Costa Rican Sea Turtles

Help Earthwatch scientists discover why Pacific leatherback sea turtles have almost disappeared from Costa Rica's beaches.

Many of the remaining Pacific leatherbacks nest in the sands of Playa Grande, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Langosta on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Female leatherbacks dig holes with their flippers and lay about 80 round eggs, a process they’ll repeat up to 12 times during the breeding season. In about two months, the fragile hatchlings will emerge.

The world is a dangerous place for these tiny turtles and their parents. They’re threatened by climate change, boat traffic, fishing gear, and humans harvesting their eggs. To truly understand why this ancient species has declined so rapidly and what we can do to stop this decline, researchers need to know everything about them: their behavior, physiology, genetics, population biology, and migration patterns.

To build this knowledge base, you’ll walk the beach at night when turtles are active, getting up close to these massive animals to attach transmitters that will track their local and long-distance movements. You’ll also help relocate eggs from nests in dangerous spots, like somewhere the waves might wash them away, to a hatchery. The researchers on this expedition have studied leatherbacks for over two decades, and you'll help them expand the longest-running database that exists on Pacific marine turtles. This work is critical: with leatherbacks declining at an alarming rate, each turtle is precious.

For more information or to book contact our office (03) 9016 7590 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Activity Level: Very Active
  • Location: Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica
  • Lead Scientist:

    Frank Paladino, Ph.D.

From $2695 USD
Duration: 9 days

Sign up for our newsletter

About Us

T (03) 9016 7590
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Earthwatch Institute Australia is a registered charity. Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.

ABN 25 875 253 851

Earthwatch Australia acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which our company is located and where we conduct our business. We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past and present.

Earthwatch Australia is committed to honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and seas and their rich contribution to Australian and global society. We recognise that sovereignty over these lands and waters was never ceded

© 2023 Earthwatch Institute. All rights reserved.