Our Story

ASTOP – Association Save the Turtles of Parismina is a grass roots, not-for profit association established in 2001. A small group of local people were concerned about the future of sea turtles that were nesting on their beach as they noticed environmental problems and an increase in sea turtle poaching activities. They decided to take action and ASTOP was born in partnership with the Costa Rican coast guard.

It took time to change old cultural habits: hunting turtles in order to resell or eat their eggs was a common practice in Costa Rica, until the country, committed to biodiversity conservation, announced a law in 1999 that strictly banned sea turtle poaching and the sale of turtle products. A decade later, thanks to ASTOP, poaching dropped from 98% to 38%.

Our distinctive feature is that we integrate locals as much as possible in order to promote sustainable development for the whole community, humans & non-humans: the association employs around ten villagers as patrol guides, along with 20 families as host families for our volunteers, offering them an additional source of income. The economic impacts for local shops from volunteers and tourists is a significant benefit to the community.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

Our Purpose

ASTOP focuses on the conservation and preservation of sea turtles. Hawksbill, Leatherback, and Green Turtles nest on the beach of Parismina. The Hawksbill and Leatherback are both listed as critically endangered while the Green Turtle is considered endangered.

We have a double role:
To ensure the turtles can pursue their reproduction activities without being in danger of being poached.
To ensure the turtle eggs won’t be dug-up & stolen and to watch over them until they hatch.

In collaboration with biologists & research centers, we collect data about sea turtles to take part in the monitoring and scientific research in this field. Concurrently, ASTOP gets involved in conservation to safeguard a healthy environment for the egg-laying by collecting trash on the beach and joining in with recycling actions in partnership with another district association.

Credit: Felipe Villegas ©

Finding Us

Our association is located in the village of Parismina in Costa Rica, a Central American country close to the equator. This village of approximately 400 inhabitants is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, halfway between the National Park of Tortuguero and the city of Limòn.

Considered as the richest country in this area, Costa Rica has better infrastructures than its neighbours, even though a part of the population still lives under the poverty threshold. Locals work on farms or tourist sites nearby, or live off handicrafts & fishing. The country as well as the village is rather safe.
(For more information about our safety recommandations, please consult our F.A.Q. Page, ” Security” section)


Life is simple but sweet, Pura Vida!

ASTOP association receives volunteers from all around the world during nesting season from March to September.

Find out more about volunteerism on our Volunteer Page.


Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

For more details, please visit our F.A.Q. Page. You will find information arranged by themes that will likely answer your questions and help you prepare for your journey.

However, if you can’t find the information you were looking for, please feel free to send us a message through the Contact Form on the Contact Page, we’ll be happy to answer as soon as possible!


ASTOP is registered in the Lonely Planet 2017 Guide.