costa rica

GoXplore Costa Rica (turtle conservation)

I got this amazing opportunity to visit an animal rescue with GoXplore and to check out their volunteer programs across the country. When my week in Santa Teresa ended, I was picked up by one of CRLA staff from Puntarenas. We drove to the first project in Camaronal Refuge. This was located next to Samara Beach, where I got the opportunity to explore this absolutely stunning village. The area was surrounded by white sandy beaches and palm trees, I also found nice organic vegan cafes and you could rent a surfboard almost anywhere and go surf. We had a nice chat with this nice guy from CRLA, he told me everything about Costa Rica and about these projects. So, let’s get into it…

The main reason they have this turtle conservation is to save baby turtles from being eaten, kidnapped or destroyed by animals and humans. What volunteers do in this project is to go to the beach by night to, for example, patrol the beaches when the turtles will come and lay their eggs. It’s not that simple though, since the turtles will come the day before and look for a good place to lay their eggs. The turtles leave their footprints in the sand so that they will find back to the spot they’ve chosen the day before, and then they will lay their eggs there.

The volunteers then take the eggs to the hatchery, the eggs will spend up to 42 days there until the baby turtles hatch. It’s important to keep them safe from racoons, eagles, birds and humans as well, humans tend to steal the eggs to then sell them at different markets. Can you imagine, in the Caribbean islands for example, these humans who steal these turtle eggs (they sell them as “good for your health” if you eat them, pets etc.) make tons of money? So, don’t get fooled by these turtle thieves! Imagine, a turtle can lay 100 eggs during this season, and they sell these eggs for 1 dollar each! There are so many cruel people on this earth and by not supporting this business you can help to put an end to this cruel market.

There are 4 turtle species in Costa Rica alone, and 2 of them are really endangered. The project is there to ensure a future for the turtles. They are there to save, conserve and increase the numbers of the turtles born there. Mother nature will not/cannot of save all of them, because I saw it myself last night. It was time for the baby turtles to take their first steps towards the ocean. Some of them are so weak that they already die during their first steps, some get eaten by fish / animals in the water. Only 70% of the baby turtles will make it, even if we try to save them from most threats.

During the release of the turtles, you are not allowed to have any lights on, the only light we used was a red light when needed. Also, you should only wear dark clothes and usually this process takes place during the night and when there is not too much moonlight. This mimics the natural hatching season.

It was an amazing experience to witness, we were also really far away from civilisation. So, when I looked up in the sky… wow… I haven’t seen so many stars in my entire life. It was so beautiful…magical. Yeah, words can’t describe and the camera itself didn’t do justice for the actual night sky, so I didn’t really get any good pictures. You just have to come and see it by yourself 😉

I will do a follow up and keep you updated with my adventures with GoXplore. I will get the chance to see so many places in a short time! I’ve also been filming a bit so you can soon check out my YouTube channel for some nice footage from my trip. Also, I am here for any questions you may have… I will answer them all.

CLICK HERE If you are interested of being a part of the GoXplore volunteer experience in Camaronal beach saving turtles!

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