Wildlife Rescue

Costa Rica

Join a wildlife rescue team and care for the animals in the sanctuary. Provide food and enrichment for a variety of animals including monkeys, sloths and anteaters that have been injured, orphaned or mistreated. Observe, monitor and collect data on animals which are being rehabilitated for release. Explore the beautiful rainforest surroundings and coastal National Park in your free time.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Quepos
  • Start dates: Any day except Tuesdays
  • Duration: 2 - 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £1095 / €1315 / $1480 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The project provides a safe haven for over 50 animals and rescues a number of new animals each week. The hope for these newly rescued animals is that they can be treated in the on-site clinic and then quickly returned to the wild when they are healthy again. For those animals who are too badly injured or not able to be released for other reasons, they can be provided with a home at the sanctuary.

As a volunteer, your core role will focus on assisting in the sanctuary, tasks can include:

  • Preparing food
  • Providing water
  • Feeding the animals
  • Assisting with cleaning the enclosures
  • Creating enrichments for the animals
  • Maintenance work around the sanctuary

Depending on your skills and level of previous experience with animals and the needs of the project at the time, you may also assist in the nursery, rehabilitation area or clinic. This may include supervising and collecting data on animals who are due to be released.

Working days and hours

You will volunteer for 6 days per week between 8.30am and 4.30pm. There are breaks throughout the day.

Other volunteers

There are usually around 1-6 volunteers at one time with a maximum of 15. Volunteers work alongside local staff including animal keepers, biologists and veterinary professionals.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Volunteers support the ongoing work at the project by providing an extra pair of hands to assist the local staff in caring for the animals in the sanctuary. This ensures that all of the animals receive optimum levels of care and can also be provided with enrichment.

Volunteers also carry out observations of the animals, both in the sanctuary and with the animals that are part of the release programme. By monitoring their behaviour, vital information regarding which animals are suitable candidates for release can be provided and ensures those that have gone through soft release are managing to care for themselves successfully. Within the sanctuary these observations can also help to identify animals that may be unwell so that they can receive veterinary treatment as soon as possible.

“Our clinic and sanctuary staff work endlessly to rescue, rehabilitate, and release Costa Rica's diverse and beautiful rainforest animals. Without the help of passionate volunteers interested in protecting Costa Rica's wildlife we cannot function to our fullest. Our staff is limited; therefore, there are simply not enough hours in the day to care for our precious animals. Hardworking volunteers are what keep our operation running smoothly and efficiently.”Michelle, Volunteer Coordinator

How is the project making a difference?

The project’s mission is to protect Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife by rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife and where possible returning them to the wild. They also conduct scientific research and promote conservation by educating local and international visitors.

The project provides education about the ecological importance of the rainforest and has created programmes which preserve and protect both the rainforest and its wild inhabitants. They develop awareness of the critical importance of saving the rainforest for the survival of the planet and encourage ecological practices. There are numerous threats to the rainforest including burning, logging, mining, development and cattle farming. The project has created monkey corridors and carries out ongoing reforestation programmes as well as education initiatives in an attempt to relieve these pressures.

One example of their impact is their introduction of monkey bridges in the area’s national parks in order to protect the endangered titi monkeys. The leading cause of death in this species is electrocution by electric wires while crossing roads and being hit by cars. The project has erected numerous monkey bridges which allow a safe alternative for crossing the roads and there has now been an increase in their population numbers.

Where will I be living?

The project is located in the heart of tropical forest in the region of Quepos close to the popular destination of Manual Antonio National Park.

Volunteers live on site and there are two accommodation options; the volunteer house and private cottages.

The volunteer house has shared rooms and bathrooms with hot water showers and western-style toilets. There is also a kitchen, living area, a balcony and a TV.

There are three cottages on site and these are a private accommodation option ideal for families, couples and solo travellers who prefer to have their own space. They consist of a bedroom, bathroom with hot water showers and western-style toilet and have coffee making facilities and air conditioning. They also have a balcony area with seating. Please note that these are subject to availability and there is a weekly supplement for this option (see fees section for more details).

There are communal areas where volunteers can relax and an equipped kitchen and dining area. There is also a swimming pool on site which all volunteers are welcome to use, or you can read a book on one of the sun loungers.

There are lots of activities to get involved in during your free time and the local team will be happy to assist you with arranging this. Activities include, snorkelling, diving, catamaran trips, whale watching (seasonal), canopy tours, horse riding, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and much more!

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Erin is your dedicated placement manager
  • In-depth Volunteering Guide on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Animal care volunteering placement
  • Accommodation - a shared or private room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction and training
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your placement manager
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), cost of pick up and transfers. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
2 weeks £1095 GB Pounds
Extra weeks (3-8 weeks) £375 GB Pounds
Extra weeks (9-12 weeks) £300 GB Pounds
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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

* Weekly supplement for the cottage accommodation is £285 - £375 depending on duration

100+

animals released last year

"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian

Erin

Pod UK Specialist

Erin has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue volunteer - France

    “My experience was awesome! I expected to fall in love with some animals, but what I didn't predict was how wonderful the people would be. I'll never forget them and the beautiful animals they care for. I hope to return very soon!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue volunteer - Margarita

    "I volunteered for a month, it was truly an unforgettable experience. Every day is different, I was always learning something new. I gained a valuable experience by working there, I would recommend everyone to volunteer with them."

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue volunteer - Vernita

    “This was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my life and I know that I will never be able to explain to my family and friends what happened here without getting emotional."

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal