Wildlife Rescue - Family VolunteeringCosta 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 and your family you will assist the team to provide an optimum level of care for animals living in the sanctuary. The support volunteers provides helps rehabilitate the animals which will be released back into the wild. Family volunteers provide care, food, water and enrichment and assist in the daily running of 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.

Experience life in the beautiful rainforest and explore the popular coastal destination of Manuel Antonio National Park.

This is a perfect project for animal lovers as your family will to help care for animals including monkeys, birds, sloths and anteaters!

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Quepos
  • Start dates: Every Sunday
  • Duration: 1 week
  • Age requirement: Families with children aged 12+
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £575 / €635 / $715
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

This is an ideal family trip for animal lovers who would like to help a vital wildlife rescue sanctuary whilst experience living with the tropical rainforest on your doorstep!

Your family will help provide a safe haven for over 50 animals which rescues a number of new animals each week, including sloths, monkeys, birds and anteaters. The hope for these 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 they can be provided with a home at the sanctuary.

Your family will be part of the team at the sanctuary and assist in a variety of tasks helping the animals including:

  • Preparing food
  • Providing water
  • Feeding the animals
  • Assisting with cleaning the enclosures
  • Creating enrichments for the animals

Living and working with these wonderful animals allows you all to gain a first-hand experience and a greater understanding of wildlife and conservation! 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 

On Sunday you will arrive at the project and be given a short introduction to your accommodation and the project. This day is a chance for your family to settle in to your exciting new surroundings in the heart of the rainforest and relax by the pool!

Monday will be your first full day, and you will receive a full tour of the wildlife sanctuary in the morning. This will include meeting the local team you will be joining and a fun introduction to the animals and how your family will be helping to care for them! In the afternoon, you will be guided through your first volunteering tasks. 

Family volunteers help at the centre on Monday to Friday from around 9am and 4pm. There is a lunch break and breaks throughout the day. The weekend is your time off and you can use this free time time to either explore the nearby national parks and beaches, or relax at the sanctuary!

Other volunteers

There are usually 6-8 volunteers with a maximum of 15, but this varies considerably throughout the year. Most volunteers will be over 18 and participating in the 18 + volunteer program.

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

You will be staying with your family in the cottages which are located at the edge of the rescue centre and have fantastic views into the surrounding rainforest with mountain ranges looming in the distance. You will wake up to the sounds of the tropical birds and hear the calls of the monkeys throughout the day! 

Cottage

The cottages have an ensuite bathroom as well as coffee making facilities, air conditioning and a balcony area with seating.

There are communal areas where your family 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 relax on one of the sun loungers!

Cottage with private balcony area

Meals

All main meals are included and will be provided throughout your family's 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. It’s great to experience living in the rainforest hearing and seeing the sounds and sights that come with it.

On your days off, there is lots of activities and days out your family could join, you may alternatively wish to spend your free time by the pool! During the evenings your family can either relax at the centre or arrange a trip into the local town for dinner.

Manuel Antonio National Park

The local team will be happy to assist you with recommendations and arranging activities for your family which include, snorkelling, 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!

Mountainside views 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 every Sunday.

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Accommodation - private cottage
  • 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
Adult £975 GB Pounds
1st Child £875 GB Pounds
Additional Child £575 GB Pounds

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

Mary – 2019 

“My 12-year-old daughter and I went on this trip together. It was an unbelievable week for us. Our cottage was really nice and had lots of room and everything we needed. The grounds were gorgeous with a beautiful view of the mountains and a really nice swimming pool to hang out in the afternoons after work. 

We loved the staff at the Wildlife Rescue project- they are so dedicated to helping the wildlife and the rain forests. We learned so much about feeding the animals and enriching their environments for the ones who can't be released and are staying at the sanctuary. It was a great bonding time for mother-daughter and a wonderful learning experience.”

Amanda – 2019

“This was the most fulfilling time I have ever had. We became part of the place immediately and were welcomed and treated as one of the family. Our work was strenuous and amazing at the same time. 

The sense of being a part of something so important as a family bonded us even more than I expected and we hold this shared experience forever. We cannot wait for the next time and will definitely return to Costa Rica or another of your volunteer projects.”

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.

The Pod team were very helpful and they booked my trip quickly at very short notice. 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.”

Kate – 2018

“We spent a week at the Wildlife Rescue project in Costa Rica. The people were super friendly and the accommodation and food was great. The animals are so well cared for and it was fantastic to be part of such a valuable project. 

We prepared the food for the animals, gave it to them, cleared out and cleaned cages (every cage gets cleaned once a week which is fantastic!), filled the cages with new foliage that we foraged for in the grounds. Then we had to come up with ideas for enrichments for the animals - i.e. ways to keep them entertained, toys for them to play with containing food that created a challenge to keep the occupied.”

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 - 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 - 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 - 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