Thursday, 30 July 2015

Rain rain rain !

Yesterday night (Wednesday) we went patroling on the beach. It had rained during the whole afternoon so we were supposed to take the boat to cross the lagoon, but as we arrived there, someone hab taken the boat, so we had to walk in the jungle and cross the bridge.
Then, we began the patrol. After a few minutes, the group on South Beach had the chance to see a turtle, an Olive Ridley. Unfortunatly, the patrol was too late, and poachers had taken the eggs before we could do it. It was really sad because we didn't arrive early enough to protect the turtle. The volunteers saw the turtle during a few minutes, but she quickly went back to the sea. The men stayed on the beach then, but we just couldn't go to them and tell them to give the eggs back. Nothing special happened during the end of the patrol. As it was high tide, we finished the patrol a little bit earlier.

Today we woke up at 6: 30 to go snorkeling around Caño Island. I thought we wouldn't be able to go because as we woke up, it was raining hardly. But as we left the hostel, the weather was better. On the way to Isla Caño, we saw dolphins. Then we arrived on the spot, where we saw turtles and sharks! It was amazing ! We took lunch on another beach on the way back to drake bay. During the lunch, it began to rain hardly! The first boat left the beach, but we had to wait a long time on the beach until our boat came. We were totally wet. When the boat arrived, we were really happy to leave the beach because there was a big storm and the lightnings were just next to us... On the way back the waves were huge and we were all so wet. Then we arrived in Drake Bay but of course it was impossible to cross the river to go back to the hostel, so we walk across it. After that, we were really happy to take a shower and put on dry clothes :)

Rosanne (Suiza)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

     The runway was closed by the goverment so we had to arrive by boat. During the ride it was very rainy and when we got out into the ocean there was pretty big waves which my dad thought was kinda scary, but I thought that it was exciting. A little after we arrived at Drake Bay a truck came down to pick us up and bring us to the hostel. On the ride to the hostel we met a very nice girl who we are still kinda friends with. From the hostel we were immediately moved to a homestay because we are only doing the turtle program for a week. The family we are staying with is very nice and gave us the best room in the house. This is my first volunteer program and I´m only 12 so at first the work they had us do was pretty difficult, but as we got more in shape from constantly doing it, it got easeir. The morning of the first day we had censos so we got up at 5:00. Then, we walked down to the beach. To get to the beach you walk down a road, an old runway, and across a swinging bridge. During censos we found a tutle nest, but unfortunately it had already been found by poachers. We kept walking down south beach, but had to turn back because some dogs that seemed very territorial started to run towards us barking. After we had walked up and down the whole beach we were exhausted. When got back to the homestay we had a nice breakfast of beans, rice, plantans, and natilla. 
     On Wednesday (today), even in the early morning it was very hot. After breakfast we walked to the beach to work on the hatchery. We had to sift the sand to make sure there weren`t any roots and big rocks within the sand that we would be relocating the turtle eggs to. The night before, night patrol had taken eggs from a turtle after it had layed them. Unfortunetly, the hatchery was not finished yet so they could not put the eggs there. By the hatchery there is a hut type stucture that we loosened sand in so that they could build a  place for someone to stay while they guard the hatchery. After the work that morning we went to our homestay and got swimsuits on. On our way to the hostel we saw a caiman in a river. This just so happend to be the river we were planning on swimming in. However, it was a different part of the river and it was just so hot so we jumped in anyway. The river is super refreshing for when you are very sweaty and tired. Between lunch and dinner were just kind of resting at the hostel because its raining really hard and we have night patrol tonight. Hopefully we´ll be lucky enough to see a turtle!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The world is yours, discover it.

So I have been Costa Rica for a little under a month now, spending my time working as part of the sea turtle conservation program. The main thing that stands out for is the fact that everyday you will see something that blows your mind or completely changes the way you think; from the monkeys rampaging and hollering through the canopy to the giant crabs that peep at you from the lagoon.
 I have stayed in a home stay for the majority of my trip, this has been a really valuable experience, seeing the impact that the time you spend with them has  had a real impact;  having a family that maybe don't have the same commodities and luxuries as I do offer you everything that you have and try their utmost to ensure that you have the best time possible.

A side from a few trips and holidays this has been my first major trip, I feel like I have learnt so much about myself and have only one piece for anyone that may want to travel but may have fears or self doubts and that is to put all those fears that restrict and throw them to the back of your mind, travelling and volunteering will without doubt be a life changing experience and will allow you to meet, as I have some of the best people who will undoubtedly become friends for life.  So get out their see the world and travel.

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Hi, just a little lover of the sea here!

It has now been three weeks that I have been at the program, digging away at the sand, hoping to give some baby turtles a safe place to sleep. I was (and still am) one of the two first volunteers here this year at the program! While I have been here I have seen just how much hard work this program takes to get started and prepare for the season of little ones to come.

