VOLUNTEER WORK COSTA RICA
Do you want to help exotic wild animals live a life fit for their species? Do you care about animal welfare and want to give them a second chance? Are you a real nature fan and have you always wanted to live in the middle of nature? In our wildlife project in Puntarenas, Costa Rica you can combine all this and much more. The project houses over 600 animals that can no longer survive without the help of humans and gives them a new and species-appropriate home.
Help to give the animals a second chance and to create a life worth living for them. You have the unique opportunity to get close to exotic animals like the jaguar, tapir, sloth and many more and to take care of them. Are you also interested in species conservation? Then you can help to save the macaws from extinction and increase the population of the large colorful parrots.
Type of program
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
7.5 hours per day, 6 days per week
Every 1st Saturday of the month
English or Spanish
Animal lover, nature lover
Shared room on the project site
3 meals a day 7 days a week
German speaking contact person
Mobile Internet and WLAN
From 1.590,00 €
Program type: Sanctuary for wild animals
Program location: Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Working time: 7.5 hours per day, 6 days per week
Program start: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-12 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: English and Spanish
Requirements: Animal lover, nature lover
Accommodation: Shared room with other volunteers
Meals: 3 meals per day 7 days a week are included
Support: Contact person on site
Internet: Mobile Internet and WiFi
Price: from 1.590,00 €
Our partner organization in beautiful Puntarenas houses over 600 wild animals on an 18-hectare site in the middle of nature. There, mainly animals that can no longer survive in freedom without help find a new home. The large enclosures are beautifully designed and the animals are offered enough space for a species-appropriate life. The mission of the Wildlife Sanctuary is to value every animal’s life and to give them a second chance at a life appropriate to their species.
In Costa Rica, as in other countries in Latin America, it is still common to keep parrots as pets. The free-living animals are becoming fewer and fewer and their natural habitat is constantly shrinking. The sanctuary for wild animals was therefore founded in 1994 with the aim of saving the red macaw from extinction. The beautiful large parrots were almost extinct in Costa Rica at that time, but thanks to this project, they could be reintroduced in the region. The organization wants to continue to fight the threat to the majestic animals today and has set up its own project for the conservation of the red and green macaws. The scarlet as well as the green macaw are the second largest parrots in the world and fascinate every observer with their beautiful colorful plumage.
In the following years, local residents and also the police brought more and more orphaned or injured animals to the project, wild animals that were illegally kept as pets or illegally transported at the airport. Such as the jaguar siblings that were brought to the Wildlife Sanctuary as babies because their mother was shot by a farmer. Little by little, the sanctuary has grown bigger and bigger and now houses not only parrots, but also many other wild animals such as monkeys, sloths, toucans, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, coatis, tapirs and many more. Not only are they medically treated, fed and cared for there, but they are given a second chance at a happy and species-appropriate life. The enclosures are very large and well maintained and planted with the trees and plants of their natural habitat, so that they feel completely at home and have plenty of space. For this purpose, large areas of land have been purchased and reforested by the organization. The sloths and tapirs, for example, can move completely freely among the other enclosures.
Furthermore, visitors come daily to the beautiful sanctuary to admire the exotic animals. Tours of the grounds by staff or volunteers take place daily and education is provided on conservation and species protection.
The Wildlife Sanctuary thrives on the help of volunteers. Without the support of volunteers, the staff could not manage the work. Every helping hand is needed, especially for feeding and care. Besides the team, about 20 volunteers from all over the world live in the project and make a great contribution to the wildlife and species conservation of Costa Rica.
There is always something to do in the Wildlife Project, and you certainly won’t get bored. You can assist with many tasks and contribute according to your strengths and skills. The different tasks are divided into four areas:
Feeding the animals. The animals are fed every morning and every afternoon. Here you will help to prepare the food twice a day and bring it to the enclosures. There, the hungry inhabitants will already be waiting joyfully for their feeding. You can also make the animals happy by hiding the food in toys, hanging leaves in the enclosures, or decorating the enclosures with homemade toys.
Cleaning and maintenance of the project area. To keep the animals comfortable, the enclosures must be cleaned daily. Raking leaves, cleaning food and water points, and mopping floors are among the daily tasks. Of course, the enclosures, fences, signs and paths must be checked regularly. Here you can assist with maintenance and demonstrate your craftsmanship in building and beautifying the enclosures. Let your creativity run wild by painting signs or building animal toys.
On the project site, the shelter and common areas also need to be cleaned. Once a week, everyone pitches in together to clean the living areas.
Gardening and planting. Do you have a green thumb? Then get involved in gardening and planting. The project is constantly planting new species of flowers and trees in the animal enclosures and on the grounds to bring the animals closer to their natural habitat and to beautify the reserve. You can get your hands dirty planting trees or pulling weeds, for example, and do something good for the animals.
