Research Assistant for Costa Rican Sea Turtle Conservation Project

Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Research Assistants pay a monthly fee, which covers food & board
May 23, 2017
Jul 22, 2017
Job Level
Entry level
Employment Type
Internship, Volunteer
Salary Type

CREMA and Turtle Trax run four sea turtle nesting beach conservation projects on the southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. The projects are open annually during the olive ridley nesting season. Olive ridleys are the principal species that nest on the beaches, but there is also sporadic nesting of Greens, Leatherbacks, and Hawksbills. The principal threat to the nesting sea turtles on these beaches is egg poaching. Secondary threats include beach development, tourist traffic, and nest depredation. To protect the sea turtle nesting population on our beaches we use a multifaceted approach including moving nests to protected hatcheries, environmental education, and sustainable tourism development. Research Assistants are responsible for assisting the Coordinator with all aspects of the project, including leading night patrols, organizing community environmental education activities, and maintaining the station house.

Locations, Availability & Fees

The season is broken down into terms, with a cohort of research assistants coming from all projects for each term. The duration of each internship is 80 days, and interns are expected to stay in the project area for the full timeframe. 

1B - July 11 to September 29
2A - August 29 to November 17
2B - September 26 to December 15
3 - November 14 to January 31

Costa de Oro & San Miguel

  • Fee: $1400 USD
  • 3 positions per project
  • Volunteer program at project

Corozalito & Bejuco

  • Fee: $1100 USD
  • 4 positions per project
  • No volunteers at project

Research Assistants Fees cover basic meals and accommodation. Candidates who can speak Spanish and have previous sea turtle experience may be eligible for a discount. 


Research assistants are responsible for assisting the coordinator in all aspects of running the project, and will gain hands-on experience working with sea turtles. It is crucial that selected assistants bring a positive attitude to the project, work well within a team, be adaptable to a variety of situations, and be prepared to partake in ALL aspects of the project. Examples of responsibilities include:

  • Leading 3-4 hour night patrols and morning censuses 
  • Tagging and measuring nesting turtles 
  • Building and maintaining project hatcheries 
  • Hatchery monitoring and nest excavations 
  • Community environmental education activities
  • Station house maintenance and cleaning 
  • Cooking group meals 
  • Training volunteers


Research assistants are expected to stay at the project site for the entire period in which they are selected. Requirements include:

  • Independent, reliable and responsible. 
  • Motivated, positive and adaptable to unexpected situations. 
  • Able to undertake physical labor during night and day in extreme weather conditions. 
  • Comfortable in an isolated setting and working within a team. 
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills. 

Conversational Spanish and previous experience working in the outdoors, especially with sea turtles, are valuable, but not required. 

Application Process 

Please visit our website to read more about the position and individual projects at Email the following documents to and 

1. Cover letter (please state whether you prefer a particular project and term) 
2. Resume 
3. List of the email addresses of at least 2 professional or academic references

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