analysis including survival rate.

Hatchery Responsibilities

Sea turtle volunteers help to make sure that the hatchery is clean and protected from animals and poachers. When newborns arrive this event must be immediately reported to the program coordinator.

The approximate incubation time for turtle eggs is 60 days, therefore midway through the season the duties of the hatchery attendants increases.

Turtle Release

Newborn turtles need constant attention to ensure that they are continuously hydrated until they are released.

Newborn turtles must be counted and released in the evening to an appropriate location along the high tide line. Then they are watched until they reach the water and are safely swimming. Newborn turtles should never be released directly into the water.

Beach Clean up

Sea turtle volunteers will help with beach clean up at least once a week to pick up the garbage and disposable items in the area. It is important to keep the beach free from debris so the turtles will not encounter any obstacles on the way to the right location to lay their eggs.

Host Organization Details

Drake Bay Turtles

Drake Bay Turtles is a nonprofit organization, created by concerned neighbors of Corcovado National Park. It is a hands-on, down to earth local organization that for the last years has worked closely with the National Park Service to protect the wild heritage and the future of protected areas. This organization advances environmental education and champions for the rights of the local communities. It also encourages responsible tourism, as a tool to help protect this incredible gift that they have, "The Osa Peninsula".

Corcovado and the Osa Peninsula contain extremely high species diversity. Biologists estimate that the area contains approximately 10,000 species of insects, at least 2,418 species of plants, 700 species of trees, 140 species of mammals, 367 types of birds, 117 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 40 species of freshwater fish. An estimated 49 species of trees in the area are in danger of extinction, at least 12 of which are endemic to Costa Rica. In addition, the Osa Peninsula is the home of an endemic species of bird and 17 endemic subspecies of birds. Corcovado also contains the most significant populations of large endangered mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, white-lipped peccaries, and tapirs, on the Pacific coast of Central America. In addition to endangered mammals, there are relatively large populations of endangered birds in Corcovado including scarlet macaws and the great curassow.

Corcovado’s forests exemplify the popular conception of the tropical rain forest, with a multitude of species, very tall trees, spectacular buttresses, large woody lianas, and abundant herbaceous vines.

When They Were Founded

Drake Bay Turtles was created by members of the community of Drake Bay, mainly hoteliers, whom concerned for the imminent destruction of the rainforest of the area, have worked to create the organization

Since 2014, the organization has helped and supported Corcovado National Park and the entire Osa Conservation Area in their efforts to protect the precious natural resources of this area. In order to achieve this, the foundation established an agreement with the Ministry of Environment (MINAE).

How Are They Funded

The organization gets their funds from volunteer programs and the support of local and national organizations. They do not receive funds from the government but they do receive the training and work support from the Ministry of Environment.

Placement Location Information

Bahía Drake, Costa Rica

Drake Bay Turtles is located at two different areas in Drake Bay area. The office is located at El Progreso town 20 minutes away from Agujitas beach where the hatchery area is located. Main transportation of the area is the bicycle and it will be the transportation from the accommodation to the beach.

The office was built at El Progreso to help with the development of the little town where the electricity system was built in 2000. The access to the area by land is through a very bad road that depends on the weather, if the river grows there is no access to the community. The foundation helped with the construction of the local school and they are working on getting better facilities and access to the technology and education.

There are no banks, ATMs, big supermakets on the area. There is only one internet café and a few little restaurants with local food.

Transfer From BaseCamp

There is two ways to get to Drake Bay area:

By bus: From the BaseCamp house take a taxi to the Tracopa Bus Station. Buy a bus ticket to Palmar Norte, the bus leave at 5:00 and it takes between 5 to 6 hours to Palmar Norte. Once in Palmar, take a taxi to Sierpe to take the taxi boat to Drake Bay. It leaves at 11:30. The boad ride last 1 hour and 15 minutes and it will drop you off at Agujitas where a member of Corcovado Fundation will be waiting for you to take to their operations center in El Progreso. A taxi has to be taken to get to El Progreso. (Estimated cost of the trip: $100)

By airplane: Take a taxi to Tobias Bolaños International Airport in Pavas. To Drake Bay there is a domestic flight service twice a day 8.30am and 11.30am, depending upon conditions. If you wish to fly to Drake Bay, please notify the Foundation at least three days in advance so that we can authorize your ‘Pura Vida’ pass, which will entitle you to a massively discounted ticket price of just $35 each way. Once in Drake Bay a taxi will be waiting to continue to El Progreso. (Estimated cost of the trip $75 USD)

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 378
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 6:45

Weather in the Area

Drake Bay is located in the South Pacific of Costa Rica, which is a region of vast contrasts in weather. Temperatures remain the same nearly year round with average day time highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and night time lows in the upper 70s. Precipitation comes in the months of May to November which is the rainy season in Costa Rica and the months of December through April being the driest.

City/Village Description

Bahía Drake (Drakes Bay) is a small bay on the north side of the Osa Peninsula on the coast of southwestern Costa Rica.

