About Us

About Reserva Playa Tortuga
Get InvolvedOur Projects
Since 2009

Reserva Playa Tortuga

Our History

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.

Baby Turtles Released

Acres Protected

Dollars Raised In 2018

Volunteers Per Year

What Drives Us

Our Mission

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.

Why Volunteer?

Our Main Objectives

To develop positive communication
To develop positive communication with populations and communities associated with study areas focusing on protection of coastal marine resources and the development of responsible ecological tourism.
To establish strategic alliances
To establish strategic alliances with governmental and non-governmental entities working towards conservation and management of natural resources at local, national and international levels.
To educate and enable local population
To educate and enable local population, via programs and opportunities, to live in environmentally sustainable ways.
To identify populations
To identify populations of coastal animals in danger of local, regional, or global extinction.
To maintain and rehabilitate the land
To maintain and rehabilitate the land in order to create/re-create an intact coastal zone that protects the Osa’s incredible wealth of biodiversity while supporting and facilitating sustainable development and living for the immediate coastal populations from Cortés to Dominical.
To provide opportunities to the scientists and researchers
To provide opportunities to the scientists and researchers from Costa Rica to work with senior researchers and faculty members of US and other international universities and research facilities in order to further develop their research skills in the scientific fields related to Conservation Ecology and Biogeochemistry of Tropical Coastal Marine Systems.

Our Staff

Oscar Brenes

Science Director/ Tropical Biologist
About Oscar
Oscar is a Tropical biologist, having graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, and worked as field biologist and researcher from 2009 to 2014. Since 2009, Oscar has also been the Reserve Science Director, in charge of the sea turtle conservation program in Tortuga beach. Thanks to this effort, the beach was declared officially as a nesting beach in 2014.

In regards to sea turtles, Oscar has written articles about nesting behavior and incubation temperature, and has participated in the International Symposiums of the International Sea Turtles Society on topics such as: incubation temperature in hatcheries (New Orleans 2014), nesting behavior of olive ridley (Dalaman,Turkey 2015) and foraging areas for hawksbill (Lima, Perú 2016).

Other research performed by Brenes include: Water quality studies; Mammal camera trap monitoring; River otter studies; Birds inventories; and since 2015 is currently conducting the investigation about Caiman and Crocodiles–capturing and tagging individuals to do a population estimation study and habitat preference of the different species.

Melissa Jiménez Kardentey

Environmental Education and Outreach Program Coordinator
About Melissa
Melissa is passionate about natural resources with a natural curiosity to learn and teach about nature. She has worked closely with researchers in conservation biology, with the main objective to project this knowledge to new generations. Melissa has worked in schools educating children and teachers about nature. She has been involved closely and supported community organizations in environmental initiatives as a strategy to increase environmental awareness based on life experience and strengthening of culture for sustainable and harmonious life with nature. She also has experience in organizing events such as festivals and environmental celebrations and other activities of community involvement.

At Reserva Playa Tortuga, she has created and implemented the “Green Era” educational program in surrounding schools. In 2013, she began to promote the delivery of the program, “Teach the teacher”, convinced of the importance of educating the teachers as a tool to multiply the knowledge to new generations. In addition, she has continued to work in the butterfly garden as this is one of the main tools to sensitize children.

Adrián Bonilla Salazar

Marine Biologist
About Adrián
Adrian is a Marine Biologist, graduated from National University of Costa Rica and native from Alajuela, Costa Rica. He has been part of RPT staff since 2015, and during this period Adrian has been working in the Sea Turtle Conservation Program, Monitoring the Hawksbill Turtle at the Marino Ballena National Park, which seeks to identify areas of aggregation of this turtle. He is also responsible for the Bird Monitoring, which is done every week at RPT trails, Tortuga Beach and around Ojochal, in order to have a real record of birds that inhabit the area, as well as what kind of distribution.

Other projects in which he collaborates: Caimans and Crocs Monitoring Program carried out in the Térraba, Balso and Turtle rivers. This project aims to study the habitat and distribution of these predators in the area. Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) Nesting Season from July to January; where he was part of the group of workers in the 2012-2013 season, this project is also included within the Sea Turtle Conservation Program. The Support Environmental Education Projects when his assistance is required. In addition, he also work with volunteers and students who come to the reserve as part of the internship program and volunteerism.


Coordinator of Station
About Gabriela
Gabriela is passionate about nature and her love of animals led her to study wildlife management. Gabriela has been at Reserva Playa Tortuga since 2015, during this period she has occupied the position of Coordinator of Station at RPT.

Gabriela coordinates the activities, looks after the day-to-day administrative tasks and helps the volunteers with everything they need during their stay with the project: team – answering their questions, ensuring they know where everything is and have everything they need, and generally offering support wherever it’s needed.


Field Assistant
About Javier
Javier has three seasons working in the Sea Turtles Conservation Program of the Reserve. He is now a full-time field assistant working in all the different investigations that RPT runs. Javier works with the volunteers and interns in different investigations, and his knowledge as a local is invaluable to those without experience working in the tropics.

Our Partners