Volunteer Work, Animal Welfare
Aranjuez, Provinz Puntarenas
year round. Arrival to San José ideally is on a Thursday since your onward travel to the project is on a Sunday.
If you have always wanted to work with exotic animals, while being surrounded by breathtaking nature, this volunteer program in Costa Rica is the perfect opportunity for you to do something meaningful. Get involved in animal welfare and help protect endangered species.
Human action mercilessly interferes with the natural habitats of wild animals. This increases the susceptibility of the animal species and causes immense damage in the sensitive ecosystems.
For example, the beautiful parrots in Costa Rica are threatened by extinction. During this volunteer work project, you can contribute to the protection of an animal species in danger.
The main reason why the parrots are threatened, is due to the constant destruction of their habitats (slash-and-burn agriculture, colonization) and the cruel and illegal bird trade. Today, parrots are still very popular and sought-after pets, which encourages the poaching of them for profit. In addition, other reasons that explain the present threat to the parrots include hunts, introduction of other animals in their natural habitat, and endangered breeding sites and nestle trees.
In addition to the majestic parrots, the wildlife sanctuary also offers refuge and protection to other wild animals that have become victims of human activities such as hunting, removal from their natural environment and deforestation. Even when in captivity, the animals can live here in safety and dignity. They receive regular food and veterinary care. In total, the animal welfare center takes care of over 550 animals.
The animal species in the animal welfare center include jaguars, ocelots, sloths, monkeys, tapirs, white-tailed deer, turtles, as well
also some homeless exotic animals. Most animals have physical and behavioral problems. Whenever possible, healthy and rehabilitated animals are released back into the wild.
The wildlife sanctuary was founded in 1994 in order to protect local fauna. The sanctuary works hand in hand with the national nature conservation authority (SINAC), the national fire protection, and national volunteers, who feel strongly connected to the nature and ongoing animal protection efforts.
Furthermore, the sanctuary is engaged in wildlife management and environmental education, which contributes to ecological tourism and reforestation.
The wildlife sanctuary is strategically located in a secluded, quiet area, away from traffic noise. Here the animals can enjoy a safe "oasis" full of lush vegetation, food resources and water. A place that poachers cannot access.
One of the most important goals of the sanctuary is the well-being of the animals. Everybody involved, such as the leaders of the projects, employees, and volunteers, give their best every day to improve the living conditions of the animals.
The ongoing success of this project depends on the help and support of volunteers. Typically, volunteers assist the staff with preparing food for the animals, cleaning the cages and trails, and maintaining the infrastructure. This sanctuary in Costa Rica is a green oasis and contains many hectares of reforested rainforest. Young animals also need special attention, and the volunteers can also be used here.
For a while now, this area has also served as a refuge for several other bird species, as well as ocelots, monkeys, sloths, and other mammals and reptiles. Volunteers are responsible for providing visitors with information and assisting with a wide variety of upcoming tasks. Volunteers accompany daily visitors and guide them through the sanctuary. This task is very important, as it raises awareness for environmental and animal protection! Such a big facility calls for a lot of work and needs to be maintained regularly.
In addition, manual skills will be needed from the volunteers in order to help with the repair and construction. The tasks for the volunteers are prioritized by necessity and weather conditions. The tasks are delegated by local staff and completed by groups of volunteers. The volunteers will be under the supervision of the staff, who will teach the necessary know how.
The various work areas are divided according to urgency and weather conditions. The employees instruct the volunteers in their areas of responsibility.
For all volunteers, an obligatory introductory tour takes place at the beginning of the volunteer work in order to provide the newcomers with important information about rules of conduct for their own safety and that of the animals.
Important: The animal welfare center is not a petting zoo! The volunteer project with wild animals in Costa Rica aims to promote animal welfare, but not the domestication of wild animals. The main goal is to make people aware that flora and fauna have not to be extracted from the natural ecosystem, but respected and protected.
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.
Volunteers who participate in this program will live in a volunteer house. These houses are basic but functional. Each house has room for up to four volunteers.
The bathrooms are located outside and are shared. The program includes full board, with three freshly cooked meals per day (vegetarian or vegan is also available).
Internet WIFI is available.
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.
The volunteer project is located near Aranjuez in the province of Puntarenas, about 100 kilometers from the capital San José. The next closest hub is Punta Arenas, one of the most touristic cities in Costa Rica. Above all, the many beautiful sandy beaches along the Pacific coast and the beautiful natural landscapes in the hinterland have a special attraction for visitors.
There are plenty of leisure activities available, both for sun worshipers and for nature lovers or outdoor fans. National parks and nature reserves are easy to reach and invite you to explore the exotic flora and fauna of Costa Rica.
Despite occasional short rains, Costa Rica is largely free of heavy rain on the Pacific side during the dry season from December to April. In the rainy season from May to November the sun mostly shines in the morning and it starts to rain in the afternoon.
The temperature usually is above 30 °C during the day and cools down comfortably at night.
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 24/7.
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 the Parrot Sanctuary in Costa Rica includes:
- Shared room in Volunteer House
- Full board
- Airport pick-up in San José with overnight stay 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$ 120
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.