Costa Rica | Studying Endangered Sea Turtles

Costa Rica | Studying Endangered Sea Turtles

About this trip

Since 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s research and conservation initiatives have been instrumental in saving the Caribbean green turtle from immediate extinction, as well as raising awareness and protection for sea turtles across the globe. Journey to the John H. Phipps Biological Field Station in Tortuguero to participate in nightly sea turtle monitoring patrols. Students will assist researchers with measuring turtles, counting eggs, marking nests, and recording data about the activities of nesting female sea turtles.

Highlights

  • Contribute to critical scientific research with the Sea Turtle Conservancy during nightly sea turtle monitoring patrols.
  • Observe the wildlife inhabiting Tortuguero National Park.
NOTE: This program is only available between July 1 and October 15.
8 Travelers

$2,595

Land Cost

Group size

Book 7 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$2,195

Land Cost

Group size

Book 14 travelers and 2 group
leaders travel for free

San José

Day 1

Upon arrival at the airport in San José, you'll be met by a local representative and escorted to your hotel. The Radisson San José has been awarded a Level 5 Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST) and is recognized as a TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Platinum hotel for its dedication to environmental protection and responsible business practices. Lecture facilities are available to discuss your course objectives if desired. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening following a welcome orientation by your guide for the program at the hotel. This afternoon attend an orientation to get to know your guide and the amazing country that will be your home for the next week. In order to arrive in time for orientation and dinner, please book flights that arrive into San José no later than 4:30 pm. Minimum age to participate in sea turtle monitoring is 16 years old.** This program operates July-Oct 15th only

Dinner included
Overnight at Radisson San Jose

Tortuguero

Day 2

This morning travel by bus to a dock for the boat transfer to Tortuguero National Park. Located on the northern Caribbean coast, Tortuguero consists of a series of natural interconnecting canals and provides a unique opportunity to observe wildlife by boat. Along the inland waterways you may see spider monkeys, crocodiles, three-toed sloths, wading birds, manatees, and caiman. From late June through late October, Tortuguero is the most important nesting site in the western Caribbean for the endangered green sea turtle. In the spring, from late March to mid-June, the endangered leatherback comes to nest. Other turtles that nest on these beaches include the hawksbill and the occasional loggerhead. Following check in at the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) dormitory, meet with a STC research biologist at the John H. Phipps Biological Field Station for an orientation and slide presentation in preparation for your first evening of turtle monitoring. Turtle monitoring is done in small groups in two shifts, 8pm to 12am and 12am to 4am. During shifts, walk along the beach in search of nesting females and assist researchers with measuring and collecting data including each turtle's size and nesting location.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sea Turtle Conservancy - dorms

Tortuguero

Day 3

The morning is at leisure to rest from the night patrols. This afternoon, explore the canal waterways in search of wildlife. The extensive network of freshwater creeks and lagoons in Tortuguero is home to seven species of river turtles, spectacled caimans, southern river otters, many crustaceans, and more than 50 species of freshwater fish. Be on the lookout for spider, howler, and white-faced capuchin monkeys, and expect to see several different species of birds. If lucky, you might even spot an endangered West Indian manatee. The late afternoon is free for coursework. This evening, continue assisting researchers with turtle monitoring during the second nightly sea turtle patrol shifts.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sea Turtle Conservancy - dorms

Tortuguero

Day 4

The morning and afternoon are at leisure to continue coursework and/or explore the village of Tortuguero; perhaps even play a game of soccer with the locals. This evening, continue the sea turtle patrols.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sea Turtle Conservancy - dorms

Tortuguero

Day 5

This morning explore the waterways of Tortuguero National Park during another canal tour. The afternoon is free for coursework. Continue sea turtle monitoring this evening.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sea Turtle Conservancy - dorms

Tortuguero

Day 6

Today is free for independent coursework. This evening continue sea turtle patrols.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sea Turtle Conservancy - dorms

Tortuguero

Day 7

Another full day for coursework with evening turtle patrols.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sea Turtle Conservancy - dorms

San José

Day 8

After breakfast, board a boat to begin the scenic return to the dock near Guapiles. Transfer by bus to San José. En route visit the Rainforest Aerial Tram for lunch and a gondola ride through the canopy treetops. Continue to San Jose. Enjoy a farewell dinner and end of trip reflection.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Wyndham Herradura

Farewell!

Day 9

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Breakfast- included