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Charlotte Daly - Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates and Turtle Conservation

charlotte daly

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad?

I’ve been volunteering for British environmental organisations for a few years, a mix of data collection, habitat management, education and awareness. After my Msc i thought it would be great to get some hands on experience in somewhere remote, untouched and almost undiscovered.

What made you choose Costa Rica?

There’s a long long list of places i’d like to explore, but Costa Rica is quite special. It’s a land bridge between North and South America, allowing spread of species from both land masses. This gives Costa Rica a mix of the Northern wild and wonderful and the Southern mysterious and poisonous creatures. The National Geographic stated that Costa Rica is the most biologically diverse place on earth... so how could I overlook that! I chose Frontier because lots of my friends have been away with them and loved it.

What did you do in your volunteer placement?

A mix of adventure, exploration, research and good old camp partying with a group of fantastic like-mined people! For me it was predominantly about seeing the wildlife of such amazing country, and so I fully immersed myself into the research doing every survey I could. I loved the turtle surveys, midnight swap surveys for frogs and snakes, mammal walks in search of big cats, monkeys and peccaries and bird surveys. Being from a Marine biology background my personal project was a presence and abundance survey of Cetaceans (dolphins & whales) off the beach minutes walk from our base camp. It was great to learn new skills, that are sure to help in the future. As well as some hard work, we had plenty of fun! We kayaked in the sea surrounded by dolphins, climbed up to waterfalls to find poison dart frogs, rode horse along the beach and partied in the local village! The staff and volunteers were brilliant, I’ve defiantly made some lifelong friends.

What surprised you most about your volunteer experience?

The warm welcome and community spirit of the local people, who had so much love for their environment and people.

What did you gain from your experience?

New skills, fantastic memories, lifelong friends and a cracking tan!

Describe your overall experience in three words.

Adventurous, eye-opening and unbeatable

What was your favourite part about the experience?

It’s extremely hard to choose one thing, there isn’t anything I disliked, even being covered in mud and soaked in rain was fun when in such an amazing environment with fantastic friends. I think waking up to the calls of monkeys and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves everyday made it unbeatable. And knowing everyday you go out on a survey you may see a rare, endangered or incredibly beautiful animal, that many people will never see in their whole life time.

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