Why Do I Have to Pay to Volunteer?
Except in the case of some research assistant postions (see below), all volunteers are required to pay their own expenses including food and lodging as well as a minimal registration fee in some cases. The vast majority of sea turtle conservation projects have very small budgets and struggle each year to pay their own staff and costs.
Volunteers, even though they are donating their time and energy, involve costs for these projects, including staff time for training and maintanence of facilities. In order to survive, most projects depend on the income that these programs bring in. For those projects where food and lodging is offsite (such as local hotels or homestays), no projects have the funds to cover the costs of that. In most cases, the cost per day is very low and includes all meals, much less than you would pay traveling in most countries.
What Are the Requirements for Research Assistant Positions?
Each project has different requirements, but in most cases projects require:
- Long-term commitment (at least two months)
- A background in conservation and/or biology (especially work on field conservation)
- Most places will ask applicants to send a resume (CV) and references
- Most projects prefer some ability to speak Spanish
What Can I Expect on a Volunteer Project?
Long hours, lots of exercise, and simple living conditions. Read this page for a more detailed account of life on a nesting beach project.
What Should I Take with Me?
If the project you choose does not send a packing list, request one from them. We have also made a list of recommended items.
Can I Bring My Child with Me?
In most cases, older children (12 years old and up) can accompany parents or other adults. You will need to ask each individual project about their policies regarding younger children. Please be sure to consider this carefully, as most nesting beach projects involve long hours late at night that can be difficult for children and most communities are far from major hospitals.
Should I Buy Travel Insurance?
We recommend it. A lot of things can happen when traveling and the cost of insurance is relatively low. The government of Costa Rica now requires any volunteer working in a protected area to have insurance coverage (and will ask for proof). We work with a socially responsible company called World Nomadswho will give back to turtle conservation for every policy.
Is There Discounted Airfare Available?
Most volunteers should qualify for discounted airfare through Fly for Good. Visit this page to see the discounted options and let us know if you need documentation for your flight.