VOLUNTEER WORK COSTA RICA
You have a passion for animals and especially exotic wild animals fascinate you? You want to work for a good cause and help endangered animals to find their way back to their natural habitat? And meanwhile you want to live in one of the most beautiful places in Central America and enjoy the “Pura Vida” (“real life”) of Costa Rica? Then our wildlife sanctuary is the right place for you! Take care of monkeys and many other animals that need medical attention and care due to serious injuries and be there when these animals are released back into the wild. This is a unique project where the entire team is wholeheartedly behind the work, and an experience not to be missed.
Type of program
Sanctuary for wild animals
Cabuya, Costa Rica
approx. 7 hours, 6 days
Every 1st Saturday of the month
English or Spanish
Animal lover, nature lover
In the rainforest, village and beach within walking distance
Shared room, single room for extra charge
English speaking contact person on site
Mobile internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.600,00 €
Type of program: Wildlife sanctuary
Program location: Cabuya, Costa Rica
Working time: about 7 hours, 6 days
Start of program: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-12 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: English or Spanish
Requirements: love of animals, close to nature
Location: In the rainforest, walking distance to village and beach
Accommodation: shared rooms on the project site, single rooms for a surcharge
Support: English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Internet: Mobile Internet with a SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
Price: from €1,600.00
Our sanctuary for wild animals is located on the paradisiacal Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. Here, monkeys and many other wild animals are cared for and then released back into the wild. The majority of the rescued animals come to the organization due to human impact on the peninsula. In recent decades, more and more people have been drawn to the Nicoya Peninsula as more and more tourists have discovered this beautiful corner of the world. Due to the popularity of the region, there are more and more residential buildings and tourist accommodations, but also many businesses are moving into the town and the surrounding area. This is a positive development for many people on the peninsula, but it also has a negative impact on Costa Rica’s wildlife. For example, most of the monkeys taken in by the sanctuary are injured by electrocution, as they mistake new overhead power lines for vines. Car accidents and attacks by pets are also daily hazards.
Unfortunately, infants and young animals are also often found without parents when they are injured or in accidents. These, too, are lovingly cared for at the rescue center until they are old enough to lead a life of freedom.
Therefore, the wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the jungle of Cabuya, is completely dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of local wildlife. The team is constantly striving to find solutions to the threats that the animals face and to constantly improve the project. Every day, volunteers treat sick, injured and orphaned animals. Every animal that can be released back into the wild is a complete success. A majority of the residents are Costa Rica’s native monkeys, but Cabuya also takes in pizotes, raccoons, squirrels, skunks and many more animals.
It is important to us that the sanctuary not be confused with a zoo. Even though the animals are cared for here wholeheartedly: Monkeys are wild animals that live in a very strong social network. Since the ultimate goal is reintroduction, they should not become accustomed to humans and therefore there is little to no contact with the animals in the project. Of course, the long-term goal for each of the animals is to be able to live in familiar surroundings and the wild again as soon as possible. This is ensured by the project’s own clinics and the team of veterinarians and volunteers who provide ideal medical care for the animals. If animals cannot return to their original habitat due to their condition, they find permanent shelter in the organization.
A special feature of the project is the breeding of the red majestic macaw ara parrots. The founders of the sanctuary are particularly fond of these beautiful birds. Unfortunately, they have become increasingly rare in recent years and their natural habitat is dwindling. In the project, the parrots are bred and raised until they reach sexual maturity and can survive on their own in the wild. Be there for the big day when the macaws are released and go their own way from now on. However, many visit their home regularly and circle the beautiful pool on the project grounds.
As a volunteer, you are definitely not alone in Cabuya. The 20 or so volunteers the project can accommodate come together from all over the world at the project and live together on the grounds. Teamwork is paramount and the volunteers go on many excursions together. Together you can end the day in the pool.
You are needed! Since the rescue center is non-profit, it lives on the help of volunteers. You will learn a lot about Costa Rica’s fascinating wildlife and the problems it faces, have a lot of fun at work and meet people from all over the world.
Do you have a heart for animals? As a volunteer you will become an ambassador for animal rights and stand up for your protégés. You’ll learn a lot about the challenges of wildlife rehabilitation, nutrition and medical care. And best of all, you’ll be part of the solution to the problem. Because with your help, you’ll ensure that animals can be reintroduced to their natural habitat. This is the most wonderful reward and an experience you will never forget.
