I have wanted to travel to Costa Rica for some time now, so when I found this trip with GVI that could also give me a step into the field of conservation it appeared to tick all the boxes. I was nervous on arriving in San Jose, but form the moment I walked into the hostel and met 12 other people who were also on the course I felt at ease. We were met by staff in the morning who were friendly and welcoming before heading out to Jalova. The camp is remote but beautiful. While I was there a new volunteer hang-out area was built and the toilets and showers were updated, along with new bunk beds arriving. It was much more than I was expecting from the ‘basic facilities’ description. I didn't know much about birds before I went, but the thrill of identifying a species correctly got me hooked and I had great pleasure in ticking off all the ones I had seen in my bird book. The time spent out on ‘Porridge’ (the canoe) was so relaxing and exciting, it was one of my favourite places to be. The Forest Biodiversity Project is fascinating, all the trails are so different you never know what you are going to see each day when you go out. Some days you see lots of species you have seen before, but each time is an exciting spot especially as you get your eye in and start seeing more and more every time. On some occasions you will see something that even some of the staff have not seen there before! The thrill of seeing my first turtle will stay with me forever, I felt like she was so large but yet so delicate. I soon discovered they can handle themselves well and are not as delicate as you might think, you have to watch out for those fins when they are disguising their nests! During the day seeing Jaguar prints on the beach was so exciting, knowing they had been around at the same time as you but you had no idea. The beach would be covered in adult turtle tracks, baby turtle tracks and jaguar tracks (along with many bird species and of course crabs!). The baby turtles stole my heart, and on days when we witnessed numerous green turtle nests hatching my heart was so full of love for them I felt it would burst. Not only did this trip solidify my determination to work in conservation; it gave me the scientific knowledge, leadership skills and experience to help me on my way to a permanent job in the field. I got hands on practical experience and the enthusiasm of the staff for their projects was contagious. From the moment you arrive you feel like part of the family. The selflessness of everyone on the project was great to see. Everyone would go out of their way to help each other. All I would say is if you are thinking of booking 6 weeks, don’t. Book longer! I am hoping to go back very soon for a much longer time.