Wildlife RescueCosta Rica

Our wildlife rescue team in Costa Rica helps to rescue, rehabilitate and release Costa Rica’s sloths and diverse beautiful rainforest animals, that have been injured, orphaned or mistreated.

You will assist with providing the optimum level of care for animals in the sanctuary, the help volunteers provide helps rehabilitate the animals which will be released back into the wild. Volunteers provide care, food, water and enrichment as well as undertaking maintenance work around the sanctuary. You can also promote conservation and educate local and international visitors about the ecological importance of the rainforest.

Explore the beautiful rainforest surroundings and the popular coastal destination of Manuel Antonio National Park while promoting the wellbeing of the local environment.

Volunteers are needed to help care for animals including monkeys, birds, sloths and anteaters.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Quepos
  • Start dates: Any day except Tuesdays
  • Duration: 1- 4 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (12+ for families or groups)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £745/ €870/ $955 - see fees table below
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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, including sloths, monkeys, birds and anteaters. 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 which are too badly injured or not able to be released for other reasons, they can be provided with a home at the sanctuary.

Each day will differ, and as a volunteer, your core role will focus on assisting in the sanctuary. Tasks include:

  • Preparing food and medicines for the animals
  • Providing water
  • Feeding the animals
  • Cleaning and maintaining the enclosures
  • Creating enrichments for the animals
  • Maintenance work around the sanctuary

This project has a hands-off policy and you can learn more about the project and volunteer role here.

“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

Typical day 

You will volunteer for 6 days per week from around 8am to 4.30pm. There are breaks throughout the day and you will have lunch at the volunteer house. 

During your first few days you will have a tour the centre and be introduced to the local team who you will be working alongside. During your tour you will be introduced to the animals that live in the sanctuary and learn more about their background, why they have been rescued and the care they receive. Your day off each depends on the work rota and there is lots of  free time activities you can get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are usually around 6-8 volunteers at one time with a maximum of 15. Volunteers work alongside interns and local staff including animal keepers, biologists and veterinary professionals.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.

Local support

You will be working alongside the local team which is made up of local and international staff including biologists, veterinary staff and animal keepers. Mckenzie is the volunteer coordinator and is the main point of contact for volunteers and he lives on-site. Jennifer is the president of the organisation and you are likely to see her during your placement too. 

Accommodation

Volunteers live on site just a 5 minute walk from the rescue centre next to the tropical forest. There are two accommodation options, the volunteer house and private cottages. 

The volunteer house has shared rooms and bathrooms. There is also a kitchen, living area, a balcony and a TV.

Volunteer house dormitory

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 and bathroom and have coffee making facilities and air conditioning. They also have a balcony area with seating. 

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

Cottage accommodation

Meals

All main meals are included and will be provided throughout your placement.

Here are typical examples of the food you will have: 

  • Breakfast – bread, toast, cereals, spreads and fresh fruit 
  • Lunch – is the largest meal of the day and includes rice, beans, pasta, vegetables and salads
  • Dinner – volunteers can either help themselves to leftovers from lunch or prepare their own meals using basic ingredients provided for you to use such as pasta, rice, sauces and vegetables

Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed and can be catered for.

The tap water in Costa Rica is safe to drink and can be kept cool in the fridge. 

Location and free time

The project is located in the heart of the tropical forest in the region of Quepos, close to the popular destination of Manual Antonio National Park. The local area is sparsely populated and provides a tranquil environment to live in. It’s great to experience living in the rainforest hearing and seeing the sounds and sights that come with it!

Manuel Antonio

Volunteers have evenings free and can either relax at the centre or arrange a trip into the local town to enjoy the bars and restaurants. Volunteers have one day off per week and there are lots of activities to get involved in, or you could spend your free time by the pool!

The local team will be happy to assist you with recommendations and arranging activities which include, snorkelling, diving, catamaran trips, whale watching (seasonal), canopy tours, horse riding, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and much more! These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Travelling in Costa Rica before or after your placement

Popular activities in Costa Rica that you might like to combine with your project are:

  • Visit the spectacular Arenal Volcano and relax in a hot spring
  • See incredible biodiversity and birdlife in Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Explore Tortuguero National Park and see the abundance of bird and wildlife
  • Relax on one of Costa Rica’s stunning beaches on either the Pacific or Caribbean coastline

For more information on Costa Rica and some of the things we loved when we visited there please see our Costa Rica country page. This also features all our other Costa Rica volunteering projects as you might like to consider combining this project with one of the others we offer to make a trip of a lifetime!

Mountain landscape in Costa Rica

Climate 

The Puntarenas Province has a tropical climate meaning that it’s generally hot and humid all year round with average temperatures ranging between 25-28 degrees Celsius. But due to the humidity (approximately 80-100%) it can feel much warmer! 

There can be tropical rain showers at any time of year but the main rainy season is from August to October. Temperatures continually rise during the dry season of December to April, reaching their peak in April. The remainder of the year is categorised as the ‘shoulder’ season, where you can expect warm temperatures and some rainfall.

Dates

Start dates are any day except Tuesdays.

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Accommodation - a shared or private room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Transfers to / from the project
  • Living costs - snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
1 week £745 GB Pounds
2 weeks £995 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1295 GB Pounds
4 weeks £1695 GB Pounds

Accommodation

There is an additional fee for the cottage option – please contact us for details. 

Discounts

  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 

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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

Read volunteer reviews from the Wildlife Rescue project

Claire – 2019

“Volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue project in Costa Rica is a fantastic experience. You will work with a great team of people who share your passion for wildlife and nature. 

The work is quite physically demanding, especially in the hot climate but it is so rewarding. I have so many wonderful memories of my time in Costa Rica that I will treasure forever. I very much enjoyed my experience working on this project. It was lovely to see how well the animals are cared for by the hard working and dedicated local team, interns and volunteers.”

Charlie – 2018

“My experience was fantastic. I was at the project for 4 weeks and it was life changing for me. The people there are really friendly and welcoming, I have made friends that I hope to stay in contact with for a long time. The best part obviously was the animals, we were taking care of the permanent residents of the sanctuary such as the parrots, sloths, monkeys and kinkajous. 

We spent most days feeding, cleaning and maintaining enclosures, as well as doing maintenance around the sanctuary and coming up with enrichment ideas. The work was fairly physically demanding, however it was rewarding knowing that you were making a difference to the lives of the animals.”

Sara – 2018

“Everyone was very helpful at every step of the volunteering placement process. From the day I arrived, I knew I wouldn't want to leave! The staff, interns, and other volunteers were all very nice and welcoming. Working at the sanctuary was very rewarding and helped me learn a lot about wildlife rescue and the native animals of Costa Rica. 

The location was beautiful; it was a great place to house the sanctuary animals as well as the wild animals in the area. This experience helped me confirm my career path and inspired me to pursue wildlife veterinary medicine. I enjoyed every day at the sanctuary and I found it very difficult to leave.”

Raman – 2018

“I had an incredible time volunteering here. The people were all so warm and inviting, and being able to work up close with these animals was the experience of a lifetime! I loved every second of being there, and I wish I had stayed longer!

The most rewarding thing was being able to go see the animals love their enclosures after cleaning and enriching them. Being able to see the animals playing in enrichments I set up was great.”

Read more reviews

100+

animals released last year

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Lucy

Pod UK Specialist

Lucy 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.

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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