Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Tambor Bay Sea Turtle Conservation Costa Rica

 

Description

We are a grassroots initiative of the Tambor area community. In 2015, a group of local residents decided to do something to protect the remaining Olive Ridley sea turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches around Tambor Bay. We are now a registered not-for-profit organization in Costa Rica. Our primary mission is simple - to reduce threats to local turtles and their nests, so that many more hatchlings are produced each year. The goal is to ensure that, in 20-25 years, there will once again be enough adult Olive Ridley sea turtles to sustain the local population naturally. In just four seasons, We have already released almost 40.000 hatchlings. We operate under the direction of qualified biologists, under a Scientific License and Hatchery Permit issued annually by the government of Costa Rica. We have a very high-quality hatchery, one of the finest in Costa Rica, with an outstanding hatch success rate! Although sea turtle conservation is our top priority, we are also committed to both conservation education and sustainable ecotourism.

For the joy of the volunteers  in their free time they are free to go around and explore the beautiful nature that is hiding in such a small and beautiful place such as Tambor, the coordinator of the project is also a nature tour guide, there are amazing places and a beautiful beach to visit. We work in cooperation with Pura Vida Expeditions, this company offers tours with a small discount for TBT volunteers. Also to sustain the project we have a special fundraiser event named “For the Love of the Turtles” which supports local business and provides sponsorship to the project in order to cover the expenses for the upcoming season.

Volunteers are an integral part of our program and are essential to our success. One hundred percent of what you will pay to participate in this exciting project goes back into the project. Under the direction of our Project Coordinator/Guide and experienced long-term volunteers from the local community, you will, during the turtle nesting season (July to mid-December), participate in night and early morning patrols of our beautiful 5.8 km long beach, searching for turtle nests, to collect the eggs and take them to the hatchery. During the turtle hatch season (late August through January), you will assist with monitoring the hatchery, handling and releasing hatchlings, assisting with nest exhumations, compiling data on the local turtle population, and on the results of the hatchery program. Volunteers will also assist with the development and the day-to-day operation of the hatchery, including developing interpretative information and programs, interacting with visitors, providing information, delivering simple educational messages, promoting our Adopt-a-nest program, seeking donations, and selling branded merchandise. Volunteers will also participate in regular beach clean-ups, carry out nature trail development and maintenance, assist with the delivery of environmental education programs, assist with tours/excursions and special events and work on various community projects.


Details

Organisation:
Tambor Bay Turtles

Location:
Bahia Tambor, Nicoya Peninsula

Qualifications/Skills:
We are looking for volunteers aged 18 or over, in good physical condition, with a basic knowledge of Spanish or English. Volunteers need to be friendly, communicative and able to work in extreme weather conditions for 6-8 hours per day. Volunteers must have their own travel medical insurance policy for the duration of their stay at the program.

Dates of program:
From 1st July till 12th December

Duration of program:
1 week minimum

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+

Cost:
The cost is US$70 per day. The price covers all meals, transportation of all the activities of the project and accommodations with A/C and hot water. We are happy to provide advice and direction relating to the logistics of your travel to/from Tambor from San Jose, Liberia and other locations in Costa Rica. Once volunteers arrive in Tambor, accommodation, three meals a day, local transportation, orientation, training and supervision are all provided by us.

Other information:
Some time off will be scheduled and local excursions may be organized, especially for the longer-term volunteers, at the discretion of the Project Coordinator and volunteers (e.g. whale watching, tropical waterfall hike/swim, zip-line canopy tour, Playa Muertos, Tortuga Island/snorkelling, bioluminescence tour, kayaking, paddle boarding, beach volleyball, horseback riding, surfing day, dining out, ‘Jesus tree hike’, Cabo Blanco, Curu Wildlife Refuge).


Reviews

A life experience that will never be forgotten
"I volunteered for two weeks in August 2019. My experience working with the project management was more educational than I could have ever imagined. You will be working directly with a serious marine biologist that has a distinct passion for her work and the project. She allows you to be hands on, you can see your efforts making a difference every day. The accommodations surpassed any expectations, going well beyond basic comfort. Having worked on various projects marine conservation projects internationally, I can't recommend this project highly enough."- Michelle West
Exceptional and Original Marine Life and Nature Conservation Experience
"I spent two weeks in November 2019 with the TBT NGO on Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and I can safely say that not many things can beat that experience. It was educational, empowering, fulfilling and magical, all in one. TBT is a small project at the moment, but so well-organized and efficient. The two people in charge are very good at what they are doing: Ron, the founder of the project, is excellent with the logistics and management, and Iratxe, the biologist and volunteer coordinator, is very resourceful and knowledgeable in her field. They have developed such a detailed and well thought-out program of turtle preservation that, when you volunteer with them, you feel like you’re immediately a part of a well-oiled machine. Every part of the procedure is explained clearly, and you get a full hands-on training and practice. I didn’t know anything about sea turtles and the problems in their environment when I went into this project, and by the end of two weeks, I felt that I had learned so much, simply from walking on the beach with Ron and Iratxe, from observing and from participating. Apart from being very good at designing and carrying out this project, Ron and Iratxe are considerate and kind hosts, who always made sure that the volunteers felt comfortable, offering us plenty of opportunities for little adventures and discoveries around the area in our spare time. They made us feel like family, not just within the project, but also within the wider community since TBT is successful at establishing good and growing connections with the local population. In many ways, this small initiative has wide-reaching effects through including and educating the locals and the visiting tourists, and creating a wonderful sense of a real community, cooperating and working towards the same environmental and interpersonal goals. If anyone has intentions of starting a similar project in any field, TBT is an excellent model to learn from. The volunteer work is not extremely difficult, if you are ready for some moments of outside work in the hot humid air (depending on when you go), and for an irregular sleeping schedule (since most of the beach patrols are determined by the tide times and happen mostly late at night or early in the morning). I didn’t find any of this hard during my two weeks since the benefits are great and keep you motivated and happy: there is true magic in witnessing this grand nature up close – during the day and especially at night (what an unusual beach experience!) – and in feeling that you are helping out with the natural cycles which are so important on this planet but which we are so alienated from in our regular lives. In short, it was a pleasure and a privilege to volunteer with them; I would easily do it again, and strongly recommend it!"- Tijana Stojkovic

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Web links / Other ways to help

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