Field report

It was great to meet lots of new people and exchange ideas about different cultures and interests.
May - June 2023
Our participant Janine
Our participant Janine planned her stay abroad in Costa Rica with one month of volunteer work and one month of free travel time afterwards. As a volunteer, she supported the Turtle Protection Project in Montezuma and the national park in Tortuguero and was able to meet great people and go on beautiful excursions in the surrounding area.


The first days

I booked my trip about 2 months before my departure and also prepared myself for the upcoming adventure during this time. The preparation package from WanderWorld Travel helped me a lot so that I didn't forget anything important. I spent the first 2 days in the capital together with 3 other volunteers. We learned a lot about the country, the city and the culture at the introductory event. We went to the market with Lisa and tried some unfamiliar fruit. We also got our SIM card and set it up together. I then took the bus to the project together with the other volunteers. On site, we were shown around the facility and the daily routine was explained. We girls slept in a shared room and shared a bathroom. There was a terrace where we ate and some hammocks where we could relax after work.

A day at the Turtle Protection & National Park Project

As we were in the Turtle Project in Montezuma during the low turtle season, we didn't see too many turtles. Our main task was to change the sand where the turtle eggs were buried. The fenced-in part with the eggs is called the "hatchery". We usually did this in the morning when there was still some shade. We also saw lots of other animals, such as iguanas, monkeys and lots of geckos. We were also able to eat mangoes fresh from the tree. There was also a cat and a dog (Luna). The dog always accompanied us to the hatchery and we played with her a lot. When we weren't changing the sand in the hatchery, we cleaned the volunteer house or did maintenance work. From time to time we went to the local school and cleared away the leaves. We supported the project with our work and thus helped to ensure that the important work of the project and the protection of the turtles can continue. In the national park project in Tortuguero, we did a lot of work in the garden, tidied it up and planted new plants. There is also a greenhouse where the fruit and vegetables have to be watered every day. Otherwise, we were at the entrance to one of the two sectors of the national park and checked visitors' tickets and advised them of the rules of conduct. There we were able to explore the canals on our own by kayak, walk through the village of Tortuguero or the national park and go to the beach.

My free time in Montezuma

After work, we went to the beach (e.g. Playa Grande) or played cards. On a day off, we went on an excursion to Isla de Tortuga, where we went snorkeling and later had lunch on the island. I really enjoyed the trip to Isla Tortuga because the nature was so beautiful, we saw lots of great animals and had a great time together. We also went to the waterfalls in Montezuma several times, you can see 3 different waterfalls there and jump into the water from above. I really liked Montezuma, the endless beaches are so impressive. And in the evening on the beach you could see so many stars and sometimes even the Milky Way!

My experience with culture

The people in Central America are very friendly and helpful. I never felt threatened or unsafe. It was great to meet lots of new people and exchange ideas about different cultures and interests. I was also very impressed by the fact that people there really can eat gallo pinto, or rice and beans, for every meal.

How the trip changed me

You learn so much on the trip, especially when you're traveling alone for the first time. In general, you learn an incredible amount about the other culture and life there, the different food, lots of fresh fruit, etc. I think I've become a bit more confident about traveling alone and also that you don't always need the perfect plan to experience great things. After being in Costa Rica, I really want to see more countries in Central America. I've heard really good things about Guatemala and Mexico and I definitely want to go there.

My tips for future participants

I would recommend simply being surprised and letting it come to you. You should definitely be open to everything and enjoy talking to new people. You should be prepared to live very close to nature, so there are always lots of animals around you, including some that you might not necessarily want to be around. The circumstances in Central America are much simpler than in Europe, but you quickly get used to them and realize that you can get by just fine. Time moves slower there than in Europe, everything is more relaxed and not taken quite so seriously. Even bus times are sometimes more of a rough guide as to when the bus will arrive. You really have to be prepared for the fact that you can't plan everything in advance, but sometimes it's also nice to just go for it and let things happen. After a while, I got totally used to it and traveled around in a much more relaxed way. You can always rely on getting help if you ask locals for directions or bus times. It is a great advantage to speak a little Spanish here, as not everyone speaks English.

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Sophia, founder of Wanderworld Travel

Lisa, Coordinator & Participant Support 

Amanda, Support and advice before departure


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