SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION INTERNSHIP IN COSTA RICA

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

TRAVEL TO COSTA RICA AND GAIN HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE IN SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION

Travel to a tropical paradise along the shores of Costa Rica and work on the frontline of sea turtle conservation. This is a chance for aspiring conservationists and field researchers to join a highly-skilled, dedicated team and gain unparalleled experience in turtle conservation.

Based in one of the busiest stretches of the South Pacific Costa Rican coastlines for sea turtle activity, this organization is committed to bolstering protection of sea turtle beach habitats through a multi-layered approach with a special focus on community involvement. They have established a range of community-driven initiatives educating, empowering, and incentivizing locals to protect natural resources. All their work is underpinned by their independent research into needs of turtle conservation and its greatest threats.

As an intern, your role will be focused on supporting and maintaining their manifold conservation projects but with the option to orient your work more towards research and even devise your own research projects. You’ll receive training in data collection and in-field conservation research, developing extensive knowledge on sea turtles and their behavior. All the while, you’ll gain experience in a variety of conservation work including rescue and rehabilitation, habitat monitoring, and community outreach.

ORGANIZATION

This fast growing organization works to protect turtle nesting beach habitats along the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Established in 2018, they now manage an 8 kilometer stretch of coastline where they register over 7000 nests from which nearly 250,000 hatchlings travel to the ocean each year.

They take an all-rounded approach to their work with a heavy focus on community engagement and development. The majority of their many conservation projects are community-led and they have also developed a number of initiatives on the periphery of turtle conservation, such as marine plastic upcycling and female empowerment groups, that now provide locals with paid employment. At the core of their work is their independent research that fills information gaps in conservation science, influences local policy makers, and informs their educational community outreach programs.

TASKS & REQUIreMENTS

You can expect a great scope for variety in your work on this program. Some days will be spent on beach clean-ups and marine plastic upcycling projects, others days will be devoted to supporting turtle tagging or hatchery management, then you will also work on data-collection and habitat monitoring. On top of all this, there is an array of education and community outreach programs for you to involve yourself with.

Responsibilities

  • Data collection of biometric measurements on nesting females
  • Conducting patrols and census-taking of beach habitats
  • Assist with sea turtle tagging (you won’t be tagging the turtles yourself)
  • Nest excavation
  • Managing sea turtle hatcheries
  • Processing and analyzing data and managing databases
  • Organizing and facilitating education and outreach programs
  • Participating in beach clean-ups, marine plastic upcycling, and other community-led initiatives

Requirements

  • Studying towards or completed a degree in biology, marine conservation or related field
  • Fluent English or Spanish. Basic Spanish is required for community involvement programs
  • Independent worker and team player
  • A passion for conservation
  • An interest in community outreach and development
  • Flexibility and willingness for a range of hands-on work

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

You’ll stay at two camps, moving between the two throughout your internship. Both camps are designed to have the lowest possible impact on the environment. They are open to the natural surroundings, powered by rudimentary solar panels capable of lighting the camps, charging appliances, and providing limited Wi-Fi. Each has a well-equipped kitchen, western toilets, and showers. You’ll sleep in the middle of nature and within earshot of the ocean in airy, semi-enclosed dormitories in bunk beds fitted with mosquito nets.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Costa Rica is generally considered a safe travel destination although you have to keep the normal safety precautions in mind (take care of your valuables, don’t go out alone after dark, etc.). Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before your internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. Malaria risk is low, but consult your local health on whether or not to take any malaria medication.

Communication

Communication

Get yourself a KOLBI SIM card for your phone for communicating while at camp (must be Kolbi as other providers have no reach in the area). Make sure your device is unlocked for international carriers before arrival. There is very basic Wifi available at camp, but this can sometimes go down. At a few nearby eco-lodges you can use the Wifi if a small purchase is made at their bar.

Meals

Meals

The food at the camp is mostly vegetarian. Meals are based on rice and legumes (such as lentils, beans, chickpeas) and also a variety of fruits and vegetables (some from Puerto Jiménez, but others are from our own land and the surrounding fincas). There are also eggs, and sometimes meat or fish. These types of products can easily fit vegan/ vegetarian diets, as well as gluten or lactose intolerance.

You will share the responsibility of cooking and cleaning on a weekly schedule. People in charge of cooking and cleaning will cook lunch and dinner for everybody at camp.

Location details

Location details

You’ll be based in a rural coastal town, Carate, on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, which is nothing short of a tropical paradise. As well as an impressive variety of turtle species you’ll find a staggering array of flora and fauna here. It is also right next to Corcovado National Park, and incredible rainforest and marine areas where you can enjoy horseback riding, waterfall hikes, and whale and dolphin tours. The nearest beach to the camp is one of the most pristine in the world, but also one of the wildest making the ocean too strong for surfing or swimming. However, you’ll be a short distance from Matapalo where a selection of watersports and swimming locations are available.

DATES & RATES

Fee Breakdown

Internships start on a Monday, so you need to make sure to arrive on Sunday in Puerto Jiménez. Exact start and end dates will be discussed during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (valid until February 2024)

6 WEEKS USD 1,756

8 WEEKS USD 2,132

12 WEEKS USD 2,508

16 WEEKS USD 2,884

Inclusions

  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Dorm room accommodation in one of the camps (up to 8-16 pax)
  • Basic Wifi access (buying a local sim card is recommended)
  • Three meals a day (you will have cooking shifts)
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship

Exclusions

  • Flights to Puerto Jiménez
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Transfers from Puerto Jiménez to the camp
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
SCHOLARSHIP & FUNDING

FAQs

Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in Costa Rica.

What can I expect from an internship in Costa Rica?

During your internship, you can expect to gain a mix of professional development and cultural exploration. Also, throughout your internship, you’ll gain hands-on experience in your chosen field, collaborating with locals and fellow interns, building relationships and a strong network.

How will a nonprofit internship in Costa Rica boost my career development?

As you engage in meaningful projects that contribute to sustainable development and environmental causes, you’ll gain a sense of purpose and passion for creating a positive change. Also, you’ll get to use and sharpen your professional skills, as well as your interpersonal skills. If you wish to know more about how doing a nonprofit internship is good for your career, make sure to check this blog out!

While on an internship in Costa Rica can I receive university credit?

Yes, but you must ensure with your university supervisor that the internship meets the needed requirements. You can also choose to purchase transfer credits to supplement your internship experience.

Will I receive compensation of any kind during my internship?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any sort of stipend. When interning for a nonprofit organization, you will not be paid, but here are some ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring opportunities for both professional and personal growth and a wealth of new knowledge which is invaluable!

QUICK FACTS

LOCATION: Carate, Costa Rica
PROJECT FOCUS :Marine Conservation
TASK FOCUS: Data Collection, Marine Conservation, Education, Research
LENGTH: 6-12 weeks
COST: From USD 1,756

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gain international experience in a nonprofit conservation context
  • Build skills in data collection and in-field research
  • Develop extensive knowledge of sea turtle conservation
  • Work closely with sea turtles
  • Live and study in Costa Rica
ENQUIREAPPLY NOW

HOW TO APPLY

If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:

APPLY

Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.

GET STARTED

SPEAK WITH AN ADVISOR

We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.

INTERNSHIP MATCHING

If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.

PAYMENT

If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.

CONFIRMATION

Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

NEED TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY FIRST?

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!

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