Turtle Trax

Protect nesting sea turtles along Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific coast. Volunteer and make a difference!

Turtle Trax S.A. thrives to foster rural ecotourism initiatives that result in the protection of biodiversity and empowerment of local communities in Costa Rica’s southern Nicoya Peninsula.  Headquartered in San Francisco de Coyote, Nandayure, Guanacaste, Turtle Trax S.A. works under contract by the Costa Rican non-profit Rescue Center for Endangered Marine Species, or CREMA (cremacr.org), its Spanish acronym, managing all national and international volunteers and interns who wish to work alongside CREMA´s efforts to protect the region’s nesting sea turtles and promote sustainable coastal development.

Our goal is to help locals to take advantage of all natural resources the area is offering, obviously, in a sustainable and friendly way, taking care of the mother nature.

About us

 

The support of volunteers is essential for the long term operation and success of sea turtle conservation projects on nesting beaches, mainly in terms economic sustainability.  Since 2013, Turtle Trax S.A. operates a volunteer program that services four of CREMA’s (our scientific partner) sea turtle community based sea turtle conservation projects along the southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica: San Miguel, Costa de Oro, Bejuco, and Corozalito.  Funds generated through these programs help provide an income for local community members (beach monitors, cooks, transportation and other services) and fund 100% of direct operational costs. Your direct contact as a volunteer with the community helps spark awareness regarding the importance and benefits that come from protecting sea turtles—the true definition of sustainable tourism.  Participants become immersed in the conservation project and the local culture, and speaking Spanish, while helpful, is certainly not a necessity (though you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice!).  We also support rural ecotourism initiatives, such as a mangrove tours, bird and wildlife watching, reforestation, or sustainable fishing tours, all operated by coastal community members and local fishers.  Visits may have an academic component upon request (lectures by scientists).

Be a volunteer or do an internship!

What’s the difference?  Volunteers spend weeks at a time at our project sites, assisting nesting sea turtle monitoring activities.  Interns are recent graduates or advanced students seeking to obtain field experience before moving on with their careers.

Volunteers

Over the last 16 years, volunteers have worked hard on our project beaches to protect thousands of sea turtle nests and release hundreds of thousands of hatchings into the Pacific Ocean. The funds received from volunteers are used to run our turtle projects, and help provide an income for local community members through opportunities such as guiding patrols and cooking meals. Also, the work that volunteers do at our long-term projects helps build a sense of awareness among locals regarding the importance and benefits that come from protecting animals and nature.  Since sea turtle nesting is seasonal, our turtle conservation projects are only open for half of the year, from July to December.

Internships

Thank you for your interest in our internship program!  The next season will run from June 15th, 2019 to December-January(depending on project), 2020. Coordinator and research assistant applications for the next season are already being accepted, and dates for research assistant positions are listed below.

  • Term 1: 17th June – 9th September (Costa de Oro and San Miguel)
  • Term 2- 25th June-14th September (Bejuco and Corozalito)
  • Term 3-3rd August- 25th October (Costa de Oro and San Miguel)
  • Term 3-11th September-20th November (Bejuco and Corozalito)
  • Term 4-22nd September-15th December (Costa de Oro and San Miguel)
  • Term 5-17th November- 29th January 2020 (Bejuco and Corozalito)

Tasks

Volunteers accompany a member of the Turtle Trax team on nightly 3-4 hour beach patrols.  One purpose of these beach walks is to encounter nesting sea turtles and record scientific data. This information is used to gain an understanding of sea turtle reproductive behaviour, and improve our conservation strategies in the future. Another objective is to find sea turtle nests, collect the eggs, and move them to a hatchery where they are protected from poaching or depredation (dogs, racoons, voltures, ect.)

Volunteers help build and maintain the hatcheries to ensure that incubation conditions are optimal for egg development and monitoring the hatchery during the night and day for emerging hatchlings and intruding predators.

Once the hatchlings emerge from the nest, project participants release the hatchlings onto the beach, and protect them from predators as they crawl out the ocean.  Exhuming nests and collecting data on unhatched eggs can also be performed by volunteers under the watch of a research team member.

Along with the turtle tasks, volunteers are expected to help with station house maintenance and cleaning. Team members live in close proximities, so it is important to keep the living areas clean and functional.  Volunteers also take part in environmental activities and english classes for local kids.

There are additional opportunities available for volunteers such as helping out at local schools and assisting in climate change or beach garbage monitoring studies. If interested, please specify interests on the application form.

ACTIVITIES

Since the majority of the turtle work is done at night, there is normally plenty of free time during the day for volunteers to relax and catch up on sleep. Additional activities depend on what is available at each beach project, and include surfing, body-boarding, swimming, animal watching, and exploring close-by estuaries and tide pools. We also offer eco-tours. For more information please visit our tour page.

Research Assistants

Research assistant internships are a great opportunity to obtain biology field experience and hands-on experience working with nesting sea turtles!  The projects are open annually during the Olive Ridley nesting season.  Olive Ridleys are the principal species that nest on these beaches, but there is also sporadic nesting of Green, Leatherback, and Hawksbill sea turtles.  Egg poaching is the principal threat to the nesting sea turtles on these beaches. Secondary threats include nest predation, plastic pollution, beach development and tourist traffic.

Coordinators

All coordinator positions are only open to people who have had previous experience working with sea turtles and have extensive knowledge of patrolling, scientific data collection and hatchery work, can speak fluent Spanish and English, and have excellent leadership skills. All project sites are very remote, thus a Coordinator must have a high degree of independence, responsibility and commitment. Coordinators are expected to maintain a friendly relationship with all other project volunteers and research assistants, in addition to members from local communities, as positive social relationships are crucial to each projects’ success. All project activities are conducted using the help of volunteer program participants and/or research assistants, depending on the project. Coordinators are expected to orientate and direct project workers upon their arrival and motivate them for the duration of their stay with the project. Project coordinators are responsible for the overall success of the project.

Pricing

Station House

Playa San Miguel and Costa de Oro

  • 1 Week = USD 550.00
  • Each additional week = USD 520.00

Private Cabins

San Miguel (w/Wifi)

  • Each week = USD 600.00

Costa de Oro (each week / shared “ranchito” and pool)

  • 1 Pax = USD 750.00
  • 2 Pax = USD 1,450.00
  • 3 Pax = USD 1,650.00
  • 4 Pax = USD 1,850.00
  • 5 Pax = USD 2,050.00

Includes: Food, accommodation, two transfers for work with communities, a transfer to the community of Bejuco – Fishing Village (fishing talk, mangrove tour and lunch).

APPLICATION PROCESS (Contact form below for general questions)

For Participants/Volunteers:

Please send the Participant Information Form to volunteers@turtle-trax.com in order to confirm availability.

For Research Assistants and Coordinators:

Please send the following documents to cmejiasbal@gmail.com or danielarojas159@gmail.com

  1. Cover letter indicating the time frame(s) you are applying for, why you are interested in the position, and your personal strong points
  2. CV / Resume
  3. A list of the email addresses of at least 2 professional or academic references.

Contact Us

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