Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

Environment

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this - but we make sure that the project directly benefits local people and wildlife too.

Wildlife
The threat of extinction for sea turtles is very real. Projects such as this are playing an important role in stemming this decline. You will be working with a well-respected marine conservation and research organization, staffed by biologists and enthusiastic volunteers. Turtle protection is an important aspect of its work, but it also campaigns against pollution, unsustainable and inhumane fishing practices too.

Environment
While in Costa Rica, you and your family will be helping to protect the marine environment and limiting their own impact by living basically and eating locally sourced food. Our organisation is an environmentally responsible one that operates recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid.

Transport
We use public transport as our main means of transportation to the project sites. This reduces emissions and invests in the local economy and infrastructure.

Community

Meeting local needs
Many in the local community rely on the marine environment for their livelihood (whether through fishing or tourism). The work of charities such as this is essential to safeguard their future. The organisation provides some paid work locally, but has to rely on extra help from volunteers to be able to protect the turtles effectively. As well as protecting the turtles, you will also contribute directly to the local economy, eating, shopping and using leisure facilities in the surrounding area.

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in Costa Rica’s rural communities. One of our greatest achievements on this project is for local residents to have chosen to help volunteer on this project to protect their environment. This has been a huge change, as traditionally they would use the turtle eggs for cooking or for aphrodisiac purposes.

Reviews of Family volunteering with turtles in Costa Rica

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 19 Oct 2015 by

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


This project and experience was absolutely amazing. As a family of 4 (2 adults & 2 children, 8 & 10 yrs old) we decided it was important to not just have a vacation but to do something that would play a part in making a different to our
environment for the future. Our 8 year old son, in particular had an interest in Turtles so we decided this would be a great project to work on. We weren't disappointed. The location was stunning, remote (so off the tourist route, which
we loved) and gave us an feeling of living a little like a local family and we loved being constantly in the outdoors. Our children met & played with the local kids which was incredible and everyone was so welcoming. The turtle conservation work in particular was incredible, the night patrols & hatchery work made us really appreciate the work undertaken by all volunteers and the project team and we felt honoured to think that we made a little difference to the
Olive Ridley Turtle Conservation program.

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


Don't expect the luxury's of home and know that you will quickly understand and appreciate you can enjoy a pure, happy time without not not much at all. All facilities and services are available and the food it terrific given the location. Go into the vacation with a open mind, be prepared to muck in, learn heaps, have fun and you won't be disappointed. As a family we were made so welcome by volunteers and locals alike. We had plenty of time during the days to do what we wanted and we never got restless, infact we go into relax & go slow mode quite quickly and the days just flew! Having the Spanish language wasn't essential but was helpful in getting to know the locals.

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


Yes, we felt the project really gave back to the local community and respected their lifestyle & views. We stayed in a family cabana as part of a local families property and they were so helpful, kind & generous. We understand that our fees went to paying them for our stay. We learnt a great deal about the environment & the turtles and that the project did everything it
could to reduce environmental impacts ie composting, lighting, etc. The project provided a presence on the beach but not in a way that dictated to took over from the way the locals live there lives. There are some really dedicated local people who believe in the cause and are so grateful for the support they receive from volunteers.

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


Amazing, so humbling, incredible to think we could do a little bit to help and have fun at the same time. As a young family, our kids really have an appreciation for conservation work, have a deeper connection and understanding that animals and the environment require our help to keep it safe, they realise the human impact on the environment isn't always positive and that it requires true dedication & a commitment to make a difference.

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