ASTOP-Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina
ASTOP-Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina Programs
ASTOP-Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina Reviews
A Life Changing Experience
Submitted by Jenna Januszka - University of the Sciences | June 28, 2017
I just returned from a two week trip to Parismina and it honestly not nearly enough time. At my departure from the village, I felt like I was leaving a piece of me behind and immediately wanted to go back for the rest of my life. The village is very small and safe with very basic living spaces: accommodations in the homestays include a room you'll likely share with other volunteers (perfect for making new best friends like I did) and 3 meals a day. Host families do a very good job at making you feel welcome in their home and as much a part of their family as they can. At night you'll be assigned to a 4-hour beach patrol shift in which you'll walk the beach looking for turtles, digging out the eggs to bring to the hatcheries, and just deterring pouchers with your presence. You are not guaranteed to see a turtle every night you patrol, but trust me it makes seeing a turtle such a beautiful and special moment. During the day, you may be assigned to watch over the hatchery for about three hours. Hatchery shifts are a great time to take in the awesome view of the ocean and just relax. The long term volunteers often plan fun activities to do during the day (or night if you like nocturnal bugs in the jungle) during your down time. You may even volunteer your time to help out in the local school or other activities within the community. Parismina is very dependent on the volunteers for their economy; just by stopping by you are providing income to the villagers and making pouching less of a necessity to make a living. The village in general is a beautiful place and every where you walk the locals with greet you with a smile. You can really feel the difference you're making every second you're there and the shifts you are assigned feel much more like a privilege rather than a responsibility. Expect to see lots of bugs and lizards in your homesteads and to take cold showers- but don't let this deter you from visiting. Before I arrived I would have dreaded these things, but they all become pretty normal after a day or two. I hope you consider visiting this amazing place and help save the sea turtles. Pure Vida!
Experience of a lifetime
Submitted by turtlevolunteer12 | June 15, 2017
Volunteering with ASTOP was all around a fantastic experience for me. I was able to step out of my comfort zone, experience a part of the world much different from my own, and make a difference. You will absolutely have the chance to see giant sea turtles and get as close to them as you want! During my time there I had the opportunity to see several Leatherback Turtles and rescue hundreds of eggs. Living with a host family was also a great experience. I'll admit I was skeptical at first, but my host family was more than accommodating and the food was delicious and plentiful. Knowing some Spanish definitely helped me, though it is not necessary. Overall, I highly recommend volunteering with ASTOP.
Amazing experience of a lifetime
Submitted by Keely - Nevada Stata College | June 08, 2017
I came here two years ago and at first I didn't know what to make of it coming from a city in the desert. By the time it was time to leave, I wanted to sell everything I owned in order to come back. The program leaves you feeling important because it would be nothing without its volunteers. Economical impact is of utmost importance in the prevention of poaching and the statistics show the positive effects of the program on the conservation of the sea turtles. The home stays are great and the immersive experience cannot be replaced. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to expand their horizons while making a difference in the world,
Help protect Costa Rica's leatherback sea turtles by promoting sustainable tourism!
Submitted by Antoine King - University of Sydney | June 08, 2017
In May 2017 I spent two weeks volunteering for ASTOP - Associación Salvemos Las Tortugas de Parismina, to help protect the sea turtles which come and nest on the beach near the village of Parismina on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. My experience volunteering for ASTOP was really enjoyable and rewarding. During my stay I helped patrol the beach at night to deter poachers from taking turtles and their eggs. Watching the huge leatherback turtles come up the beach to lay their eggs was an incredible experience. I also helped collect the eggs and transfer them to the hatchery where they are kept safe from poachers and dogs. During the day, there was plenty of time to relax in the hammock or soak up some sun on the beach. Apart from enjoying the relaxing Caribbean life we also conducted beach clean-ups and plastic surveys to determine how much and what types of plastics were present on the beach and helped with some maintenance like repainting part of ASTOP's patrol house. My friend and I stayed in a homestay which was a great experience in itself. Our host mother was very welcoming and put in a lot of effort to make sure we were comfortable and enjoying ourselves. We ate very well during those two weeks! The room was basic but it had everything anyone could need.
Overall my stay in Parismina volunteering for ASTOP was a fantastic experience. Unlike many other volunteering organisations, ASTOP offers an opportunity to genuinely help make a positive difference. Every cent goes directly to helping protect the turtles by encouraging the villagers to turn to sustainable tourism rather than poaching. I felt like I made an honest contribution to the protection of Parismina's sea turtles and I would recommend ASTOP's to anyone looking for a great volunteering opportunity in Costa Rica.
Authentic experience for Eckerd College students
Submitted by Nancy Smith, Associate Professor of Marine Science - St. Petersburg, Florida United States | June 08, 2017
In March 2017, a group of Eckerd College students and I spent a full week volunteering for ASTOP as part of a spring break service learning trip. The multiple experiences of witnessing female leatherbacks lay eggs was life changing for all of us. We stayed at their community house, which was located on the beach and was very comfortable. The guides were very dedicated to protecting turtles, and we always felt safe patrolling the beaches at night. Besides our participation in beach patrols and other volunteering activities, we got to tour Tortuguero National Park by boat, swim in nearby lakes, and participate in art/crafts activities. Staying in the community of Parismina was a very authentic cultural experience. Our college plans to come back and volunteer for this organization again. We highly recommend ASTOP if you want to support a community-based organization, dedicated to protecting endangered sea turtles.