Thursday, 26 November 2015

Three weeks have never gone so fast. I have done other animal conservation programs and my expectations were far surpassed. I made amazing friends and learned an incredible amount about sea turtle conservation in the short time I stayed. Drake Bay is beautiful and everyone treats you like family. Rio Oro was a very unique experience with lots of turtle interaction and takes the trip to the next level. My homestay was fantastic and humbling, you really get a chance to experience the day to day life of the locals and I think it is really cool how they have offered new ways of making a living by infusing the volounteer accomodations with the families of El Progresso. The turtle program is a community wide effort and involves many locals(my homestay mother included). I have made friends from all over the world and if you dont come with a sense of duty to protect the turtles it will surely rub off from the coordinators and volunteers who live for it. The only thing on my mind right now is how I can return to Costa Rica and offer even more for the turtle program. I hope programs like this become more popular than they already have until the turtles are no longer threatened.
Come and stay for a while, it was unforgettable.

Joe Hejna
I could never imagine living such an amazing experience in Costa Rica. In the first place, i was really happy to work with turtles, especialy in Costa Rica. But the more i stayed, the more i get closer to the others volunteers, to the coordinators and, obviously, to the amazing dogs we have there, and i think this made my trip. In 59 days, ive met a lot of very interesting and amazing people. I learnt a little bit from each of them, and i will keep it in me for the rest of my life. I feel like ive learnt much more here than in several years in university. So the only thing i can say is thank you for everything.
The second I arrived at this beautiful place, one of my very first thoughts was I have to extend my stay, and that is exactly what I did. Between the amazing people, the turles, the local atmosphere, the incredible sun and blasting rain, I fell a little in love! Though the mama turtles were sparce in Drake Bay at the time of my arrival, because it was the end of the season for Lora tortugas, there were plenty of babies at the hatchery. On my third day here, I was lucky enough to be part of a group who released 45 baby turtles into the Pacific Ocean at sunset, and it was possibly my favourite moment here. Three days later, I was lucky again and saw my first laying turtle on an early patrol of South Beach. It was a miserable night and it was pouring rain and cold and the tide was high and we had lost all hope and then suddenly, there was a dark line ahead of me that looked like a trucks tire tracks! There was our Olive Ridley, laying her eggs. I collected the eggs, which did not feel as I had expected, and we relocated the nest. I decided to go to Rio Oro for a week because I heard there were many more turtles there and it was really in the middle of no where, dodgey electricity and all, and I was excited to get an even more off the grid, genuine Costa Rican experience. I was not disappointed! Night after night, turtle after turle, some Lora, some Verde,and lots of coconuts, I loved Rio Oro even more than I had thought I would.
Words cannot express the experience you will get here. But if I could give any words of advice, they would be: learn to love rice and beans.
But seriously. Es increible aqui. Pura Vida!

Emily Curtis, 22, Vancouver, Canada.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

When my sister and I decided to go to Costa Rica for 6 weeks to work on a turtle conservation project I don´t think we were prepared for what was ahead. On the first day we looked at each other and said lets just get through 1 week and then we can leave. There was so much jungle and so many creatures and we were completely terrified. By the end of that first week we fell in love with the place and ultimately ended up pushing back our travel plans to spend one more week here. Alice and Aida really made this place feel like home for us. Aida, our new found role model, took care of our bumps and bruises and Alice, the funniest person around, became our third sister and built a community for us that got us through that first week. This whole experience was supposed to be about the turtles, and don´t get me wrong, the turtles were absolutely amazing, but it was way more than that. We got to see what it looks like to really be able to dance... and then we got to try it ourselves. We picked up a few spanish words here and there. We made amazing friends who we got to go on adventures with, and who could understand the importance of peanut butter.
We got very creative about how to make rice and beans taste more interesting. But more than anything we pushed ourselves to try new things that we would have never imagined doing. For example, there are two ways to get to the hatchery, one is by boat and the other is by walking through the edge of a lagoon in the jungle. The first time we went through the path I thought my sister was going to actually die. Luckily we were with a big group of people and they talked us through it. Two weeks later my sister and I had a shift at the hatchery and had to take the path, we found ourselves wading through the water, all alone, without even thinking twice.
Every aspect of this trip has been a challenge and we were surprised to find that we were capable of every bit of it, and that we actually really liked living here. We wish we didn´t have a flight out of Costa Rica and a long list of places to see so that we could stay here for another month.... But then again maybe we´ll be back for january, commiting to plans has never been our strong suit.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

I´m Really Going to Miss This Place

After only two very short weeks, my time here at Drake Bay must come to a close. I´m saddened to go, because I´ve made so many wonderful new friends and the locals are all so friendly. Here at Drake Bay, I´ve felt like a part of something bigger, a feeling I´d long forgotten through the trivials of school and work.

