Costa Rica | Tortuguero and Arenal with the Sea Turtle Conservancy

Costa Rica | Tortuguero and Arenal with the Sea Turtle Conservancy

About this trip

You are invited to join the Sea Turtle Conservancy on an exclusive, guided journey to experience the warmth of tropical beaches and rainforests in Costa Rica while we explore the wonders of sea turtles. During this short and immersive trip we will spend a few nights working hands-on with green turtles in Tortuguero – nesting site of the largest green turtle colony in the Atlantic and the literal birthplace of sea turtle conservation. You will be guided by world-renowned sea turtle biologist and STC Scientific Director, Dr. Roldán Valverde, a Costa Rican native, who will give presentations on sea turtle research and conservation, as well as rainforest ecology, biodiversity and local “Tico” culture. This trip will include a visit to the Arenal volcano, where you will enjoy natural hot springs and other natural attractions around this active volcano region. Through an optional trip add-on (space is limited), you have a unique opportunity to visit the site where a magnificent wonder of nature occurs – Ostional on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. Ostional is home to the second largest mass arrival (arribada) of olive ridley sea turtles in the world. While we can’t guarantee the ability to actually witness an arribada, we are hoping the stars will align during this trip.
Your participation on this trip supports the STC's work in conservation, education, and research through a built-in donation.

Highlights

  • Assist STC researchers with turtle nest monitoring, tagging, and tracking during evening turtle patrols on the beaches of Tortuguero.
  • Explore Tortuguero National Park by boat and on foot to seek out wildlife like monkeys, sloths, caimans, and more than 350 bird species.
  • Hike in Arenal Volcano National Park to learn about the geology of the area, and then visit Arenal Hanging Bridges for a treetop view of the rainforest canopy and its flora and fauna.
  • Enjoy a relaxing soak in the geothermal hot springs near Arenal Volcano.

Meet your leader

Roldán Valverde

Dr. Roldán A. Valverde is Scientific Director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy. Dr. Valverde was born and raised in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. He earned his undergraduate degree in Marine Biology at the Universidad Nacional of Costa Rica in 1985. He initiated his professional career in 1987 working on the nesting ecology of the olive ridley sea turtle in Nancite beach, Costa Rica. His work on the “arribada” phenomenon led him to continue his studies in graduate school at Texas A&M University, where he received his Doctorate in 1996 for his work on the endocrine stress response of the olive ridley sea turtle. Shortly after graduation he worked for the Caribbean Conservation Corporation (now the Sea Turtle Conservancy) as field coordinator of the green sea turtle tagging project in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. From 1997 through 2001 he conducted post-doctoral training in the Department of Biology at the University of Michigan on the endocrine control of amphibian metamorphosis. In 2001 he came to Xavier University where he taught until he joined the faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2004, where he continues to serve as full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. In 2016 he was appointed Scientific Director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

San Jose

Aug 1, 2022

Upon arrival in San José, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your Hotel Bougainvillea located in the Santo Domingo area. The hotel is surrounded by 10 acres of tropical gardens and features beautiful nighttime views of the city. Attend an orientation with your group leader at 6:00 pm, followed by a welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant. Please note that check-in starts at 3:00 pm. Please arrive at or before 4:00 pm in order to participate in the welcome dinner.

Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Tortuguero

Aug 2, 2022

Early this morning you will depart San Jose by bus and head to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Once there, board a boat and travel to Tortuguero. Upon arrival, you will check into Mawamba Lodge located between the beach and the main canal right next to the STC Phipps Biological Station. Later in the afternoon walk next door to the STC research station. At the station you will learn the history of the STC and the important conservation work they do in Tortuguero. You will also meet with researchers, get a tour of the facilities and discuss plans for this evening's shifts to assist with on-going turtle tagging and research work. Tonight you will return to the station and prepare for your turtle patrol with researchers.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Mawamba Lodge

Tortuguero

Aug 3, 2022

After a late breakfast take a canal safari through Tortuguero National Park. The flora and fauna in Tortuguero is amazing; it includes three out of the four species of monkeys found in Costa Rica, as well as caimans, crocodiles, sloths, more than 350 bird species, and much more. After lunch take a guided hike in the park. The adventurers in the group can climb up Cerro Tortuguero. Once at the top you will be afforded amazing views of the area. In the afternoon you will have time to relax, explore on your own or take a kayak excursion. This evening return to the STC for another night of assisting with sea turtle research.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Mawamba Lodge

Tortuguero

Aug 4, 2022

Early this morning explore the canals again. Setting out early will allow you to experience the park before everyone else gets going. Next visit Tortuguero Village to meet with locals and soak in the local culture. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax or participate in an optional activity. This evening return to the station to assist researchers and wrap up your research.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Mawamba Lodge

Arenal

Aug 5, 2022

This morning you will depart by boat to La Pavona dock. Once there you will enjoy lunch before heading to Arenal and Arenal Springs Resort. After checking in you will have time to relax. Each room is surrounded by exotic gardens and offers direct views of Arenal Volcano. The onsite hot springs are naturally heated by the Arenal Volcano and its underground rivers. There are four different temperatures to enjoy.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Springs Resort & Spa

Arenal

Aug 6, 2022

After breakfast you will explore Arenal National Park. The hike will take you along the base of the active but currently resting, Arenal Volcano, through the forest, over lava flows and to the destroyed area now in the process of regeneration. Your guide will explain the history of the volcano and the changes it has gone through over the years. After your hike visit La Fortuna for lunch and have time to walk around and experience the town. In the afternoon visit Arenal Hanging Bridges where you will experience the rainforest from different vantage points, high and low. In the sanctuary you will explore different layers of the forest from the forest floor, to the understory and the treetops as you traverse 15 bridges, 6 of them are suspended.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Arenal Springs Resort & Spa

San Jose

Aug 7, 2022

This morning, gather for breakfast, and then depart for San José. En route, stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens to explore the many trails, picturesque waterfalls, and lush botanicals. The gardens provide a wonderful introduction to Costa Rica's flora, fauna, and scenic landscapes. Enjoy lunch at La Paz before continuing to San José. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea

Aug 8, 2022

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Check out is at 12 noon.

Breakfast- included