Throughout the duration of the project (November 1st till March 15th, every year) it is possible to volunteer. Alongside our field team, volunteers participate in the every-day work of our project, get hands-on experience in sea turtle conservation in a community-based project, and insights into the work of a conservation biologist.


  • 18+ years of age
  • Physically fit with no major health constraints (especially knee or eye-sight problems)
  • An interest in biology, conservation or related field
  • Fluency in English and/or Spanish
  • A positive attitude and willingness to communicate with the local community
  • Ability to withstand hot, humid climate, and sleep deprivation
  • Ability to walk long distances (up to 12kms per night) on soft sand
  • No known allergies against mosquito and/or sand-fly bites
  • Personal travel medical insurance policy 
We recommend a stay between two and four weeks to get the most out of the experience!

Volunteers do not need any prior experience working with sea turtles as full training will be provided upon arrival to the project site. We appreciate people who use their initiative, are problem solvers, look to be useful in their spare time, and are interested in getting to know the community, understanding what community life is like, and what the community is trying to achieve without compromising their values. 
Volunteers must have a reasonable level of fitness as the work can be moderately strenuous to heavy, depending on the task. The project requires details of any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions to be declared at the time of confirmation.

Volunteers will stay in the homes of local families (usually one volunteer per family) during their stay on the project. The accommodations are within the community of Ostional, which is located right in front of the nesting beach. Typical homes in the community are small and very basic (but comfortable), normally consisting of two or three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room and bathroom. Do not expect to have hot running water in the kitchen or bathroom (including the shower). However, do keep in mind that the climate will be hot and humid, so a cool showers will usually be welcome!
Please note that the local families speak little or no English, so a Spanish dictionary and a little practice will be very helpful. Every effort you make to communicate with locals in Spanish, no matter how few words you can speak, or how poor your grammar may be, will be greatly appreciated by your hosts. Costa Rican people are incredibly warm, friendly and generous. You may be surprised at how far a little effort on your part will go!
Your host family will prepare the food. Please let us know ahead of time if you have special dietary needs.

Program Cost

$75 US Inscription Fee (to cover project expenses, such as material and salaries)

$30 US Per Night (to cover accommodation and three meals a day in local host families)

Full payments will be made upon arrival at the project in either US dollars or colones (NO traveler’s cheques or credit/debit cards) directly to the families and the field coordinator.
There are NO BANKS in Ostional, so please ensure you have arranged finances for payment prior to your arrival at the project site.
We also ususally ask our volunteers, to pay one week worth of accomodation in the very beginning so the families can buy food, especially fresh fruits, vegetables and meat.

Volunteer Work
Volunteers usually work 5-6 hours every night and 2 hours during the day, with one day-off per week.
The main volunteer tasks include (but are not limted to):
  • Nightly beach patrols to encounter nesting females (weather or shine)
  • Assisting in the collection of data from nesting turtles
  • Assisting in the relocation of nests to hatchery*
  • Day/night hatchery duties
  • Nest monitoring*
  • Collection data from hatchlings
  • Hatchling liberation*
  • Nest excavation
  • Beach slope measurements
Other work may involve beach cleanups (to remove debris  that would impede the movement of nesting females or hatchlings or just in general constitute an environmental hazard) and projects such as the initial construction of the beach hatchery in the beginning of each season.

*INFO: Results from initial research in Ostioanl indicate that the hatching success of Leatherback nests in Ostional beach is very low, with high nest-temperatures and massive sand contamination (as a result of the high Ridley nest density) are considered to be major contributing factors. As a result of these findings, Leatherback eggs are being relocated to a shaded beach hatchery filled with naturally sterilised sand for protection and lowered sand temperatures. 

How To Apply
Please request our Volunteer Manual at marta@biocenosismarina.org
and send filled-out application form back.