sea turtle conservancy – costa rica


Sea Turtle Conservancy – Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Research and monitoring of sea turtles in Tortuguero, Costa Rica was initiated in the 1950s by legendary sea turtle researcher Dr. Archie Carr, whose work led to the establishment of the first sea turtle conservation group in the world – the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC).  Dr. Carr oversaw the work in Tortuguero until his passing away in 1987.  The STC continues Dr. Carr’s legacy in Tortuguero by conducting the annual program, making it the longest ongoing sea turtle conservation and monitoring program in the world.

The black sand beach of Tortuguero is one of the least accessible places in Costa Rica. It hosts the largest green turtle (Chelonia mydas) rookery in the Western Hemisphere and includes important nesting populations of leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles. Weighing up to 500 pounds (200 kilograms) green turtles are among the largest sea turtles in the world.

The findings of the work developed by STC in Tortuguero, Costa Rica were essential for the creation of Tortuguero National Park (TNP) in 1970 and the approval of a specific sea turtle protection law in 2002. Currently, TNP includes 30 km of protected beaches to ensure sea turtle nesting. The development and use of this area, as well as all aspects related to wildlife, are regulated by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE).

STC studies have solved many of the mysteries of green turtle reproductive ecology and behavior. Long-term tagging at Tortuguero during the nesting months facilitates monitoring of the nesting population to evaluate the survival status of the species. 

Terra Explore participants will work side by side with STC scientists, contributing to their work and aiding nesting turtles weighing up to 350 pounds and measuring 3 to 4 feet in length.


TBD (late June through October, customized for group)




  • High School Age Students (or Older) Traveling with Parents or Guardians
  • Adults Traveling without Children
  • Maximum of 10 Participants


Personalized movie, created by Terra partner, URLIFE Media, and their team of Hollywood Producers and Editors, using content captured by participant.


Nightly Beach Patrols

Work as part of a nesting survey team to help tag and record data about the nesting turtles. This includes measuring turtles, counting eggs, and marking nests. The presence of tagging teams on the beach also acts as a strong deterrent to illegal hunters and egg collectors.

Morning Nest Surveys

Walk the beach in the mornings to check the status of nests marked during previous night patrols.

Nest Inventories

Assist with determination of nest survivorship and hatching success through nest inventories.

Guided Tours

Guided tours led by a local naturalist, such as a hike along a rainforest trail or a boat tour through the canal system.

Optional Additions

Offshore tarpon fishing with a local fishing guide, lending beautiful views of the wild coastline, or a Caribbean cooking demonstration by one of the matriarchs of Tortuguero.

Accommodation Details:

Terra Explore participants may stay at STC’s John H. Phipps Tortuguero Biological Field Station, located in a tropical rainforest setting that is steps from the black sand beach. Modern plumbing, indoor showers, and potable water allow for a rustic yet comfortable stay. Meals, prepared Caribbean-style by a local cook, are served three times a day. There are three types of accommodations available: Rustic, dorm-style living, includes 3 bunk beds with up to 6 people per room and community bathrooms. A scientist residence that includes two private bedrooms and bathrooms with a common living area (accommodating up to four people, two people per room). Or an eco-lodge with has completely private rooms that is a ten-minute walk from the research station.

Terms of Payment

Contact us to speak to a Terra representative to schedule a Zoom call.

We will assist you in answering questions regarding the expedition including insurance, medical, and visa requirements, as well as in finalizing room and additional activity reservations. A deposit is required to secure your reservation.


Note that a portion of your payment is tax deductible as a donation through Terra Conservation Initiative, a sponsored program of Ngaren Inc.


Cancellation Policy

Cancellation 31 days or more before the arrival date: deposit not refunded.

Cancellation 30 days or less before the start of services: 0% refunded. Can be rescheduled if COvid-related disruptions occur.



Placement of an order with Terra on the Givvor fundraising platform for this trip is taken as acceptance by the customer of these terms and conditions.



Please remember when reading through these terms and conditions that we would bend over backwards to try and solve any problems that could arise during your trip. We will do our utmost whenever necessary to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, and 99 times out of 100 it does. Customers are asked to remember that things don’t always go quite to plan in Africa, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea as they do elsewhere.



