Sea Turtle Retreat – 2020

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Have a passion for wildlife conservation? Start the New Year by helping endangered sea turtle populations, learning about environmental protection, meeting other Girl Scouts from across the United States, and exploring the rainforests, beaches and volcanoes of Costa Rica. Earn 15-20 hours of community service.

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About the Trip

“I really loved the Sea Turtle Retreat. I’ve never seen so many turtles or felt so involved in a project. I loved the team work and positivity that surrounded me the whole time.” -Katherine, Girl Scout Alum


In tropical Costa Rica you will work to protect endangered sea turtles at one of the world’s most important nesting sites for Olive Ridley sea turtles! Earn 15-20 hours of community service.

Sea Turtle Conservation

Start your journey with a multi-day service project at the Sea Turtle Wildlife Reserve along the Pacific Coast. This protected beach and nesting site welcomes tons of mother sea turtles every season. Fulfill your commitment to service by participating in some of the following activities: conducting nightly sea turtle patrols to monitor the safety of nesting turtles, performing field data collection for a worldwide research database for sea turtle protection, and cleaning the beach of debris so that mama sea turtles can safely come up to shore and lay their eggs. Additional service opportunities may include trail preservation projects, maintaining local community buildings, volunteering on a local sheep farm, and playing intercultural games with the local school children.

Please note that you will not be able to touch the mama sea turtles at this sea turtle conservation site for the safety and protection of this endangered species, and due to the unpredictable nature of sea turtle hatchings that occur each month, it is possible that you will not see baby sea turtles—however, you will see anywhere from a few to many mama sea turtles coming to lay their eggs ashore. Regardless of the sea turtles you spot, you will play an important role in closely monitoring, recording data, and working to further protect environmental species protection of the Olive Ridley sea turtle population.

Additional Activities

After completing your sea turtle service phase, spend the second half of your Destination experience diving into rainforest adventure activities and exploring the city life of Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Hike to the summit of a volcano, visit the historic Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, zipline through the canopy forest, explore the vibrant capital city of San José on a city tour, and shop for souvenirs at a bustling artisan market.

About Outward Bound Costa Rica (OBCR)

OBCR has partnered with GSUSA for nearly 15 years to provide Girl Scout Destination courses that uniquely get Girl Scouts outside of their comfort zone, expand their knowledge of other cultures, become stronger leaders, and make lasting friendships from across the world.

Hear From the Alum

“I would highly recommend the Sea Turtle Retreat to any Girl Scout! It was a great experience for my daughter to be involved hands-on with helping the endangered turtles to lay their eggs in safety. She also enjoyed trying new fruits and other foods, helping to refurbish the sleeping location for future participants, meeting new friends from all over the country, and becoming more aware of the world we live in and need to protect.” -Valerie, GS Mother

Learn about other adventure-filled Girl Scout Destinations with Outward Bound Costa Rica on their website.

Where You Go

San Jose, Costa Rica

What to Know

You must be 13–18 years old at the time of the trip. No Spanish language experience is required.

You must possess:

  • A sincere interest in community service and cultural exchange
  • The readiness for a physical challenge
  • The ability to be a good team player
  • An open mind to experience an eye-opening adventure

Girl Scouts will spend the majority of their time at  Playa Ostional in Costa Rica. They will also visit San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Dates

December 27, 2020 – January 5, 2021

What to Bring

  • A packing list will be provided upon receipt of your deposit
  • A valid passport with an expiration date no less than 6 months past your day of departure from Costa Rica
  • Visa will be issued upon arrival into Costa Rica for U.S. and UK citizens. No forms or fees are needed.

The Cost

Program Fee: $1,990

A $200 deposit will be due immediately upon acceptance to this course (this is part of the Program Fee, not in addition to it). The balance is due 30 days prior to the start of the course.

Program Fee includes food, lodging, in-country transportation, pick-up and drop-off to the airport, and all advanced gear for adventure activities. Program Fee does not include airfare. You will be responsible for providing your own round-trip airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO airport), as well as bringing your own spending money (recommended $200 per 2-week course) for the artisan market visit and baggage fees.

Download Application Forms
Destinations Application Worksheet
Contact Information

Girl Scout Liaison