Being part of this world has shown me lots of dedication, motivation and especially lots and lots of animals! I have fallen in love too many times with the creatures that live in the trees surrounding this paradise. I have planed too many times how to take a dog home with me without the plane's pilot knowing and have thought of all the little things I could gift to the beautiful, smiling children of this small town called Progreso. This project is helping educate the community about their possible future and how they can help themselves through the project, but for this they need more volunteers and helpers (hint), so any of you reading this that have not looked into coming over really should! I can now say that I have lived the culture through my experience here both through dealing with locals and the project and also by living as one of them in the homestay! I really have felt so much love from my family and am giving a shout out to Migue and his beautiful family who have shared everything they have with me.

There are so many things to say that I have no way to explain how I feel now on my last night here and what I have felt while being here! I feel like these words make no sense right now and so I will simply cut it short (no I am not trying to find an excuse to run away to play with the dog at my house, even if that is what I will do after this!).

So, in simple terms: This project is perfect for people who want to really live a culture and learn from their ways, animal lovers as you are literally surrounded by jungle and its inhabitants, and for people who simply want to disconnect from their reality at home and do good for the world, you may not be changing the whole world but you are changing the turtle's world and expanding this town's possibilities. And the best part is that the people you meet here both as fellow volunteers and locals are all working for the same cause, They are all putting their time and effort into a future that each year gets closer and closer; a place where turtles can expand their numbers in peace and freedom.

I leave you with this beautiful word from the Nguni language in Southern Africa to think about!

UBUNTU: the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others

Lots of love, peace and Pura Vida

A fellow sea lover from Spain x

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

So you think volunteering is for the young and strong?
Well,  you may have a point there. As most of the blogger on this page have pointed out the work at Corcovado Fondacion is tiring and exhausting, particularly if you are well past your fifties as in my case or past your sixties as in my partner´s case and more than one person have asked me why are you doing this to yourself when you could be spending  a relaxing fortnight at one of the Eco lodges along Bahia Drake.
Even though we feel worn out by the end of the day after having worked at the hatchery or fall into bed at 10 in the morning after having patrolled the beach early in the morning we are both happy to have signed up for this programme.
First of all we feel priviledged to be staying with a Tico family. Our hosts Tonio and Emerita are going out of their way to make us feel at home. We can´t really communicate much but you feel the warmth and good will they are extending.
More importantly, I am extremely happy to support a project, which I feel really aims at sustainability.
I knew I might not see any turtles let alone hatchlings during my time here but still I feel that everything I contribute goes towards the conservation of the sea turtles. The people behind Corcovado Fondacion are not a bunch of well- meaning animal loving idealist that want to save the world, no they are realists. They know that without bringing in the local people, without giving the local people a source of income other than poaching turtle eggs, the turtles cannot be saved.
And so I quite happily walk up and down the beach in the morning, sit on the hostel's pathway pulling out weeds or help my partner making shelves because I know that all the money it makes goes towards the fondacion.

Fred, sweet sixty-two, helping with carpentry work.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Discovering Costa Rica

We´ve only been here in Drake Bay for a few days and have already had so many adventures. We have experienced bright beautiful sunshine, lots of rain, many different insects and animals and wonderful food prepared by our host family. They have fed us well over the last few days with many exciting dishes including “pinto” (rice and beans), “fresco” (freshly squeezed fruit juice), fried banana, pancakes, lots of exotic fruits and vegetables and much more. This has prepared us well for our hard work at the turtle hatchery.

Building the hatchery is tiring but rewarding to know that we are working towards a good cause. The sand must be dug and prepared for building nests for the eggs that need to be relocated to keep them safe from predators and poachers. After a morning of digging and removing roots from the sand, a refreshing swim in the beautifully warm Pacific Ocean helps to cool off and relax.

At this time of year, rain is a usual occurrence and we have found ourselves caught in heavy storms and wading through rivers and flooded forests. It all feels like a big adventure and we are learning how to handle the weather here. We are also learning how to build nests, identify turtles´ tracks and camouflage them once the turtle has gone. We look forward to putting our new skills in to practice over our many night patrols and morning ´censos´ that we will do over the next few weeks.  All this, as well as meeting many friendly locals and other volunteers from all over the world has made our time here very enjoyable so far.

Pura vida!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Six Chicas in the Jungle

We came to Bahia Drake during an exciting time; filled with the unknown. The turtles are coming but the date is not written in stone. Hard work is taking place on the beach to build the hatchery and night patrols have started with a few track spottings. A full enslaught of sea turtles have not quite made their way to Drake but we have heard that the turtles have begun to make their way up onto the shores of Rio Oro, the new, yet unknown camp being set up by Fundacion Corcovado. Us six chicas (that arrived here to Drake Bay on Tuesday) are about to be whisked away to join up with another group of volunteers at Rio Oro.

