Wildlife Internship

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center
Ask A Question
Coordinator | Jeanne Marie Pittman
Coordinator | Jeanne Marie Pittman
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Experience daily life in a working wildlife sanctuary, rehabilitation center and endangered species breeding center.
Gain valuable knowledge, experience and insight into animal care, conservation issues and research methods.
Improve your Spanish by working alongside our local staff.
Meet fellow interns from all over the world.
Explore all Costa Rica has to offer in your free time!
Help us care for and return wild animals to the wild and gain valuable animal care experience in a lush tropical setting with all the comforts of home. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Interning with Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (RWRC) is a life-changing opportunity to work with wild animals in Costa Rica and assist us with our mission to protect and restore Costa Rica’s biodiversity through:

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release
  • Endangered Species Breeding and Reintroduction
  • Biodiversity Preservation
  • Lifetime Care of Non-releasable Animals

RWRC is based in Alajuela, just 15 minutes from the main international airport. The center is set in 34 acres of tropical forest and is home to over 800 animals.

Interns stay on-site in a bright, well-appointed house with Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, dedicated laundry facilities and spacious shared bedrooms. The guesthouse is a three-bedroom house with two bathrooms, a kitchen and a laundry room.  Linens, towels and pillows are provided. We are happy to try to accommodate visitors who are traveling together. The windows are screened so there is no need for a mosquito net unless you are visiting one of our release sites. There are fans in all the rooms. very intern is provided with private, lockable closet space. There is ample closet space for personal belongings. Wifi is available in the guesthouse, restaurant and coffee shop. 

Lunch and dinner are prepared by the chef in our on-site restaurant, and breakfast foods are supplied for you to prepare in the guest house. The program is 'all-inclusive'! 


Full vaccination for Covid-19 or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival is required to participate in any of our programs. 


Interns work with our local team to provide the resident animals with the very best care and give the rehabilitating animals the best chance of being released back into the wild!

  • Assist the caregivers in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary and Endangered Species Breeding Centre with feeding, cleaning and maintenance. 
  • Collect data for behavioral research in the Endangered Species Breeding Center. 
  • Learn to recognize and collect wild foods for baby sloths and howler monkeys in the Rehabilitation Center. 
  • Participate in weekly lecture series on wildlife care, rehabilitation and conservation. 
  • Design and implement animal enrichment in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary, Endangered Species  Breeding Center and Rehabilitation Center. 
  • Clicker training animals in the sanctuary to allow for veterinary checks. 
  • Assist with clicker training for jaguar, puma, coyotes, primates. 

Please note: Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center has a strict “hands off” policy in all areas of our center. This is not only for the safety of our interns, but also prevents rehabilitating animals from becoming too tame to be released. While we completely understand the desire to be close to animals, allowing the animals at the center to be handled and petted by ever-changing interns would be unethical and detrimental to their welfare.

Typical day


One day you may be collecting natural browse for the baby sloths in the Rehabilitation Center, another day you may be monitoring the behavior of the Scarlet Macaws in the Endangered Species Breeding Center or making environmental enrichment for the coyotes in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary and yet another day you might be helping to clicker train Guapo the jaguar! 

Various projects are developed throughout the year and there are often opportunities for longer-term interns to assist at Rescates release sites in Nicoya and Golfito. So a “typical day” will  be different depending on the needs of the animals. 


Everyday is different, but here is a sample of what you might expect: 

  • 7:00 - 9:30: Identifying and collecting plants for infant sloths and monkeys and  cleaning enclosures in the Rehabilitation Center. 
  • 9:30 - 10:00: BREAK 
  • 10:00 - 12:00: Designing, building and implementing enrichment items for animals  in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary. 
  • 12:00: LUNCH 
  • 13:00 - 14:00: Feeding the great green macaws and Scarlet Macaws in the  Endangered Species Breeding Center. 
  • 14:00 - 15:00: Wildlife Lecture Series 
  • 16:30-17:00 (Optional): Big cat clicker training and enrichment.
Interns generally participate in activities in the sanctuary, breeding center and rehabilitation center 8 hours per day, 5 days per week with two days off for rest or travel. You are not guaranteed to have two day off in a row, but we will do our best to accommodate all requests. You are welcome to request additional days off if you prefer a lighter schedule or want to organize an excursion. Rescate is staffed from 6 am to 6 pm. It is important that we keep the number of people in the rehabilitation center to a minimum to prevent negative impact on the animals, thus you will not be permitted to enter the rehabilitation center on your days off. 

Free-time activities

Interns have two days off per week and there is a bus stop just opposite the rescue center - you are encouraged to use your free time to explore everything that Costa Rica has to offer! 

