What is Casa de Coco?
Casa de Coco is a non-profit organization dedicated to sea turtle conservation on the Coast Rican island of Barra de Pacuare. We work with the local community and other conservation camps to provide comprehensive conservation and community sustainability initiatives.
Our approach to conservation on the island is through providing an alternate economy for local residents, who often turn to poaching as their only source of income. Through homestays and conservation camps, volun-tourists provide an alternate source of income for local residents, and the chance to have a direct impact in sea turtles conservation on the island.
Why is there poaching on Barra de Pacuare?
The island of Barra de Pacuare is located off of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast in the Limon Province, and is very remote, with no electricity or running water. The closest town outside Barra de Pacuare is located one hour by bus or taxi and one hour by boat. The island is a main nesting beach for the Leatherback, Green, and Hawksbill sea turtles. Because of the remoteness, there are few jobs for the locals aside from poaching and working in the 3 conservation camps on the island.
The current price for working 8 hours at Costa Rican wage is only 15 dollars a day, and one nest of eggs a week can be sold for 100 dollars--and while some locals work with the local sea turtle conservation camps as trained guides, not all locals are accepted. At the time of the project’s inception, people from the local communities were engaged in the illegal removal and trade in turtle eggs, as well as illegal sale of turtle meat for profit. However, far from being hardened black marketers, these people had turned to illegal trade simply as the most accessible means of support and livelihood for their families and themselves. So, the idea of starting a conservation program in the area threatened the basic survival needs of these same people.
There are approximately 30 locals who live on the island full time, but only a few locals work as guides in the camps, and without tourism, the locals have no potential for an income aside from poaching.
What does Casa de Coco do?
Casa de Coco works to establish and maintain an alternate economy for the residents of Barra de Pacuare through volun-tourism and home stays. We give local families the opportunity to host volun-tourists who come to the island, providing them with alternate income. Aside from hosting, as more volunteers come to the island, the demand for conservation guides can increase and provide options of employment for the locals.
The home stay families sign a good-will statement that states that the families will not poach when they are hosting a tourist, and if they are caught poaching, they will lose any potential home stay income in the future. Income from home stays solves the low-income problem of the locals by providing a fair and sustainable wage so they will not need to poach.
Aside from facilitating home stays, the Casa de Coco connects with volun-tourists through AirBnB, helps to arrange travel to Barra de Pacuare and sees to any needs while the volun-tourists are here during their stay. We also provide education and training for all guests.
Casa de Coco was founded by a American/Costa Rican couple and has 9+ years of experience working with both volunteers and the turtles. We facilitate communication between tourists, locals, and conservation camps. We are a not for profit organization that is passionate about changing the fate of sea turtles and preserving the biodiversity