During our time here at Drake Bay we have learned all the skills necessary to be successful on our turtle adventure. We have taken Sea Turtle 101: Tracking, Nesting and Camoflauging. With all these "classes" we still managed to find time to go on a fabulous adventure to Isla de Caño. Under blue skies and the tender care of Felix our guide, we scoped out some amazing sights while in the boat, on the beach and under the water snorkling. These sights included (but are not limited to) dolphins, hawksbill sea turtle, big fish, small fish, red fish and blue fish, a shark, white faced monkeys, macaws, humpback whales and ... we are sure a whole lot more.

Around the camp we have been introduced to the caimans and the multiple dogs, cows, horses, pigs, donkeys and birds. We know the village sloth is out there somewhere but it has yet to be spotted. We have met some great people and made a lot of new friends and some great memories and we are very excited for the unknown to come tomorrow. Well, not the complete unknown. We do know that we are going off the grid, goodbye Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. Excited for such a primative experience - pura vida!

Hasta luego,
Six Chicas

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

First turtle tracks of the season

On Monday, we did our first "censo" (morning walk along the beach). We were lucky enough to spot the first turtle tracks of the season. Even better, we discovered the first turtle nest. We found the nest along the northern part of the beach and, based on the size of the tracks, determined that it was one made by an Olive Ridley. Made our 5AM wakeup call worth it!

The hatchery will soon be finished. We've put a lot of (sweaty) hours of work in there, but the volunteers that come in the next few weeks will be able to relocate the nests to a much more secure location.

Today, we took the day off and visited Agujitas. While a few of us laid out on the beach and got some sun, a group of six of us decided to try paddle boarding. It was so much fun. Playa Colorado looked even more beautiful from the sea.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Today was the first Sunday at the project for the new volunteers. The local league of soccer, or futbol, held a game at 13:00 at the field in the village where all the local families, and dogs gathered to watch the game. Many of the project volunteers played, and although they lost it was a great time to see everybody together playing the best sport in the world.
Pura Vida. :)


Today the group went to Corcovado National Park for our excursion day. We took about an hour boat to get there, which had a beautiful view of the coast. At the park we took a hike through the rainforest where we saw multiple wild animals including an eyelash viper, squiral, spider, and howler monkeys, coatis, a family of boars, and a two toed sloth! After a walk on the beach we had a delicious lunch. Overall it was a great day!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Que bonita es la vida en una hamaca......

El mundo en Costa Rica se detiene cuando uno se tumba en una de las hamacas de la Fundación Corcovado. En ellas te dejas atrapar por sensaciones varias, mezclando tranquilidad, armonía, inspiración, etc., y solamente cuando te levantas vuelves a la realidad, aunque a veces sigues en ese mundo aparte al visitar algunos de los fantásticos lugares que nos brinda este pequeño país, como el Parque Nacional de Corcovado.

Eso mismo hicimos esta mañana, visitar este parque lleno de misterios y de sorpresas.
Al salir con el bote de la playa comenzamos la aventura, muy temprano por cierto, pero con buenas expectativas.
Nuestro guía Alberto nos llevó a unos cuantos rincones escondidos del parque atravesando la jungla, cruzando ríos y tropezando con ramas y raíces. Así pudimos ver especies endémicas de la zona que nunca hemos visto antes, aves de gran tamaño como la Pava crestada o el Zopilote negro, serpientes venenosas, camaleones, los cuatro tipos distintos de monos, jabalies, una manada de coatíes e incluso un perezoso de dos dedos!!!
Y después de la caminata de unas cinco horas con una humedad aplastante, tocaba reponer fuerzas y volver de nuevo a la fundación, de nuevo a esa fantástica hamaca....

Pero....... no penseis que las hamacas el lo único que os espera. En Corcovado el trabajo es duro pero gratificante. Sus gentes, sus costumbres, la vida en la Fundación, los monitores y todos los compañeros y turistas os darán una perspectiva diferente sobre lo que hasta ahora conoceis.

La vida gira cunado tú lanzas la peonza. Mientras tanto, nosotros seguiremos perdidos es este paraiso verde.

Raquel Martín García-Moreno
Toledo. España.

Friday, 10 July 2015


Al terminar los estudios, uno tiene muchas dudas de lo que puede hacer después. Piensas en trabajo, masters, viajes, responsabilidades, nuevas experiencias, etc., y al final descubres que todo se aclara en un momento, y.... zas!!, compras un billete a Costa Rica y decides dejarte llevar......

