Sea Turtle Camp Costa Rica
Sea turtles abound in Costa Rica! With 6 of the world’s 7 species found here, the beaches and waters are full of turtle observing opportunities, and we will take full advantage of this. As we travel to the Caribbean Coast during one to the most active green sea turtle nesting aggregations in world, we will assist a long-term research project with nightly beach patrols. Leatherbacks frequently ply these waters, and their nests will be hatching out around this time as well.
This exclusive adventure will immerse like-minded teens in the local language, culture and ecology with our team of trained professionals. We will start the trip off with a visit to the University of Georgia campus in Monteverde where we will learn about Costa Rica’s rich culture and natural environment. While here we will also participate in a zip-line tour through the cloud canopy. After departing Monteverde, we will go rafting along the Pacuare River. Along the way, we will explore a rain forest ecosystem up close with naturalist led hikes. After following the flow of water to the coast, we will be ferried to our small island community, La Tortuga Feliz, for turtle patrol training. It is here we will spend the next week looking for tracks, nests, laying mothers and hatchlings. You will work alongside other volunteers to patrol the beach for sea turtle nests, man a sea turtle hatchery, and participate in the care and study of recuperating adult turtles in the turtle rescue and rehabilitation center.
Costa Rica is one of the safest and easiest international travel destinations in the world. It is a sustainable country, with no standing military, that focuses on creating greater equality of wealth among citizens and protecting their natural resources. Over a quarter of the country is set aside for conservation! With a modern international airport in San Jose and well-maintained highways, Costa Rica is very welcoming to tourists. Due to its friendly culture and “rich coastal” natural resources, Costa Rica is rated one of the hottest eco-travel destinations in the world!
This program is designed for teens ages 14-17 that are passionate about sea turtle conservation and looking for a tropical adventure abroad. Join us on our next trip as we:
- Receive sea turtle patrol training
- Perform sunrise and nocturnal nest walks
- Collect data on nesting females
- Raft down the Pacuare River
- Hike with a naturalist through the rainforest
- Zip-line through the cloud canopy
- Take Spanish lessons from native speakers
- Earn thirty hours of community service credit.
Camp tuition includes: all lodging, meals, 24-hour same gender adult supervision (6:1 camper to staff ratio), shuttle to and from San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), equipment, daily transportation, t-shirt, activity fees, community service certificate and your team photo. Arrival should be scheduled between 12-3 pm on the first day and departures between 1-4 pm on the last day.
2017 Costa Rica Camp Dates:
Costa Rica supports both rich marine ecosystems and diverse rainforest habitats, and we will have the opportunity to explore each environment while gaining a better understanding of their inhabitants. We provide teenagers with the opportunity to learn more about marine biology through hands-on, feet wet experiential educational. Campers get the extraordinary opportunity to work with live sea turtles as well as participate in some amazing daily activities designed to teach them through experience instead of out of a textbook.
During this 14-day adventure we will:
- Volunteer with a sea turtle conservation organization
- Participate in sunrise or nocturnal sea turtle nest spotting walks
- Conduct nighttime sea turtle nest/hatchling watch
- Help collect data on nesting female turtles
- Learn proper beach patrol procedures
- Work in shifts at a hatchery and turtle rehabilitation center
- Participate in whitewater rafting adventure tour along the Pacuare River
- Canopy zip lining through the cloud canopy rainforest
- Take guided nature hikes through the rainforest
- Learn Spanish from native speakers
We will be staying at a mixture of eco-lodges and research stations as we travel through Costa Rica. Students of same gender will be housed together, with each participant having his or her own bed with linens provided. A Sea Turtle Camp staff member will stay on site, providing 24 hour same gender supervision.
In Monteverde, we will stay in bunkhouses at the University of Georgia Costa Rica campus. While rafting along the Pacuare River we will stay at an eco-lodge right next to the river, giving us the opportunity to see other rafters face the rapids we have recently descended.
While doing turtle research on the Caribbean coast, we will be housed at La Tortuga Feliz. This facility is situated on an isolated beach that can be reached by boat. The facility operates using solar power and has modern, same gender restroom facilities.
Do I get to see real live sea turtles?
- YES!!! We volunteer with La Tortuga Feliz and will have opportunities to work in the rehabilitation center, support the sea turtle hatchery and participate in evening nest patrols.
What kind of community service will I be doing?
- At Sea Turtle Camp service is the most rewarding part of our program, and we like to think of it as service learning. Everything we do at La Tortuga Feliz, from working directly with live sea turtles, cleaning, and feeding sounds more like enjoyment than service, but it is.
Should I bring a friend?
- While most participants come alone, you are welcome to come with a friend.
How old are the campers I will be rooming with?
- Roommates are grouped together by age in order to enhance the overall level of comfort.
I am a finicky eater. Can you cater to special diets?
- We can accommodate many varieties of food preferences. If you require a special diet, we are happy to work with you to ensure your dietary needs are met. However, as Costa Rica is a field-based, international travel program, we will be unable to cater to severe food allergies.
What do I need to bring?
- A complete packing list will be included with your informational registration packet.
What sort of payment do you accept?
- We accept checks, money orders, or VISA/MC/AMEX credit cards. All credit card payments are processed online using a secure server. There is a $50 service charge for all returned checks. With the exception of the trip deposit, a 3% credit card surcharge will be assessed to all payments made by credit card. Please review our cancellation policy. Deposits are not refundable after acceptance into a program.
What airport is best to fly into for your program, and do you provide a shuttle service?
- You will fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), where our staff will meet you to start your Costa Rican adventure.
What if I can’t get in by the set check in time?
- Please contact our Program Coordinator to discuss arrivals and departures outside of our preferred times. In order to avoid missing any planned activities, participants should plan to arrive at the airport between 12:00 and 3:00 pm on the first day of camp and depart between 1:00 and 4:00 pm on the last day of camp.
What if my luggage doesn’t make it?
- Occasionally the airlines will misplace luggage or your suitcases will miss connecting flights. We recommend keeping essentials, such as medications, toiletries, bathing suit, and extra change of clothes, in their carry-on luggage just in case.
What is your cancellation policy?
- Sea Turtle Camp is an extremely high quality, tight margined program, with limited space. Therefore, once your student has been accepted into the program, exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather or personal emergencies. Please review the terms of our cancellation policy. In order to enroll in camp you must agree to these terms.
Do you have insurance?
- We carry a comprehensive insurance package, including general liability.
How much spending money should I bring?
- We recommend campers bring $50 to $75 per week of camp. This is for snacks, souvenirs or gifts you wish to purchase while at camp.