As a volunteer of the sanctuary you can take over different activities. You are an integral and important part of the team and help the local staff with the care of the animals. Since you have to learn a lot as a volunteer, there are so-called “levels” in the project. Depending on how long you are in the project, you can advance to the next level.
The tasks of the first level mainly consist of preparing the animal food. The food for the monkeys, for example, consists of cooked vegetables and fresh fruit. The day before, the volunteers cook the vegetables and the next day all kinds of fruits are cut. Then the food is placed on trays that are pushed into the enclosures. After that, you can watch the animals eat and play. Depending on which species are on site at the time, you will also be taught about specific species and their diets.
The next stage is about maintaining and beautifying the enclosures. You can help clean and repair the enclosures, sweep the floors, replenish water, and spread fresh foliage. When you enter the enclosures, make sure no monkey escapes from you. Sometimes the monkeys need to be coaxed into a separate area, which is harder than it sounds!
Clean the monkeys’ hammocks and other materials daily. A special task is to creatively craft toys for the monkeys. Craft tendrils from twigs and leaves you have collected yourself or build new toys out of wood.
At the wildlife sanctuary there is also a long-term program, this is especially for participants who stay 3 months or longer in the project. These volunteers are trained more intensively and are therefore allowed to take on other tasks. A big highlight is the feeding of the little baby monkeys with the bottle. When dealing with the little animals, it is especially important that the same people always feed and touch them, so that the monkeys can get used to one person. Therefore, only participants who have been in the project for at least three months are allowed to take on this special task. In addition, you can be trained in the breeding of macaw parrots and assist in this area.
Besides the tasks with the animals, there are also housekeeping to-dos, where all volunteers help. Likewise, volunteers can lend a hand with composting on the project grounds.
If you are handy and interested, you can also help the staff build enclosures and maintain the project grounds.
At the Wildlife Project, the animal residents get their food several times a day, so the work is divided into an early shift and a late shift. The early shift goes from 6 am to about 1:30 pm and the late shift goes from 3 pm to about 10:30 pm. However, the working hours and tasks may vary depending on the number of volunteers.
Together with volunteers from all over the world, you will share the love and enthusiasm for wildlife conservation and make valuable contacts and enriching friendships along the way.
Part of living and working in a foreign place is, of course, getting to know your new home. During the program you will learn to love the authentic Costa Rican lifestyle, the exciting culture and the fantastic cuisine of the country. Costa Rica is a paradise on earth, and you will quickly realize what makes this corner of the world so special.
Cabuya, Costa Rica
The small village is located on the south coast of the Nicoya Peninsula, surrounded by untouched rainforest. From the project you can reach it in about 15 minutes by foot. Nature lovers, hikers, mountain bikers and water sports fans are drawn to Cabuya. In the small fishing village you feel a little bit like at the end of the world, because it is located away from the hustle and bustle and in the middle of nature. There is also the worth seeing national park Cabo Blanco.
If you are looking for action, take the bus to Montezuma, which is only a few kilometers away. Almost exclusively young backpackers get lost in Montezuma and enjoy the breathtaking landscape. The place is known for its relaxed atmosphere, its waterfalls and dreamlike sandy beaches. You can also enjoy the restaurant and bar scene. Also, explore the tiny island of Isla Cabuya, located just off the coast of Cabuya. It’s so close to land that you can even walk there at low tide! There is a typical Costa Rican cemetery on the island.
The surfer’s paradise of Santa Teresa is also not far away. The beaches offer different small and large waves depending on the time of day, perfect for professionals and beginners. Beginners can learn the first steps in one of the many surf schools and rent boards at reasonable prices. Or you can relax by splashing in the sea and hanging out on the beach.
For shopping there is a small supermarket in the village of Cabuya. There you will also find a delicious bakery and a few restaurants. You can find a bigger supermarket in Cóbano, which you can reach by cab or bus in about 40 minutes.