As my final day comes to a close, I am reminded of all of the things that I did not have time to do and learn. If it were at all possible, I´d extend my time here. I feel like I´ve made a new family here and it just won´t be the same going back to the United States. There is nothing in Texas that is at all as beautiful as even just the small portion of Costa Rica I have seen.

I will never be able to see such a beautiful sunset from my apartment in Denton, Texas as I did my first night here, watching the sun go down over the water. The picture I took of the sunset off of the Atlantic Ocean my first night here is still my favorite picture that I have taken.

I don´t want to leave. I would like to stay here in paradise forever. I will greatly miss everyone and everything about Progreso in Drake Bay (except the ants!!).

Hasta luego, Bajia Drake. I will see you again soon.

Kris Pryor

Saturday, 7 November 2015

As my amazing ten week excursion in the beautiful Osa Peninsula comes to a close confusion seems to be the only thing running through my head. No, this is not because I had a bad time, in fact, it´s just the opposite. I have such a good time I can´t seem to wrap my head around leaving. This was my first big trip outside the U.S. and even my first time away from my house (which I´ve lived at my whole life) for ten weeks and I have to say it really feels like a second home here already. All the people I have met (volunteers/coordinators/locals) have been extremely nice and made it so easy for me to have a good time. This in combination with the unbelieveable environment that´s filled with all sorts of wildlife from turtles, to monkeys, to parrots, to sloths has truly made this adventure some of the best weeks of my life. I highly reccomend anyone who wants to take a step back from their normal life for a new perspective or participate in being part of the solution rather than part of the problem to come here as soon as possible. 

Friday, 6 November 2015

2 Weeks in Rio Oro

What a magical two weeks in Rio Oro! After a somewhat disappointing first few nights where we trudged up and down the beach and saw absolutely no turtles we finally got a good dose of those tortugas. We were there in the lead up to the full moon and walking along the deserted beach beneath the starts and moon, so bright it almost seemed like daylight, was in itself a very special experience, turtles or not. But it was definitely exciting finally seeing our first turtle crawling up the beach. Although she took a little detour and went for a swim in the lagoon before writhing around in the mud, she finally made her nest, laid her eggs and returned to the sea.

Rio Oro is nothing if not a beautful and relaxing spot. After often exhausting night patrols our days were spent competing to be the President (and avoiding being the scum) at cards, beading and weaving colourful bracelets, pampering ourselves with mud masks in the river and most often the hours were whiled away with a book in the hammock under the trees.

When we weren´t relaxing though there was plenty of hard work to be done. Walking barefoot through the jungle during the monkey senso after the rain turned the path into a mud slide, seeing baby toucans and hearing monkeys howling through the trees, flying down the road in the middle of the night with three people to a motorbike, attempting the bachatta at the local bar (and failing miserably) and running along the beach like a crazy person in the pouring rain trying to defend the precious tortugitas from the hawks and crabs that would appear out of nowhere and try to snatch them away were just a few of the highlights.

We went for the turtles and stayed for the good times. This project might be all about conserving turtles, and yes, you´ll feel pretty damn good when you manage to scare away the hawk that was inches from stealing a tortugita just seconds from getting its first feel for the ocean; but you will leave with many more memories of the people, the place, the snacks, the laughs and all the other weird and wonderful goings on that you can´t help but think will make a great story when you get home.

The Corcovado Sea Turtle conservation program was a very unique experience filled with great people and great memories. Being an animal lover, it was fun woring with the turtles and learning more about them. It is gratifying to feel as if I have made a difference even though it made be small...every little bit helps. Meeting new people, observing turtles and making long lasting memories are things that I will never forgot. I have only positive things to say about my turtle time in Drake Bay and Rio Oro. - Ange Mariano

Thursday, 5 November 2015

So happy I got to spend the last 3 weeks in Hacienda Rio Oro. It was really great getting to know all of the kind people here. Every night was a great adventure in its own. I loved being apart of the sea turtle conservation and I can´t wait to see some results from all of the hard works going on at the Corcavado project!

My time at Rio Oro was magical; I can´t explain the beauty or tranquility of the place, therefore you´re only option is to visit yourself! You won´t regret it, as you are surrounded by beautiful scenery, animals and people. I saw vacant beaches and rainsforests filled with turtles, toucans, anteaters.  I also formed friendships that will last a lifetime. the whole program is a must!