Twenty-five years ago almost every turtle nest was ransacked by poachers but today, by guarding the beach night and day for seven months of the year, the loss to poachers is less than two percent.

March to June is the nesting season for these giant turtles and from June to September Green turtles also nest here. From May onwards, hatchlings can be seen emerging from their nests. Our night-time beach patrols run throughout the season and everyone is invited to join in. The Reserve is forested throughout. What was once logged for timber or grazed by cattle is now a protected home for a wide variety of wildlife –over 32 species of mammal including jaguar, ocelot, three species of monkeys and many reptiles.

With beach, forest and freshwater habitats, the Reserve has a wide variety of birds and we have listed 230 species. The rare and beautiful Agami heron nests in a small lagoon within the Reserve. It is the only nesting site in Costa Rica.  A main trail, which is also a bicycle path, runs the whole length of the reserve through the forest behind the beach. Other, shorter trails lead to areas of special interest.

Pacuare-Maps
Costa-Rica-Maps

 

John and Hilda Denham were named Sustainable Travellers of the Year 2013 by the National Geographical Society and received the award at a ceremony at the headquarters of the Society in Washington DC in February 2014.

 

“Thank you for allowing me to remember why I became a biologist.  To witness the beginning of a new life that swims into the sea is an unforgettable experience.  Thank you for everything”
Miguel
I went with 19 others to learn and help them through Ecology Project International and the ocean was amazing! Leatherback Sea Turtles are so cool! Definitely worth the 9 days down there. I saw all three types of monkeys in their rainforest. The reser…
Collin 2014
We have just returned from a stay at the reserve and it was wonderful. myself, my husband and our two children (age 9 and 5) stayed for three nights in the Casa Grande
We did not go on turtle season, but still loved the boat rides though the canals,…
Irene 2014
We have just returned from a stay at the reserve and it was wonderful. myself, my husband and our two children (age 9 and 5) stayed for three nights in the Casa Grande
We did not go on turtle season, but still loved the boat rides though the canals,…
Irene 2014
This week has been simply amazing. Not only have we managed to see both Leatherbacks and Greens (and in Rob’s case, Hawksbill hatchlings!) but have also been able to explore the beautiful natural habitat surrounding the camp and have seen some extr…
Helen and Rob, York, U.K
The night patrols were the hardest as they were often late and done in total darkness but this is when you have the best chance to see a Female turtle. We saw plenty of evidence that turtles had been on the beach but no turtles. Then on a night I had…
Lewis Reford 2014
This is a beautiful place filled with purpose and wonderful people!
Maryann and Patrick, CA, USA
I learned a lot about turtles and that I can survive without technology for a week haha. I will definitely come back next year.
Tyler Martinez (16), Florida, USA
The house “la casa grande” was great. Also as we were all by ourselves there! The house is very well maintained. The shower was perfect with warm water from the solar panel. The house has a terrific terrace with a great view. The food was excellent.…
Viviane 2014
I took my 16 year old daughter and it changed her life. Best thing we ever did together. two years later she writes from school that she misses it and wants to go back.
Elizabeth 2014

No podre plasmar en palabras, la experiencia, que gracias a Hilda junto a su grupo de colaboradores, entre ellos Carlos y Zaida, pude disfrutar, escuchar, tocar….un sitio maravilloso donde lo Natural manda.  La vivencia de asistir a ver desovar a, …

