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.
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.
Environmental Education + Outreach
Sea Turtle Conservation Program
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
Crocodilian Monitoring Project
Birds Monitoring Project
Butterfly Garden Project
What We Do
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
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...
RPT presented results of the rocky reef monitoring project in three protected areas of the Central Pacific of Costa Rica
On March 28, 2023, the workshop to present results of the project called "Scientific studies of the marine-coastal habitats of 3 ACOPAC Protected Areas (Manuel Antonio National Park, Isla San Lucas National Park, National Wildlife Refuge Playa Hermosa-Punta Mala)” was...
RPT organizó sus puertas abiertas para celebrar el Día Mundial de la Vida Silvestre y presentar sus proyectos a la comunidad
El 3 de marzo se celebró el Día Mundial de la Vida Silvestre con el lema “Alianzas en favor de la conservación de la vida silvestre” en homenaje a aquellas personas que trabajan colaborativamente para cuidar y conservar la fauna y flora silvestre. En este contexto, la...
RPT will continue with research project on Rays in the Térraba river
On January 2023 the first survey of the project called “Diversity of rays in the Térraba river and its interaction with the local small-scale fisheries”. The goals of this projects are Identify the diversity of rays present in the river and how the local fishery...