As we enter our 9th consecutive year of our turtle conservation project, we are looking for dedicated volunteers to assist us with our marine turtle conservation efforts. Our volunteer opportunities are offered to highly motivated individuals looking to work in solidarity surrounded by pristine jungle and amazing beaches.
Our volunteers work with the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles, endangered Green Turtles, and vulnerable olive-ridley pacific sea turtles along the gorgeous coastlines of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. These species’ populations are in sharp decline due to, among other things, over-harvesting of eggs, beach development, fishing, pollution, and being killed for their meat and leather.
Our conservation efforts give you the chance to make an important contribution to the preservation of these magnificent species, assisting locals and other volunteers who carry out conservation work and gaining first-hand knowledge into Costa Rica’s biodiversity and culture. Volunteers provide support to biologists, biology interns and / project coordinators who are involved in managing the turtles nesting grounds and oversee all conservation efforts. Volunteer work is varied and volunteers are able to develop a wide range of skills as well as make lasting friendships and memories.
All volunteers are asked to work a minimum of 6-8 hours per day 6 days a week. Duties vary; flexibility, dedication, and a positive attitude are must. Below is a list of the most common duties that our volunteers are asked to do.
- Night Beach Patrol – beach patrols happen every night and there is often rain during these periods. Despite this beach patrols can be some of the most rewarding duties as you are most likely to encounter nesting turtles at night.
- Cover/Hide Nests & Tracks – when nests are found and it is not possible to relocate the eggs to our hatchery, it is a common practice to cover turtle tracks and hide the actual nest after recording its location.
- Building Hatchery – Of course our hatchery must be built. This is a labor intensive project and is more intricate than simply building a fence structure. Of course once the hatchery is built it needs to be constantly monitored.
- Beach Cleanup – Although our project headquarters is located in one of the most pristine and remote wilderness areas of Costa Rica, there is often plastic and other garbage/debris that washes up on our beach. To give the turtles and other wildlife the best chances possible it is very important to keep our beach as clean as possible.
- Assist Biologist/Coordinator – Biologists and/or coordinator will require assistance with many different aspects of the project. Volunteers are expected to be willing to assist the biologists or coordinator with any needs of the projects.
- Project Signs – Project signage will need to be constructed and placed throughout our project area. Most signs designate zones of beach will be used to record nesting locations throughout the duration of the project.
- School House – It is one of our objectives to involve the locals with our conservation efforts and educate the children to the importance of conservation. Bilingual volunteers may be asked to teach English to the local youth.
In addition to the project duties outlined above, all volunteers are expected maintain immaculate personal living areas and assist with general housekeeping. These housekeeping duties include but are not limited to the following:
- Cleaning up after meals – washing, drying, and putting away dishes, cookware, and cutlery.
- Grounds Maintenance – Light yard work such as raking leafs, sweeping pathways, emptying garbage etc.
- Personal Linens – washing and drying provided bedding and personal clothing items.
- 18+ years of age unless accompanied by parent/guardian
- Medical travel and emergency evacuation insurance
- Positive Attitude and Dedication
- Must be able to follow directions of biologist and/or director
- Must agree to and follow Fundacion OSA volunteer Terms and Conditions
- Two week minimum commitment
Because our project headquarters “Guaria de Osa” is off the grid, far from roads and towns, the fees outlined below essentially cover food expenses. Due to the fact that all foods, services, and people are brought in by boat things can get expensive quickly. In most cases the cost of food items are equal or more expensive than the United States. In addition, if you are a vegetarian, this diet becomes quite costly on the Osa Peninsula. Vegetarian volunteers may have to bring some of their own supplements.
In fair reciprocation we deem the cost per day is in exchange for the basic cost for meals and the expense it takes to bring supplies in. Your hours of service are in exchange for lodging in an exquisite, remote beach in a world-famous nature sanctuary. You can read more about our project headquarters “here”
Orientations are needed for all new volunteers and interns (interns plan on staying more than two months). Because of this we ask for a minimum time commitment of two weeks service. Of course you can always stay longer once you feel the magic of our location. We can also offer opportunities for college or university students if needed.
For volunteers staying two weeks up to two months the cost is $35 per day.
In exchange for dedication of time and effort, interns staying longer than two months will have the added benefit of the reduced rate of $21 per day. We also recommend you plan a small budget for personal items. There are frequent trips to the nearby village of Drake Bay where you can purchase snacks, toiletries, etc.
- Payment for your committed time of service is made in advance.
- If you decide to leave before your pre-determined committed time of service, the remainder of fees goes to the foundation. Example; If interns (committed 2 months of service) paying $21 a day choose to leave after 1 month, the price is recalculated at $35 daily. The difference must be paid before leaving.
For those with possessing highly valuable and needed skills and experience or for others in various situations it is possible to have fees waved. This is not common and is for exceptional cases, but is possible.
More than the personal satisfaction of knowing you are directly helping endangered creatures, there are many benefits that our volunteers enjoy. Our project headquarters is located in one of the most beautiful and wild parts of the Osa Peninsula, the jewel of Costa Rica. From our location it is possible to take advantage of all the jungle and ocean have to offer. For nature lovers this is one of the most special areas in the world. In addition to the location volunteers will also receive:
- 3 Delicious Meals Per Day – As organic and healthy as possible, all meals will be provided by onsite staff.
- Comfortable Accommodations – Our project headquarters is a very special place and is kind enough to host our volunteers. Information on the accommodations can be found “here”
- Training – All volunteers will participate in an orientation training session. You will learn the methodology of turtle conservation, data collection, hatchery monitoring, and much more
- Use of Wi-Fi internet.
- Assistance arranging domestic transportation within Costa Rica
- Excursions in the beautiful jungles and ocean that surround the project headquarters.
What’s Not Included
Once you are here and volunteering with us, the necessities are essentially taken care of. With that in mind, remember you will need to purchase the following:
- Transportation to/from Costa Rica
- Domestic Transportation within Costa Rica
- Travel Medical and Emergency Evacuation Insurance
- Visa / Exit Fees (when applicable)
- Vaccinations (when needed)
- Other Personal Expenses
Also keep in mind that our remote location means that is difficult to obtain many things easily. If you are on medication or need special items on a regular basis, it is best to bring a supply of those items that will outlast your stay with us.
Terms and Conditions
1) Ethics and Morals
a) Remember while volunteering with us you are a representative of the Fundación Osa and will be held to high standards.
b) Respect for locals, volunteers, employees and biologists/coordinators are a must. Team work is of the utmost importance.
c) Must be able to follow directions with a positive attitude.
d) Sexual harassment of locals, volunteers, employees and others will not be tolerated.
i) This includes disrespectfully pursuing and making unwanted sexual advances towards others.
2) Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
a) This is a nature discovery experience, not a party experience.
b) No drugs or alcohol is to be consumed during your visit with us. This means absolutely no visits to local bars.
3) If tobacco is consumed it will be in designated areas only, never during beach patrols.
4) Performance Evaluation
a) If for some reason the biologist or coordinators decide that a volunteer has broken a rule, causing tension, or is not performing, the volunteer will be asked to leave immediately. He or she will forfeit all paid fees and those fees be donated to the foundation.
5) Broken Items or tools will be replaced or repaired at the expense of the person responsible for the damage.
Below you will find a button that will take you to our project volunteer application. We accept almost all of our applicants but it is important to us that volunteers are willing to work hard and fulfill the conditions and expectations outlined above. Please complete this form only after you have thoroughly read and understood all of the volunteer information. If you have any questions please contact us before applying. We look forward to the upcoming arrival of the turtles and hope to develop lasting friendships with our project volunteers.Apply