Marine Conservation Program Costa Rica
This essential program aims to conserve Costa Rica's precious marine environment, which has been decimated by human activities to the point of endangerment. Sadly, without preservation, much of this area's incredible marine life may cease to exist.
Volunteers have the unique opportunity to work alongside marine biologists at a field research station in Playa Agujas. This critical project collates scientific data on endangered species and works to reforest coral species and protect and preserve dolphin and whale populations in the Golfo Dulce. A willing volunteer workforce is critical to completing the many tasks and ambitious goals of this program.
Goals of this Project:
- Assist on projects to improve the environment in which sea turtles, dolphins and whales live, feed, breed and nest
- On-water monitoring (using kayaks) of coral, dolphin and whale populations with a view to protection and preservation
- Research these wonderful creatures for a greater understanding of how to ensure their survival
- Contribute to the conservation of the Sea Turtle populations in Costa Rica
- Enable inter-cultural exchange between international volunteers and locals.
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an integral role in achieving the goals of this project. Like many conservation programs funds are greatly lacking and a willing volunteer labor force is essential to its success. Those working on this program will support research and conservation efforts across three focus areas: Coral Reef Monitoring and Reforestation, Dolphin and Whale Monitoring and Sea Turtle Conservation.
Working with recognised national and international marine conservation bodies, volunteers will conduct on-water research in sea kayaks to site and record coral reef species and dolphin and whale activity. On land volunteers will work to improve the marine habitat through reforestation efforts, ensuring beaches are rubbish free and educational activities. Volunteers are fortunate enough to spend one day each week at the Sea Turtle Conservation program, helping to protect and preserve this majestic marine creature.
This is a wonderful program that has a direct impact on the safety and survival of sea turtle, dolphin and whale populations on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Volunteers will gain unique experience on conservation projects, learn more about the Costa Rican people and culture and travel to beautiful locations.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Kayak the length of Playa Agujas to site and record dolphin and whale population numbers and ecology data (Tuesday and Thursday, weather permitting)
- Reforestation, beach clean-ups, composting, general maintenance and community outreach as required (Monday and Friday)
- Sea Turtle Conservation activities (including nightly beach patrols in season and maintaining the hatchery)
Note: Volunteer safety is taken very seriously in and around the water. All water based activities will not be undertaken in inclement weather.
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over (17 with parental consent) who wish to give their time and energy to help protect and conserve the marine environment in Costa Rica. The project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by one of local project leaders. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
This project is based on stunning Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica's South Pacific coast. Off the beaten tourist track, Osa is a veritable paradise and Costa Rica at its very best!
The Peninsula is dominated by the Corcovado National Park with its vast array of native wildlife including endangered species and Costa Rica's big cats. Guided jungle adventures can be arranged from Puerto Jiménez. Marine enthusiasts and beach lovers will enjoy the attractions of Drake Bay, Caño Island marine reserve and the surf beaches of Cabo Matapalo and Carate.
Puerto Jiménez is the peninsula's largest town and provides a great base for exploring the region, providing easy access to both the vast expanse of the Parque Nacional Corcovado for hiking and wildlife and the emerald waters of the Golfo Dulce for beaches and surf. Marine Conservation work is based at Agujas.
Immersing volunteers into its unspoilt natural beauty and providing a genuine insight into the 'Tico' way of life; Osa peninsula is the genuine article!
See the Additional Info. section for examples of optional excursions in the area.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round with arrivals every SATURDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 4 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Our local team provide airport pick-up from San Jose on Saturday (or Sunday, prior to 10am).
Volunteers are met on arrival and transferred to a host family if arriving Saturday. On Sunday volunteers enjoy an orientation session at 9am before being taken to the bus station to catch the 12pm bus to Puerto Aguajas (detailed instructions and a bus ticket are provided). The journey takes 6 hours including a 15min rest stop.
In Puerto Aguasjas our local team meet volunteers off the bus and take them to the volunteer accommodation.
- Program Arrival Day: SATURDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica (Code: SJO)
A domestic flight from San José to Puerto Jiménez (close to Puerto Aguajas) is available through SANSA airlines for those who prefer to fly.
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this wonderful program are accommodated in Volunteer Housing a short journey from the beach in Playa Agujas. Rooms are dormitory in style and split by gender.
Basic amenities are provided including western bathroom facilities with cold water showers, electricity, ceiling fan and free wifi. Laundry facilities are available at the house. Bedding is provided but volunteers are responsible for towels and consumables such as toilet paper, soap, washing liquid and cleaning products.
Volunteers are provided 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) throughout the placement. Dinner is not included but can be eaten out at one of the local cafes or restaurants where you can try cheap and tasty local food. The meals provided are local cuisine and predominantly vegetarian.
When arriving into San Jose, the first night is spent with a host family near the airport, before boarding the bus to San Jose the following morning.
If you are arriving early or wish to stay on just let us know. Additional nights in the Volunteer House are $45 per person per night.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
The following are available for booking directly with our local team.
Why not use this opportunity to improve your language skills! We offer both University credit Spanish courses and part time Spanish classes at affordable rates.
Want to get certified to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages? Just let us know and the local team will arrange for you to complete the qualification in conjunction with your volunteering placement.
4 DAY CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK GUIDED TRIP ADD-ON $450
Corcovado National Park is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, boasting 2.5% of the earth’s animal species. It is home to at least 367 species of birds, 140 mammals, 71 reptiles, 46 amphibians and 40 freshwater fish. This list includes four types of venomous snake, all four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, an enormous concentration of scarlet macaws (relative to other places in Central America), four species of turtle, peccaries, red-eyed tree frogs, harpy eagles, and a very small number of jaguars.Tapirs – rare animals that look like a cross between a horse and an elephant – are fairly common here, as well as sloths, toucans and pumas.There are many primary jungles (environments that have not been altered by humans) in and around the Drake Bay area. The Floating Tour adventure begins with a relatively short taxi ride to one of the best primary jungles located outside of Corcovado National Park.
LEARN TO SURF and YOGA are also available.