Field Research Assistant at Pacuare Reserve, Costa Rica. Volunteer opportunity



Start Date


End Date


Time Commitment

Full time (30+ hrs/wk)


Long-Term (6 months-1 year)


Reserva Pacuare
Costa Rica


About Ecology Project International:


EPI is an international non-profit organization dedicated to addressing critical conservation issues through field-based partnerships between local experts and high school students. We engage adolescent youth from local communities and visiting youth from other regions in applied hands-on science and conservation as they learn about and help protect threatened species and habitats. Through EPI’s programs in five countries throughout the U.S. and Latin America, teens are inspired and empowered to engage in conservation efforts at home and worldwide to become the next generation of conservation leaders. More information can be found at


About Pacuare Reserve:


Established in 1989 by a United Kingdom charity, and transferred to Ecology Project International (EPI) in 2016, its 800 hectares of tropical rainforest on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica have a high density of wildlife and its 6km (4 miles) of beach provides the most important nesting site in the country for the giant leatherback turtles and is home to the only truly accessible breeding colony of Agami herons in the Caribbean and northern South America. More information can be found at

Job Summary:

Research Assistants (RA) will be trained in sea turtle monitoring techniques and will work under the supervision of the Research Coordinators. RAs will work mainly with adult Leatherback turtles, adult Green turtles, and Leatherback hatchling. Some Hawksbills may arrive to the beach but it’s not very common. The primary responsibilities of the RAs will include leading night beach censuses, conducting morning beach surveys, tagging and collecting data and relocating and excavating nests.

Monitoring activities are carried out along 6 km of nesting beach. RAs will be in charge of leading volunteers and/or groups of students while on the beach, explaining the beach protocol and supervising them on the process of data collection. RAs are expected to participate in other activities carried out by the Reserve like personal research projects, environmental education activities, talks and workshops with students and volunteers, beach cleaning, recycling projects, or other needs of the station. RAs are expected to work long hours throughout day and/or night, often with little sleep. Beach censuses require walking on soft sand and occasionally under the rain, therefore, a good physical condition is a requirement for the RA position.



·      Graduates of or close to graduating in Biology, Environmental science or a related field

·      Able to communicate both in Spanish and in English

·      In good physical condition and able to walk long hours on soft sand, sometimes under difficult conditions

·      Be motivated to work in a remote environment under difficult conditions (rain, mosquitoes…) with irregular sleeping hours and restricted electricity availability.

·      Be open-minded, flexible and keep a positive attitude to unexpected situations and be willing to live and work with a small group of people


·      Previous experiences working with sea turtles

·      Previous experience working and living in Costa Rica, specially in the Caribbean coast

·      Previous experience working in a multicultural team, since RAs come from different nationalities and they will be working with the local staff

Schedule and Location:

February 20 to July 31, 2018. Pacuare Reserve, central Caribbean coast, Costa Rica



RA Positions are voluntary and selected candidates are expected to plan and finance their own travel to and from the Reserve. RAs will receive 3 meals a day and basic shared accommodations for the duration of their time working for Pacuare Reserve.



Questions can be directed to:


Rocío Valentín-Gamazo,


Training Provided

Housing Available

Language/Cultural Support Available

We welcome

International Volunteers

How To Apply

To apply:

Applications can only be submitted electronically. Application period closes November 5. Applications will be reviewed when received.

Please, submit the following information: 

-A CV or resume with pertinent information

-A cover letter explaining why you are interested in the Research Assistant position, details of any relevant experiences and a statement of your level of proficiency in English and Spanish

-Name and email contact of one to three professional references