Bird Research & Wildlife Conservation

High­lights Require­ments What's Included Dates & Fees Rev­iews
Agency
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founded in 1997
Natalie
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Coordinator | Natalie
Coordinator | Natalie

High­lights

The area where we work on is closed to tourism, we are the only people allowed to live there due to the nature of the research we do
Witness the beautiful diverse range of Costa Rican birds within the stunning location of Tortguero National Park
Gain an introduction to conservation within the park and develop your knowledge of the species we study
Take part in the other Wildlife research
Visit an incredibly jaguar-dense area and one of the only locations in the world where jaguars are known to prey on adult sea turtles
Assist in the protection and study of both aquatic and forest birds, whilst living and working in a Costa Rican rainforest. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
50+
Discover the tropical habitat of Costa Rica while learning about and helping to preserve the diverse bird species in the region. Travel down the canals looking for birds on the river banks, and trek through the jungle paths looking for birds in the canopies above. Data gathered will be used to inform long-term conservation efforts along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

Learn how to identify these species in the wild, note their gender and breeding behaviour, and input the information into the relevant databases. This information is then shared with the Costa Rican government so that they can make informed decisions about their conservation policies. 

Even though bird surveys will form the main part of your project, you will have the opportunity to participate in additional research projects and gain an holistic understanding of the Costa Rican environment. These projects might include research concerning green, leatherback, and hawksbill sea turtles, monitoring camera traps for evidence of jaguars in the vicinity, or conducting surveys of the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians found along several trails in the surrounding forest environment. 

Through the recording, processing, and analysing of data, you will get to grips with the technical aspects of real-world conservation research, helping you to further your ability to operate professionally in this field. In addition, you will be mastering some soft skills like teamwork which could help you excel in many other professions. Either way, the experience of living and working on a small base with a group of participants is designed to help you form lifelong bonds with others as fascinated with birds and other wildlife as you are. 

Typical day

Volunteer work is Monday to Fridays with weekends free to explore. The base is located in a remote rain forest which is only accessible by boat. 

This project is dependent on seasons and so we encourage participants to remain flexible. 


Free-time activities

You will be based at the research station within the National Park, located 1 hour by motorboat from the nearest town of Tortuguero, and working on the surrounding canals, rivers, forest, beaches and in the nearby communities. Travel around the local area is limited and dependent on expedition staff and water taxi services. 
Due to the remoteness of base, we offer a long weekend (3 free days) every 4 weeks, so people can travel around Costa Rica at the start of project or once a month, be sure to budget for it if you would like to visit more places in Costa Rica. Likewise, there is a close by restaurant, and volunteers have the option of ordering fried chicken and sodas every Friday at your own expense, cost is between 6 to 10USD. Before and after your program you could explore the rest of Costa Rica, or travel onwards throughout Latin America. Buses are cheap but basic, and regional flights are relatively affordable. With so much culture and adventure it's sometimes hard to know where to start – the possibilities are endless! 
Travelling around the region is possible by bus with connecting services from Caño Blanco to cities across the country. It is useful to know that street addresses are not really used or known in Costa Rica - landmarks are used instead. For example, to get to Hostel Casa Colon ask to go “En contraesquina de Torre Mercedes” (translated: "across the street from Torre Mercedes)
Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/
Music
Sightseeing
Diving/
Snorkling
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking
Museum/
Opera
Sports
Riding
Yoga/
Meditation

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
at High School level
Required Documents
CV translated into Spanish, 2 passport sized photos, passport copy and Medical form (on this program we need to apply for a scientific permit)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No specific skills required, all training is provided in country
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Global Vision International (GVI)
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport
Most volunteers arrange international flights to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (IATA code: SJO) at least one day before the expedition starts. 

Airport pick-ups can be arranged from 06:00 PM - 10:00 PM the day before your program start date, please request this from your support coordinator who will be in touch with you as soon as you have processed your deposit. 

If you arrive outside of the pick-up time or arriving in San Jose by other means, will be responsible for their own transportation. Official airport taxis are orange, and cost approx US$22 to the hostel. Alternatively, you can get a bus from outside the airport (approx. US$1, every 20-30mins). 

Departure:
On your final Saturday, you will be transferred back to San Jose. It is strongly recommended that the volunteers book their flight for late on Saturday or for the day after their program finishes, on Sunday. This is because the travel back to San Jose from the base could occasionally take up to 8 hours, so attempting to make any flights on the day the program finishes could be tricky. We recommend that your departure flight is booked for after 6:30pm on your program end date.
Accommodation
Accommodation is in shared (mixed sex) dorms with shared bathroom facilities at the field station. There is running water available for washing and cooking, with suitable water for drinking and brushing teeth. Supplies are limited and usage may be restricted when necessary. Bucket-flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share responsibility for base duties, including cooking, cleaning, and other chores. 
Bungalow
Food & Beverages
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is very basic and mostly vegetarian, with meat rarely available. Breakfast could be porridge or occasionally pancakes, typical lunches and evening meals may include lentils, chicpeas, pasta, beans, or rice, with vegetables. Fresh fruit is provided each afternoon. 
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Costa Rica provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Costa Rica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Costa Rica.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

  • 2019
  • 02 Nov 2019
    16 Nov 2019
    30 Nov 2019
    • 2020
    • 11 Jan 2020
      25 Jan 2020
      08 Feb 2020
      22 Feb 2020
      07 Mar 2020
      21 Mar 2020
      04 Apr 2020
      18 Apr 2020
      02 May 2020
      16 May 2020
      30 May 2020
      13 Jun 2020
      27 Jun 2020
      11 Jul 2020
      25 Jul 2020
      08 Aug 2020
      22 Aug 2020
      05 Sep 2020
      19 Sep 2020
      03 Oct 2020
      17 Oct 2020
      31 Oct 2020
      14 Nov 2020
      28 Nov 2020
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
2 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in EUR (USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
€1,945 ($2,178)
4 weeks
€2,615 ($2,929)
6 weeks
€3,285 ($3,679)
8 weeks (max. stay)
€3,955 ($4,430)
Average fees
€733 ($821) /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Global Vision International (GVI) will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Global Vision International (GVI) during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Global Vision International (GVI) cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Global Vision International (GVI).

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Bird Research & Wildlife Conservation

Assist in the protection and study of both aquatic and forest birds, whilst living and working in a Costa Rican rainforest.

$733/week

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