Ask An Alumni: Costa Rica Through the Eyes of a Discover Corps Traveler

Discover Corps is proud to offer trips all across the globe, but no trip is more popular than Costa Rica: The Sea Turtle Initiative. The population of Costa Rican sea turtles has declined by 90% since 1980 due to boat traffic, bird preying on eggs, climate change, and increased trash in our oceans. For those interested in wildlife conservation, Costa Rica offers plenty of opportunity to aid, and a recent traveler learned firsthand how much help is really needed on the Pacific side of the country digging up hatched nests to determine the hatch success rate, releasing baby turtles back into the ocean, and warding off predators during nesting season.

Barbara went on the trip in November as a solo female traveler and became one of the few who witnessed an arribada, or a mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles. Read about her experiences day-by-day below!

Why did you choose Discover Corps versus another travel company? 

I chose Discover Corps based on reviews and the information received from the staff.  My questions were answered quickly via email or in person over the phone. Alumni names and emails were provided and I contacted an alumni to further assure myself that as an older female traveling solo this was the right trip. Everything was spelled out and there were no hidden costs or surprises. I appreciated the recommended reading and detailed packing list.

What made you choose this trip in particular?  

I LOVE marine life and sea turtles in particular. I had researched assisting sea turtle groups on the US Atlanta coast. Costa Rica was on ‘my bucket list’ so this trip provided the opportunity to help with Turtle Trax in Costa Rica. It was a win-win for me.

Tell us about the most memorable experience from your trip.  

I had the incredible fortune to witness an arribada, a mass nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles.  There were hundreds of turtles coming ashore during the night to nest and I was able to see them in the daylight after sunrise. While the turtles were nesting, hatchlings from previous nests were making their way to the water.  It was a once in a lifetime experience!

What did you think of your guide?

Tara was wonderful! She was knowledgeable about customs, culture, history of the country/area, and was extremely patient answering our questions. Tara traveled with us and made sure our trip ran smoothly. Her love of Central America is contagious—I now want to visit other countries in Central America and I want to be reincarnated as her.

What about your accommodations? 

The accommodations were excellent.  The hotel in Liberia was older with a beautiful courtyard and pool area.  Zen Spirit on the beach was new and absolutely gorgeous.  I really enjoyed the private outdoor shower with my room.  The owners were personable and eager to ensure we had everything needed. The resort hotel at the end of the trip was also excellent with a nice pool with swim up bar, great spa area with small hot springs pools, and activities (zip lining and kayaking) on site.

The food on the trip was delicious and fresh.  The fruit and coffee were memorable!

What tips would you give someone considering going on the trip you went on? 

Read the recommended material and reach out to the staff or alumni with any questions.

What would you say was the most surprising thing you experience on your trip that you weren’t expecting? 

Experiencing the arribada was a complete surprise.  I had read about them but never dreamed I would be able to see one. I was surprised that I found beach patrols in the middle of the night so relaxing…..the sound of the surf, the calmness of darkness, and the beautiful stars! Also I was pleased to meet and work with people from the UK, China, France and the U.S. on this trip.

Are there any clothes/shoes/toiletries/ camera equipment items you’d say are must-brings on this trip? 

The packing list for the trip covered everything needed.  The head lamp with red light was a must as well as hiking sandals that could get wet.

What you would say to someone thinking about traveling to Costa Rica with Discover Corps?

Do it as soon as possible!

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