Volunteering in Costa Rica X Turtle Conservation
A few summers ago I headed off to Costa Rica for three weeks to volunteer on a Turtle Conservation site. When I first booked my trip I pictured it a little more luxurious than it actually was. First off to even get to the site we had to arrive during low tide so that we could cross a alligator infested river onto the beach. The camp was simple and had very minimal resources. There was no electricity nor running water....it was pretty awesome!
The beach was called Playa Buena Vista which is situated close to the town of Samara. Our shifts were split into 3 periods morning , afternoon and night shift. My first shift ever was from 2-4 am. The shift consisted of walking to the hatchery every 15 minutes to check and see if any turtles had hatched and to make sure no animal or humans were trying to poach the eggs. This may seem fairly easy but do note that this was in the pitch dark and we were only allowed to use a red light so that we did not disturb the turtles. During the 15 minute periods I sat at the table and read the only english book on the shelf which happened to be Game of Thrones. Now picture this... it's my first shift and I go to sit down at the table maybe a second goes by and I hear tons of movement. Next thing I know I feel things at my feet I immediately look down and notice hundreds of hermit crabs all around me and some beginning to crawl up my legs! I had to run and get my towel and literally sit on the bench with my legs crossed and wrapped in my towel. Now that I solved the first problem it probably only took 5 more minutes until a gecko landed on my head. I am now officially wrapped in towels to deter any creatures from crawling all over me. Perfect another problem solved! A couple minutes go by and I hear a toad. I look around but cannot see it anywhere. I continue to read my book. I look to my right for a split second and BAM a huge toad sitting at the end of the table! I try to scare it off but it doesn't budge so I try to ignore it and start reading again. Probably about every 30 seconds I turn my head lamp to confirm that the toad is still at the end of the table. Until one time it was gone I look back to my front and there it was staring me directly in the eye . So let's just say my first shift really made me uncomfortable haha.
While we weren't working it was pretty awesome. We had a private beach where we could enjoy the day out in the sun and my favourite was going for runs along the beach. Since we were all working long hours we all hit the hay around 6pm. Regardless of your overnight shift we were all up at 6 am doing house work. This usually consisted of taking a machete to the path that lead to our water supply.
On Tuesday's we had the day off where we all went to town for cervezas and tacos. The people I got to meet were awesome and it was definitely an experience I will never forget. When our volunteering was over my friend Rachel and I headed back to San Jose where we spent a couple days doing touristy things AND we even went bungee jumping which was pretty friggen rad!