Cuando llegué aqui descubrí una nueva forma de vida, muy diferente pero envolvente. Será por este estilo de vida tan auténtico, por los locales, por los compañeros de proyecto, los monitores, turistas.... por lo que la experiencia está siendo muy enriquecedora, aunque aún no ha terminado.

El trabajo es duro, pero siempre hay algo que nos motiva y nos emociona, como cruzar un río con caimanes por un puente colgante de madera, ver por primera vez ciertas especies, trabajar en una isla desierta, beber agua de pipa recien caída de la palmera, etc.

Sólo nos queda seguir nuestro trabajo en Río Oro, una playa nueva por descubrir en la que esperamos poder acercarnos mucho más a la vida de las tortugas.

Arantxa Cía
Pamplona, España

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Vitamin Sea


I am searching for words as my group of 6th graders stare at me. I'm nervous. How can I tell them that for the last week they have taught and inspired me?

You can change the world!

It is simple and to the point.

Silence remains, some hugs are shared then my group of wonderful students get on the bus and return to school and their daily lives, no longer in the comfort of their bunks at the outdoor science school they are attending. Just before they are all aboard, one student runs back, hands me his beloved Rubrik's Cube, and informs me that I too can change the world. Simple and to the point.

So that is why I am here. That is why we are all here, in the middle of the jungle, living on a diet of rice and beans, and patrolling beaches at all hours of the night. We are going to change the world. We are going to ensure the safety of hundreds of turtles and help to establish a community that is united around the protection of the beautiful environment that surrounds them.

I cannot imagine working for a better cause or being surrounded by a different group of volunteers and workers. Hailing from all corners of the world, those that assist the Corcovado Foundation are truly spectacular and the work that is completed is making a difference. There is no other way to say it. I wish that everyone would travel and receive such a life changing experience.

Unfortunately, it is my last night, but I am leaving with the same feeling that I had when recieving my most prized possession, the Rubik's Cube. I got to help change the world. Now it's your turn.

Pura Vida!

Katelyn Sullivan
Philadelphia, PA

"150 and still young, dude. Rock on!" -Crush, Finding Nemo

Being the first post on this blog is such a privilege. I hope my experience here encourages you to travel from wherever you are to work for an organization helping the world's sea turtle population. Please feel free to email me personally if you have any Pura Vida! :)

I have spent the past 7 days here at Drake Bay in Costa Rica, and have had quite an eye-opening time. I have never traveled to Central America before now, so I was not too sure what to expect. From arrival on a 15-person plane to departing on a boat, every turn was positively surprising. I did not expect Drake Bay (Progreso) to be amongst the jungle paradise in the middle of really nowhere. However, this was the true and honest way to understand the Pura Vida lifestyle. Laying in a hammock, drinking REAL coffee, eating fruits and veggies straight from the plant/ground, playing cards during the nighttime, crossing a flooded road on foot,  picking avocados from a tree, learning how to open a coconut, using a machete, hearing howler monkeys, watching colorful macaws, monkeys, crocodiles, and sloths, running in the rain, planning to build a sea turtle hatchery, making friends from around the globe, and many more activities made this trip unforgettable.

Now to get to the turtle part...
Well because I came to Drake Bay before the peak of the nesting season, I was unable to see any females nesting or their precious hatchlings. However, being a marine scientist, I knew of this fact beforehand. Even though I did not see any turtles in this situation, I was able to view sea turtles mermaiding in the ocean during my snorkel tour of Caño Island. I highly recommend this day trip. We were lucky to see over 20 species of reef fishes, along with the turtles.
I went through a training program, learning about the various species of sea turtles, their nesting behaviors, tracks, and typical conservation procedures. I was also able to participate in a beach night patrol, in the hopes of spotting a female nesting. I wish I could comment more on the sea turtle aspect of this program, but I cannot wait to hear how my help during this time of the year (7/3-7/10) will impact the health and safety of new baby turtles.

Now to get to the work part...
I completed many projects for the hostel and organization with the help of other volunteers. We all worked together with the help of Aida and Elias (wonderful coordinators) to begin the sea turtle hatchery design. This hatchery will soon be the place for incubating eggs. I look forward to staying in touch with volunteers staying here longer, as well as the organization, to hear all about the progress and news about our special turtles.

Overall, this experience is one that I will never forget. Like any trip away from home and daily living in the suburbs, living in Central America had its ups and downs, but it has definitely opened my eyes to how people live in this part of the world. I am thankful for this opportunity and thankful for the people who made me feel welcome (Tute the dog, Aida, Elias, Rob, Marvin+family, community members/families). I will take what I have learned with me. I will also spread the word and share what I have done with others, in the hope that ocean conservation efforts will expand and become second nature everywhere.

Peace, Love, & Sea Turtles,
Kelly Muench
High School Biology and Marine Science Teacher
Tampa, Florida