Reserva Playa Tortuga

The Reserve is active all-year round! Join us in active research, data accumulation, species monitoring, and community education and outreach programs!

Reserva Playa Tortuga

MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Come participate in our volunteer program and learn in the company of a trained staff about the riches of the South Pacific of Costa Rica.

Reserva Playa Tortuga

Help us continue with our biological research and science-based conservation management by donating funds, equipment and other materials.

Reserva Playa Tortuga

Browse our research section and find articles, season reports and other studies.

About RPT

Reserva Playa Tortuga is a non-profit biological research and education center formed in 2009 by community members (“citizen scientists”) and Costa Rican scientists.  RPT aims to contribute to the fields of biological research and science-based conservation management as well as fomenting a culture of environmental conservation in the areas influenced by the National Wetlands of the Terraba-Sierpe basin.

The main focuses of RPT over the past eight years has been to gain an understanding of the current state of key coastal environmental resources and to identify stakeholders in the coastal zone who are influenced by the Térraba-Sierpe wetlands.

RPT is committed to developing and implementing community-based real-world projects and conservation management solutions, using the best research science and conservation management practices.


Featured Projects

Environmental Education + Outreach

The curriculum seeks to be adapted and correlated with the school curriculum emanated by the Ministry of Public Education. read more

Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Since 2009, we have realesed more than 50000 baby turtles and saved on average 100 nests per season. read more

Tree Boas Population Study

As part of the research, we are conducting night walks in the forest to spot and catch boas, measure them and tag individuals by use of pit tags. read more

Mammal Inventory Project

Mammals are important for the forest dynamic balance, and by getting data on their behavior, diet and local movements, it offers information that can be used in reforestation plans to establish Biological Corridors. read more

Crocodilian Monitoring Project

The main objective of this study is to collect real-time information about the Crocodilians at the Reserve area: their distribution, relationship with the environment, and the human impact on the ecosystem. read more

Birds Monitoring Project

Bird observations are made in the surroundings of the Reserve and Ojochal town, in order to maintain a good record and an updated list of the different species of birds that inhabit or frequent nearby areas to the Reserve. read more

Butterfly Garden Project

Teaching about concepts such as the life cycle of insects, the ecological role they play in nature and the biological and cultural relationships they maintain. read more

What We Do


Educate and enable local population to live in environmentally sustainable ways.


Identify populations of coastal animals in danger of local, regional, or global extinction.


Maintain and rehabilitate the land to protect the Osa’s incredible wealth of biodiversity.


Provide opportunities to scientists in Costa Rica and abroad to further develop their research skills.

What People Are Saying


“We don’t know how to thank you enough for this amazing experience. Our whole family has learnt so much and the work that you do is incredible. We’ve all felt so sad since leaving, the kids are already asking to come back again. There were so many highlights but releasing baby turtles into the sea has to be at the top, closely followed by night-time snake hunts, monkey walks, work in the butterfly garden, spotting a coati and meeting a red-eyed tree frog!

It’s a true community at RPT and we feel privileged to have been a part of it. Thank you Oscar and Co!!! “

– Bethany Lea


” I had an amazing experience at the reserve. I was nervous at first as I had never done anything like this before but everyone made me feel so welcome. We got stuck into the amazing activities right away, within an hour of being there we had met our first baby turtle. It was unreal. On top of the amazing activities with turtles, butterflies, crocodiles and birds we had the daily experiences with lizars and howler monkeys! The community feel at the reserve was what really made with experience, cooking and eating together discussing the days findings. I wish I never had to come back to reality in the UK. See you soon Playa Tortuga! “

– Samantha, UK


“I’ve stayed at the Reserve for 10 weeks and those 10 weeks were the best of my life. Not only the nature is beautiful, the people and the love for their job is what made my stay here so awesome. It’s been such an pleasure to work with Oscar, Adrian, Melissa, Graciella, Gabi, Luis, Bryan and Javi. My internship was for the third year of my study applied biology at the Aeres University of sciences in the Netherlands. It existed out of making educational signs for a public trail in the reserve and Oscar helped me a lot with that. I also got to help with all the other researches that where going about, crocodiles and caimans, snakes, mammals, bats, sharks, turtles, birds and butterflies. This trip made me learn so much about the biology in the jungle and changed my perspective on my future plans. The best experience out of the many many great experiences was Oscar catching a 3m crocodile with a fishing rod!! The animal put up a big fight and we had to drag it to shore with 4 guys to measure it and tag it.

Keep it going guys! You are doing an awesome job protecting the nature that is so dear to you all!! I will see you all soon!!”

– Jesse Schuitemaker, Netherlands


“I was looking to do some marine conservation when I came across RPT on the Working Abroad website. The turtles appealed to me first but the variety of projects made it an easy decision. I have been able to help with patrolling the beach for turtles at night, exhuming nests and releasing baby turtles, cleaning out and hatching butterflies, snake walks in the jungle and data collection on capture, crocodile monitoring in the boat and data collection on capture, macaw and bird monitoring, gathering shark population data, measuring beach erosion, beach cleaning, reforestation of the beach… the list is endless. No day is the same but they are all an experience.

It’s a beautiful place, and the staff are all so lovely and supportive not to mention knowledgeable. I have had an amazing time and would highly recommend this project to anyone with an interest in wildlife and conservation with a thirst for adventure”.

– Helen Rogers, United Kingdom


“I got the opportunity to be involved in bird observation walks, shark surveys, late night beach patrols looking for nesting turtles, releasing newly hatched baby turtles, snakes walks, maintaining a butterfly garden, croc/caiman searches, and more. I will never forget the humbling experience of watching a female turtle come up the beach and lay her eggs.

There were also amazing opportunities to help out in the local community. I spent one month at the reserve and I could have happily stayed on so much longer. I loved every minute, and the people are incredible. If you want a real conservation experience then this project is the place for you”.

– Michael Lavery, New Zealand


Work With Us


Come participate in our volunteer program and learn in the company of a trained staff about the riches of the South Pacific of Costa Rica.


Consider making a donation to help us continue to protect the sea turtles that nest on Tortuga Beach as well as our other research projects.

Latest News

Closing the turtle season 2022-2023 at Playa Hermosa, Uvita

Closing the turtle season 2022-2023 at Playa Hermosa, Uvita

With the release of 74 green turtles, Chelonia mydas, in Playa Hermosa on Thursday, April 13, the 2022-2023 turtle season came to an end. Throughout the season, as is customary in the Reserva Playa Tortuga (RPT), patrolling efforts were made to search for nests in...

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