Much of the financial support for the efforts of the John H. Phipps Green Turtle Research Station came from John H. Phipps himself. The research facility was established over two decades ago and is named in his honor.

The Caribbean Islands and the countries of Central America are known internationally as much for their efforts in the conservation of their natural resources as they are for their stunning beauty and unique biodiversity.

Two important key players in Central America’s efforts towards conservation of green sea turtles are:

  1. Green Turtle Research Station (near Tortuguero Costa Rica)
  2. Sea Turtle Conservancy (formerly the Caribbean Conservation Corporation) of which American herpetologist, ecologist and a pioneering conservationist Archie Carr was a founding member.

Both owe their existence to the work of Carr and others who endeavored to save the green sea turtle, one of several endangered turtle species that nest near Tortuguero Costa Rica and in other Caribbean countries.

Sea Turtle Conservation at the Green Turtle Research Station

What’s happening in the sea turtle preservation and restoration world today?

The Green Turtle Research Station is ideally located for studying the natural turtle habitat and monitoring turtle migration, behaviour, nesting, and other activities.

At various times throughout the year, different turtle species arrive at the Tortuguero turtle nesting beaches to nest and lay their eggs including the giant leatherbacks, loggerheads, hawksbill turtles, and of course the Atlantic green sea turtles. Nesting turtles generally come ashore at night to lay their eggs and bury them in the volcanic sand, a process that has been repeated for centuries.

One of the greatest benefits of the Green Turtle Research Station is their program for assisting turtle hatchlings to avoid predators. They help the hatchlings make it to the ocean safely, thus ensuring the survival of turtle populations. The presence of researchers and volunteers on the turtle nesting beaches of Tortuguero Costa Rica has also greatly reduced turtle poaching.

Public education is another huge part of their conservation efforts and researchers often invite volunteers to be part of a “welcoming party,” as turtles come to the nesting beaches on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Why Sea Turtle Conservation in Tortuguero?

Why is Costa Rica the choice site for studying and helping green sea turtles and other turtle species?

The nesting beaches near Tortuguero Costa Rica attract more nesting turtles than anywhere else in the western hemisphere. The intensive study and conservation efforts conducted by the Green Turtle Research Station (and others) have had an overwhelming positive effect on turtle populations.

Turtle researchers are able to monitor turtle populations and gather important information from their studies of turtles including turtle identification and survival facts.

The project is officially known as “Green Turtle Tagging” and is part of the Green Turtle Monitoring Program. In addition, interested persons may contact the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida.

The Green Turtle Research Station always welcomes volunteers, many of whom help with the research at night, when the turtles are most active. International volunteers are able to keep in touch with the turtle preservation efforts through the Marine Turtle newsletter.

Sea Turtle Conservancy

Each year, the Sea Turtle Conservancy manages a variety of programs that require volunteers. The first takes place in March, April and May at the turtle nesting beaches near Tortuguero Costa Rica.

This effort is called The Leatherback Project and focuses on the study and protection of the giant leatherback turtles, which in some cases can weigh as much as a ton. Volunteers are involved in counting and identification, as well as tagging the leatherback turtles in order to help researchers track and monitor the giant leatherback turtle population.

In July, August, and September, the Sea Turtle Conservancy studies the green sea turtle, concentrating on their nesting behaviour and addressing their environmental needs in order to keep the species healthy and thriving. Green sea turtles are much smaller than leatherbacks and grow to a maximum length of four feet, and weigh no more than 350 pounds.

In the last few decades, more and more travelers have chosen to participate in Costa Rica ecotourism travel, combining volunteer work in Costa Rica with vacation time near the Green Turtle Research Station. The village of Tortuguero has several excellent bed-and-breakfast options, as well as small hotels and guest houses.

Two other noteworthy organizations that actively take part in the effort to restore and preserve the populations of Atlantic sea turtles and other turtle species are the ANAI Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Program and EarthWatch.

Turtle Nesting Beaches Part of Caravan Costa Rica Tours

Caravan offers a fully guide Costa Rica Natural Paradise tour, which currently includes a visit to Leatherback Turtles National Park in Guanacaste on the Pacific Coast, which is less busy and every bit as fascinating as Tortuguero’s Green Turtle Research Station on the Atlantic Coast.

Affordably priced, these 9-day Costa Rica tours feature a number of other top attractions and experiences you can’t miss while visiting Costa Rica including volcanoes, cloud forests, hanging bridges, and aerial tram tours.

Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica reviews page to read what others have said about their tour of the Costa Rica turtle nesting beaches.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your space today
for a Caravan all inclusive Costa Rica tour!

Caravan Costa Rica vacations are the perfect holidays offering something for everyone. With a name that literally means “Rich Coast,” how can you miss?

Costa Rica is a small Central American country but although small in size (just under 20,000 square miles), Costa Rica is overflowing with natural wonders and exotic tropical beauty.

No matter who you are or where you are from, Caravan’s well-planned Costa Rica vacations will astound you. Stops include the country’s two most famous volcanoes, Arenal volcano and Poás volcano plus some of the most popular attractions in the country:

  • Hiking or walking through tropical virgin rainforests and cloud forests
  • Relaxing on white sandy beaches at world class resorts
  • Exploring wildlife refuges, nature reserves, and protected turtle nesting beaches
  • Taking in jungle river cruises and bird watching cruises
  • Or taste-testing fresh coffee at a local coffee plantation

Top 4 Costa Rica Destinations

While on our Caravan Costa Rica vacations, travelers get to enjoy the most popular, must-see destinations including:

  1. Leatherback Turtles National Park: This protected marine and wildlife refuge is one of the more popular National Parks in Costa Rica and a top eco-tourism destination. Plan to travel here between September and March to catch a glimpse of the prime nesting season for leatherback turtles. This national park also has an overabundance of mammals and birds (over 174 species!), plus truly unique flora and fauna just waiting to be explored.
  2. Poás Volcano: This popular Costa Rica volcano is located near the center of country. Poás Volcano is often misty and cloudy but when the mist breaks, visitors are given a unique glimpse of the green sulphuric lake that shoots geysers up over 800 feet in the air. At a mile wide and over 1,000 feet deep, Poás volcano is the world’s largest active crater.
  3. Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge: The only way to get to Cano Negro, one of Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destinations, is on a boat cruise along the Rio Frio River. Experienced Costa Rica tour guides help visitors stay on the lookout for migratory birds, crocodiles, web-footed water walking lizards, spider monkeys, jaguars, cougars, and more.
  4. Arenal Volcano: Located about 55 kilometers northwest of Costa Rica’s capital San José, Arenal Volcano remained dormant for several hundred years until it erupted suddenly in 1968 creating three more craters. Only one crater still exists today and tourists enjoy visiting one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world (from a safe distance of course).

All Inclusive Vacations by Caravan

Because Costa Rica is small it is possible to travel from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast and see all the major attractions in between while on Caravan’s 9-day Costa Rican vacation. Caravan’s Costa Rica tour guests are pleasantly surprised by not only the tropical diversity of Costa Rica but also how affordable it is to travel Costa Rica all inclusive on Caravan’s fully guided tours!

Caravan Costa Rica vacations well planned with tour itineraries that make them ideal all inclusive, fully guided trips for every type of traveler including singles, couples, families and seniors.

Caravan Tours Are Fully Guided

There is a good reason why Caravan Tours has named Costa Rica the “Natural Paradise”.

Caravan Tours offers Costa Rica vacation packages that include most of the destinations and activities mentioned in this article. Visit Caravan’s Costa Rica tour reviews page to read about the personal travel experiences of previous tour guests on Caravan’s fully guided, all inclusive tour of Costa Rica.

Call 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826) to reserve your space today!

Costa Rica FAQs

Why is Costa Rica so popular?

Easily accessible from North America, Costa Rica is a safe natural paradise. This small country has 6% of the world’s biodiversity plus amazing turtle nesting beaches and is mostly sunny and warm throughout the year.

When is the best time to Visit Costa Rica?

Costa Rica’s peak tourist times are during the dry season, between December and April. The wettest months are September and October. The best time to see nesting turtles and whales is between July and November.

Are masks required in Costa Rica?

Yes, both tourists and native Costa Ricans must wear a mask?

Do I need to speak Spanish in Costa Rica?

Tourism in Costa Rica is the #1 industry, and most locals can converse in English, so you don’t need to speak Spanish.

Can I drink the water in Costa Rica?

Yes, you can drink the tap water in most of the popular tourist destinations, but it is not recommended in rural locations.

What currency is needed in Costa Rica?

Colon is the local currency however US dollars are widely accepted over other currencies.

How expensive is Costa Rica to visit?

Costa relies heavily on tourism dollars and most visitors are from North America, so the cost is quite comparable to vacationing in the United States or Canada.