Wildlife Rescue - Volunteer Reviews


Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Wildlife Rescue project


“I thoroughly enjoyed my three week placement at the Wildlife Rescue project in Cost Rica, the work there is very rewarding and the group very grateful for everything you do to help them. You are very much a part of a team and involved in the day to day running of the animal sanctuary. This, primarily, involves preparing and delivering food to the animals in their enclosures. It is a little daunting at first to see the numerous number of different bowls that need to be taken around the enclosures but they patiently work with you and in a few days you become more familiar with the routine and, before you know it, you are taking the trolley of food by yourself and remembering which animal gets what. In addition to that, you learn about administering medicine to select animals, which can be drops of medicine on a marshmallow which you give by hand to the Squirrel Monkeys or crushed medicine mixed with peanut butter on a piece of bread to be given to a Howler monkey that lost an arm in a circus accident. There is then, a lot of responsibility, and you are monitored until they are 100% sure you know what you are doing, but, it is only a matter of time before you are more than capable of going out on your own to deliver food and medicine and that is very satisfying. 

There are then various activities to enrich the enclosures. While I was there we went into the rainforest to cut down small trees with a machete, hunted for insects to feed the monkeys, dug up plants in the rainforest to install in the enclosures and replenished hanging leaves for the Sloths to eat. It is hot and sweaty work and I had a lot of fun doing all of this, but, you might want to change your t-shirt at midday so you have something drier to wear for lunch and the afternoon shift. 

On days off I went to the Manuel Antonio National park a couple of times, there is wildlife to see there and an exquisite beach and sea to swim in. I also did zip lining which was fun but pricey and the two local lads I worked with invited me to join them and their friend to go to nearby waterfalls which were amazing.  

All in all, if you want a hands on immersive experience and you enjoy working with animals then this is definitely a placement to consider.” 


“It brought me much-needed security being able to have someone as supportive as Lucy and a few others who always responded to my questions and even talked me through many of my concerns. I loved being able to get involved with the animals habitats--from feeding them to cleaning and improving the quality of their living spaces. The local team was absolutely amazing and I would love to return! We hated leaving after such a short visit and I'm so grateful that we were embraced and trusted to work the days that we could. The staff take excellent care of all the animals and I will never forget this meaningful experience.

What did you find most rewarding?

I loved feeding the animals. I loved seeing them get excited for the food and it made my heart melt to see them eating happily. It was a bonding experience and a wonderful way to start each day.

What did you find most challenging?

The enrichment tasks were very challenging but also quite rewarding. It was physically challenging and risky but awesome to leave behind a higher quality living space for the animals.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Bring good rain boots! It will rain and you will walk through mud and it's awesome but it's good to be comfortable.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

I did a good bit of research before choosing POD volunteer and was extremely impressed with the process, the communication, the reviews, the outreach, etc. Great job! I can't wait to work with the next project!”


“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.

What did you find most rewarding?

Caring for the animals and knowing that the priority is to rehabilitate and release as many animals back to the wild as possible

What did you find most challenging?

The work can be exhausting in heat

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Don't expect to handle the animals-they are wild animals and have to be treated so. Bring old clothes as you get very dirty and sweaty.”


“I had an amazing experience and met the most brilliant people from all around the world. Even though there was a big age range we all got along so well and in the evenings and days off we had the chance to explore Costa Rica together. The experience with the animals was once in a lifetime, the staff are so knowledgeable and the bond you get with the animals throughout the time there is so strong.

What did you find most rewarding?

Making new friends from around the world and learning about the animals.

What did you find most challenging?

I found it quite a shock being away from home for the first time and being so close to the animals.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Make sure you are 100% interested in helping the animals, as it is hard work, but so worth it if you want to help the animals.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

I liked that it was non-profit, and the staff were so helpful with all my queries.”


“Overall my experience was incredible and I'm so glad that I took the opportunity to do it as if I didn't I would definitely have regretted not going. Catching flights on my own and going into a new country for the first time alone was definitely challenging however it has helped me to become more independent and comfortable with travelling. Not many people I know can say they volunteered in Costa Rica for a month on their own and it's something that will stand out on my CV and potentially help me with my future down the line.

What did you find most rewarding?

Seeing the progress that the animals were making and being able to see the animals ready for release. Also being able to see how your help was making a difference, even if it was just enriching the enclosures for the animals who couldn't be released.

What did you find most challenging?

The hardest part was being away from my family for the month as it was my first time being away on my own and the thought of catching flights on my own seemed pretty scary but it was worth it!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Do it! Honestly one of the best things I have done and would recommend it to anyone. The people who worked and were interns at the sanctuary I went to were lovely and so welcoming and were a massive part of making my trip what it was.”


“Volunteering at the wildlife sanctuary was incredible. Every day I got to help different animals and had many laughs with everyone volunteering or working at the sanctuary. It is something I'll never forget.

What did you find most challenging?

Having to leave

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Time passes too quickly here, if you can, stay for longer

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

Trusted organisation and offered the volunteer programme I was interested in.”


“I had an incredible time volunteering here. The people were all so warm and inviting, and being able to work up close with these animals was the experience of a lifetime! I loved every second of being there, and I wish I had stayed longer!

What did you find most rewarding?

The most rewarding thing was being able to go see the animals love their enclosures after sanitizing and enriching them. Being able to see the animals playing in enrichments I set up was great.

What did you find most challenging?

The most challenging thing was the mosquitos!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Make sure to bring a lot of bug spray! Also, bring some snacks from home in case you feel homesick.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

The support and comfort I received was unlike any other agency.”


“Amazing opportunity working with gorgeous animals! It was definitely exhausting work with the humidity, but very fun and rewarding as well as a lot of learning opportunities and great people. Loved it.

What did you find most rewarding?

Looking after the animals. They all have very sad stories and it is so rewarding to know they are at a safe and happy place.

What did you find most challenging?

Exhausting work from the humidity.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Amazing!! Know that you don’t get to handle any of the animals but you still work with them every day, feeding and cleaning and enriching their cages.”


“Everyone was very helpful at every step of the volunteering placement process.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.

What did you find most rewarding?

Providing the animals with the food and enrichment needed for them to live a healthy and happy life.

What did you find most challenging?

Knowing that, despite all of our efforts, some of the animals would not be rehabilitated or fit to be released back into the wild.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

To be prepared for physical work in humid weather and to go in with an open mind. Also knowing that there will not be a lot of direct handling of the animals.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

Pod Volunteer was highly recommended by a friend who volunteered in Belize.”


“Volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue project was one of the best experiences in my life so far. Working there was on the one hand exhausting because of all the physical activity which includes a lot of cleaning and foraging and on the other hand so relaxing because you don't have to worry about anything else and are able to set your mind 100% on the animals.

What did you find most rewarding?

Getting to know every animal so well and just spending time with all the others at this amazing place.

 What did you find most challenging?

To implement all the projects we wanted to do with the animals to make their lives the best they can have.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Don't go there with the expectation of petting animals to make them feel better. That is exactly not what we want to do but you don’t need the physical contact with the animals to connect with them and have fun.”


“My experience was fantastic. 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.

What did you find most rewarding?

My most rewarding experience was when we re-did an enclosure to house two of the kinkajous, we spent a lot of time cleaning it and putting up new branches and enrichment and it was really amazing to see them get released into it and utilize the enrichment.

What did you find most challenging?

I found some of the physical aspects challenging, such as maintenance of some of the paths around the sanctuary. I also at times found being a lone traveller challenging, however there were always plenty of people around me to support me and make me feel welcome and part of the team.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Go with an open mind and a willingness to participate and learn. You will get out of the experience what you put in. If there is something you don't want to do no one will make you do it, but being open to challenges and new experiences is part of the experience so don't be afraid to try new things.”


“It was a fantastic experience. The accommodation was wonderful and felt like home. It was so rewarding to see the animals in a better place.

What did you find most rewarding?
The Titis (squirrel monkeys) moved cages and it was so rewarding to see them move after so much dedication to making their new enclosure brighter and better.

What did you find most challenging?
Collecting the palms for the enclosures.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Don’t under estimate the heat and the hunidity.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Have been on a project with Pod before and they offer great service and are very reliable

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”


“I learnt a lot about the different species and what threats they face which result in them being cared for at the sanctuary. Everyone was super nice and the sanctuary manager (Sophie) and the zoo manager (Nicole) were always ready to answer my questions and lovely to work alongside.

The days are rather varied and I got the opportunity to do lots of different things in my month at the rescue centre not only there but also on days off in the area.