The company takes no responsibility for loss, damage or injury arising from any shortfall, error or omission in the information passed to the customer during the sale or subsequent delivery of the product. The company takes no responsibility nor can be held liable for loss, damage, or injury that occurs on a supplier’s or service provider’s premises or transport, or between two such premises.


Some of the elements sold by us inherently have a risk factor involved for the customer (e.g. diving, safari, walking safaris, trekking, flying, mountain climbing etc.) and we take no responsibility for the consequences of the customer taking on such risks.


It is the responsibility of the client to check the correctness of the services invoiced.



Customers are required to provide for themselves all necessary insurances against personal injury, loss, medical evacuation, medical assistance, hospitalization, damage, theft, cancellation, delay etc.

All customers are responsible for ensuring that they have full insurance cover that includes rescue and hyperbaric recompression (if diving) from the moment that they first place their order and covering the whole period before, during and after travel.


We strongly suggest that you take out travel insurance to cover you in the event of inability to commence travel due to health reasons and medical insurance whilst abroad. This should be taken out in accordance with the terms and conditions of most travel insurance policies with cancellation and curtailment benefits.



To place a booking with the company, the client will make a non-refundable deposit of $500 through the GIVVOR platform.

In the case of a last-minute booking (less than 60 days in most cases but occasionally 90 depending on the service providers used) the booking must be paid for immediately.




5.a Changes to a booking

Should you wish to make a change to your booking, then we may need to charge an amendment fee to cover additional administration costs. We will inform you of these before making any changes.

5.b If the changes involve the actual cancellation of any element of the booking, standard cancellation charges will apply. Changes which involve adding to an existing booking can usually be carried out without an amendment charge.



We often use charter dive boats, small establishments that book up months in advance, or lodges within national parks that have to pay their park fees in advance. We work with a range of service providers in different countries and they often have different cancellation policies. We inform you of the cancellation policy applicable on your invoice and this is the one applicable. We will do our best to work with our suppliers and you to ensure that you can make a claim for a full refund from your insurance company. 



If your journey starts in the EU, you must work within the EU denied boarding law. Your airline must cooperate with you. You are however, still liable for the costs of your booked

safari/diving/hotels/tours/services etc. The company will make every effort to help re-arrange your journey, but you will NOT be entitled to any refund due to your non-appearance for any sector or sectors or services of your journey.



The company is not liable for any knock-on effects arising from the failure of any one element of a sale, such as the non-departure of a boat or plane. Any cancellations arising thereof will be completely the responsibility of the customer. It remains the customer’s sole responsibility to arrive and depart and travel between all elements of a trip. The customer must check with local transport operators the exact times and schedules for transport. There are departures on which a failure can cause serious knock-on effects.



Invoicing is in US Dollars. Once a booking is paid for, the price is guaranteed except in the case of surcharges.



In some cases suppliers feel the need to pass on surcharges to us for exchange rate fluctuations, fuel price increases, extra government park fees, or changes to VAT regulations.

The company reserves the right to pass on to customers any increase imposed on us by our suppliers.



If you have a problem during your holiday, please inform the relevant supplier (hotel, safari company, dive center) immediately who will endeavor to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved, please contact us as soon as you can, and email or text message is generally the most efficient.


11.a You must communicate any complaint in resort to the supplier of the services in question. If you fail to follow this simple procedure we will have been deprived of the opportunity to investigate and rectify your complaint whilst you were on holiday. Most issues can be dealt with straight away.

11.b Usually we can act quickly to resolve any such problem satisfactorily. Claims arising from problems through which the customer has suffered in silence and not given the provider or ourselves the chance to rectify, only to issue a complaint well after the event, will not be entertained.

11.c Transport complaints.

It is not uncommon for the transport methods employed on our trips to run with delays, or to run below operational standards that would be regarded as normal in Western Europe or North America. We cannot accept any claim of any nature which relates to any failure of transport operators to conform either to timetables supplied by us or to their own timetables or arising from deviations from operational standards by transport operators whose services form part of our itineraries (whether original or amended).

11.d Post service complaints procedure

In dealing with an unresolved complaint post trip, you must contact us within seven days of the end of our service. Please bear in mind that when determining whether a refund is due, we will need to negotiate with the supplier in question after your return.

Please also note that placing negative feedback on the internet usually negates any power that we have to negotiate on your behalf.



Your specific passport and visa requirements, and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements.



The placing of a deposit/booking with Terra for services implies that you accept these booking conditions.


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