Visitor tours of the reserve. Visitors also come to the Wildlife Project daily to see the beautiful reserve and rare animals. Tours of one hour each take place daily, and you are welcome to take one or two of them. Greet guests at the sanctuary and tell them all about the important work of the project. You can pass on your knowledge about the exotic animals to the visitors and guide them through the reserve.
Typical daily routine. Of course, not every day is the same, but to help you imagine your day at the sanctuary, we have described a typical daily routine: Your day starts at about 05:30. Punctually at 6:00 a.m. we start with the morning feeding of the animals. Afterwards there is a common breakfast. In the morning, various tasks from the four areas of responsibility are then completed. Around 12 noon, everyone takes an hour’s lunch break. Afterwards, the second round of feeding takes place. At around 3 p.m. you are off work and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you please. One day a week you are free to go on excursions.
Once a week, everyone only works until about 1 p.m. and a joint excursion is organized with the whole team.
Puntareans, Costa Rica
The wildlife project is located in the middle of nature, a few kilometers from the sea on the Pacific coast and about 15 km from the nearest town. In the rainy season there is a beautiful river to cool down in the vicinity of the site, where campfires are often made. After work, the volunteers from all over the world do a lot together, such as joint excursions into nature, game nights or sometimes to one of the surrounding sandy beaches.
The project is located in a remote forest, so the volunteers spend most of their time on the project site and in nature.
In your free time you can visit a waterfall, go boating in Puntarenas, go snorkeling or hiking.
By cab you will be in Puntarenas in about 45 minutes. Located on the coast, this city is very important in the history of Costa Rica. The city hosts one of the most important ports in the country and it is also the most important fishing area. In the small town there are many restaurants, cafes and stores. In addition, there is a ferry terminal in Puntarenas, which provides the perfect starting point to explore the Nicoya Peninsula and enjoy the white sand beaches, surf spots and protected areas.
You don’t need any special requirements for the project. You should have a passion for animals and the motivation to improve the lives of wildlife in the long term. You should also have the desire to learn many new things and to work for the protection of wildlife. Reliability, ability to work in a team and openness towards a new culture and other people from all over the world are very important for participation.
On the project site you will live together with many people. In the beginning it takes a little time to get used to it. However, once you get to know the other volunteers, it will be a great experience and you will have the opportunity to meet many new people and make friends.
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 either English or Spanish to communicate with your colleagues and the leaders of the project. If you do not have any knowledge of Spanish, we recommend that you take a Spanish course at the beginning of the trip, which we will be happy to organize for you. You can also take the Spanish course during the project with a private teacher.
You will sleep together with the other volunteers in a shared room on the project site. In the project there can always be different numbers of international volunteers on site, it varies between 10 and 40 people. Up to 20 volunteers live together in the shared room. There is a separate area with showers and toilets. In the showers there is only cold water. The accommodation is very simple and typical for the country. The standard is not comparable to Germany, but you will quickly get used to it and find everything you need to live there.
The project is located in the middle of the jungle, so it is not uncommon to have one or two insects in your room. Living right in the jungle is an experience for real outdoor enthusiasts: you will probably encounter scorpions, ants, snakes and cockroaches.
You will be provided with three meals a day and food is included for you. The meals are typical Costa Rican, vegetarian dishes are available upon request. The typical breakfast is “pinto”, which is fried rice with beans. For lunch and dinner, rice, beans, vegetables, salad and meat are often served. Fresh fruits and coffee are also available. On the project site there are common areas to eat and sit together and also wifi. There are also washing machines and clotheslines available for a small extra charge so you can do your laundry on site.
The project site is quiet and secluded in the forest. On your day off you can go on excursions in the surrounding area. For smaller purchases there is a small supermarket 1 km from the project.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN COSTA RICA
Lisa is German and emigrated to Costa Rica with her Costa Rican husband. Before that, she has visited the country a few times and therefore already knows very well about the culture, traditions and local conditions. After falling in love with the country and its people, she decided to live where others go for vacation. She speaks fluent Spanish as well as German and English. Lisa will be happy to welcome you in San José with her warm and funny nature and is eager to introduce you to her beautiful chosen home. As your contact person in the country, she will answer all your questions and you can always approach her if you need help.
“Through the many people from all over the world that I have met, my own horizons have broadened enormously, and the numerous friendships that I have made have shown me every time anew what really matters in life.”
“I would recommend studying abroad in Latin America to anyone who loves the outdoors and is looking for an adventure. I made incredibly many and strong friendships that I am still in contact with.”
“The people I have met here live a very different life than we do in Europe. Everything is much more relaxed and calm. As the motto in Costa Rica also says: Pura Vida! In Latin America, it’s more important to be happy than to strive for prestige or possessions.”