The main feature of Bahia Drake is Corcovado National Park. This wildlife preserve occupies about a third of the peninsula, and this is known for being one of the largest and most pristine parks in the country. The preservation of endemic species in the area has been made a priority by the Costa Rican government through the efforts of MINAE. Bahia Drake has been accessible only by sea until recently, and consequently remains a largely pristine low-land tropical rainforest. It is one of the last such remaining areas on the Pacific coast. Since about 1990, eco-tourism has been the principal economy of the area.

Believed to be a port used by Sir Francis Drake in the seventeenth century and the location of one of the British pirate's fabled hidden treasures, Drake is one of the most remote and primal tourist destinations in Costa Rica. The town of Agujitas (Drake) has a population of about 1,000 residents, and tourism is the economic base of the community. Drake is not on the beaten track, and is a destination. It can be reached by highway only during the dry season. Boat service up the Sierpe River and air travel connect Drake to the rest of the world during the rainy season. There are miles and miles of beautiful coastline with rocky crags and sandy coves that extend from Agujitas Bay, where the village of Drake is located southward toward the boundary of Corcovado National Park about 12 miles to the south.

The town of Agujitas (Drake) is accessible by vehicle during the dry season but is cut off in the rainy season by rivers too large to ford. There is daily riverboat access from the town of Sierpe.

Being positioned 32km to the south of Palmar, the closest entrance to Corcovado National Park is San Pedrillo approximately 16 km to the south.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Clinica de Agujitas
End of the road in Aguijitas
Bahía Drake
TEL 1: 27751975

Placement Address

Drake Bay Turtles
El Progreso
Bahía Drake
Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Costa Rica at our BaseCamp Center in San Jose. Given that this placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers here will be living with a host family after your orientation. Living with a host family is an awesome experience for a person looking to really experience Costa Rica and its culture.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Costa Rica.

If you think that living with a host family is not for you, then this placement might not be the best fit with what you are looking for. You should try completing our application. It's totally free and will allow our team in Costa Rica to come up with a list of exactly which placements they would reccommend for you based on your personal preferences, background, skills and interests.

BaseCamp Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica
BaseCamp Costa Rica Address

Ave 16 St. 39&41
Los Yoses Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica Contact Details

Tel: 506-8763-9595
Tel: 506-4030-1891
Mobile: 506-8763-9595

Take a Tour of BaseCamp
Accommodation in Costa Rica

All volunteers on our program in Costa Rica start out at our BaseCamp Center. The center is located in the capital city San Jose, and is a fantastic place from which to start your adventure.

Once volunteers have finished their orientation, where they live depends largely on the location of their placement. If their placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minutecommute from BaseCamp, then the only accommodation option may be host families or volunteer lodges in the national parks. However, if the placement is within a 1 hour 15 minute commute, then volunteers can choose whether or not to stay with us at BaseCamp or live with a host family.

BaseCamp Costa Rica is located in the province of San Jose at Los Yoses area. This is a fantastic area closed to the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro Mall, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, embassies and stores. Walking distance to down town and only 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria Airport.

BaseCamp has four bedrooms and three wash-rooms. The beds are mainly bunk beds in dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is a large common area where movies, books and games are available to our guests and there is a patio with a nice set up. This is an ideal setting for reading, studying Spanish or just some quiet relaxation.

BaseCamp is where volunteers first come when they arrive in Costa Rica and where they live for at least the duration of their orientation and training. The meal plan at the centre is based on a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This meal plan allows volunteers to gain comfort and familiarity with both Costa Rican food and meal etiquette before making the transition to living with a host family.

Orientation and language training sessions take place in the BaseCamp Center. Each day of orientation blends some workshops and lessons with a mixture of outings to explore and become familiar with transportation and knowledge regarding the city.

Living With a Host Family in Costa Rica

Living with a host family in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Costa Rica.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Costa Rica

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Costa Rica wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Placement Fee Alert

This placement has a placement fee!

In some cases, a placement will have to take on certain expenses in order to host a volunteer. For example, some medical internship placements take time away from paid medical staff to help with educational assistance. This has a cost that is compensated by a placement fee. In other cases, the organization may have to pay for additional equipment, energy consumption or other expense in order to put a volunteer to work.

In such cases, the organizaiton charges a fee. This fee is paid directly to the organization in cash on the ground.

One of the reasons that we keep this fee separate is so that volunteers who do not pay us for accommodation, meals etc (Program Fees), will see that they will still have to make this payment directly to the organizaiton upon their arrival.

The placement fee for this organization is: 50 USD

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Jul 01, 2022 Aug 05, 2022 Sep 02, 2022
Oct 07, 2022 Nov 04, 2022 Dec 02, 2022
Jan 06, 2023 Feb 03, 2023 Mar 03, 2023
Apr 07, 2023 May 05, 2023 Jun 02, 2023
Jul 07, 2023 Aug 04, 2023 Sep 01, 2023
Oct 06, 2023 Nov 03, 2023 Dec 01, 2023
Jan 05, 2024 Feb 02, 2024 Mar 01, 2024
Apr 05, 2024 May 03, 2024 Jun 07, 2024


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message