Research Assistants

We operate a multifaceted approach for the conservation of sea turtles, including; beach patrols, relocating nests into project hatcheries, environmental education and awareness with the local community, generating job opportunities for the locals and promoting sustainable tourism development.   Assistants are responsible for assisting the project coordinator in all aspects of running the project. It is crucial that assistants bring a positive attitude to the project, work well within a team, be adaptable to a variety of situations, and be prepared to partake in ALL aspects of the project.


There are positions available at our four projects located on the Southern Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica:
1. Costa de Oro
2. San Miguel
3. Bejuco
4. Corozalito
San Miguel and Costa de Oro are projects with a variable number of volunteers. Assistants of these projects must be really sociable and be willing to work with a constantly changing team.
Bejuco Project is more rustic and strongly involved with the local community.
Corozalito is the most physically demanding project due to the characteristics of its beach.


Research assistants are trained to conduct nightly 3-4 hour beach patrols, in which they take biometric data from nesting sea turtles, tag their front flippers, and move their nests to a protected area if there is one available. Other responsibilities vary among the projects, and include the following:

  • Assisting in the training of new volunteers (Costa De Oro and San Miguel only)
  • Leading volunteers and tourists on night patrols
  • Conducting morning censuses to check the status of in-situ nests
  • Recording physical data such as precipitation levels and temperatures
  • Building and maintaining the project hatchery
  • Monitoring the hatchery during the night or day for emerging hatchlings and intruding predators
  • Exhuming nests and collecting data on unhatched eggs
  • Maintaining and cleaning the station house
  • Cooking group meals


Research assistants are expected to stay at the project site for the entire period for which they are selected. Preference will be given to potential applicants that meet the following requirements:

  • Advanced university student or recent graduate in biological sciences or related fields.
  • Conversational English
  • Independent, reliable and responsible
  • Motivated and positive
  • Able to adapt to unexpected situations and unfamiliar cultures
  • Able to undertake physical labor during night and day in extreme weather conditions
  • Experience working within a team
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Comfortable working in the outdoors or in isolated settings
  • Previous experience with sea turtles or conducting field research

Since many of the research assistants’ responsibilities are physically demanding, they are expected to be in good physical and medical shape. Also, since our projects are in isolated locations where access to medical treatment can be challenging, participants must disclose any medical conditions or possible risks before confirming their placement with our program.

Research Assistant Availabilities for the 2019 Season:

Assistants must be able to commit for a minimum of 2.5 months. Dates are flexible depending on availability.

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)

Research Assistant Costs

Research assistants pay a monthly fee to cover their meals and lodging. This contribution is different for each project, depending on the variety of the former and comfort level of the latter.

  1. San Miguel & Costa de Oro: $1400 USD for the entire term (about $120/week)
  2. Corozalito & Bejuco: $1100 USD for the entire term (about $95/week)

A travel assistance package is available to buy for an additional cost of $280. This includes airport pickup/drop-off, first and last nights in hotel, transport to and from bus stop and bus tickets.

Application Process

Please send applications to Carmen Mejías-Balsalobre at the following email address:

  • Cover letter indicating:
    • Time frame(s) and project(s) you are applying for.
    • Why you are interested in the position.
    • Your personal strong points.
  • CV/Resume
  • List of the email addresses of at least 3 references

After you have submitted your application we will contact you for a Skype interview. You will then receive an email indicating if you have been accepted for the position. We are now accepting applications for the 2019 season.