Here you can find the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
If you can’t find answers to your questions though, please feel free to contact us trough the Contact Section.




Climate and weather

Health & Public Health Risks

Infrastructure, accommodations and services


The association

Prices, costs, and financial contribution

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©


Coming to Parismina
As the village is located between the Parismina River and the Caribbean Sea, you will need to take a taxi-boat to join us.
WARNING: Boats do NOT travel by night and as bus rides might be long, it is highly recommended to organize your itinerary before your visit in order to avoid complications.

– Public transports from the capital San José (bus)

  • Take a bus to Siquirres at the Gran Terminal del Caribe located at the North of the city and get off at the terminus in Siquirres.
    Price: around $4 USD  Duration: 2h
    Schedule: Mon-Sun: 6:30am; 8am and every hour until 7pm

  • Once in Siquirres, cross the street, turn right (the soccer field will beon your left) and walk to the other bus terminal. If you need to stay in Siquirres, you can go to the Las Tilapias de Chito Hotel ($40 USD/night).

Go to the ticket office located in the first recess on the left and ask for a ticket to Caño Blanco (Hermanos Caño-Aguilar Cie; Tel: 2768-8172). The bus stop is in the building and it stops at 2nd position on the right line opposite the ticket office. If in doubt, ask a local, they will help you with pleasure. Stay on the bus until it reaches the terminus at Caño Blanco.
Price: around $3 USD  Duration: 2h
Schedule: Mon-Fri: 4am; 12am; 3:15pm – Sat-Sun: 4am; 7:30am; 12am; 3:15pm (return: Mon-Fri: 6am; 9:30am; 2pm; 5pm and Sat-Sun: 9am; 2pm)

  • In Caño Blanco, wait 1/2 hr for the taxi-boat to Parismina. You will arrive directly in the village. If you contacted us and informed us of your itinerary and arrival time, a member of our staff will be waiting for you at the dock in Parismina.
    Price: 1000CRC Duration: 10min.


– By Taxi
For approximately $50 USD, a taxi will drive you from Siquirres to Caño Blanco. Then ask for a taxi-boat, which will cost you $20 USD more.
WARNING: Taxi-boats do NOT travel by night.


– River Shuttle (from Limon, Moìn or Tortuguero)
You can also reach Parismina by river: Book a seat on one of the tourist shuttles that make a connection between Moìn and  Tortuguero National Park. Tropical Winds: 8829-0913 (Ask for Alex); Tropical Tours: 8371-2323
WARNING: There are only one or two shifts during the day in high season, shuttles might be full too, and prices are expensive.


– Group Shuttles
You can book a shuttle from the international airport in San José or from your hotel if you’re coming with a group. For more info, please call the Trochisa Cie at 2433-4631 or 8866-0909 (Ask for Shirley). Prices start from 240$, for up to 12 people.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

What should I bring?

  • Important documents and at least one copy of each of them: passport, driver’s license, return ticket, booking papers, insurance, social security, vaccine proofs, child health record booklet, prescriptions, etc…
  • Medicine with stock for your stay if you’re on medication
  • Notebook with emergency numbers (Consulate, bank assistance service, insurance, family member to call in emergency, etc…)
  • Summer clothing (shorts, swimsuit, tank top, etc…)
  • Rain clothing (poncho, waterproof coat)
  • Dark clothing for night patrols: long pants, long sleeved shirt, poncho or waterproof coat, cap, closed toed shoes (hiking shoes, crocs, close toad sandals, water shoes), etc..
  • Red flashlight (or with a red filter) + cells/battery. Rechargeable batteries are best and more environmentally friendly than disposable batteries.
  • SIM Card + Credit card for mobile phone from the Kolbi brand only (available everywhere in cities). WARNING: Kolbi is the only network that covers the village, others won’t work here.
  • Cash (colones CRC, or US dollars, small denomination bills preferably)
  • First aid kit (aspirine, anti-spasmodic & anti-diarrheic, lip balm (in case of dehydration), band-aids, blister band-aids, antibacterial (alcohol type), bandages, anti-histamines for bug bites & allergies, etc…)
  • Sunblock (spf 30 or more)
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Latex gloves for working with turtle eggs. A box of disposable gloves can be purchased at most pharmacies.
  • Water bottle or flask
  • Hat/cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Mosquito and insect repellent and anti-itching cream
  • Padlock
  • Hiking shoes/boots
  • Backpack (waterproof and light)
  • Universal plug-in adaptater if you are not from Canada or the US
  • Bath towel, soap and toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, etc.)
  • Beach towel
  • Resealable freezer bags to protect valuables from water and humidity.
  • Battery and cables for your electronic devices (smartphones, cameras, etc…)



