Volunteer Work, Animal Welfare
Aguas Zarcas, Provinz Alajuela
flexible start and and dates year round
If you are an animal lover and you always wanted to be around exotic animals, this project in the rainforest of Costa Rica is just the thing for you! Here you can immerse in a fascinating world and promote animal protection and plant biodiversity.
This animal Wildlife Rescue Center in Costa Rica receives no funds from the government, depending solely on volunteers and donations. Limited by a tight budget, the center has been working hard to improve the conditions of the animals little-by-little. The center strives to conserve, protect, reintroduce, and raise several wild species that have been removed from their natural environment as a result of repossession, hunting, habitat destruction, and the ignorance of humans.
In 2006, the center won the Ford/Jaguar Cars International Conservation Award from the Jaguar Conservation Trust, a grass roots program dedicated to providing grants and funding projects that promote the preservation of the company's namesake and the jaguar’s habitat. The staff also runs an environmental education program to promote awareness among local citizens.
The Wildlife Rescue Center is home to approximately 500 animals, over 100 of which are free to roam on the 11 hectares (27 acres) of property. There are over 80 species, such as, monkeys, tapirs, birds (green macaws, scarlet macaws, toucans, etc.), various reptiles (snakes, crocodiles, iguanas, etc.), spiders and different types of felines. (Numbers and species are subject to changes!)
The main focus of work at the rescue center is the well-being of the animals. Project staff, employees, and volunteers work hard every day to improve the living conditions of the animals. The tasks are divided into different areas:
Reintroduction into the Wild
The rescue center’s highest priority is to reintroduce as many animals as possible back into their natural habitat. In order for this to be possible, the center has to meet certain requirements and the animals’ natural instincts have to be trained. The project staff take special pride in the number of cubs born at the center each year. These animals in particular need extra training and help in discovering natural instincts, such as hunting, so that they can live an independent life in the wild one day.
Animals that have been quarantined are nursed back to health and reintegrated into the group as soon as they are back on their feet.
It is also a major concern of the project to free animals that are threatened, hunted or mistreated by humans and to enable them to live in a sheltered and species-appropriate habitat in the sanctuary.
Animals that are unfit for reintroduction into the wild due to heavy injuries, abnormal behavior, or non-existent natural instincts are thoroughly being taken care of by volunteers at the center.
As a volunteer at this project, you will assist the team of the rescue center where ever help is needed. Your main tasks will involve preparing food, helping the employees with feeding the animals, and maintaining enclosures, cages, and the grounds of the center. Since the center also gets visited by tourists and students on a regular basis, guiding them through the park and helping raise awareness for animal and nature protection could also be within your duties.
Take action, be active, and help raise awareness for animal protection and welfare in the middle of Costa Rica's rainforest! Breath taking views and an experience that will last a lifetime are guaranteed.
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.
To make sure that your volunteer experience in Costa Rica is a successful experience, and that you can be as immersed as possible into Costa Rican culture, this program includes accommodation in a homestay. This allows you to experience the lifestyle of the locals and culinary treasures first-hand while practicing your Spanish on a daily basis with your hosts.
You will be accommodated in a private room with a shared bathroom. In addition, your hosts will provide three daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), which usually consist of typical Costa Rican staples like rice, beans, sweet corn, meat, pasta, vegetables, and seasonal fruits. All hosts live near the rescue center. The project site can be reached by foot or public transportation.
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 Aguas Zarcas de San Carlos, La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano, about halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and about 100km north of San José. Due to the many scenic attractions, this area is very popular among tourists and offers good touristic infrastructure. On excursions you can discover the evergreen nature with its exciting wildlife, visit national parks and do lots of outdoor sports and outdoor activities.
From the capital, San José, you will need about 2.5 hours by bus to the volunteer project site. The province of Alajuela has a tropical rainforest climate. This type of climate is characterized by rather warm temperatures and regular rainfall throughout the year.
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 the Wildlife Rescue Center in Costa Rica includes:
- Single room in a Homestay
- 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
- Orientation session in our partner office in San José
- Handbook Costa Rica
- Intercultural guideline
- 24/7 emergency number
- Information about suitable travel health insurance
- Certificate of participation
*the costs for the bus ticket to travel to the project site is 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.