Volunteer Work, Nature Protection, Animal Welfare
flexible start and end dates, year round
This volunteer work in Costa Rica takes place in one of the country’s national parks. Although Costa Rica is a very small country, the vegetation and wildlife are extremely diverse. The national parks system was established to protect the country's unique nature and biodiversity since the beginning of the environmental conservation movement. Costa Rica is known for its extensive eco-tourism industry, making the country's national parks world-famous travel destinations. The parks are dispersed throughout the country and offer a huge range of attractions, such as beautiful beaches, volcanoes, mountain ranges, rain and cloud forests, lagoons, rivers, waterfalls, and many different exotic animals.
Most parks have a very diverse eco-system and unique flora and fauna. They are important refuges for endangered species. The species that make up Costa Rica's wildlife include a variety of mammals, beautiful birds, fish, and reptiles. Among the wild animals there are howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, pumas, deer, squirrels, coati, peccary, marvellous butterflies, frogs, iguanas, toucans, and parrots. Furthermore, you can find a vast variety of water birds and about 70 different types of reptiles, like snakes and lizards. Sea turtles are the main attraction of many of the coastal national parks.
In the areas that are open for day visitors, the parks offer outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, canopying, and more.
The volunteer project is carried out in one of the first nature reserves created in Costa Rica back in 1963. It is a true symbol of environmental conservation. It is located in Puntarenas province, right on the edge of the Nicoya Peninsula. The project is dedicated to protecting and preserving Costa Rican wildlife, native forest, and the marine ecosystem. It consists of 1,373 hectares of wild and marine conservation areas. The Reserve only has the 5% of the total territory open for tourists. Their contributions represent the main way to sustain the Park financially.
This reserve protects semi dry tropical forest. About 140 different species of trees have been identified inside the park. There is also a considerable variety of mammals in the park. Predominant among these and very easily spotted by visitors are the howler monkey and the white-face monkeys. Very abundant and easily seen are the white-nosed coati and the white-tailed deer. Also present, but harder to spot are the margay and the coyote. The greatest wealth in fauna is in the abundant marine birds, marine mammals including orcas, different kinds of fish, crabs and mollusks found in the shore waters of the offshore islands. Worth mentioning is the healthy population of brown boobies and pelicans found in the island, and the plentiful conch found on the park's waters.
The weekly schedule will be posted each week on the board of the Volunteer House so the volunteers are notified ahead of time. Activities vary each week. The following schedule is general.
Breakfast: 6.30 am
The morning shift goes from 8.00 - 11.45 am
Lunch: 12.00 pm
The afternoon shift goes normally from 1.30 - 3.45 pm
Afternoon tea: 3.45 pm
Dinner: 6.30 pm
The weekends are off for volunteers to enjoy the beaches, explore the breathtaking nature and rich culture of Costa Rica, visit Montezuma or Santa Teresa, go surfing or just chill with a book.
The main interest of the volunteer program is to involve volunteers in conservation and protection of natural resources, carrying out maintenance work, eco tourism, monitoring, environmental education, labeling, and the like to ensure perpetuity for future generations.
Beach clean-up and Recycling
Two of the most important activities are the “Beach Clean-up and recycling" because of the positive impact that these have on our oceans. To protect the oceans and its animals from plastic, it is critical to at least contribute to maintaining the reserve as clean as possible. The activities are focused on recovering both the beaches from the reserve and also the ones in the surrounding areas. After collecting the trash, volunteers head to the recycle Station where they learn about the classification of solid waste. This represents a key contribution to the local town.
Environmental education and community
There is an environmental and community program, where volunteers have the opportunity to teach sustainability at the community school to co-create awareness with the local population of the nearest towns. Moreover, the program involves other activities like workshops, research, and community activities.
Construction and Maintenance
These activities are related to the necessities of the park, trails, and public areas, as well as the volunteer house. This kind of work is one of the most important within the reserve. Its objective is to repair those places on the trail that are in poor condition due to erosion, landslides, fallen trees, branches, etc. It includes working in all green areas such as the tourism office, the ranger’s house, the volunteer house, workshops, and main roads.
Monitoring and Research
The park has a monitoring and research area where the volunteers have the opportunity to watch wildlife in the forest and learn about their behavior and specificities. Volunteers will have the chance to visit the second station that is of great interest for researching species that are at risk of extinction.
