dirt roads, walking barefoot, exploring

Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

Whenever I think back to memorable experiences, I always notice that the most memorable are the unexpected encounters with nature. Such experiences are the driving force behind this article. I’m recalling an encounter I had that humbles me and drives me to creativity. The encounter was with a turtle.

Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica

I’ve written on Costa Rica previously, and what drives my desire to live there. Now, however, I yearn do dive into a deeper detail concerning my positive experience there; I was blessed with the opportunity to work alongside sea turtles in an effort to conserve their species.

Why lie? When I clicked OK on this opportunity, half of my heart was set on helping the sea turtle population. The other half? It was simply set on the possibility of seeing and experiencing these magnificent animals (along with specific regions of Costa Rica I was wanting to experience).

In Parismina, Costa Rica, there is a sea turtle conservation project called ASTOP.

Their “mission statement”: “Working with ASTOP has a positive impact on the culture and economy of the community. The economic benefits of turtle conservation in particular, are the key to maintaining a culture of conservation. Your visit ensures turtles and their eggs are protected and you contribute directly to improve the quality of life for families in the community while having the experience of a lifetime working with critically endangered marine turtles.”

working with a baby sea turtle
helping sea turtles make it to sea

Parismina is a small, walk-barefoot-wherever-you-go village on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. In it, you’ll find radiant smiles, small shacks (some on stilts), a small bar and motel, tropical fruits, rain forest, and miles of coastline.

Turtle Encounter

I was assigned night walks on these miles of coastline. The purpose of these walks was to watch for poachers and for mother turtles nesting in the sand.

awaiting sea turtle walk
the stretch of sand, Parismina, Costa Rica.

To my utter enjoyment, we happened upon a mother sea turtle who was laying her eggs in the sand. This turtle was a leather back sea turtle, and she was the largest turtle I have ever seen in my life. She was easily bigger than my coffee table, or even my kitchen table, for that matter.

I wasn’t able to snap a shot due to personal respect for the mother’s nesting procedure.

It was a beautiful experience. I was with friends who sat with me under the bright, star-lit sky. Though we had these special red lights that wouldn’t interrupt the giant mother, we hardly needed them due to the starlight.

After the turtle swam off, it was our job to gather the eggs and bring them to the hatchery back in the village.

I never thought in all my days, that I would end up carrying a 50 pound bag of eggs across the beach in Central America.



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