La Tortuga Feliz

Trip Start Aug 03, 2011
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
La Tortuga Feliz
What I did

Flag of Costa Rica  , Limón,
Thursday, August 4, 2011


our two hour bus ride from San Jose to Batan where we met up with La Tortuga Feliz was spent mostly by us sleeping, however in the few moments that i was awake it was quite the experience. when the bus came to a stop for road construction delays, passengers were buying icecream through the window from street vendors. during restroom breaks the bus would be flooded with more vendors selling bags of chips, lottery tickets, pastries and turtle eggs. ironic that we were on our way to spend next seven days saving the turtle eggs. we are told that they are extremely salty and to mask the taste locals eat the with hot chili sauce or as a tequila chaser. in Costa Rica they are seen as a status of being macho and an aphrodisiac. AND my purse found its way into someone's gum stuck on the bus floor. it was everywhere. GRR. lessoned learned, watch where you put your stuff.

we waited an hour in the city of Batan before we took a boat ride to the project. we were strongly encouraged to eat the pizza as we were about to have 3 meals a day which would consist of rice and beans. really?! my first meal in Costa Rica and its PIZZA?! this might be the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE that I was a little bummed about the scenario. for those who don't know, i have a ridiculous obsession with pizza and just spent the last three weeks eating it as much as possible because i thought i we were going to be separate from one another while i was travelling. GET THIS GIRL SOME TRUE COSTA RICAN CUISINE.

short taxi ride through the banan plantations on our way to the boat dock. the boat ride to the project was pretty sweet. we cruised through the jungle canals which were considered Costa Rica's amazon river. LUSH. LUSH. LUSH. wildlife GALORE. howling monkeys over head giving us a shout out, box turtles sun bathing on the floating logs, caiman mini crocodiles, cows taking a mid day swim and TOO MANY birds to count. all that was missing was Tarzan swinging from the hanging vines. needless to say it was pretty UNREAL. sign me up for round two!

the boat pulls up to the project's dock and what took place looked like a scene straight out of an episode of Survivor. people emerge from huts, mismatched clothes, disheveled hair, sticky skin from the jungle humidity and just enough dirt on them to know that we are going to be roughin it for the next seven days. WORD. say our hellos and assembly line the weeks worth of materials from the boat to the kitchen. tour of camp, check. emergency guildlines talk, check. pay for the week, check. sheets on bed and jimmy-rigged mosquito net up, check. check.

camp is small but the most important parts is that there are eight hammocks strung up. BINGO. and that we are maybe...100 YARDS from the Carribean Sea. showers are outside and open air AND THERE IS NO ELECTRICTY. yes, Wilx. the showers were COLD water. you know i was just loving every minute of that :( a handlamp is a STANDARD accessory there. it complemented my GI JANE motif. we quickly learned the lay of the land and that there wasn't much to do during the day. the majority of the turtle saving duties take place at night. the air was thick and smelled sweet. the roar of the ocean and singing birds played through out the day. at night the ocean competed with the jungle beats coming alive. it is hard to truly describe the sounds but it was unlike anything i have experienced and nature dominated your senses.

Snapshot of our days:
-8:00am breakfast. rice. beans. eggs. two sweet pancakes.
-10:00am swim.
-11:00am hammock. read. nap.
-12:00pm lunch. soup with potatoes or rice and guacamole
-1:00pm swim. sand building.
-3:00pm shower. cards. hammock. read. nap.
-5:00pm dinner.
-6:00pm chores. could be bathroom duty, composte or kitchen duty, Scott's favorite. outside cafeteria style cleaning no where near public health department standards. might of had our first meltdown of the trip with that one. ha.
7:00pm cards. hammock. read. nap till time for beach patrol duty
-8:00pm beach patrol*

*beach patrol shifts are 8-12am, 9-1am, 10-2am, and 11-3am. we are to wear ALL DARK clothes, camoflauge with the jungle background in hopes to not scare off the turtles. in complete darkness we walk for FOUR HOURS scouting the beach for seaturtle tracks. seaturtles and or nests. tropical storm or not. single file line so that if the guide trips in the dark we don't fall victim too. the first three hours aren't too bad but the last forty-five minutes are KILLER. the entire beach might very well be in your shoe. calves are BURNING. feet are swollen and THROBING. its tough work to save the seaturtles.

you bump into poachers who want the seaturtles for their eggs and meat. they can make a $1 an egg. nests have 75 - 150 eggs in them. Batan is an extremely small community and the only other major source of income is working at the banana plantations where they are paid $1 an hour. need i say more?!?

in our seven days we did not rescue any nests or see any adult seaturtles, HUGE BUMMER. BUT we did see babies hatch and be set free. too stinking cute. their flippers never stop going, even when they are picked up. fifty-five LITTLE WINDMILLS going at it in a bucket before they were let go. it was too much. their trek from the sand to the ocean was quicker than i thought it would take and an amazing sight to see.

in our time there we saw a crazy amount of the following:
a. howling mokeys
b. birds
c. crocodile. caiman.
d. nocternal crabs. HUGE SUCKERS. BLUE.
e. fat belly nocternal toads.
f. bats
g. geckos
h. lizards
i. wild dogs
j. grass hoppers. SUPER SIZED.

For more information about La Tortuga Feliz, visit their website by clicking here or shoot us an email with questions and we will be happy to go into more detail about our actual daily seaturtle duties.

we didn't quite know what to expect of our time at Tortuga Feliz but the experience was most definitly an adventure and we were ready to move onto the next. a few days of beach town, electricity and LESS BUGS before chocolate harvesting is in order. STAY TUNED...

Fun Fact:
we as americans were the minority amongst the 20 volunteers. Austrians. English. Germans. Italians.


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Ray Ray on

About dang time fools! Freedom is looking good on your fool. I am crying for Scotty & his bug bites. Can't say I'm jealous of that disaster. Can't wait to hear/see more.

Laura on

LOL about the electricity Lynns! Love the update, keep 'em coming! Scotty - I can relate, Matt doesn't even need bug spray when I'm around... no fun. Keep having fun and take care of each other!

Grandma and Grandpa on

WOW! What an experience! Are you experiencing culture shock? Sam, how are you holding up? Keep the blogs coming. We eagerly await them. Stay healthy. You are in our thoughts.
Love, Grandma and Grandpa

Britter on

the bugs!!!! Little funny you tried to not let him hear Katie talking about this before you left haha. Hope you are having the time of your life! Miss you fool!

Valerie Wolpert on

Love the pics and updates! Keep em coming!!

Tammy B on

So awesome Lynnsey! You are a trooper and doing something that many of us wish we had the guts to do!!! Keep up the great work and the amazing stories!

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