Sunday, 4 December 2016

We had a fun time with the Corcovado Foundation! Despite the weather being particularly bad, we were still able to patrol at night and do most of the daytime activities.

We learnt a lot about the biology of sea turtles and the methodology of their conservation program which meant that we understood the need for the data and the help that the sea turtles need. All the staff are really knowledgeable and passionate about the work, making it really enjoyable for the volunteers.

They were kind enough to give us, as a couple, our own cabin which we really appreciated. The food has been very good and the set up of the camp good, just basic as expected.

The patrols are hard work but rewarding and worth the effort! We would recommend this place as it has a good balance of hard work and relaxation - thank you for a great time :)
When I first arrived at the camp, I must admit that I was feeling quite unsure of what I had signed up for. I'm a solo-travelling girl of 25 years from Australia and all I knew was that I wanted to do something good for the environment and have a totally different experience. The other volunteers and research assistants were really welcoming, but they also told me stories of endless rainy days, a girl who was bitten by a snake, creepy crawlies, rice and beans for every meal and how nothing ever dries here. I soon found out that it was all true, however none of it was as scary as it had seemed at first. Going completely out of your comfort zone is always going to be challenging, but it is something I am so glad I did. Oh, do I have some stories! What an adventure I have had. Now, on my last day, I am truly sad to be leaving this place that has become my home, people who have become my family. I feel like I´ve gained an intimate relationship with the jungle that most would never experience on the main tourist trails of Costa Rica. I´ve realised how far my capabilities extend, no longer afraid of wading through murky lagoons at midnight or snakes that may be hiding in tall grass. I have experienced the mysterious behaviour of the turtles, developing a deep, hands-on knowledge about these beautiful and strange, prehistoric creatures. I have formed close friendships with all of those in our group. Even though we had plenty of rain, it became a game to work with it, trying to dry your clothes in creative ways or just embracing it all as part of the experience. It is amazing how all these so-called obstacles in our way were actually the best part, the source of countless jokes and laughter, the inspiration for many tales to tell when I go back home. Everyone should experience something like this at least once in their lives, to live more simply, out in nature, learning just how wild the beach and the jungle really is.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Bajas del bote, y sentir la arena bajo los pies te resulta muy agradable. Has llegado a la playa. La patrulla va a comenzar.
Todo está muy oscuro, sin embargo la luz del cielo más estrellado que probablemente tus ojos hayan visto jamás, va a ser más que suficiente para que tu vista identifique lo que has venido a buscar: el rastro de las tortugas marinas que van a venir a desovar esta noche. Hacemos los grupos de patrulla y cada grupo se encargará de un sector de la playa. Y nos ponemos a caminar en una arena que ilumina tus pasos a través de las luminiscencias del plancton. Es extremadamente emocionante saber que esos pasos en la oscuridad durante las próximas 4 horas van a conducirte repetidas veces al que para mi es, sin duda, el espectáculo natural más bello que existe.
Y ahí está, habitualmente no hay que caminar demasiado para toparte con la primera huella. El contraste oscuro de la huella con el resto de la arena te permite identificar la presencia de la tortuga sin necesidad de usar una linterna. Te aseguras de si hay también rastro de bajada, y si no es así, ya lo sabes: ahí está la primera tortuga de la nocherealizando su trabajo. Subes hacia la vegetación siguiendo la huella de la tortuga para ver en qué fase del desove se encuentra. A veces no ha hecho más que llegar, o aún está haciendo el nido y debemos esperar. El cuidado con el que usa sus aletas para crear el nido es absolutamente increíble.Cuando empieza a desovar comenzamos a trabaja con ella: la medimos, la plaqueamos, la revisamos… Anotamos todos los datos que necesitamos y, otras veces, llegamos a ver cómo la tortugaregresa al océano.

