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Volunteer to help endangered Sea Turtles!
ASTOP-Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina  Header Image ASTOP-Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina  Header Image

Volunteer to help endangered Sea Turtles!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Help protect Costa Rica's leatherback sea turtles by promoting sustainable tourism!

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Authentic experience for Eckerd College students

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.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A deeply wonderful experience - twice!

There is no way to fully describe the depth of the experience of Barra de Parismina. Patrolling the beach at night while being followed by the moon glow on the water, watching baby turtles windmill themselves to the pounding waves, watching the horses play on the beach, finding the town sloth, enjoying an abundance of birds, butterflies and lush colors of the leaves and flowers of the village, enjoying that beautiful exhaustion after a night patrol while watching the sun rise or sitting quietly in the shade of a palm tree and watching the pelicans gently float over the fishermen - it all adds up to a totally incredible experience. My first visit in 2016 left me with a deep need to return, which I did in May 2017. The highlight of this time there was helping get the eggs from a huge Leatherback Turtle and to the Sanctuary for safety till they hatched. Living with a local family was definitely the way to go, allowing me to learn so much about life in Parismina, the culture, foods and crafts. It is wonderful to see the very welcoming community so involved in ASTOP as well as meeting other volunteers from all over the world coming together with a common purpose. Its a beautiful experience with lovely people, incredible scenery and wildlife that left me feeling humbled, joyful and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a worthy cause. If you are looking for something where you will feel alive with every fiber of your being - go to Parismina!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Go - just go!

My first visit was in 2016 when the Green Turtles were coming out to lay their eggs and the Leatherbacks were hatching. It was such an incredible experience that I returned in May 2017! Living with a local family was definitely the way to go, learning to make jewelry as well as so much about the local culture, foods and way of living. The highlight of my return trip was helping get the eggs from a laying turtle and getting them to the safety of the Hatchery. It is hard to describe the depth of the experience, of walking that beach at night time, seeing those incredible creatures come to lay their eggs. It is wonderful to see how involved the community is in ASTOP, to be literally surrounded by smiles and greetings, butterflies and birds and with all this, to be doing something that is so incredibly rewarding. Meeting other volunteers of all ages from all over the world with a common purpose; finding the town sloth; playing ball with the local residents, sitting quietly in the shade of a palm tree on the beach watching the horses play in the water; exploring the river and the island; watching the sun rise while feeling that glorious exhaustion after a night beach patrol , to name just a few things - all makes for a really beautiful and deep time in a simply beautiful place! This is a must for anyone wanting a unique, unforgettable experience. Go - just go!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

10 visits in 5 years

A project that was initiated by the community and run by the community. Parismina is hands down the best place in Costa Rica to see and work with leatherback turtles. I am a professor from Canada and I have been bringing students to assist with ASTOP since 2013. The experience is a great blend of social, cultural, and environmental work existence that benefits the economy of the community. We always see a lot of leatherback turtles and enjoy the homestay accommodations. If you have not visited yet, you should. If you have visited, you should visit again! Support community-based conservation.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Cultural

I had an amazing time. It's a wonderful company, doing some incredible work saving thousands of sea turtles each and every breeding season, and I would love to see that continue and flourish for years and years to come.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Experience of a Lifetime

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.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    2

Amazing experience of a lifetime

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,