Volunteers are very important to us! Thanks to them we have been able to run the project a lot more smoothly and this brings additional value to our work. No special skills are needed as full training will be provided before you are expected to carry out any work. A good level of either English or Spanish is essential however. Spanish at a basic level is very useful if you are English speaking, as the majority of our staff only speak Spanish. However the basics are very easy and quick to pick up! The most important requirement to become a volunteer here at the station is to have a strong motivation to protect the environment as the work can sometimes be carried out in not the best of conditions (eg. torrential downpours, sand fleas, irregular sleeping hours). There will be opportunities to generate ideas, use your creativity and take responsibility in many occasions. Longer visits are encouraged in order for you to get the most out of the experience.
The official turtle season runs from the 15th March - 15th July (although turtles start appearing from the end of February). Our busiest season is April and May, although we could always use some help before the start of the season, to help get the project up and running.
Accommodation at the turtle station is quite basic. You will be staying in a 3- or 4-bed cabin (2 bunk beds), so if other volunteers are staying at the project at the same time you could be sharing a room with them. Every two cabins share a bathroom (with a shower, flush toilet and hand basin). The plumbing system cannot cope with much, so please put any toilet paper or sanitary products in the basket provided next to the toilet. Unfortunately there are no curtains in the rooms, so you may want to bring a sarong to hang across your window. All windows have mosquito netting but it is recommended you bring your own mosquito net to hang over your bed as this will help you get a better night's rest. We also recommend you keep your door closed as much as possible, especially after dark so the mosquitoes don't get in. Leaving your shoes outside your room and sweeping your room will help keep sand flies out.
Short-term volunteers can choose what they would like to be involved in, but will not take on as many responsibilities as long-term volunteers.
Life at the Station
Everything runs on solar power and the occasional generator, so each room is provided with a dim light. Sometimes when it rains or has been very cloudy during the day, solar power runs out, so it is strongly recommended you keep a flashlight with you at all times after dark. Candles can be provided in this case. Electronic equipment can be charged (weather permitting), please ask for permission beforehand.
All water is pumped from a single well, so one must be sparing not only to respect the environment, but also so that you are not left without water in the middle of the night when you come back from patrol all sandy, desperately needing a shower!
Food is also quite basic sometimes, but delicious! All produce comes from the local towns Matina and Bataan, although some produce is grown at the station, such as avocados, pineapples, passionfruit, lemons, and eggs amongst others. There are three meals a day: 9am - Breakfast, 1pm - Lunch and 7pm - Dinner. Rice and beans are served with every meal, accompanied by eg. salad, cheese, eggs, some sort of meat, plantains or other typical Costa Rican food. The women in the family are in charge of cooking but everyone is expected to share dinner duties (laying the table/washing up). Let us know if you are vegetarian or have any food allergies! You may wish to buy some snacks before you come to the station (such as energy bars, dried fruits, biscuits, etc) as you could get hungry coming back from patrol in the early hours of the morning. It is quite a way to get to the nearest shop so be prepared.