Are there bank charges if I pay with my credit card in Costa Rica?
This depends on your bank. We recommend you inquire with yours before your departure in order to know commissions charged for each transaction, but also to inform your bank about your trip so they won’t block your account because of unusual or suspect activities. Finally, carefully read insurance included with your credit card (a lot of people don’t know about it and you might not need to subscribe to a private insurance), and note assistance numbers in case of emergency.

Do I need an insurance policy to come?
There’s no obligation, but we recommend you to be insured for accidents and health before coming. You can subscribe to a private insurance or inquire with your bank because some credit cards do have insurance guaranties included.

Do I need a VISA to volunteer?
No. Volunteering is not a job or an internship, so you won’t be paid. You’ll be traveling as a tourist in Costa Rica and will have 90 days to stay in the country. After this period, you will have to leave the country or ask for an extension from the authorities. Generally, getting an extension requires that you leave the country for 3 days and return to renew your traveler’s visa for another 90 days. Most people travel to Nicaragua or Panama.

Are there fees to pay as a foreign in Costa Rica?
Visitors to Costa Rica do not have any fee to pay upon entry into the country. However, you will have a $29 USD departure tax when you leave the country. If you’re traveling by plane, know that a lot of companies include this fee in your plane ticket. Inquire with yours to find out if your airline covers this fee.

What are the conditions to enter the country?
As a tourist, you only need a 3 month valid passport. However, be careful if you must pass through a country such as the USA or Canada.  You may need an official authorization (like the ESTA) to enter the country, even for a few hour stopover. Make sure that you ask about it online to the relevant authorities. Be careful and aware of fraudulent websites that will ask you to pay more than the effective prices for their services. Only go through official government websites. At the immigration point , you might also need to prove you have enough money for your stay (around $100 USD/month) or show them a return ticket.
If you have spent time in a country where the yellow fever was present, you’ll have to show an International Certificate against yellow fever. Please feel free to inquire beforehand in order to avoid being forbidden to enter the country.

Are there any compulsory vaccines?
No, there are no compulsory vaccines to enter the country. On the other hand, it is highly recommended for all travelers to be up to date with their vaccines before traveling.  We recommend you to make an appointment with a travel physician to do a checkup a few months before (in case of boosters). You can inquire about the yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A & B, and possibly Malaria.

What is the national currency?
National currency is Colones. $1 USD = 570CRC. Rate often varies and we recommend that you check the rates online regularly.

Can I pay in dollars?
Yes. At ASTOP, you can pay in dollars or colones, as you want. However, for the other shops in the village, paying in colones is recommended.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©


Are Costa Rica and Parismina dangerous places?
Costa Rica is a quite safe place, and so is the village of Parismina. As long as you stay attentive and show some common sense, as you would in any other place. Most of the locals are well intentioned and will be happy to help.
Here are some useful and common sense recommendations for all the travelers:

  • Keep your papers, passports and money on you every time and bring copies with you.
  • Keep a notebook with all phone numbers in case of an emergency: family member to call, bank, Consulate, insurance, etc…
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to an health/accident/repatriation insurance before your trip. Most credit cards include these guaranties, please inquire with your bank or your insurance company.
  • Be suspicious of people who are TOO nice or insistent, whatever their intentions are.
  • Don’t leave your luggage out of your field of vision. Drop them yourself in a secure place, don’t entrust a stranger to do it.
  • Regularly check your personal items: wallets, backpack, cameras, phones, computers, or any other valuable item. In the event of a theft, go to a police station to do make a statement.
  • During your stay, don’t leave anything unsupervised on the beach or during other activities, and don’t leave anything outside at night. ASTOP is not responsible in the event of a theft/loss. We don’t have any lockers, so bring a padlock.
  • Stay discreet with money: avoid showing large amounts in public and also avoid withdrawing large sums of cash in one single time. In Parismina, if you want you’ll have the option to entrust your money to a member of our staff or your host family.
  • WARNING: There are no cash machines or banks in Parismina, and payments by credit card are NOT available. Please be sure to come with enough cash (in dollars or CRC) for you stay before you come. The closest cash machine is in Siquirres.
  • During the day, you can take a walk alone in the village. By night, if you must get out, walk with several people. You can also ask a member of your host family to go with you.

Is it dangerous to patrol at night because of poaching?
No. Know that most of the poachers searching for eggs or turtles avoid direct confrontation with our team. Subsequently, night patrols are safe. You’ll be accompanied by one or more of our local guides.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

Climate and weather

How is the weather is Costa Rica?
As we’re close to the equator, the sun is strong, even in the morning (sun rises around 5am). Be careful and apply sunblock every 2 hours and every time you get out of the water and especially when it’s cloudy. UV passes through the clouds. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible between 10am and 2pm, or wear a cap/hat and covering clothing. Be even more careful if you’re traveling with children. Finally, remind yourself to stay hydrated all the day.

The weather is quite unpredictable and the climate is generally tropical and humid: rain showers are common. Rain season starts in October and ends in March. The month of July can also be very wet. Please make sure you have rain clothing (such as a poncho).
Thunderstorms are also common. Accidents with lightning happen in Costa Rica: in case of a storm, be careful and don’t go outside if there is lightning, get away from the beach, soccer field or any other opened space.

Is there a risk of hurricane or cyclone?
These climate events are extremely rare. However, the village has an emergency committee that will keep you informed in case of an emergency.

Can I swim in the ocean?
Owing to strong currents, we do not recommend volunteers to swim in the ocean. The safest place to swim is in the lagoon.
If you’re a confident swimmer, ask your host family or our team for the best places to swim and those you should avoid and never go to the beach to swim alone. If you’re caught up in a current, don’t panic: swim parallel to the shore and use the force of the waves to help you reach the beach.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

Health and public health risks


Is there drinkable water in the village?
Yes water is drinkable in the village.

How about food?
There are really few public health risks about water or food. Follow these simple guidelines:

  • Please wash all food before eating
  • Avoid ice cubes, but also all dishes or drinks from unknown origin
  • Check expiry dates
  • If you are unaware of food preparation conditions, do not consume the food
  • Beware of food sold in the street in bags without brands

I’m vegetarian/vegan, can I follow my diet there?
Yes absolutely, even in your host family. Just tell us in the registration form.

I have a special diet, can I follow it here?
Again, if you must follow a special diet because of allergies or intollerances, please mention it in the registration form. Once you arrive in Parismina, you can remind our coordinator and your host family so everything will be clear.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

  • Animals

Are there animals in the village?
Those you will most meet in the village, apart from turtles, will be dogs! There are plenty of them walking without any lead, alone in the village, although they do have an owner and a home. Most of them are not aggressive or dangerous and only beg for your attention and for you to pet them. However, a lot do have flees, scab, and other parasites, so it’s better to avoid touching them. If you play with them, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

Spiders are not dangerous unless you have an allergy, and snakes & scorpions are really rare in the village. Avoid running in high grass and be attentive when walking in the forest, especially when putting your hands on wood. Pay close attention to where you put your feet. Caterpillars with hair on them should be avoided as they can cause temporary discomfort if they come in contact with your skin.

For most insects, bring a repellent, an anti-itching lotion, and also closed shoes and covering clothing in order to prevent bites, such as sand flees and ants during night patrols. Shake your shoes before putting them on.