Participar en este proceso durante las noches de la playa Río Oro es una experiencia absolutamente única. Se trata de un contacto directo con un acontecimiento natural que habla por sí solo de lo que es la vida. Estos animales asumen de manera totalmente instintiva su compromiso, y salen repetidas de su medio seguro, exponiéndose a múltiples peligros, porque sencillamente saben que es necesario.
La participación en este proyecto sencillamente me emocionó. Es fantástico saber que existen personas dispuestas a crear organizaciones de este tipo por amor a la naturaleza y su conservación. Fue genial saber que nuestra presencia en la playa ayuda a que este acontecimiento se siga produciendo en el futuro. Y fue genial compartir tantos momentos de risas con los responsables del proyecto y demás voluntarios.
Si duda una oportunidad única para estar en contacto con una naturaleza deexuberancia excepcional, conocer mucha gente, divertirte y aprender mucho sobre estas fascinantes criaturas.

¡Gracias por todo a todos los que compartisteis el voluntariado conmigo, espero podamos volvernos a encontrar pronto!

Juan, 27, Spain

My time at Hacienda Rio Oro was much too short, but the memories I made will definitely last me a lifetime. There are numerous reasons that this place was so special to me: you are surrounded by incredible nature, with all sorts of jungle creatures showing up on your doorstep. Every day is an adventure! The turtles are amazing and working with them is a lot of fun - particularly the hatchlings. You are working for a very important cause. Most importantly though, both the coordinators and the other volunteers are extremely kind and helpful. I felt welcomed into the Hacienda family from the moment I arrived. If you’re thinking of volunteering at Rio Oro then be prepared for some physically challenging work, crazy wildlife and uncooperative weather, but also a lot of rewarding experiences and unforgettable moments. I will miss you guys! 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

My stay at Hacienda Rio Oro has been absolutley wonderful. In the past month, I have gained an abundance of life experiences which I will never forget! Apart from the wonderful staff, the biodiversity here is absolutely stunning. The mixture of unique plants and animals that make up the Osa Peninsula will blow your mind.
I was lucky enough to have been here during the peak of the season, when we saw 109 sea turtles nest in one night! Although very tiring, the work you do here is extremely rewarding. I am leaving feeling as though I have participated in something that really does make a difference. Everyone here is extremely passionate about what they do and that is surely
reflected in the energy of the hacienda.
I have met so many wonderful people here and have shared so many laughs with the other volunteers. I am forever grateful for the beautiful moments I have spent here in Costa Rica. This experience has been life-changing.
Adios Costa Rica!! Gracias por todo!

Georgia, 17
Texas, USA

Saturday, 22 October 2016

I stayed in Hacienda Rio Oro 3 weeks and from the beginning the people here were very cool, helpful and relaxed. Relaxed is probably the best word to describe this experience. But sometimes we also get the change to discover some amazing beaches, landscapes and views.
Working with turtles is an extraordinary experience. If you are lucky (that you probably are because you are coming to this beautiful place) you will get the opportunity to see a green turtle, they are huge! It’s a challenge to tag them but team work is always available at the Hacienda at anytime.

Hacienda Rio Oro also offers other activities, especially if you are a creative person. But besides the nature and beauty, getting in touch with different cultures and learn other things from other experiences is what makes this project complete :)

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Ah what to say about Hacienda Rio Oro… I can definitively say that this is like no other place on earth. The wildlife here is incredible, the atmosphere unmatched, and the turtles nigh indescribable. All in all, this month has been an experience that I will remember fondly for the rest of my life - and hopefully one I will revisit in the future.
The wild, untamed energy of the beach at night, the sheer power of the waves against the shore, the ancient majesty of the adult turtles, the intensity of working with the hatchlings… I could on and on. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but for those who love nature, are passionate about conservation, and don’t mind getting more than a bit dirty, I can’t think of a better place to go.
 The people here truly care about what they do; I’ve heard more than once that this isn’t only a job for them, it’s a lifestyle. Being out in the jungle and living more-or-less off the grid is a way of living that everyone with the capability to do should experience. I only regret not staying longer.
 Thank you so much to Aida, Ava, Alberto, Beto, Emily, Ed, and all of the volunteers! Best of luck with all that you do. – Shane Howe, 18, MN USA