Wildlife Rescue - Family Volunteering
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 and your family you will assist the team to provide an optimum level of care for animals living in the sanctuary. Family 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.

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 help care for animals including monkeys, birds and sloths!


Key Info

key info
  • Location: Quepos
  • Start dates: Any day except Mondays
  • Duration: 1 week
  • Age requirement: Families with children aged 7+
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £1995 / €2315 / $2495 - see fees table below
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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 wildlife rescue sanctuary whilst enjoying everything Costa Rica has to offer!

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 and your family 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 

When you arrive at the project you can settle in to your exciting new surroundings in the heart of the rainforest and relax by the pool!

The next day 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 5 days per week from around 8am to 3pm. There is a lunch break and breaks throughout the day. You will have 2 days off per week and you can use this free time to either explore the nearby national parks and beaches, or relax at the sanctuary!

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. Most volunteers will be over 18 and participating in the 18 + volunteer programme.

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


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! 


The cottages have an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and a balcony area.

There are communal areas where your family can relax with WIFI access and adining 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


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 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 cottage

Volunteers have evenings free and normally relax at the centre or sometimes arrange a trip into the local town for dinner. On your days off, there are lots of activities and days out your family can enjoy, or you can just chill out and spend your free time by the pool!

view of the pool at the volunteer project

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.

Over Christmas / New Year, it's not possible to start on 24th, 25th, 31st of December or the 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 - private cottage
  • 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 from $170 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
Family of 2 persons £1995 GB Pounds
Family of 3 persons £2795 GB Pounds
Family of 4 persons £3575 GB Pounds
Family of 5 persons £3995 GB Pounds


  • £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


“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.”


"We are having a great time. The work has been physical today but very rewarding. The kids are loving preparing the food and then feeding the animals (particularly the sloths). We scrubbed and tidied a monkey's enclosure, which was exhausting! Swam in the Pacific this afternoon too. The accommodation is so peaceful and the other volunteers / workers have been very kind. The food is great too. All very happy. Our day off is tomorrow and we will head to Manuel Antonio National Park."


“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.”


“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.”


“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


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

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



  • 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
  • Costa Rica Family Wildlife Rescue volunteer - Amanda

    "This was the most fulfilling time I have ever had. 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."

    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


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You can also combine projects to make the volunteering trip of a lifetime!