What did you find most rewarding?
Creating enrichments for the animals particularly the Coati.

What did you find most challenging?
Getting used to the bathroom and sleeping arrangements

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be open minded. It’s hard work but worth it.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
The volunteer coordinator at the rescue centre is rather unhelpful.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Reputable and well reviewed company.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”


“I really enjoyed my time at the project. Everyone was extremely helpful. You feel like you are making a difference. The process is simple and easy and nothing went wrong. I would go back again!

What did you find most rewarding?
Walking the baby animals

What did you find most challenging?
The jet lag

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement?
Do it. You are helping a great project

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer and would you recommend us to your friends?
Yes! It is a good company”


“I interned for four months, I absolutely loved my time spent with them! Not only did I gain the most incredible experiences but I made life-long friends! I truly felt as though I was welcomed into a family. I was able to work closely with the animals and vet, as well as conduct research. I would (and often do) highly recommend volunteering there to friends!”


“I spent about four months volunteering last year. 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 for four months. 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. It is about a 15-20 minute drive from the nearest town, so it’s close enough to be able to go out to eat occasionally or go hang out at the beach on your day off, but it’s also far enough away from civilization that you feel like you’re really in the rainforest which makes for a tight-knit community of volunteers and staff.

You have to be really careful when choosing to volunteer at animal rescue/rehabilitation centers because there are so many out there that are unethical—I can tell you that with this project, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s an ethical organization that works to rehabilitate and release animals back into the wild, while also putting up preventative measures to stop so many animals from needing to be rescued. There’s no unnecessary animal handling, and the interest of the animals comes before anything else.

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 went for 3 months and 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. Long term volunteers are asked to give educational tours to visitors. I absolutely loved being a tour guide! Educating people on the importance of conservation is critical and can be very rewarding – something I learned at the project.  In the summer of 2016, I returned a third time to conduct research for my ungraduated senior thesis. They were happy to have me there and worked with me to produce a project that I am now going on to get published! 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!”


"I volunteered for a month and it was truly an unforgettable experience. Every day is different from another and is full of adventures. I was learning something new every day from the vet or other volunteers and I was constantly improving my knowledge about animals, welfare and nature. Every other animal organisation needs to learn from them regarding their welfare standards, their handling practices and the way they care about animals. Highly professional people work there and they work around the clock to make sure animals are healthy and happy. The owners are amazing people as well, they are very easy to get along with and they would always listen to you and help. I was doing my research on squirrel monkeys and this was a perfect place to do that, they helped me a lot and together we did an amazing report. I gained a valuable experience by working with there and I would recommend everyone to volunteer with them. "


“My experience was awesome! I expected to fall in love with some animals, to get my hands dirty and my muscles sore, but what I didn't predict was how wonderful the people would be. The dedication and passion of all the people behind the project blew me away. I'm so grateful to have gotten to know them and taken part in the important work they are doing. I'll never forget them and the beautiful animals they care for. I hope to return very soon!”


“My husband, sons, and I have visited and volunteered at the Sanctuary five times over the last four years, 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.  Over time, we saw, too, that they provide excellent care for the animals; we respect how they take care of them, and 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; we appreciate that educational piece.  

Furthermore, the owners and staff engage our sons and get them involved in the work when they are there, which is empowering them to become advocates for the protection and care of all animals, which is important to us as parents.  Finally, 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.”


“For the past three summers, I've spent a few weeks volunteering at the project.  This organization, grown from the dreams of two young girls, 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.  

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!

I'm an educator from California and would have had no clue how to begin rehab with an anteater without the leadership and support of the staff.  The diversity of animals who reside there staggers me and I commend the staff and volunteers for taking the time to research the specific dietary, environmental, social, and behavioral needs of each. With minimal resources, the staff provides excellent medical care and nurtures sick, injured, and orphaned animals back to health.

I don't want to think about how many animals would be lost if not for the project.

That said, their impact stretches beyond the immediate benefit to the creatures of Costa Rica. Children and adults from around the world have embraced the stories of their miracle orphans and, as a result, developed a respect for the rainforest and appreciation for its critical importance.”


“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."


"You can't help but give everything you can to the experience that the project gives you in helping make a difference to the rainforest and its many treasures.  What you get back is far better than anywhere else out there."

Find out more about the Wildlife Rescue project