Bird adventures are available March-October. Volunteers will learn to identify the local and migrant birds in the area, and the basics of bird handling and data collection. They will assist researchers at (temporary) capture stations and with bird censuses and migration counts. Trips can be added one after the other, so those interested in working with leatherbacks and birds can come March-May, while those interested in green turtles and birds can plan a trip for August-October.
Tortuguero has been called “Costa Rica’s Amazon” for its rainforest and abundance of wildlife. It’s such a popular destination for ecovacations (turtle conservancy in particular) that they have even developed their own website (with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer) at www.tortuguerovillage.com, which has a “must-do” list of activities that, in addition to checking out the turtles on the beach, includes hikes in the rainforest, boat tours in the island canals, a visit to the turtle museum, a tour of the village, ocean swimming, and a jungle zip line tour.
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
toll-free U.S. tel. 800/678-7853
Application Process: There is an online application form. Individual volunteers must be 18; 16- and 17-year-olds are welcome if accompanied by an adult.
Cost: Prices range US$1,439-1,999 per person for one week and include accommodations, meals, laundry service, in-country transportation (including a domestic flight Tortuguero-San José at the end of the trip), and either a boat excursion through Tortuguero’s canal system or a guided hike through the rainforest.
Placement Length: One week minimum.
Language Requirements: None.
Housing: Volunteers can choose between a rustic dorm, the scientific residence with private bedrooms and bathrooms, or ecolodges a five-minute walk away. Meals are hearty Costa Rican food.
Operating Since: 1959
Number of Volunteers: 130 in 2012
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.