Volunteering Costa Rica Turtle Conservation - Thomas
Volunteering in turtle conservation: Thomas travelled with us to Latin America to dedicate himself to the protection and conservation of endangered turtles. In the following, he reports on his experiences in Costa Rica.
Project: Turtle conservation in Costa Rica
Location: Pacuare in Costa Rica
Duration: 03. - 17.05.2022
Support from the Natucate team:
Volunteering in Costa Rica – Feedback: seven questions for Thomas
1) Could you give us a brief overview of your tasks in the project?
During the day, our activities in the camp were very manageable (2 to 4 hours in the hatchery looking after the eggs while comfortably reading a book in the shade or watching a film on the laptop) and you could therefore pursue your own interests a lot and walk a lot on the beach, swim or play games with the other volunteers. Or simply catch up on sleep from the night.
2) What was the biggest challenge for you during the project?
The biggest challenge for me was getting up every day at around 10 or 11 pm after 2 to 3 hours of short sleep, then walking the 4-5 hours the 12 km night patrol. But once you are walking, you wake up quickly, and the interesting conversations with the usual two other fellow walkers were also awakening.
3) Was there something you liked most? Or something you remember particularly negatively?
The common meal times and the games with everyone in the camp were always the highlights of the day for me, because you could talk to everyone about the experiences of the whole day and especially the night. But also the time when you were alone (be it in the bed protected by a mosquito net, on the beach, or in the hammock with a book) were times I enjoyed very much. There are no negative things to report, except for the heavy rain that often occurred at night.
4) Did you have certain expectations before travelling to the project?
My expectations were to have a lot of time for myself, to be as isolated as possible and to have interesting conversations with many people from all over the world. This was all fulfilled in full.
5) Have you done anything in your free time that you can recommend to future participants?
Almost every day I walked a few kilometres on the beach or along the path next to the beach to see what it looks like at the daytime. At night, you don't see so much on the patrols. The most interesting part for me was always the way south to the delta of the Pacuare River. Here you pass many locals and also can have a conversation with them.
6) What recommendations would you give to other participants?
Bring your own solar panel to charge your mobile phone or notebook independently. A rectangular (not round!!) mosquito net (2 m x 1 m) to attach to the bunk bed or to the roof battens. Without a mosquito net, you will only survive one night at most. A water bottle, closed shoes for the patrol and a rain poncho are almost obligatory. You can always do laundry on site (detergent is in stock). A thin beach towel (1.90 x 0.90 m) is sufficient. Maybe small binoculars for observing the animals.
7) Can you estimate how many additional costs you had on site?
You don't need any money at the camp (unless you want to buy souvenirs, like jumpers, towels or cuddly toys from the camp, I honestly found them many too expensive). I bought some freshly cracked coconuts from Carlos in the neighbourhood almost every other day. 2 pieces for 1,000 colones (approx. 1.50 euros). Otherwise, there is only one very small "shop" at the camp, run by David (river boat captain) and his wife, which can be reached in about 15 minutes on foot to the south. There you can buy coke, beer, chips, chocolate and cigarettes. You should drink them on the spot, as alcohol is not welcome in the camp).
8) Here is still place for other suggestions or stories from you:
In any case, I would like to suggest that the camp should soon be equipped with solar panels and that electricity should not be generated by a diesel generator to power the well pump. To transport the turtle eggs found on the patrols (weighing about 10 - 12 kg), a trolley with large rubber tyres would be very useful, as it was always several kilometres back to the camp and the arms became longer and longer.
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