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


“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


“La experiencia en esta reserva es inigualable, al llegar te reciben y explican todo lo que debes saber de como debes desenvolverte en tu día a día, te entregan tu habitación y te dan esa jornada para acomodarte.

Las actividades son hermosas, desde ir a hacer nacer tortugas marinas, criar mariposas y buscar murciélagos hasta atrapar cocodrilos y caimanes. En caso de no querer hacer algo no hay ningún problema, la gente del centro lo entiende y te deja no ser parte de la actividad.

La gente encargada en el centro siempre está dispuesta a darte una mano con las cosas que necesites, son personas muy amables y respetuosas. Esta experiencia fue genial para mí, yo estudio biología y pasé 3 semanas maravillosas acercándome a la naturaleza y aprendiendo cosas que me servirán en mi futuro. 100% recomendado”.

– María Sofía Bertini, Argentina


“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


“All my thanks to all the community of the RPT. As a volunteer I had to work, but I didn’t feel I was working at all, all the time it was a pleasure and unforgettable time. I’m happy to have met Melissa with her kids during the camp, to meet Bryan and Javier as impressive boat drivers, to meet the excellent cooking woman, to meet Ali as a professional of crocs, to meet Gaby, a so gentle person and of course Oscar, Adrian and Luis, always smiling and present with the turtles. I’m very happy to have shared my experience with Sofia, a very kind person.

I will never forget the frightening night walk in the river after a storm and at high tide looking for crocs, even though we didn’t find them. And the emotional moment when the baby tortugas go out from the sand as a birth. I would like to repeat this experience so much.”

– Claudette, France


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

Seeking for sponsors and donations for Summer Camp 2020

Currently, we seek to continue with this initiative, raising the necessary funds to offer this opportunity, at very low cost, to local children who do not have the means to pay for participating in this type of initiative.

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