Free and Low Cost Opportunities to Volunteer Abroad
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Baby sea turtle heading for the ocean
OrganizationLa Tortuga Feliz
CountryCosta Rica
Program Costs$20 One time
Duration2 week minimum
Room & Board$15 per day
Language RequirementsEnglish
La Tortuga Feliz is a non-profit organization whose aims are the protection of sea turtles and the improvement of the living conditions and education of the local inhabitants. The local inhabitants generate income by cooperating in the project; they guard the beach together with the volunteers and act as tour guides for eco tourists and assist with various agricultural activities. By helping to generate an income for the locals, we hope to take away the necessity for them to poach the turtles and again by working in partnership with them we seek to establish an ideal environment for the turtles to lay their eggs.

The project is situated on an isolated Caribbean beach in Costa Rica, 1 km north of the mouth of the Pacuare River. It covers 10 km of coastline and has a total surface of 800 hectares. The beach is part of the 50 km stretch between Tortuguero National Park and the harbour of Limón. The area is not only unique in every way, but is also famous as being the nesting site where the four largest spieces of Marine turtles (Leatherback, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and the Green Turtle) come to lay their eggs.

Poachers, fishing nets, polution and other threats are the cause of an alarming decline in turtles being born on this beach. In particular the 10 km covered by the project is in danger, for it has no protection whatsoever.The late Paul Lepoutre, took the initiative in April 2004 to establish a Biological Reserve here. His approach was rather unique and has the special attention and support of various organizations around the world, most notably the World Wildlife Fund.