Nicaragua Sea Turtle Volunteer Expedition
Join us and Ethical Traveler for a unique volunteer vacation to a remote corner of Nicaragua. Spend a week working to help the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle while exploring a beautiful mangrove estuary. Padre Ramos Estuary, Nicaragua is one of only two major nesting areas for the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle in the Eastern Pacific. On this trip, you will work hands on with local conservationists to study and protect hawksbills and explore a beautiful and quiet part of the country.
Profits from this trip will help to save at least 100 hatchlings at this turtle nesting beach per participant.
Date: Contact us with the form at right to be alerted when 2019 dates and prices are ready.
Includes: In-country transport, meals, lodging, activities, guides, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Nicaragua, Nicaragua tourism card ($10), personal items, and tips for the guides.
- This trip has a maximum of 12 people.
- Private dates available for groups of 4 or more from July through October.
- Minimum recommended age is 12 years old, under 18 needs to be accompanied by an adult.
- This trip can be done as a student field trip. Contact us here to inquire about dates and prices.
Contact us to:
- Be alerted for 2019 dates
- Ask a question
Why Travel With US?
- All profits support conservation efforts
- Work directly with local researchers
- Unique experiences
- Personalized service
DAY 1 - ARRIVE TO NICARAGUA
We'll pick you up at Sandino International Airport near Managua and take you to a simple guesthouse in a safe part of the city. Dinner at the guesthouse is included.
DAY 2 - TO PADRE RAMOS ESTUARY
After breakfast, hop on our private van and head to the northwest corner of the country to the Padre Ramos Estuary (5 hour drive), home to one of the most important hawksbill turtle nesting beaches in the America's. Along the way, you'll stop in the historic colonial town of Leon for lunch.
After lunch, complete the drive to Padre Ramos and arrive in time for an orientation and a swim in the beautiful estuary to cool off. That evening, head out to the beach to look for hawksbills and olive ridley sea turtles. You'll be staying at the Fauna & Flora Nicaragua research station, a house on the estuary, where you will share a room with up to 3 people (of the same sex). Private rooms are available for couples.
DAY 3 - TURTLE DAY
This morning, head out into the estuary to capture and study juvenile hawksbills and then release them. Later, you’ll meet with local researchers to learn about the project and be trained how to do the data collection. Then visit to one of the hawksbill hatcheries; with luck there will be some hatchlings to release to the water. That evening, you will head out with researchers to patrol one of the nesting beaches around the estuary.
DAY 4 - MANGROVE DAY
A local guide will take you out for an optional kayaking tour this morning around the estuary to look for birds, flying fish, and turtle heads popping up out of the water (* tour not included in trip price). After lunch, you’ll attend a presentation on mangroves and participate in a reforestation project. That evening, you’ll head out again to patrol the beaches and study the hawksbills.
DAY 5 - TURTLE THREATS
Learn about the threats facing sea turtles on this day. First you’ll see a presentation about how plastic affects turtles and a workshop on how to recycle plastic bags into souvenirs. Later, you’ll participate in a beach clean-up. Tonight’s turtle patrol will be optional, to allow a break for those who need it.
DAY 6 - FINAL DAY
In the morning, our partners will organize a community volunteer activity (specific activity TBD depending on the current needs of the community). The afternoon will be free to explore, swim, or relax and get ready to head home. Following a final celebratory dinner, head out for your final night patrol to look for hawksbills.
DAY 7 - MANAGUA
On your final morning in Padre Ramos, you'll head out to learn fishing from a local fisherman. After lunch, board the van to head back to Managua, staying at the guesthouse. If time allows, you'll take a driving tour of the capital.
DAY 8 - DEPARTURE
Return home with a new appreciation for the hard work of conservation and to share your experiences.
Staying in a volunteer house meant we could get close to the sea turtles and see them in their natural habitat. The highlight was releasing hatchlings in the day and by moonlight. I also met an incredible group of people who made this a fun and exciting trip.
Is This Trip Right For Me?
This Nicaragua trip goes off the beaten path for 5 nights at a rustic and remote research station (see accommodations for additional information). While some areas of the country currently have safety issues, this is a quiet and safe corner of the country and our groups have had no issues with safety or security. This is an active trip that requires a level of physical fitness and an ability to manage sometimes challenging conditions including weather and heat, bugs, and a schedule that can affect sleeping patterns. Electricity at the station is limited (solar panels) which means no air conditioning or hot water, there is no access to wifi or cell phone service, and meals are simple and basic.
similar turtle conservation trips
Photo credits: Brad Nahill/SEE Turtles