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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.

Volunteering categories

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:

  1. Read below the description of each volunteering category.

  2. 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.

  3. Our staff will contact you to provide you availability, rates, and orientation prior your arrival.

Click on the categories

to see more information.

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

Research Program

How the volunteer can involve themselves


Time of year and seasonality

Night Walk

  • 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
conservation program

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


and prey
monitoring program

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
such as:


  • Maintaining trap cameras in working order.

  • Retrieving memory cards and processing images.

  • Selecting and categorizing photographs.

  • Uploading images to our platform.

All year

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.

All year

Other volunteer activities

Program or focus area

Volunteer involvement


Time of year

Recycling Area

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

All year

Ecological Blue Flag Program

Beach cleaning

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.

All year
*Exclusively for

Operative tasks

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

All year

Sea turtle conservation
and research program

Hatchery construction

  • 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
these months)

*Exclusively for


  •  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.

For more information about volunteering complete the form at the end of this section or send us an email! or

Boat transportation provided on the check in and check out day from the dock to the Reserve and visceversa.

Orientation and supervision during the participation in volunteering activities.

Meals and lodging in rustic cabins shared  with other volunteers (no electricity, no light and non private bath in cabins).

We will do our best to actively involve you in our team in order to carry out the activities which will make a valuable impact on the project!

Non-traditional Volunteering
For all ages, fit to you needs

Maybe you've reached an age where you think volunteering at a nature reserve or conservation station is no longer for you. The idea of staying in a cabin with a shared bathroom and sleeping on a bunk bed doesn't appeal to you and you long for a little more privacy and comfort. You like the idea of collaborating, but you don't want to commit to 5 hours a day or stay for an extended stay.


Are you traveling alone, but would like to experience the camaraderie of being a part of our community? Perhaps you are traveling with your family and want to teach your children the importance of conservation work, but think your children are too young to volunteer?

If any of the above applies to you, we'd love to have you and have the perfect place for you. Casa Grande Eco-Lodge offers comfortable accommodation with private bathrooms. Casa Baula is a two-bedroom cabin with a private bathroom, ideal for families with children. You can stay as long as you want, and help as much as you want and can.

Email or and we’ll create the perfect volunteer experience for you!


In order to obtain more information about your preferred volunteering category, please fill out this form.

This form is not a booking nor an availability confirmation, but, a contact point to get in touch with you soon!

Volunteering of interest:

Dates of interest

Thank you for contacting us

By bus*:

  1. You must take the bus San José - Siquirres at the Caribeños Station (we recommend traveling early in the morning from San José).

  2. In Siquirres you must take the bus to Bataan (you must go to the Tracasa bus terminal).

  3. Once in Bataan, you must take a taxi** to the dock.

*You can only visit the Pacuare Reserve with previous coordination.

**If you need a taxi from Bataan to the dock, the Reserve will coordinate this service.

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