Lucia Rojas '2015
A once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten. Time passes much more slowly when sunrise and sunset make up the schedule of the day. The journey to the camp along the bumpy road through the plantations introduced us to an experience th…
Rob (47) 2013
This project and the people here are an inspiration. I can’t wait to come back!
Ethan Woodis, Colorado, USA
I stayed in the reserve for a week and I would say that it really is a unique experience. It has nothing to do with a zoo as you are the one coming to the jungle and the natural habitat of the animals instead of bringing them in a cage. The sta…
Fabien, France
The turtles, capuchin monkeys in the tree next door, howler monkeys and baby crocodiles across the lagoon, hundreds of birds and pristine beach as far as the eye can see make up for any discomfort. if you like nature and adventure, come here!!
Susannah and family 2014
Thank you to everyone for making this time so special for the both of us and keep up the amazing conservation work you are doing. The charm and atmosphere of this place is simply unique! Thank you again
Helen and Rob, York, UK
Visiting here is an opportunity to see and experience nature like very, very few people ever get to do. If you do decide to visit, (just getting there is an experience) be sure to ask to go on a hike into the rain forest at night. There was a local g…
Symdad 2013
The turtles, capuchin monkeys in the tree next door, howler monkeys and baby crocodiles across the lagoon, hundreds of birds and pristine beach as far as the eye can see make up for any discomfort. if you like nature and adventure, come here!!
Susannah and family 2014
“What an amazing experience we had here at Pacuare Reserva! The weather was kind- sunny and breezy- the people were kinder! Helpful, attentive and educating. And the turtles were accommodating and generous, they came early in the night and nest…
Regina, Theo and Luis, USA
We honestly had zero expectations upon arrival- I had only hoped for a memorable experience, one that I would look back on in several years and think ‘Wow! What a great adventure!’ It truly was! We were fortunate enough to see 6 leatherback…
Kristi and Derek, CA, USA
The field assistants and staff plus the volunteers were all enthusiastic and dedicated to helping and protecting the turtles and this is very encouraging. The food too was also very good!  
Roly Little U.K
What a fantastic place in every sense. Thank you for a lovely time. We have seen a great deal, learnt a great deal and met some fabulous people. Staff are amazing. Hope to be back one day. Hola! Muchas gracias for having us, had an estupendo tim…
Lily Peters, U.K
What an amazing experience! Definitely up there with my top ten- seeing Galapagos tortoises is included in top ten too. Surreal, emotional, religious- I feel like I made a difference and will continue to do so back in my dialogues and lessons. I am s…
Sandy (like the beach) Li tvin, Unionville High School, Pennsylvania
Thank you for your hospitality. We enjoyed our stay immensely. The experience of watching a sea turtle lay her eggs and return to the sea was awe inspiring. Waking up to the howler monkeys and the ocean was amazing! Thanks again!  
Erika, Becca, Jordan, Sara, Austin, Colt, Dakota and Luke. Hodgena County High School, Jetmou, KS, USA
Hermoso trabajo el que realizan, Robinson, Colombia
Robinson, Colombia
Thank you very much to everybody for making my stay here enjoyable and for including me in the patrols and census. Everybody was very helpful and took time to explain about the project, answer all my questions and to ensure that I got the most …
Roly Little U.K
It goes without saying that the turtles drew me here, but seeing the commitment of the staff working with these amazing beasts really made the trip for me.The abundance of other diverse species in the reserve shows how well the project is managed and…
Sharon Heywood U.K.
“Costa Rica is a wonderful country and the Pacuare Reserve a tiny jewel- precious and hard to find but so worth the long and sweaty (!) trip. The staff are welcoming, incredibly dedicated and work tirelessly to protect this beautiful strip of…
Sharon Heywood U.K.
Margarita and I went to Pacuare Reserve principally to see Leatherback turtles coming ashore at night to lay their eggs. Our first night, we went out on “patrol” with a volunteer, Irvine, from the team, and within one hour we were witnessing this mos…
Richard 2014
Our family decided to take a different kind of vacation this year, where we and our kids could actually live and experience nature and conservation. Standing next to my daughter (11) in the dark as a magnificent  Leatherback turtle laid its eggs is …
Alex, Allison, Samantha & Evan Wong
Thank you Pacuare for my unique and lovely stay with you all. You have taught me about turtles, flora and fauna, but above all how a community lives and works together with dedication, grace and laughter. It has been marvelous fun to meet you all, …
Deborah James, U.K.
John and Hilda are doing an incredible, hands on, long term, participatory as can be turtle conservation since a very long time. Time to give them a hand..bizim kaplumbağa çalışmaları için çok iyi örnek
Nergis  Yazgan 2014
The house “la casa grande” was great. Also as we were all by ourselves there! The house is very well maintained. The shower was perfect with warm water from the solar panel. The house has a terrific terrace with a great view. The food was excellent.…
Viviane 2014
Muchas gracias to a wonderful team of people. Your hard work and sense of humour keep this project running. Really had a great experience here and would love to return some time. All the best,
David Edwards, U.K.
Having experienced the work carried out at Pacuare Nature Reserve first hand last year I can highly recommend it as an experience that I will never forget!! Watching a momma turtle leave the sea to dig her nest, lay her eggs, and then so carefully ca…
Siobhan  2013
Gracias por permitirme recordar cual fue mi motivación de convertirme en biólogo. Ver el inicio de una vida que se adentra en el mar es un momento inolvidable. Gracias por todo, Miguel, Colombia-Chile
Miguel, Colombia-Chile
The sight of the sea turtle returning to sea after such a laborious process is an image I will always remember.
Abby Wood
Thank you for such an amazing experience! I’m so glad I came to stay and contributed to the protection of leatherbacks. Great reserve with great people doing great things!
Tray Suff
It was a wonderful stay here, friendly people, wonderful landscape and the exciting experience of getting in touch with turtles, I wish you all the best for this project. Thank you very much for this unforgettable week!
Susanne, Vienna, Austria
Visiting here is an opportunity to see and experience nature like very, very few people ever get to do. If you do decide to visit, (just getting there is an experience) be sure to ask to go on a hike into the rain forest at night. There was a local g…
Symdad 2013
Experiencias como esta nos acercan a los misterios de nuestra propia existencia. Nos dan señales de lo perfecto de la creación y de la mano de Dios en ese proceso. Aún después de tanta investigación y observación, quedan tantas preguntas sin re…
Max A. Sotto, C.R.
Excavating nests and learning about the process, assisting with the release of the baby Leatherbacks, experiencing the laying of the green turtle at night- the added ambiance of the rain, lightening and thunder were scary but will make the memorie…
Janice, Danyelle, Jordyna and Nick. Alberta, Canada
The food was great (the healthiest I have ever eaten on holiday!), the friendly atmosphere was lovely and I had lots of fun, free Spanish lessons, courtesy of Anna and Alvaro. Molly wants to work with animals when she grows up and this has given her …
Louise Everist
We are leaving Pacuare with a great appreciation for all that you are doing to conserve the sea turtle populations, and thus the broader balance in the great marine ecosystems. There are not many who can do what you are doing for the length of …
Pam Matson, Rocky Hill School