The reserve is located in the so-called “Sacred Valley of the Incas” 22 km north of the city of Cusco. In the beautiful valley you will find vast fields and landscapes like in picture books. The majestic, huge mountains behind the valley are covered with snow and invite you to climb them. Many small rural Andean villages lie in the valley and enchant you with their Peruvian culture. The valley was once populated by the Incas and today you can explore the exciting ruins and learn all about the culture and way of life of these peoples. There are numerous ruins in Pisac, Chinchero or Ollantaytambo. The Andean village of Pisac is also known for its colorful markets where you can buy inexpensive souvenirs. Also a trip to the breathtaking terraces of Moray is definitely worth it!
The former capital of the Incas, Cusco, lies at an altitude of over 3,400 meters and is the perfect starting point for exploring the world-famous Machu Picchu or the Rainbow Mountains. But also within the city there are many historical monuments to see. In Cusco, backpackers from all over the world meet and create a good atmosphere. Here you will experience the true culture of the Peruvians, just sit down on Sunday on the Plaza de Armas and let yourself be captivated by the cheerfulness of the people. You will find street musicians and vendors on every corner.
The national language in Costa Rica is Spanish. You do not need to know Spanish to participate in the program. It is only required that you can speak English or Spanish to communicate with your colleagues and the leaders of the project. We will gladly organize a language course for you, which you can attend parallel to the project. The price is 370,00 Euro per week (3h per day for 5 days).
You will live in a 4 or 6 bed room together with your colleagues on the project site, shared toilets and showers are available for all rooms. The rooms are very simply furnished and you should not expect any luxury. The project is located in the middle of the jungle and is an experience for true outdoor enthusiasts. The project is lovingly designed and houses a yoga platform as well as a beautiful pool overlooking the sea. The Wildlife Rescue team includes a cook who provides all volunteers with delicious typical Costa Rican meals every day. Meals are included for you 6 days a week with 3 meals a day.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN COSTA RICA
Lisa is German and emigrated to Costa Rica with her Costa Rican husband. She has visited the country a number of times before and is therefore already very familiar with the local culture, traditions and conditions. After falling in love with the country and the people, she decided to live where others vacation. In addition to German and English, she also speaks fluent Spanish. Lisa loves to welcome you to San José with her warm and fun personality and is keen to introduce you to her beautiful adopted home. As the German contact person on site, she will answer all your questions and you can always approach her if you need help. Lisa will look after you during the introductory event in San José. For questions of any concern during your stay in Latin America, an English-speaking contact person is available via WhatsApp in the same time zone.
SERVICES AND PRICES
- 1st month in starter package: € 1,600.00
- Extension month: 1.010,00 €
- As 2nd or 3rd programme: 1.320,00 €
Shared room (long-term 3 months*):
- 1st month in start package: 1.710,00 €
- Extension month: 1.100,00 €
- As 2nd or 3rd programme: 1.410,00 €
Shared room (long-term more than 3 months without board*):
- 1st month in start package: 1.270,00 €
- Extension month: 660,00 €
- as 2nd or 3rd programme: 970,00 €
*Special feature long-term programme: Meals are included for participation of 1 to 3 months. For participation longer than 3 months, meals are optional and not included in the price.
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“If you’re thinking about doing something like this: DO IT! You experience a unique time there. It’s an experience you should definitely have, where you learn so many new things about another country, another culture and about yourself.”
“The best part of my trip for me was the feeling of connection with the other volunteers. Es hat sich angefühlt wie eine kleine Familie. The bond you build when you spend so much time together and do such extraordinary work is incomparable.”
“The culture of Latin America fascinated me from the very beginning. Die Einheimischen sowohl in Kolumbien als auch in Costa Rica sind unglaublich nett und hilfsbereit. You get to talk to them super quickly and feel welcomed right away.”
“Seize every opportunity you get in your life, because sometimes it only happens once.”
“One moment I think back on very fondly is my jump into the waterfall. Nicht nur das kühle Nass war großartig, sondern vor allem der damit verbundene Nervenkitzel. In addition, there was the untouched nature and the sounds of the jungle, which made this day unique.”
Isabelle was with us in beautiful Costa Rica and supported the Wildlife Rescue Project in Cabuya for 2.5 months. She especially liked the time with the animals and the cute baby monkeys that were part of the project at the time.
Sebastian traveled to Costa Rica with WanderWorld. There he supported the Wildlife Rescue Center in Cabuya for one month. In this video, learn more about what he experienced during his time on site and what impressions he was able to take home with him.