If an excursion to a sea turtle conservatory isn’t on your tropical vacation itinerary, it should be. It’s a unique experience that combines adventure, education and philanthropy.
An overnight visit is the best way to acquaint yourself with life at a conservatory but you may be wondering what that entails and whether it’s your cup of tea. Here’s what you can expect if you choose to lay your head at Osa Conservation Piro Station.
If you arrive by private vehicle, you will be taken right to the entrance of Osa Conservation. But for those who opt for a more authentic Costa Rican mode of transportation, the Osa Peninsula collectivo can drop you off on the bumpy unpaved road on the outskirts.
From there, you will embark on a short walk through lush rainforest, traverse a cool stream (so leave the Manolo Blahniks at home) and arrive at a large, neatly manicured lawn dotted with small buildings.
A few raindrops might sprinkle across your cheeks as a small dog or two follows you to your accommodations. The open-air buildings contain their own kitchens, sitting areas, two bathrooms and two bedrooms.
There’s a pair of bunk beds in each room with full-size mattresses, sheets, a towel and a mosquito net to keep pests (like your roommate) out of your space. It’s like being back at summer camp but without the fear of someone short-sheeting your bed.
You can let it all hang out in private outdoor showers that open up to the sky. Normally the term “outdoor shower” might not sound too appealing but the tropical settings are gorgeous and quite a pleasure to experience, especially if you don’t mind bathing with a gecko. But don’t expect hot water; this is a conservatory, after all.
The dining facility is a large open pavilion that’s usually lined with muddy rubber boots—evidence of the treks volunteers, employees and workers make throughout the day and night. Coffee and fresh juice awaits you as does wifi for those who just can’t leave their electronics at home. Meals are plentiful, healthy and delicious and usually include rice and beans—staples in Costa Rican diets.
What to pack
Some things you want to be sure to have on hand for your overnight visit are:
- Water shoes and/or rubber boots for hikes (they will get wet and muddy)
- Flip flops or tennis shoes around camp
- Bug spray
- Waterproof cases for your camera and other electronics
- Ziploc bags to separate wet or dirty clothes
- Flashlight – ideally you should bring a headlamp with a red light feature
The element that’s most abundant at Osa Conservation is serenity (despite the howler monkeys’ occasional efforts to interrupt it). You can escape in this quiet community in which nature is your fourth roommate. It’s a place of purpose where the objective is to be of service to creatures that need assistance.
If you’re in the market for a new happy place, you just might find it at Osa Conservation.
About the Author
Jenée is slowly working her way around the world, one job at a time. It began at age 19 when she moved to Hawaii for a three-month stint (which turned into almost five years) even though she didn’t know a soul there. She later toured as a standup comedian all over the United States and even performed for our military troops in a dozen countries, including Bosnia, Kosovo, South Korea and Afghanistan.