Visit the Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve and find the famous quetzal, visit the Arenal Volcano - the most active volcano in Costa Rica or simply head to one of Costa Rica’s fabulous beaches and relax! 

Whatever your interests, we can help you organize an amazing holiday in Costa Rica before, during or after your internship. We have access to an experienced tour agent who can help you organize local transport, accommodation and activities whatever your interests are and wherever you want to go. 

Water Sports


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)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
No skills are required to participate in our Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship program, just a strong interest in wildlife and animal welfare and a desire to help us return Costa Rica's wildlife to the wild where they belong.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday

What's Included

Services by Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center
What's included?
Internship, breakfast, lunch, dinner, linens, wifi, accommodation.

What's not included?
Flights and Travel insurance, personal items
*Transport to and from the airport can be arranged for $20 per trip
Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

We will pick you up at the Juan Santamaria International airport. We set up a WhatsApp chat where you enter your flight detail. On arrival there is wifi at the airport and once you let us know that you have landed, we will be waiting outside the airport for you. You will receive a photo of the vehicle that will be picking you up. 

Shared accommodation will be provided in a secure 3-bedroom house with shared bathroom and kitchen areas. Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is fenced and has 24-hour security. WIFI is available 24 hours a day in the interns/volunteer accommodation, restaurant, outdoor café, rehabilitation center, and at various sites throughout the Lifetime Care Sanctuary.

There is a mixture of single beds and bunkbeds and bedding and bath towels are provided. Rooms and beds are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, but we are happy to try to accommodate visitors who are traveling together. The windows are screened so there is no need for a mosquito net unless you are visiting one of our release sites. There is ample closet space for personal belongings. Each room has two closets. Linens, towels and pillows are provided. You are not allowed to take the towels, pillows or linens out of the guest house for any reason. If you are assigned a room with four beds, you will be sharing a closet. Please keep the room tidy and ensure that all personal items are kept in the closets when not in use. We recommend that you lock any valuable items in the closet if you are not in the room as we cannot be responsible for any missing items.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
Breakfast: Eggs, fruit, cereal, milk, tea and coffee are provided for interns and volunteers to prepare their own breakfast.
Lunch & dinner: Cooked meals are provided in the on-site restaurant. Special diets will gladly be accommodated on request. Food can also be purchased a la carte from the restaurant in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary. There is also an ice cream shop, a snack shop, and a small outdoor café in the sanctuary where you can sample freshly made juice pops, fantastic gourmet coffee, or local pastries.

All meal requests must be placed on the WhatsApp chat by 11 am. Please only place orders for the current day (i.e. do not order meals a day ahead of time as it is too confusing for the restaurant staff). The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you are taking your dinner in the restaurant, you must arrive at the restaurant by 4:30 p.m. Guests wishing to have their dinner after 5 p.m. are provided with a reusable take away plate. You must wash and return the plate to the restaurant by 11 a.m. each day that you would like a take away dinner.

Water from standard faucets throughout the facility is supplied by an underground well and is very safe for drinking. Do not drink water from restroom facilities or hose pipes. If you prefer bottled water, it is available for purchase at the restaurant and various venues throughout the Life-time Care Sanctuary. 

Internet Access
Good 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

Our program is open year round. There is a minimum stay of one week. Interns should plan to arrive on a Friday and leave on a Thursday.  

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 50 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
10 weeks
11 weeks
12 weeks
13 weeks
14 weeks
15 weeks
16 weeks
17 weeks
18 weeks
19 weeks
20 weeks
50 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$447 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center 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 Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center 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 Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center 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 Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Wildlife Internship

Help us care for and return wild animals to the wild and gain valuable animal care experience in a lush tropical setting with all the comforts of home.


You might be also interested in

Local Animal Rescue Center Escazu, Costa Rica Volunteer Now Costa Rica
As part of our local animal shelter, you'll be responsible for a variety of activities such as feeding, maintenance and engaging with animals!
Sea Turtle Conservation Ambassador Quepos, Costa Rica Tortugas de Pacuare
Volunteer and save turtles, make a difference and meet one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Join us in Pacific CR!
Conservation of Whale & Dolphin Populations Tenerife, Spain GVI
Contribute to critical whale & dolphin conservation initiatives in the beautiful subtropical island archipelago - Canary Islands.
Migrants and Refugees Integration Support Napoli, Italy International Napoli Network
Help the refugee and migrant community to gain a foothold in Europe by supporting shelters, schools, health care and activities tailored to their long-term integration.

Why am I seeing this?

You requested a page that doesn't exist on this site any more. This could be caused by a link you followed that was out of date, by a typing in the wrong address in the address bar, or simply because the post has been deleted.

Take Me Home