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.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: Quepos
  • Start dates: Any day except Tuesdays
  • Duration: 2 - 4 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (12+ for families or groups)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £995 / €1165 / $1275 - 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

Working days and hours

You will volunteer for 6 days per week between 8:00 - 8.30am and 4.30pm. There are breaks throughout the day. Your day off for free time activities will be scheduled on a rotational basis.

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.

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 extra resources to assist the local staff in caring for the animals in the sanctuary who are unable to be released. This ensures that all of the animals receive optimum levels of care and can also be provided with enrichment. The support volunteers provide allows the team to focus on treating new rescues and rehabilitating those that are able to be re-released.

Volunteers also carry out observations of the animals in the sanctuary, these observations can help 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


Volunteers live on site and 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.

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. Please note that these are subject to availability and there is a weekly supplement for this option.

There are communal areas where all volunteers can relax with WIFI access, 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.


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 using the fridge provided. 

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!

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

Costa Rica is a nature-lover’s paradise, with a quarter of the country being made up of protected forest or reserve, it provides a home to over 900 species of bird and 250 species of mammal including the beloved sloth. It’s easy to understand why it’s recently been voted the world’s happiest country! Popular activities in Costa Rica include:

  • Exploring the many national parks
  • Wildlife and bird watching
  • Visiting the stunning waterfalls and volcanoes

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet Costa Rica.


Start dates are any day except Tuesdays.

What's 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
2 weeks £995 GB Pounds
3 weeks £1295 GB Pounds
4 weeks £1695 GB Pounds


  • £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). 


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


“To say this experience was amazing would be an understatement! I came through a university program and was able to live out my dream job. I got to have hands on experience rescuing and rehabilitating animals to be released, I got to learn all about the animals of Costa Rica, and I got to meet so many kind, funny, and passionate people.

I absolutely would recommend volunteering here to anyone interested in learning more about animal rehabilitation or anyone who is interested in stepping out of their comfort zone for a couple of weeks. I hope I have the opportunity to go back soon!”


“I gained the best work experience I have ever had. While some organizations have volunteer programs that involve a good amount of observing, this program is extremely hands-on. You get the opportunity to experience all aspects of working in an animal rehabilitation center and sanctuary. For example, you gain experience learning what it is like to be an animal caretaker: prepping food, feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, and designing animal enrichment.

Educating people on the importance of conservation is critical and can be very rewarding – something I learned at the project. All in all, this volunteer program is one of the best out there. They are willing to work with you so that you can achieve your dreams, whatever they may be!”


“My husband, sons, and I have visited and volunteered at the Sanctuary five times, and we enjoy it for a few different reasons. We started coming because it is doing life-saving work for the animals, and helping to restore the rain forest, and we wanted to be part of that work. They also provide excellent care for the animals; this is a top priority for us. Our trips are also rich in learning about the animals and the environment, and ways we can all help.

The owners and staff engage our sons and get them involved in the work, which is empowering them to become advocates for the protection and care of all animals, which is important to us as parents. The owners and staff are so warm, friendly, caring, and professional, volunteering there is a very satisfying, meaningful experience for us. We are proud to be part of this organization and look forward to continuing to be involved and support it.”


“This organization, amazes me every time I visit. Whether responding to a middle of the night call to pick up an injured animal or coordinating an educational service experience for a group of college students, the individuals who work there do so with passion, dedication, and ingenuity. I don’t want to think about how many animals would be lost if not for the project.

One of my most memorable experiences was with an anteater named Al. Each day, I’d bring him to a different tree and watch him while he ate ants. When we started, he was timid and only climbed a few feet high….but soon enough he became bolder…until he decided to climb eighty feet high in a cecropia tree…and take a nap. A four hour long nap! I was so worried…but he eventually came down. Many months later, Al was released to the wild and I felt like a proud momma!”

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


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.



  • 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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  • 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