Note: The tasks may vary. They depend on factors such as number of volunteers, weather, season, current needs of the project, as well as self-motivation. Not every volunteer may be fully involved in all these tasks.
The accommodation in the national parks in Costa Rica is set in shared dormitories in the so-called volunteer house. The volunteer house is also the place where volunteers get to know each other, can chill and relax together and just spend a good time.
There are shared bathrooms available and a kitchen and common area. Full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner per day) is provided. Meals are prepared by our friendly local cooks. Any dietary restrictions such as allergies and vegetarian/vegan diets can be accommodated for.
The library has books in various languages and there is a take-a-book leave-abook system. A lookout treehouse is available for the volunteer’s relaxation.
The project site has WIFI Internet.
Note: In Latin America, especially in remote areas where many of our volunteer projects take place, the cellular or internet connection is not always reliable and fast.
Your project position will be one of the many national parks in Costa Rica. Although it is one of the smallest countries in Latin America, it has an immense biodiversity and absolutely fascinating landscapes. Costa Rica really has everything you need for a dream vacation: Both on the Pacific and the Caribbean coast, dream beaches with great surf spots and dense rainforest in the hinterland wait for you, plus lovely landscapes with volcanoes, mountains, large and small rivers. Watch out animal lovers since you can observe local wildlife like sloths, macaws, turtles, monkeys and ocelots from up close. Large parts of this fascinating world are actively protected in more than 20 national parks and many private protected areas.
Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in the region and tourism is a very important economic sector. In order to promote tourism with environmental protection in equal measure, Costa Rica was one of the first countries to introduce ecotourism extensively in the early 1970s.
The people in Costa Rica are friendly and relaxed, and live according to the motto "Pura Vida" - "pure life" what in Costa Rica you can learn to enjoy life to the fullest! In addition, the "Ticos" speak a clear and slow Spanish, so that it is easy to understand them.
The climate in Costa Rica can easily be divided into two seasons: the rainy season (around May to November) and the dry season (around December to April). Even in the rainy season, it doesn't rain all the time, but about three hours a day.
In our Wildlife & Nature projects, our volunteers get along well with English language skills.
For optimal program preparation and cultural integration in the destination country, we recommend participating in a Spanish course in Costa Rica (optional).
Pre-departure and in-country support
Before arrival, our experienced team will be at your disposal to assist you throughout the booking process and travel planning. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that you can reach us in case of emergency on 7 days a week around the clock.
In addition to the assistance given by our office staff you will be supported by our partner organization in Costa Rica located in San José as well as the volunteer coordinator on-site.
Depending on the day of arrival in Costa Rica, the program includes one to three nights in San José in a single room with a host family (including breakfast).
Before you leave for the project site, you will take part in an orientation talk with our colleagues in San José.
Costs & Services
Our volunteer project in a National Park in Costa Rica includes:
- Shared room in Volunteer House
- Full board
- Airport pick-up in San José with 2 overnight stays in San José
- Transfer from San José accommodation to bus terminal for journey to project site *
- Professional English-speaking advice
- Translation of your application documents
- Volunteer Work Placement in Costa Rica
- English-speaking in-country support
- Welcome meeting in San José
- Handbook Costa Rica
- Intercultural guideline
- 24/7 emergency number
- Information about suitable travel insurance
- Certificate of participation
*the costs for the bus ticket to the project site are not included.
Application fee: US$ 150
Program fee: US$ 795 (minimum stay 2 weeks)
Each additional week: US$ 265
Additionally, you can book:
Our tips (experience more + see more = save $$)
Is it difficult for you to decide between the many great projects? You want to see and experience as much as possible during your stay in Latin America? Then build your own itinerary - experience more & see more! Our program combination makes it possible!
All our stay abroad programs can be combined with each other: So, you can combine different volunteer projects in the same country or in different countries, or you mix Working Holiday with volunteer work or Farm Stay with Working Holiday ...and so on …
Your creativity knows no limits. The longer your stay abroad in Latin America, the greater the discount you get from South America Inside. Below you can see how much you can save:
Note: Language courses are excluded from this promotion. These discounts can not be combined with other promotions.
If you need assistance in putting together your personal experience abroad, then please contact us. Our experienced staff will help you to set up your tailor-made stay abroad.