Rainforest Conservation Teen Immersion

founded in 1998
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Coordinator | Graeme
Coordinator | Graeme
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Learn what a career in conservation is like.
Observe Costa Rican wildlife species in their natural habitats, including monkeys, neo-tropical birds, and amphibians.
Explore the rainforest by canoe and walk the pristine and untouched Caribbean beaches.
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.
Receive your GVI Young Leaders award, a qualification recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).
Learn what it takes to become an international conservationist by exploring the rainforests of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 15+
Join other teens, aged between 15 and 17, in the middle of Costa Rica’s famous Tortuguero National park, to learn about conservation and learn about how to protect important wildlife species and the natural environment. Spend your time with other teens from around the world and explore Tortuguero National Park while learning about the local ecosystem and the species that can be found there. Furthermore, you can find out how researchers, conservation organisations, and national governments use data collection, input, and analysis to preserve the natural environment. You will also learn how to identify the species that can only be found in Costa Rica, go on jungle hikes and canoes down the many forest canals and spot animals. You might also be enlisted in a beach clean and bird surveys. 

Throughout this project, teens will be trained, guided, and supported by world-class leaders in the field who have been chosen for their mix of relevant experience and ability to mentor and inspire young people. Greater supervision applies to our teen programs, than our other volunteer programs. 

Training and field experience will allow teens to develop skills beneficial to their college applications and future employability. Some of these might include intercultural competency, teamwork, and leadership, by interacting and working with teens from around the world. Furthermore, you will be able to complete and earn an ILM Youth Leadership Certificate upon successful completion of the program. 

The climate is hot and humid, interspersed with refreshing downpours, and participants should be aware that work days can be tiring. It is important to be flexible and adaptable to the changing nature of life in Costa Rica.

Due to the fact you will work in a national park, you will need special scientific permit to approve you for conducting research. Further permits are required for jaguar research. The permit for conducting jaguar research takes about 2 to 3 months to process.

Although all teen participants are greeted by GVI staff at their arrival destination, flight chaperoning services are also available upon request. Chaperones provide on-flight accompaniment, and in-airport assistance. To book this service please contact one of our enrollment managers.

Typical day

Typical Itinerary 

Day 1: Saturday
Welcome to the tropical jungles of Costa Rica. Arrive at the airport where a GVI staff member will be waiting, and travel with other teens to where you’ll stay overnight.

Day 2: Sunday
Today you’ll travel to Tortuguero National Park, a protected area in Costa Rica where you’ll learn about the work being done to conserve species like turtles and jaguars.

Day 3: Monday
Help researchers collect data about the health of the jungle. Later, set up remote camera traps to spot elusive jungle species like jaguars and learn how to monitor sea turtles.

Day 4: Tuesday
Walk the Carribbean beach at sunrise, looking for mother sea turtle tracks and new nests. Learn more about how sea turtle monitoring works later during the day.

Day 5: Wednesday
Canoe down the rivers of Tortuguero National Park noting the many tropical birds along the way. Head out at night to spot mother sea turtles making their nests on the beach.

Day 6: Thursday
Trek through the forest again, spotting tropical wildlife along the way. Later, learn more about what local organisations are doing to protect these species and natural habitats.

Day 7: Friday
Spend the weekend white water rafting down the Pacuare River with your new friends. A true adrenaline rush, the river features rapids up to class IV.

Day 8: Saturday
Spend the weekend white water rafting down the Pacuare River with your new friends. A true adrenaline rush, the river features rapids up to class IV.

Day 9: Sunday
Spend the weekend white water rafting down the Pacuare River with your new friends. A true adrenaline rush, the river features rapids up to class IV.

Day 10: Monday
Learn about the conservation work conducted by Tortuguero National Park management and representatives from the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

Day 11: Tuesday
Trek through the jungle noting local wildlife species. Then, at night, walk along the Carribean Sea looking for nesting mother sea turtles.

Day 12: Wednesday
At sunrise, look for sea turtles. Then you have the option of either looking for wildlife species on a jungle trek or looking for birds while on the river boat. At night, look for sea turtles.

Day 13: Thursday
Today you could either travel the jungle canals looking for birds or carry out another biodiversity survey. In the evening all volunteers can help look for mother sea turtles.

Day 14: Friday
Tour the Costa Rican city of San Jose on foot. Visit local markets, sample exotic fruits, and take in the laidback lifestyle known in Costa Rica as pura vida.

Day 15: Saturday
Say a tearful “adiós” to the beaches, jungles, and wildlife of Costa Rica. Reflect on the friends you’ve made and how much you’ve learnt about conservation while abroad.

Free-time activities

Your local weekend adventures will be your chance to see more of the area, including a visits to local parks, communities, treks and beaches, as well as surfing lessons or other activities (all adventure activities are weather-permitting and substitutions may be made for the safety of the participants or due to inclement weather). 
Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 15 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by GVI


  • 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


  • 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). GVI staff will be waiting in arrivals with a GVI branded sign between 12pm-6pm on the program start date. If you are arriving before the scheduled meeting time you may want to wait there. Please ensure field staff are made aware of your plans You will travel with GVI staff and fellow volunteers after the pick up time (12-6pm) to the hostel. Once at the hostel, we will do a welcome meeting and there will be time to get to know the other volunteers and get some rest before leaving San Jose the next day. Please ensure you land with enough time to be at the meeting point before 6pm.
Accommodation is in shared rooms with toilet facilities, running water (please note: no hot water on base), and basic amenities. There is a shared kitchen and living area where volunteers can plan lessons and enjoy free time. This is a Central American country and the standard of living is different. Bearing this in mind, accommodations are quite comfortable.
Dorm Room
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, chickpeas, 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.
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


Details on arrival

  • 30 Jul 2022
  • 29 Jul 2023 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 2 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
2 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$1,818 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. 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 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

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We refund your fees if GVI cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by GVI.

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Rainforest Conservation Teen Immersion

Learn what it takes to become an international conservationist by exploring the rainforests of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.


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