Turtle Defense Program


We are thrilled to announce our conservation project for the threatened nesting sea turtles population of Guanico Abajo, on the southern tip of the Azuero Peninsula, Panamá. Beginning in July of 2017, our organization will be enacting our efforts to establish monitoring projects on Olive Ridley sea turtles in order to aid in their conservation.


The Olive Ridley sea turtle is the most prevalent of nesting species in Panamá.  These turtles nest throughout the year, but in the province of Los Santos, there are two beaches that host the phenomenon of “arribada” or mass arrivals. Guanico Abajo is home to the phenomenon of the “arribada” or massive nesting of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. During these synchronized events, thousands of turtles come to nest on one beach over the course of 2 to 3 days. The protected beach, La Marinera has hosted arribadas for years, and has been a phenomenon only appreciated by this remote beach-side community.


The surrounding 12 kilometers of pristine beaches are also known for the arrival of the Olive Ridleys, and also several other of the 7 sea turtle species, including the Green and Leatherback turtle. These beaches see lesser numbers than the arribada beach, La Marinera, however, every turtle that comes to nest is subject to human and animal predation. Our hope is that through our monitoring and conservation efforts, we can get baseline data for the nesting turtles, and work to increase the survival rates through the use of turtle egg hatcheries. Our efforts will also be to aid in the conservation of the arribada beach, working alongside the Panamanian government.


We are asking you, conservation enthusiasts to come and help us to do the work of citizen scientists and help to document and save this natural phenomenon, while simultaneously appreciating the beauty of this culturally-rich beachside community.


Our Citizen Scientist program monitors the nesting activity, predation rates, and hatchling success of the nesting populations that frequent Guanico Abajo’s beaches: Playa Guanico, Playa Ostional, and Playa La Marinera. The work of our staff and volunteers help to gather important population and reproduction data, as well as deter poachers who collect turtle eggs for consumption or sale.It is a multi-tier effort that we can’t do on our own! We invite volunteers to participate year round during nesting season (July-December) as well as non-nesting season to provide an enriching and educational experience for all participants. Our program provides opportunities to conduct supervised research, as well as inter-cultural exchange opportunities through our work with the local community of Guanico Abajo. Get up close and personal to these truly magnificent species, and help make a difference in both the longevity of these species, as well as a lasting impact on the lives of local community members.

(January-June). Our success relies on the efforts of the volunteers, and our goal is

We enjoy hosting volunteers from all ages around the World, and share our passion to protect these threatened and endangered species. Ideal candidates should be confortable working in both group settings as well as independently. We seek volunteers who are outdoor enthusiasts, culturally sensitive, don’t mind being in remote locations and are looking to enjoy pristine beaches while helping an important cause.


We ask that volunteers/Participants:


·  Commit to a minimum of 15 days.

· Are in good health-Volunteers will be participating in daily patrols of 4 hour shifts in sometimes strenuous conditions including: walking on soft sand, rain, and hot sun.

· Commit to working a minimum of 30 hours per week with turtle projects, as well as community enrichment activities.

· Minimum age of 18 independent, and 12 if accompanied by a guardian.

Junior defenders are welcome! We believe they can help to create the necessary changes to ensure an eco-friendly future!


The program fee of $500 USD provides you:

One night stay in dorm style hostel room in Panamá City and transport to Guánico Abajo.

A bed in a shared dorm style room in our house in Guánico Abajo

All meals, drinks and snacks.

Transportation to and from patrolling areas.

Training guidelines provided by staff.

Certificate of completion.

Academic Credit-Many colleges and universities provide credit for independent field research. Before applying to our program, check with your local universities about applying for credit.

*Camping option also available at 250.00 USD



We are committed to providing a safe and educational volunteer experience. Volunteers can also expect:

Pre-departure information including a suggested packing list and what you can expect during your stay with us.

Orientation upon arrival about the history and conservation efforts of sea turtle populations, as well background information on the community of Guanico Abajo.

Itenerary for the duration of your stay.

Basic training on field research techniques.

Supervision by Volunteer Coordinator during daily activities and nightly patrols.

Full and immediate assistance from staff in emergency situations.

Opportunities to explore the surrounding areas via eco tours and other planned activities including but not limited to; excellent surf, horseback riding, whale watching (in season), and hikes through the local reserve.


Program duties include:

Daily nightly patrols with OD staff and field assistants.

Take biometric measurements of nesting turtles.

Record all data of sea turtle tracks, nesting locations and hatchlings.

Perform nest excavations when needed and move vulnerable nests into our hatchery.

Learn how to care for nests in the hatchery, and monitor progress.

Record hatchling success rate.

Monitor nesting sites for hatchlings and predators.

Cleaning/Maintenance of turtle patrol house.

Cleaning/Maintenance of turtle egg hatchery.

Help with hatchling liberations.

Help with community outreach programs.



For more information and bookings please write us at oceandefenderadventures@gmail.com


Hope to hear from you very soon,



Ocean Defender Team