San Miguel

San Miguel TurtleSan Miguel is a small beach town on the Pacific side of Costa Rica’s southern Nicoyan Peninsula. We have been investigating the nesting activity of marine turtles on this beach since 1998 after the town’s local community asked for help monitoring and protecting the nesting marine turtles. We employ 3 locals who help us to monitor the nesting activity on this beach. The beach is primarily an olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) sea turtle nesting beach, but eastern Pacific green (Chelonia mydas), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) nesting events also occasionally occur.  

You can participate in this project as a volunteer (July – December 15th) or as a field coordinator or assistant (June -December 15th).

Project Site

Playa San Miguel is 2.5 km, and is directly north of Playa Costa del Oro. The two beaches are separated by the Javilla estuary. The dry tropical forest ecosystem has an abundance of wildlife, and volunteers often have the chance to see howler monkeys, parrots, iguanas, armadillos, squirrels and of course turtles.  During the day, volunteers enjoy taking advantage of their tropical location by visiting the mangroves and tidepools, swimming in the estuarSM Hatchery 2014y, surfing in front of the station, and relaxing in the station’s hammocks. Local tours are also available if volunteers want to learn more about the region where they are staying. The small beach town of San Miguel has a local population of about 100 people. There is an internet cafe in town. The nearby town of Jabilla, which is a 30 minute walk away, has a small general store and hotel. For volunteers interested in surfing, there are boards available for rent and locals that can give lessons.

Internet and Phone Services

There is no internet service at the station. However there is Wi-Fi available for volunteers at a small fee, a 5 minute walk away from the station. Internet service in the area is unreliable and slow – volunteers should be prepared to be somewhat disconnected. There is a landline phone at the station that volunteers can use it to make international calls, provided they bring a calling card from home.


Playa San Miguel’s station is located 50 m from the beach. There are two bedrooms with 3-4 beds that volunteers share, and a third bedroom shared by the coordinator and assistant. Each room has a private bathroom and a fan, and bed sheets are provided. When all the station beds are full, volunteers stay at locals’ cabinas situated about 100 m down the road. Volunteers also have the option of paying extra for a private cabina with or without a kitchen. At the station there is an outdoor communal area and small kitchen where volunteers can make coffee and relax. All station facilities are basic. There is no running hot water, but tap water is drinkable. There isn’t a washing machine so volunteers have the options of either hand washing or paying a local to do their laundry. Volunteers must be prepared for more rugged living than they are accustomed to. Group meals are prepared for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and cooked by a local chef. The food is a mix of Costa Rican and International cuisine. Snacks and drinks can be purchased at the grocery store. For more information about volunteering Click Here