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. 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 £395 / €460 / $505
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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!

Working days and hours

Your family will volunteer at the project on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9am and 4pm. There are breaks throughout the day. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are your days off and you can use this free time to explore the nearby national parks and beaches, or relax at the sanctuary!

You will be staying in the cottage which is next to the sanctuary and so it is just a 5 minute walk from the accommodation to the animals each day. You will wake up to the sounds of the tropical birds and hear the calls of the monkeys throughout the day!

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.

Volunteer Reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Costa Rica Wildlife Rescue reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Family 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.

Families 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

Location, free time and accommodation

Country

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.

Local area 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.

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.

Accommodation

Family volunteers live on site and stay together in a comfortable private cottage, which has an ensuite bathroom as well as coffee making facilities and air conditioning. The cottage will also have 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 also a swimming pool on site which all volunteers are welcome to use, or you can relax on one of the sun loungers!

Read volunteer reviews from the Wildlife Rescue project

Speirs Family

“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.”

Elizabeth

“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.”

Kerstin

“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!”

Martie

“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!”

Read more reviews

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - a dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Animal care volunteering placement
  • Accommodation - private cottage
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction and training
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), cost of pick up and transfers. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Price table
Adult £895 GB Pounds
1st Child £795 GB Pounds
Additional Child £395 GB Pounds
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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

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.

Apply

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