Wildlife Rescue
Costa 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. Volunteers provide food, water and enrichment for the animals as well as undertaking maintenance work around the sanctuary. It’s an incredible learning experience as you will all find out about the background of the rescued animals and the importance of the rainforest conservation.

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.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: Quepos
  • Start dates: Any day except Mondays
  • Duration: 1 - 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (7+ for families)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £745 / €865 / $930 - 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 including sloths, monkeys, birds and anteaters, and rescues a number of new animals each week.

The aim for newly rescued animals is that are treated in the on-site clinic and then quickly returned to the wild when they are healthy again. Human interaction is minimised to help them rehabilitate safely to the wild and only a small clinical team looks after these animals.

For those animals which are too badly injured or not able to be released for other reasons, they are provided with a permanent home at the sanctuary and this is where you will be helping.

You will assist in a variety of tasks helping the animals in the sanctuary, including:

  • Preparing food
  • Providing food and water for the animals
  • Cleaning and maintaining the enclosures
  • Maintenance work around the sanctuary – this is physical work and there is always lots to be done!

There is no direct contact with the animals, in order to give them as much natural freedom as possible and protect the safety of both volunteers and animals. You can learn more about the project and volunteer role here.

Typical day 

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.

You will volunteer for 6 days per week from around 8am to 3pm. There is a lunch break and breaks throughout the day. Your day off each week depends on the work rota and there is lots of free time activities you can get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are usually 5-8 volunteers (with a maximum of 20), numbers vary throughout the year. Volunteers work alongside interns and local staff including animal keepers.

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.

“Without the help of passionate volunteers interested in protecting Costa Rica’s wildlife we cannot function to our fullest - 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.” Victoria, Volunteer Coordinator


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


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 and dinner – rice, beans, pasta, vegetables and salads

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. 

Getting there

You will need to fly into San Jose (SJO). We can arrange for you to be met on arrival and have a private transfer to the project, which takes about 3 hours.

Location and free time

The project is located in a rural location in the heart of the tropical forest in the region of Quepos, about 30 minutes from the popular destination of Manuel Antonio National Park which is famous for its stunning beaches and abundance of wildlife. 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!

View from Wildlife Rescue project

Volunteers have evenings free and normally relax at the centre or sometimes 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!

Pool view at Wildlife Rescue project in Costa Rica

There is so much to do in the area, including snorkelling, catamaran trips, whale watching (seasonal), canopy tours / zip-lining, horse riding, surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking and much more! These activities are best booked locally once you are in Costa Rica.


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˚C. 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.

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!


Start dates are any day except Mondays. 

Fully booked: 3-15 July 2024

Over Christmas / New Year, it's not possible to start on 24th, 25th, 31st of December or 1st of January.

What's Included


  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer specialist to support you from booking on until you complete your trip
  • Comprehensive trip planning guide
  • Accommodation 
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction and training
  • Support from the team onsite in Costa Rica
  • 24/7 emergency support from the Pod Volunteer UK team 
  • Donation to Pod Environmental Fund tackling climate change
  • 100% payment protection through ABTOT 
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Transfers to / from the project (we can arrange this for you, it costs $170 - $180 USD each way)
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations
  • Living costs - snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
1 week £745 GB Pounds
10 days £895 GB Pounds
2 weeks £1095 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1445 GB Pounds
4 weeks £1795 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £225 GB Pounds


The prices in the table above are for a shared room. For a private cottage, there is a nightly supplement in addition to the prices above:

  • 1 person in a cottage = supplement of £75 per night
  • 2-3 persons sharing a cottage = supplement of £40 per person per night


  • £50 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). 


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


“I am really enjoying this placement.  The founder is super friendly and the two zoo keepers (Kaylor and Janka) have been so helpful, positive and just generally fun that I have had a great experience.”


"Everything is great! I'm in love with Costa Rica and very happy with the program."


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”

Read more reviews


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


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Alex and the Pod UK team are here to help you throughout your trip

Reserve your place and start your volunteering adventure to Costa Rica!



  • 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
  • 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 - Mary

    "It was an unbelievable week for us. We loved the staff at the Wildlife Rescue project and we learned so much about feeding the animals and enriching their environments for the ones who can't be released. It was a great bonding time for mother-daughter and a wonderful learning experience.”

    Read more volunteer reviews


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