Ningún día fue igual al otro, las noticias diarias trataron por ejemplo: de la llegada de las aves Agami Agami, el desove del  cocodrilo hembra o el jaguar cruzando el canal; todo me sorprendía en este majestuoso paisaje abriendo cada uno de mis …

Lucia Rojas
“I know that the Pacuare Nature Reserve would make a perfect site for a huge number of biological, ecological and environmental projects.”
Elizabeth EadleUniversity of New Mexicoresearched the capuchin monkey for 5-years
What a fantastic place in every sense. Thank you for a lovely time. We have seen a great deal, learnt a great deal and met some fabulous people. Staff are amazing. Hope to be back one day. Good luck,
Richard Guy, U.K.
My husband and I volunteered for 2 weeks at Pacuare, and what an incredible experience we had! Although we went right at the beginning of turtle egg-laying season, we were fortunate enough to see leatherbacks laying, 2 nights in a row. This place is …
Daniela Mansfield
Thank you so much for everything. This place is magical and I feel it has changed us forever, and if more people could be aware of the importance of Pacuare it would be great.  Keep up the good work! We love you!  
Matt and Jen, Manchester, UK
“What a fantastic place in every sense. Thank you for a lovely time. We have seen a great deal, learnt a great deal and met some fabulous people. Staff are amazing. Hope to be back one day. Good luck
Richard Guy

 

THINGS TO DO