Volunteer at Gandoca Manzanillo and help protect the sea turtles and their nesting zone.

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is one of the most important beaches for the sea turtle nesting. The community has developed a conservation project for the turtle species that annually visit the beach to lay their eggs. Gandoca Tours offers you the opportunity to participate in the volunteering program, and play an important role of re-establishing the sea turtle population.


First, you will receive a briefing on the activities you that you will be involved in during your participation, which can include nesting beach patrols, beach clean ups, data collection, nursery help, and more.  Enjoy lodging and meals with a local family, making your experience even richer, or choose hostels or local cabins.

Minimum Participation: 5 days

Inscription: $ 40.00 per person.

Home stays: $ 35.00 per person per day (lodging with a local family)

Cabins: $ 45.00 per person per day (private bath)

Hostels: $ 30.00 per person per day (shared bath)

Includes: Training, service time, local guide, lodging of your choice, and all meals.

Available: February to August every year.


General description:

At Gandoca beach is home to 3 types of sea turtles can be found: hawksbill, green, and leatherback turtles, the last of which is in serious danger of extinction< thanks to contaminated water, beach erosion, and many other negative effects of human influence.


Gandoca offers an established conservation project to protect these species, created and run by the local families of the community. For each nesting season, families welcome volunteers to help local staff with beach patrols, as well as the construction of nurseries, beach clean-ups and several other activities.


The patrols locate nesting females to provide them with assistance and protection, collect data and relocate the eggs to the nursery or any other ideal natural location, in the case that they are in danger.

To build the nurseries, parts of the sand need to be cleaned and disinfected, and mesh placed to protect the eggs from predators. During the day, you will assist in beach clean-ups, clearing away the trash and debris brought in by the waves.


The nightly patrols are carried out in two shifts 8pm to midnight (1st shift) and midnight to 4 am (2nd shift) in different sectors of the beach. As a volunteer, you will be expected to complete the tasks you are assigned.


When you arrive, you will be given basic training and an orientation on the conservation project.


Lodging and meals:

The local families have adapted their homes to receive volunteers, with clean and living spaces and welcoming hearts. The rooms are small yet comfortable, and are generally equipped with mosquito nets and pillows. These families live close to the beach and offer basic amenities such as water, electricity and a phone. Some rooms may be shared with other volunteers. If you prefer your privacy, you can also choose to stay in area cabins or hostel rooms.


Each package includes 3 daily meals of local favorites and traditional Costa Rican cuisine. Please note – in Gandoca there is no internet nor cell phone service. Services are also very limited in this small town, but you will find a small bar, mini-mart, and 8 km away you will find a bank and schools.

The Gandoca lagoon, lush rainforest, farms, horseback riding tours and wildlife observation options are some of the other activities you can enjoy in the area.



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