Best Volunteer Reviews 2017

I really enjoyed my time at the sea turtle program. It was rewarding, educational and inspiring to see both mother turtles laying eggs and baby turtles hatching out of their nests. The local area is a small community and you get to know a lot of people in the area in a short amount of time. I really enjoyed the days when we did a day-time nest digging (exhumation), which is when everyone can come and see baby turtles run down the beach to the sea that the volunteers have rescued from their nests. I took this opportunity to talk to the crowds about the importance of the work we're doing for sea turtle conservation, solicit donations, educate them on the work ABV does for sea turtle survival and explain sea turtle life cycles and physiology to all who were there. I also answered a lot of questions about sea turtles which further enhanced their experiences as they could learn and see these amazing creatures start their lives.

 Review Volunteer Amanda Wong in Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation program

1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country?

 I didn't have a need to contact the ABV coordinator while here yet so I cannot comment on how their service is. I did find that of all partner organizations either the local Costa Rican group, ABV does provide more information than others about packing lists.

2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?

We had a mother sea turtle come onto the beach during the day once even though a majority of sea turtles nest at night. 

 Review Volunteer Amanda Wong in Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation program

3- What was most difficult to experience?

The late night shift covering 4am is the most difficult time to be alert and ready to chase raccoons out of the hatchery!

Also, we had to do a really tough day of road-side clean up of the gutters of garbage and excess vegetation.

4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)

It's very hot and sunny in Montezuma so bring lightweight clothing. 

  • DEET is bad (toxic, melts plastic) so bring Piactive or another non-DEET bug spray if you can. You'll need some type of bug spray. 
  • Bring really good rechargeable (LED) white light and RED light. I got mine from a bike shop/outdoors store called MEC (similar to REI in the USA).
  • Please bring a reusable water bottle and plastic garbage is the worst problem on the beach. 

Review Volunteer Amanda Wong in Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation program

5.1- Other things volunteers should know:
a. We do beach cleaning here so it was nice to have brought gloves to protect your hands from the garbage. I brought gardening gloves but waterproof or rubber gloves would've worked better because conditions are wet.
b. There is down time to see and do other of things. It is nice to have a hammock to sit in, and also nice to go on tours or to the town with other volunteers. Everyone I've met here has been really nice.
c. Beans and rice for almost every meal! Get used to it! It's delicious, different methods of preparation, but same basic ingredients.

6- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I really enjoyed my time at the sea turtle program. It was rewarding, educational and inspiring to see both mother turtles laying eggs and baby turtles hatching out of their nests. The local area is a small community and you get to know a lot of people in the area in a short amount of time. I really enjoyed the days when we did a day-time nest digging (exhumation), which is when everyone can come and see baby turtles run down the beach to the sea that the volunteers have rescued from their nests. I took this opportunity to talk to the crowds about the importance of the work we're doing for sea turtle conservation, solicit donations, educate them on the work ABV does for sea turtle survival and explain sea turtle life cycles and physiology to all who were there. I also answered a lot of questions about sea turtles which further enhanced their experiences as they could learn and see these amazing creatures start their lives.

7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared)

We had shared accommodations in a house with several rooms of bunk beds. I was in a room connected with 2 other rooms, all with girls with up to 6 beds. We shared one bathroom! The showers have no hot water (as its hot here) and we all took turns cleaning the common areas. 

The meals were amazing. Our cook, Blanca, prepared 3 meals a day for everyone and they were delicious, hot, with good variety of veggies and protein (beans or meat), rice, and plantain. Sometimes we'd have pancakes for breakfast! They were always filling and satisfying.

Security was pretty relaxed, we didn't feel unsafe and we also didn't really lock our doors. I kept some key items locked in my suitcase but otherwise I didn't feel unsafe leaving my things in the dorm rooms at the house. Follow the volunteer ABV guide.

 Review Volunteer Amanda Wong in Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation program

8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?

 The other ABV volunteers that I met here were the most amazing memory. Everyone seems to have the same ideals and heart for sea turtle conservation. This work attracts a particular type of person and I got along really well with everyone. My favorite memory is hanging out with other volunteers at meal-time and sharing stories about our shifts at the hatchery, which nests hatched, if there were mother turtles found on the beach!

 Review Volunteer Amanda Wong in Costa Rica Sea Turtle Conservation program

9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?

I had several questions before traveling, and ABV was able to answer most of them promptly and effectively. Some specific questions about in-country travel which changes all the time, they gave suggestions and helped as best. The ABV support was fairly fast in response time.

10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?

Yes, of course!

Volunteer in Costa Rica

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