Costa Rica Green Turtle Research Expedition
Help researchers study green and hawksbill turtles in the Golfo Dulce. Spend 5 days on the incredible Osa Peninsula catching and releasing turtles, restoring mangroves, and more. This hands-on experience is great for individuals, families (8 years and up), and small groups. Profits from this trip will help to save at least 100 hatchlings at a turtle nesting beach per participant.
2017 Date: July 16 - 23
Private dates are available year round for groups of 2 or more depending on availability. We don't recommend traveling in Sep - Oct due to weather issues.
Price: Depends on group size (US dollars)
2-3 people: $2,295 per person
4-5 people: $1,695 per person
6+ people: $1,495 per person
-$50 off per person for paying by check
-Additional discounts available for private groups of 10 or more
-Monthly payments are available until 3 months before departure
-Individuals can join the July date listed
Includes: Guide, private transportation, accommodations, meals (except where listed), activities, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Costa Rica, personal items, and tips for the guide/driver.
- Individuals can join the set dates above.
- Minimum recommended age is 8 years old, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
- Group size is limited to 12 people maximum.
- The heavy part of the rainy season is October - November.
- Itinerary can be customized to meet your group's schedule or preferences.
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Register by phone at 800.215.0378
DAY 1: ARRIVE TO SAN JOSE
You will be picked up at the San Jose Airport and taken to Francisco's, a family-owned lodge about 20 minutes away. Get a good night's sleep to rest up for the fast paced trip. (Dinner not included).
DAY 2: DRIVE TO THE OSA PENINSULA
After breakfast, you'll head to the South Pacific coast in a private vehicle (about a 5 hour drive). Along the way, you will stop for lunch and take in the beautiful views. After settling in to your cabins, researchers from our partner Latin American Sea Turtles (LAST) will give an orientation to the turtle research and train you in data collection techniques.
This evening, relax and get a good night’s sleep. Overnight at Delfines de Golfo, a simple family lodge with electricity, private bath with hot water, and tv’s.
DAY 3: SEA TURTLE RESEARCH
Today is all about sea turtles. Head out in a shaded boat with researchers to help set nets in key turtle spots (timing dependent on the tide). Once caught, researchers will bring them to the beach where you will have the opportunity to help carry in the turtles, measure them, weight them, and perhaps even tag them. You’ll be looking mainly for green turtles and hawksbills, which are both endangered. In between turtles, take a swim in the beautiful Golfo Dulce or explore the coastline to look for macaws and sloths.
DAY 4: MANGROVE RESTORATION & CHOCOLATE TOUR
This morning, you will participate in LAST's mangrove reforestation program by working in the nursery and planting young trees. Mangroves are critical for sea turtles and other ocean life and this area has lost much of its forests over the past few decades. We will also work in their small turtle rescue center if there are turtles present.
In the afternoon, you'll learn about the origins of chocolate, which is native to this region. See a farm where cacao is grown and work through the process from seed to deliciousness. You'll also taste many other delicious fruits and learn how organic farming can help wildlife.
DAY 5: FREE DAY
Today will be free to relax or to do an optional activity such as renting a sit-on-top kayak, doing ziplines through the forest, or going for a guided rainforest walk to learn about the incredible diversity of plants and animals in this beautiful part of the country.
DAY 6: SEA TURTLE RESEARCH
Head out on the water again to look for more sea turtles to study and release. Since these turtles don't nest in the area (we're not sure where they nest), catching them in the water is the only way to learn about these turtles and ensure their health.
DAY 7: RETURN TO THE CENTRAL VALLEY
This morning, you’ll have one last chance to take a dip or explore the rainforest before returning to San Jose. You'll board the private vehicle for the 5 hour drive and stay at a comfortable small hotel near the airport. Dinner is on your own at a nearby restaurant.
DAY 8: DEPART FOR HOME
Head out for the airport in time for your flight, taking along your memories, photos, souvenirs, and stories to tell friends!
Is This Trip Right For Me?
Costa Rica is a safe and beautiful country that receives more than 1 million international tourists annually. This is a fairly an active trip that requires some of physical fitness and an ability to manage sometimes challenging conditions including weather and heat, bugs, and long bus rides.The accommodations are comfortable but plan to spend significant time on boats and on the beach while waiting for turtles to be caught.
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Photo credits: Hal Brindley, James Richard, & Latin American Sea Turtles