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Day 1 - Arrive to San Jose

Our guides and trip leader pick you up from the airport and take you to Francisco's Lodge, a comfortable hotel in a country setting, to get a restful night’s sleep before an early start.

Day 2 - Leatherback Turtle Research

After breakfast, board your group’s private bus for a three hour ride to the Caribbean coast. After a short boat ride to the research station, enjoy a turtle presentation and training by local staff. Learn more about turtle volunteer activities here. 

Please note that Las Tortugas is a fairly remote and isolated research station. The rooms are very basic (one step above camping) and volunteers are expected to participate in cleaning up dishes after meals. The station has limited electricity (from solar panels) and no hot water. Bathrooms are shared between two rooms. Meals are simple and often include rice and beans (vegetarians are easily accommodated).

Days 3 - 4: Turtle Conservation & Marine Debris Research

For the next two nights, you will spend four hours each evening walking the turtle nesting beach in search of leatherback turtles. When you find one, you will help local researchers measure them, move the eggs to a hatchery (where they are protected until hatching), and collect data on the turtle.  Later in the season (mid-May - June), you will have a chance to see and work with hatchlings.

During the daytime hours help scientists measure debris types and densities along the beach where sea turtles nest. Discover the shocking diversity of plastic debris items found, learn from experts about the issues facing sea turtle conservation from harmful plastic pollution, and help clean the beach. Bilingual educational materials will be shared with volunteers and Estacion Las Tortugas to direct action to reduce plastic pollution at this sea turtle nesting beach. 

The turtle volunteer work is focused on night patrols, there is a lot of downtime planned during the day. Daytime activities include a boat ride on the rainforest canals to look for wildlife including sloths, monkeys, caiman, and more. You can also visit the small Turtle Museum to learn more about these amazing creatures or relax in a hammock and listen to the sounds of the jungle! At times there may be other volunteer activities, including beach cleaning or working in the egg hatchery.

Day 5 - South Caribbean

After breakfast, the group will head to the small town of Cahuita on the South Caribbean coast. Enjoy a free day at one of the country's most beautiful beaches and explore Cahuita National Park. Lunch and dinner are on your own at a selection of local restaurants. The group will stay at an attractive yoga resort on the coast.

Day 6 - Return to the Central Valley

Following lunch, we'll board our bus and return to Francisco's near San Jose for a celebratory final dinner. Along the way, we'll stop at a unique butterfly farm to learn about these amazing insects and other wildlife.

Day 7 - Departure

We’ll return home with a new appreciation for the hard work of conservation and to share our experiences with our friends and family.

Prices & Dates


Featured Animals: Leatherback


Watch leatherback turtle hatchlings scurry to the sea
© Neil Osborne
Help researchers protect Costa Rica
© Neil Osborne
Kids learning about a poison dart frog

Call us at 800-215-0378 Mon - Fri
9am to 5pm
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SEEtheWILD Promise

All of our trips & volunteer expeditions:

  • Directly support wildlife conservation
  • Educate travelers about wildlife
  • Support local communities
  • Reduce environmental impact

Learn more about our conservation tourism policies