Rainforest Conservation Volunteer
Protect endangered rainforest species
Volunteering in Costa Rica
Costa Rican rainforests are home to more than 1500 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. Of these, 6.9% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 6.6% are threatened or endangered. The goal of this project is to fight for these vital natural areas that these species call home and educate the local and international world on how to live more sustainably with the environment.
Located between a secluded Costa Rican national park and a group of protected indigeous tribes, this project offers volunteers an opportunity to work and learn in a remote lowland rainforest. Volunteers will join a team of biologists to learn the fundamentals of rainforest conservation, the basics of permaculture (sustainably growing your own vegetable and fruit garden), as well as how to assist with vital scientific research being conducted in the area. Volunteers will also have opportunities to practice their Spanish skills, teach English in local grade schools, and show the local Costa Rican community how to live in a sustainable manner in a tropical rainforest.
Rainforest Conservation Volunteer
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Anyone who is enthusiastic and open-minded is welcome in the program. Volunteers will be working alongside scientists and volunteers who come from all over the world. Gardening, hiking, and reforestation work can be physically demanding, so we advise registrants to be in decent physical condition.
– At least 18 years of age
– Participants ages 13-17 are welcome when there is a faculty leader, parent, or guardian present
– Healthy and physically prepared to work and live in a remote area with basic amenities
– Flexible; willing to do various tasks based on season and project needs
– Positive mindset
– Hard working, ready to do anything!
– Responsible and safety-minded
Permaculture – With access to multiple hectares of land, project leaders will train volunteers on the fundamentals of permaculture farming techniques. Volunteers will work in teams to design gardens in a sustainable arrangement where crops are grown in clusters, space is used efficiently, no pesticides are used, and there is no unnecessary waste created. Exotic plants like cacao, granadilla, vanilla, guava, orchids, and bromeliads are volunteer favorites!
Scientific Research and Support – With the help of local research biologists, volunteers will help map out the biodiversity in the project area based on species. Being that there are amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles all through the region, volunteers will break into “species” teams and join an experienced guide to examine the behavior, population density, and mating activity of each of these animal groups in the rainforest. On these daylong rainforest hikes volunteers will engage directly with the rainforest and vast wildlife it is home to.
Reforestation – Reforesting areas of the land that have been clear cut in the past is a crucial goal of the project. Volunteers will learn about local plant life and conduct research to determine which species of tree are native to the area and can be planted to continue the growth of the forest. Grown from seed in the on-site plant nursery, volunteers will plant native trees and learn best practices for securing the tree’s successful growth into adulthood. Volunteers will monitor germinated sprouts, track the development of recently planted trees, and aid in the production of organic fertilizer to help trees grow healthily in their early stages of development.
Trail Building – Creating an accessible reserve with clean and safe pathways is crucial to our goal of educating the local community on the importance of the rainforest. Volunteers will help design informational signs, build sturdy handrails, and construct walking paths throughout the area of the project that is used for walking tours for new volunteers, local community volunteers, and 1-day explorers.
The sun is up early in Costa Rica and breakfast is served typically around 7am. After breakfast, project leaders and volunteers will come together for the morning meeting where projects will be discussed and volunteers can select their role for the day. Permaculture projects are typically carried out in the sun and thus typically run from 8am -12pm, with a break in the afternoon due to the heat, and then again from 1pm – 3pm. Scientific research and reforestation projects are typically done under the rainforest canopy and include long journeys that last most of the day.
Lunch is typically served around 12pm while dinner is usually around 5pm. During free time volunteers will have time to relax in a hammock, play volleyball and soccer with other volunteers, read a book from the project’s vast library, practice their Spanish with locals in town, or teach English to locals in the local grade school.
Located in a beautiful tropical garden with a plethora of plants and animals, volunteer sleeping quarters are mixed gender bunk rooms with up to 3 other volunteers in each room. Each bunk room is completely enclosed in flyscreen to protect from mosquitos. Western style bathrooms and a showers station are on site and provide volunteers with a clean and private place to wash up after a long day’s work of volunteering.
Beside the dormitory there is a community house home to a kitchen, storage area, and dining area. This area provides volunteers with panoramic views of the jungle and it’s amazing wildlife. Here we will share meals, play board games, relax in hammocks, enjoy a good book, and discuss the various work going on throughout the project
All meals are provided at the volunteer house and are included within the programme fee. Meals are aimed to be as accommodating and as varied as possible across the week.
You can expect some of the following meals:
Breakfast – Gallo Pinto (rice & beans), pancakes, fruits from the garden, eggs
Lunch – Different types of soups, sandwiches, omelette, pasta’s, rice and beans
Dinner – Pasta’s , curry, vegetables, pizza, potatoes
Most dietary requirements can be catered for, but due to the remote location we do need to know these in advance.
– Rainforest Conservation Volunteer Programs start every Sunday and include in-jungle accommodation, 3 generous international meals daily, permaculture and ecological training, all necessary volunteer materials, and a round trip 4×4 ride in and out of the project.
– All our volunteer projects require a minimum 1-Week Spanish program
– Spanish students staying with a homestay family have airport pickup included.
– The transfer to the project is required and includes private transportation to San José, and a round-trip pre-paid bus transfer to and from the Caribbean volunteer meeting point.
– Not included; flights to SJO, travel insurance, covid-19 health insurance needed to enter Costa Rica.
|Rainforest Conservation Program||1-Week||2-Weeks||Extra Week|
– Rainforest accommodation
– 3 generous international meals daily
– Ecological research training and materials
– Permaculture training
– Transfer by 4×4 to and from project
|Program Transfer | Spanish to Rainforest||Price|
– 1-night homestay
– Evening meal and breakfast
– Pick-up and transfer to city bus station
– Pre-paid bus transfer to Caribbean volunteer meeting point
Frequently Asked Questions
This is of course down to personal preference, however, on gaining feedback from previous volunteers we believe 3 to 6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer for. You will you be able to get fully involved with all aspects of the programme and integrate yourself within the local community. We regularly have volunteers come for 1 to 2 weeks that tell us they wish they stayed for longer.
We ask that all volunteers have a good level and understanding of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You of course do not need to speak the local dialect, but you will find learning a few words will go a long way.
Volunteering abroad can at times be both physically and mentally challenging, therefore we ask that all participants be fit in both areas. If you do have any medical / mental health conditions that you believe may affect your time volunteering, then these must be declared to us during the application process. If you have any questions regarding your suitability, then please do not hesitate to contact us.
We generally recommend applying at least 60 days in advance to give you ample time to ensure everything has been arranged. However, if you are looking to volunteer sooner than this, then it should not be a problem. Please do get in contact if you have any concerns about arranging any essentials within a shorter timeframe.
Once you have applied and confirmed your place on the programme, then it is possible to amend your start date and / or duration. Any changes need to be made at least 20 days prior to your start date and are subject to availability.