As a precaution, it is highly recommended to bring a first aid kit with you and also if you’re on medication to bring enough drugs for your entire stay.
In case of allergy, or if you’re sensitive to bug bites, please visit your doctor before coming: he will prescribe you an appropriate treatment.

  • Tropical diseases

Is there any risk of catching a tropical disease there, especially through mosquito bites?
Risks to catch any tropical disease are really low. Mosquitos here don’t usually carry any virus such as Zika, Dengue, or Malaria. You should always consult a travel physician before your trip to get the most up-to-date information about conditions in the area.

Insect bites might be painful or cause an allergic reaction. We recommend that you check before your trip that you’re up to date with all your vaccines. WARNING: Make an appointment as soon as you can because some vaccines need several boosters. Bring with you a strong mosquito and bug repellent. Bedrooms are all equipped with mosquito nets.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

Infrastructure, accommodations and services

  • Infrastructure

Is there any supermarket in the village?
No, there is not a supermarket in the village. However, you will find several “pulperias” (small stores) that sell food and supplies.

Is there any bank in Parismina?

Is there a cash machine in the village?
No. This is why you must absolutely equip yourself with enough cash before coming to Parismina. Local stores do not accept payments by credit card.

Is there a hospital and/or a doctor in the village?
Parismina has a medical center called EBAIS (for “Equipo Basico de Atencion Integral de Salud”). A team of 6 people with a doctor and a nurse are on hand to assist you from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

The center is equipped with all the essentials to give out first aid and to administer antidotes. For more serious troubles, it is necessary to go to a hospital. The closest is the CAIS, located 45 min. away from Parismina on the road to Siquirres.
International Red Cross is also present in the village and gives out first aid training. You can also book an ambulance that will pick you up in Caño Blanco.

Is there a police station in the village?
No. However, forces of order are present and do have an office. Between 2 and 4 officers patrol regularly in the village.

Are there any restaurants in the village?
Yes, there are several “sodas” in the village, which are small restaurants where you will find drinks & food all day long.

What are the infrastructure in the village?
The village has a public health center, the EBAIS, several pulperias, hotels & cabinas, several bars, the volunteer’s house equipped with WIFI, a school and high school, and two churches.

Is there internet in the village?
As a volunteer, you will have a free access to internet at the volunteers’ house. If you buy a SIM card with internet credit from Kolbi Brand, you will have internet on your smartphone too.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

  • Accommodations

What type of accommodations do you offer?
We offer three accommodation types:
-Volunteer house: it is a big house with mixed dorms (4), shared kitchen, bathrooms and sanitaries.
-Host families: you stay at a local’s house and share their everyday life. Meals and laundry are included.
-Hotel/Cabinas: there are several hotels in the village (meals not included, breakfast option available)

How much does it cost?
It depends on chosen type of accommodation:

  • Volunteer House: $40 USD/person/night (3 meals included) for an accommodation in the volunteers’ house, or $20 USD/night (w/o meals). Price includes the registration fee for stays of 5 days and more. We also offer a one month package for $300 USD (price includes patrol contribution fee).
  • Homestay with Host Family: $30 USD/person/night (3 meals + laundry) for an accommodation in host family. This price includes the patrol contribution fee.
  • Hotel/Cabinas: $16 USD/person/night (w/o meals) for an accommodation in hotel/cabinas.

What types of accommodation should I choose?
If you want to immerse totally in a different culture, discover a new country and its traditions differently, and have a chance to practice Spanish, we recommend you to choose the host family accommodation. This option is also the most economically sustainable for the village as you provide a much needed income for the family you stay with.

If you’d rather meet other volunteers and exchange in an international context, we recommend you stay at the volunteer house accommodation.

Last, hotels & cabinas are best suited for people who want to keep a private space or are not staying for a long period.

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©

  • Services

Is there a washing machine at the volunteer house?
Yes, you’ll be able to clean your clothes without any problem.

Is the kitchen at the volunteer house equipped?
Yes. You’ll have a fridge, gas, coffee machine, blender, cutlery, plates, mugs, saucepans, etc…, to cook.

Are there mosquito nets in the bedrooms?
Yes, we provide a mosquito net for every bed.

Are sheets and bath towels provided?
Yes for sheets, no for towels.

Is there WIFI in host families?
It depends on the family, but as a volunteer, you will have free access to WIFI at the volunteer house.

Are there mosquito nets in host families’ homes?
Yes, all our host families provide mosquito nets. If it’s not installed, please ask your host family for it.

Do host families speak English?
Some might speak English, but all will be happy to speak with you and answer all your questions to make your stay as pleasant as possible.

Can I pay by credit card when I arrive?
No, the village doesn’t have any terminal to pay your purchases by credit card. That’s why you should withdraw enough cash before coming (last stop before Parismina is in Siquirres where you’ll find the Central Bank of Costa Rica).

The association

In which areas does ASTOP work on?
ASTOP works for the conservation of sea turtles since 2001. Several endangered species come nesting on our beach. We make sure that they can nest without any danger, and then ensure that eggs are safe, and that all hatchlings make it to the ocean. We’re also involved in the protection and respect of the environment by organizing trash collecting and selective sorting in partnership with another association of the district.

When is nesting season for sea turtles?
Nesting season starts in March for the Leatherback turtle (March – June) and ends in September for the Green turtle (June-September).

Credit: Hélène Cirujano ©


Are there any conditions to volunteer?
No. We welcome people from all ages and nationalities. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. We should mention that night patrols do not suit everybody as it can be exhaustive. If your goal is only to see turtles, we suggest you to get in touch with a tour operator or a private guide.

Do I have to speak Spanish to volunteer?
No. Even if it might be helpful to know some basics, it’s okay if you don’t speak Spanish. Staff members and some host families do speak English.

Do I need to have some knowledge in biology or turtles to volunteer?
No. What we basically need are people who are willing to learn and have the energy to take action. You will discover the amazing universe of sea turtles once your here by talking with our local guides and observing the animals.

I wanna come with all my family to volunteer, can I come with my children?
Absolutely! We regularly welcome families to volunteer with us. All family members should be in good health condition and minors accompanied.

I’m not an adult yet, can I volunteer?
Minors (under 18) must be accompanied by an adult to volunteer with us.

I’m traveling alone, can I volunteer?
Yes! Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, if you have energy to give to a beautiful project, you’re welcome. You’ll meet other amazing volunteers from all around the world.

When can I volunteer?
You can come to volunteer during nesting season which is from March, 1st to September, 30th.

Where are most of your volunteers coming from?
We do not have any specific types of volunteers, we greet people from all around the globe.

Is there a minimum duration required?
No, there is no minimum duration required, you’re free to stay two days or two weeks or more.

Can I stay for a long term volunteer?
Yes, we offer a long-term volunteer program (minimum 2 months or more) for people who are willing to assist us in the coordination of the project and scientific research. Please feel free to contact us to have more information about this program and to register through the Contact Page.

What will I do as a volunteer there?
As a volunteer, you’ll have two main daily tasks which will be night patrols and hatchery monitoring. In addition, you’ll be led to participate in some tasks for the community according to our needs. That might be for example, creative workshops with children, gardening, painting & repairs, or collecting trash on the beach.

Will I get paid for my assignments?
No, volunteering is a personal and individual commitment and an act of solidarity in a charity organization. In this capacity, you won’t receive any compensation or wages for your assignments.

I’m a teacher and I’d like to organize a group stay with my students, is it possible?
We welcome groups from time to time. Please feel free to contact us for more information through our Contact Page.

I have some relevant skills in some specific fields (such as medicine), and I thought I could help you, what should I do?
Awesome! We always need help and we are convinced that your skills will be very helpful here. Please tell our staff about it before your stay in the registration form or once you arrive. Advanced notice of your specific skills will make it easier  to coordinate activities that will utilize your skills.

