Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica, Pacuare Nature Reserve

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This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism: Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica, Pacuare Nature Reserve

Environment

The land we bought in 1989 was being logged and used as cattle pasture. Today's thriving forest supports an increasing amount and variety of wildlife; many of the thirty three species of mammals are on the IUCN red list. Sightings of jaguar and ocelot demonstrate a richness of wildlife that supports such predators in such a small area. We have become an important migratory route for butterflies traveling north in spring from as far away as Venezuela and returning in the autumn. In 2009 we obtained funding to buy 200Ha to act as buffer zone against banana plantations and we have been actively reforesting
this area with native species. The leatherback turtle project has been an outstanding success poaching is down to less than 1% and we are now ending our record year of over 1200 nests.
We collect and recycle everything from the beach and the reserve. Organic waste is composted and used for the vegetable garden. What is not re used in the Reserve is given to a women's local cooperative for their handicraft and what is not used they sell to recycling companies
click here to read about National Geographic award to John &Hilda
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/travelers-of-the-year-2013/photos/

Community

Having started with two people we now have nine local artisans making: bracelets, anklets, rings, key rings, book marks, bags, and paintings - all of which must be of local or recycled material. Takings can be several thousand dollars a year encouraging others to try their hand. We have opened a shop in the Reserve to sell handicrafts with profits going to those who made the goods. Local people are now cultivating vegetables and rearing chickens for the Reserve which buys from them in large regular amounts. This also provides important occupation and income
We are very proud of our Environmental Education programme and part of the work of our volunteers is to engage with local school children and bring them to the reserve to learn about their environment. Some of our cooks and guards are eagerly taking English lessons from our English speaking Field Assistants. This is vital for them if they wish to progress. We also select a few school leavers to be trained as Field Assistants every year.

Reviews of Volunteer with turtles in Costa Rica, Pacuare Nature Reserve

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 02 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


I did the turtle volunteering at Pacuare reserve and I have to say that I feel privileged to have witnessed the leatherback turtle making her nest and laying her eggs.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


My biggest problem was not knowing any Spanish so I would recommend just learning a little before you go

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes my vacation was on a nature reserve where local people were employed and the environment was totally respected.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I loved Costa Rica there is so much to see, not just the turtles but the bird life is exceptional, the hummingbirds are a joy to watch and the butterflies are stunning. Would recommend this as a destination for all nature lovers

Reviewed on 26 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There are 3 different things you can do with the turtles, but also loads of other wildlife to look for and various trails in the forest.
Morning census - which involves getting up at 5am to see if any hatching have come up. We were lucky enough to see quite a few.
Excavaction - Digging up old nests to see why the eggs didn't hatch. Interesting, but quite nasty at times.
Night Patrol - patrolling the beach at night to check for females laying their eggs. We were lucky enough to come across 2 on 2 consecutive nights.
We also went for various walks in the forest, came around jaguar footprints, 3 types of monkeys, snakes, frogs and the agami heron.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Think about what is more important, good weather and fewer turtles or more turtles and bad weather. We went for the latter and it was defintely worth enduring the daily storms for the experience of seeing the baby and adult turtles.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, to a certain extent, although we didn't get the opportunity to teach English to anyone which was mentioned on the website.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


A fantastic experience where we met like minded people who we have continued to stay in touch with. I would definitely do it again.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Anna
I am so pleased that you felt reborn by visiting the Pacuare reserve and thank you for telling us about your time there. It is a wonderful experience to see the turtles laying and the hatchlings emerging. As you pointed out, there were a number of nests that were flooded due to the exceptional storms earlier in the year and we have all found this very distressing. We hope for a better success rate for next year. I am sorry that you did not get the chance to teach English at the reserve, sometimes these opportunities do not arise at the right time.
Best wishes
Catherine

Reviewed on 31 Mar 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Pacuare Nature Reserve in Costa Rica is an amazing location with lots of opportunity for viewing wildlife. I felt very fortunate to get up close and personal with the Turtle Conservation work they do.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


It is a good idea to work closely with the staff before you go to make sure you have the right supplies and coordinate travel plans.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Booking this trip directly benefits the local people and supports the turtle conservation work. It is a great way to minimize your carbon footprint while you travel to amazing places.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


10 out of 10!

Read the operator's response here:

We are delighted that you had such a meaningful time at Pacuare and are glad
that it was the best vacation you have ever been on. Thank you for leaving
this review.

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