Photo: Batsú Estudio
If you are interested in the Research Assistant position click here
Help us make a change
As a non-profit organization with limited resources, volunteers always play
a vital part in helping us meet our research and conservation goals.
Volunteers help us run our short-term and long-term monitoring programs, as well as care for the Reserve itself. From March to October, they provide us with the assistance necessary to carry out beach monitoring at night and early morning. With basic training, they support the collection of biometric data from female turtles during the nesting process, and support exhumations of eggs and the release of hatchlings. But most importantly, your presence is key to protecting the turtles that nest on the beach at Pacuare Reserve.
Regardless of major or profession, all volunteers share two key traits:
a desire to make a difference and enthusiasm for the work ahead.
Pacuare Reserve receives volunteers throughout the year and the project tasks are not necessarily linked only to research; support in operational tasks and environmental education plays an important role in achieving the site's objectives.
The economic contribution made by our short-term volunteers helps us to offset the costs of the volunteer's stay: transportation by boat to and from the Reserve, food, lodging, and training. The rest is invested in covering our operating expenses that we incur to maintain this great site and in the different research, conservation, and education programs that are key to the sustainability of the Reserve.
We have different categories of short-term and long-term volunteer opportunities available. Which category fits what you’re looking for? With the following process you can enroll as a volunteer in the category of your interest:
Read below the description of each volunteering category.
Contact us by filling the form at the end of this page to ask for available dates to participate or to ask for more information.
Our staff will contact you to provide you availability, rates, and orientation prior your arrival.
Click on the categories
to see more information.
Short Term Volunteers
For volunteers that can stay between two nights and one week. Many people have commitments with work, family, and education and are only able to come for a weekend. A lot of Costa Ricans fall into this category. We invite you to come volunteer for this short-term opportunity, ideally with two people minimum.
If you have inquiries about Short Term Volunteers you can fill out the form at the end of this page.
Research and conservation activities our volunteers are involved in
How the volunteer can involve themselves
Time of year and seasonality
Participate in the beach walk under the supervision of a research assistant, in search of nesting sea turtles (distance 12 km, 5 hours on average).
Once a turtle is found, record the biometric data, site location using GPS, and then tag the turtle.
Relocate the nests to the hatchery.
March to October
Leatherback turtle nesting season:
March to July.
Green and Hawksbill turtle nesting season:
July to October
Sea turtle research and
Hatchery care, nest exhuming and hatchlings release
The hatchery is cared for day and night. Release the hatchlings and collect data, including length and width of the shell, and weight.
Release and protect the hatchlings on their journey to the sea.
Exhume the nests to record important data and make sure that no hatchlings remain.
*The hacthling season begins approximately in May and
the hatchery is monitored 24/7.
May to October
Monitoring program support
We monitor big cats through trap cameras, with the aim of estimating the density of felines and their prey, the abundance of other animals and understanding how these species use the habitat in order to propose strategies for their protection. Volunteers support tasks
Maintaining trap cameras in working order.
Retrieving memory cards and processing images.
Selecting and categorizing photographs.
Uploading images to our platform.
All the programs
Cleaning scientific equipment
A part of any research project is maintaining the equipment such as binoculars, backpacks, pits, taggers and other materials, in optimal conditions for use. Volunteers help with this daily.
Other volunteer activities
Program or focus area
Time of year
Volunteers work in the solid waste management component of the Ecological Blue Flag Program in the Beach Categories,
to maintain the Reserve as a sustainability benchmark.
Clean, classify, and when possible reuse waste material
Ecological Blue Flag Program
Our beach is 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) long, and we can only keep the beach clean and free of obstacles with the help of our volunteers.
Signage and green space upkeep
Volunteers with creative skills can add their artistic touch to Reserve signage.
Keep green spaces clean by sweeping leaves and moving organic waste
Sea turtle conservation
and research program
Hatchery building involves: digging and straining sand one meter deep, sifting sand, and building a structure with one half in the sun, one half in the shade.
All the tasks involve physical effort, rain or shine. It is necessary to be in good physical condition.
*These tasks are assigned based on necessity in the moment, and not up to the choice of the volunteers.
Specific dates in
January - February
(no nesting occurs
Must be 18 years old minimum or be accompanied by an adult.
You must be able to work during the day or at night during turtle monitoring.
You must be in good physical condition and able to work in hot, humid conditions, walk 12 km (7.5 miles) in soft sand, and work flexible hours.
Complete 6 hours of volunteer work per day (or night depending on schedule).
Be a proactive person.