Volunteer Name: Alice Boatman
Project Location: Costa Rica, Pacific Region
Program Dates: From June 26 to July 10th 2014
Volunteered at: Sea Turtle Conservation
1. Both the ABV coordinator and the support provide in country was amazing, and more than I could have hopped for. Everyone was very knowledgeable, friendly, and informative, and were constantly more than willing to help with any problem, and they always did it with a smile on their face! I always felt well taken care of, and knew that I was in good hands. All directions and instructions were clear and easy to follow, and I always knew that no matter what the problem, ABV would be there for me.
2. The most surprising thing I experienced while volunteering on the beach in Costa Rica was how happy I could be without the amenities that I am used to at home. I was actually happy there was no cell phone service, and at the end of the day, I looked forward to a cold shower, and the thought of a warm shower was not appealing. I loved sleeping immersed within nature, instead of barricading it out with walls and windows. Waking up to the sounds of grasshoppers, howler monkeys, crickets, and powerful pacific waves every morning is a sound I will never forget but will always miss.
3. The most difficult experience was having to leave. After volunteering for two weeks, you become super attached to the cause and the people you are working with. Having to come back to reality, saying good bye to your new friends from all over the world, and knowing that you won't be seeing anymore baby sea turtles for a while is a hard realization to come to after such an amazing experience. Despite missing my parents and friends, I would have gladly stayed on the beach volunteering for another few months. Leaving the camp was like leaving a second home and a second family, and it was by far the hardest thing I dealt with throughout the entire trip.
4. I would recommend staying and volunteering as long as you can. You will love every second you are there, and will never want to leave. I extended my trip for
5 days after volunteering to travel and see what else Costa Rica has to offer, and I would suggest others do this as well. As for packing, I know it's hot, but pack sweat pants and a hoodie to protect yourself from the mosquitoes at night. Bring rain gear, as downpours are fairly common, so bring rain boots and a rain jacket. Also a bandana is helpful for sun protection and for absorbing sweat.
5. If you are volunteering with the sea turtle conservation programs, you are there for an environmental cause, so try to be as ecofriendly as possible. If you bring snacks, try to bring along as little packaging as you can, or bring the packaging home with you to dispose of there, as garbage at the camp is often burned. Biodegradable laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. is also great. Additionally, try to bring along natural forms of bug repellent, as chemical bug sprays are not allowed in the hatcheries or on beach patrols. Also, the bugs are not nearly as bad as you think they will be, because you are near the beach!
6. A Broader View provided me with a once in a life time opportunity that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in a cause that you are passionate about, meet new people from all over the world, and experience other cultures and experiences that you would not have otherwise been able to witness. ABV enabled me to go on this amazing adventure, and provided me with every little detail that I needed to have an amazing trip.
7. My accommodation, meals and feeling of security was amazing! I feel like I have a second family and a second home in Costa Rica. The beds were super comfy, something I was not expecting. I enjoyed living only meters from a beach, in a very basic shelter. Meals were also excellent, I never know there could be so much variety in the way you can cook beans and rice! Pancake day was my favorite! I always had more than enough food, and was always satisfied with the meals I was provided with. There was never a time where I didn't feel safe, and I couldn't be happier with the living and eating provisions I was given.
8. I don't think I can pick only one single favorite memory from my time volunteering in Costa Rica. Each and every single moment was just as amazing as the last, in its own special way. I loved taking care of the hatchery and the baby turtles, seeing mommy turtles laying eggs on the beach both during the day and at night. Meeting friends from countries like Germany, Canada, England, Spain, and France was an incredible opportunity. Playing Frisbee in the pouring rain, or learning to surf, or walking the beach, and swimming. All of these amazing moments made up my trip, and the entire trip is something I look back upon with nothing but amazing memories.
9. The A Broader View Support before traveling was stellar. I was provided with detailed packing manuals, instructions and pieces of advice as to how to adapt to the new culture I would be immersed in. Any and all questions I had were answered effectively and promptly. ABV was also very accommodative of my itinerary, as I was traveling for five days after volunteering, and they even suggested some travel agents, companies, and activities. To me, ABV is more than just a company providing volunteer opportunities, but a company built by people who are caring, and passionate, and want to provide their customers with the best experience possible.
10. I would absolutely love to speak to other potential A Broader View volunteers. I had such an incredible experience volunteering in Costa Rica with ABV, and I believe that everyone who is interested in environmental causes should take part in a program like this. I have a strong passion for animal protection and environmental conservation, and I would love the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with others, and therefore hopefully inspire them to take part in what they are passionate about. Having this opportunity will allow me to further the impact I had with ABV and sea turtles, because I will hopefully be able to increase the number of volunteers ABV gets.