Costa Rica Wildlife Research
Visit a spectacular corner of Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast to see and study several species of sea turtles, view humpback whales, and participate in research of rays and parrots. We will visit the community of El Jobo, where Equipo Tora Carey studies sea turtles on nearby beaches and in the water and works to improve the local community. On this trip, we will look for green turtles and olive ridleys on the beach in the evening and catch green and hawksbill turtles in the water to study and release. We will also help study rays and parrots, observe humpback whales, and interact with the welcoming members of this coastal community.
2023 Date: August 13 - 19
Prices: $2,095 pp
$100 off for kids under 18 years (not applicable for previous travelers)
$50 off per person for paying by check
Monthly payments are available until 3 months before departure
Includes: Guide, private transportation, accommodations, meals (except where listed), activities, and a donation to turtle conservation.
Excludes: Airfare to Costa Rica, personal items, and tips for the guide/driver.
Minimum recommended age is 8 years old.
Maximum group size is 12.
* Please note: We give 100% refunds on any trips that we need to cancel and our cancellation fees (when travelers need to cancel) can be used on any future trip, no expiration or penalties. See our full terms and conditions here.
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Why Travel With US?
All profits support conservation efforts
Work directly with local researchers
Day 1: Arrive to Liberia
Fly Into Liberia International Airport (LIR) and we will pick you up with our private bus. Once the group has arrived, we will transfer by bus to the community of El Jobo (about an hour and a half drive) and settle in to a locally-owned bed and breakfast. We will have dinner at a local home where we will have all our meals and an introductory meeting to meet the local Equipo Tora Carey (ETC) staff.
Day 2: In-Water Turtle Monitoring
After breakfast, the group will head out by boat across the Santa Elena Gulf to do in-water monitoring, where turtles are caught by net or hand to study and release. We could see three types of turtles here, hawksbills, green turtles, and black turtles (a sub-species of green turtle). When the turtles are caught, we will bring them into the boat to collect data on them, including length and width, weight, and tag numbers. We will have a picnic lunch on the boat.
After we get back to El Jobo, there will be some downtime to rest and then the group will split into two for different activities. One group will head up around dusk the hill above the BnB to participate in a survey for the Yellow Naped Amazonian Parrot, counting them as they fly back to their island for the evening. The other group will rest up to visit the area’s nesting beaches that evening to look for nesting turtles.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: Ray Research
After breakfast, we will head to Punta Manzanillo to do a survey for rays. Several species of rays can be found in this area (including spotted eagle rays) and we will look for them and help catch them with nets. Once caught, we will bring the rays ashore to measure and then release. We may also spot sea turtles swimming around this area. Lunch will be at a local home and in the afternoon, ETC staff will give a presentation on the research they are doing in the area. The group will then split up to do beach walks or parrot surveys.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: Community Activities
Today will be a day off the water to get to know the community of El Jobo. We will have a cooking class, learning how to make ceviche made fresh from fish caught nearby. We will also have a workshop on soap making from women in the local community. After lunch will be a beach cleanup activity and then some free time to swim or explore the area and then optional parrot surveys and nesting beach walks.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Humpback Whales
This morning will start with a visit to a cave with a short walk along the coast. The rocks formed here are the oldest in Central America, emerging 60 million years ago when the isthmus rose from the ocean. The cave is home to bats and other creatures. Afterwards, the group will do a sail boat tour to the Gulf of Santa Elena, a great place to spot humpback whales, where they come to mate and have calves. We will head out by boat to observe these whales from a respectable distance and have lunch on a beautiful island in the gulf. That evening we will have our final round optional parrot surveys and nesting beach walks.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Rincon de la Vieja
After a final breakfast in El Jobo, we will board our private bus to head to the the Blue River Resort, located near Rincon de la Vieja National Park. This is an active volcano (though not risky) and a beautiful area of rainforest. The resort has hot spring pools, gardens, butterfly farm and ant farms, and a natural sauna and mudbath. The resort offers a number of optional activities to enjoy the area including hikes, waterfalls, and more (optional activities and meals outside of breakfast are not included).
Day 7: Departure
We will depart after breakfast to Liberia (one and a half hour drive), where you can meet your international flight home or extend your stay to visit other parts of this beautiful country.
Is This Trip Right For Me?
Costa Rica is a safe and beautiful country that receives more than 1 million international tourists annually. This is a fairly an active trip that requires some of physical fitness and an ability to manage sometimes challenging conditions including weather and heat, bugs, and long bus rides. The accommodations are comfortable but plan to spend significant time on boats and in the water. Some of the cabins require a short walk up steep hills; we will accommodate those who would be more challenged by this in lower rooms. Night patrols require walking over a short area of rocks to get to the beach.
Photos courtesy of Equipo Tora Carey.
other turtle conservation trips
Photo credits: Hal Brindley, James Richard, & Latin American Sea Turtles