What is a typical day as a volunteer?
Usually, if you’ve patrolled until 4 am, you’ll sleep in the morning to recover. Late morning, you will do some collective tasks for the community, then at 12, you will go to eat. In the afternoon you will do hatchery monitoring for two hours. Dinner is usually around 6 pm. Then in the night, you’ll do another night patrol. The rest of the time you’ll be free to have some rest or to take advantage of leisure activities that the village provides.

How do night patrols take place?
Patrols always take place with groups of volunteers accompanied by one or more of our local guides. There are two shifts: from 8 pm to midnight, and from midnight to 4 am. The typical schedule is two nights patrolling for one night off. You will walk along the beach searching for nesting turtles or their eggs/nests. If you find a turtle, you will monitor nesting and collect data about the specimen. Once eggs will be laid, you’ll collect them and go back to the hatchery in order to relocate them. Patrols are physical and you should be in good shape to participate to this task.

What should I wear for night patrols?
For night patrols, you must wear dark or black clothing. We also recommend that these are light, comfortable and covering your skin: indeed, it’s not possible to bring reppelent during night patrols (the chemicals are harmful to the turtles), so in order to avoid bug bites, it is better to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts, as well as good and closed hiking shoes (those in order to prevent sprains, bites from sand flees, but also cuts with rocks). A backpack with a flask of water, a snack and rain clothing (like a poncho) is also recommended. Last, don’t forget to bring a red flashlight (or with a red filter). Phones and cameras are forbidden during night patrols.

Can I approach turtles during night patrols and take pictures?
If during night patrols you encounter a nesting turtle, you’ll need to be as discreet as possible. That’s why taking pictures is not allowed during patrols. However, you’ll have the opportunity to approach them in order to take some measurements for scientific research.

What is hatchery monitoring? Why must we watch over the eggs?
Hatchery monitoring is crucial for us. The hatchery must me under observation 24h a day 7 days a week in order to dissuade anyone from stealing the eggs. Monitoring the hatchery also also prevents dogs and crabs from harming the eggs and hatchling turtles. In addition, if a nest comes to full term, which might happen at anytime, we must be here to ensure all the hatchling turtles will make it to the ocean.

Credit: Stanford University BOSP 2013 ©

What can I do during my free time? Are there any activities for volunteers?
You will have the opportunity to enjoy plenty of activities during your free time: go to the beach, chill in the hammock, read a book (we do have an international library!), play card games, play board games, play football (soccer) or volleyball, hike and discover fauna & flora, go horseback riding, go fishing, visit a farm, learn to cook local food, take dance lessons, participate in a creative workshop and learn to make necklaces, bracelets, paint, etc…, take a tour in boat on the lagoon, visit Tortuguero National Park, go swimming in the lagoon, garden, … and much more! Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with other volunteers from all around the world!

Prices, costs, and financial contribution

What will I pay as a volunteer?
As a volunteer, we ask you for a financial contribution to assist with the management of the association, but also for your accommodation. For all stays of 5 days and more, you’ll have a registration fee of $50 USD.
For every night of patrolling, a $10 USD contribution fee will be required.
As for accommodation, please consult the Terms & Conditions section.

Can you give me the prices for accommodation?
It depends on chosen type of accommodation:

  • Volunteer House: $40 USD/person/night (3 meals included) for an accommodation in the volunteers’ house, or $20 USD/night (w/o meals). Price includes the registration fee for stays of 5 days and more. We also offer a one month package for $300 USD/person (price includes patrol contribution fee).
  • Homestay with Host Family: $30 USD/person/night (3 meals + laundry) for an accommodation in host family. This price includes the patrol contribution fee.
  • Hotel/Cabinas: $16 USD/person/night (w/o meals) for an accommodation in hotel/cabinas.

What is all this money for if you’re a non-profit organization?
All of the money received is exclusively destined for the project: it allow us to pay local people as guides for patrols, a biologist to ensure the monitoring of the hatchery, and maintenance costs for the volunteers house. Sums of money received for host family accommodation go directly to them, ensuring a significant source of income and the possibility to live in better conditions in an area where there’s little work available.