Volunteer Now Costa Rica

Animal Rescue Centre Supporter

Alajuela, Costa Rica show on map

Our program is a volunteer program designed for volunteers to assist in all tasks like feeding, maintenance and entertaining animals that are living at the shelter.

Following the new standards of animal welfare and for respect to wildlife, we stand against the “petting zoo” idea, where time before, inexperienced volunteers handled animals indistinctly. This concept has changed recently, and is now an aspect under the new regulation of Costa Rican Wildlife’s Law. This issue have made us look on how to improve our practices, and nowadays we do allow that volunteers with animal care or wildlife experience (nurses, veterinarians, biologists), and a time commitment long enough to be trained, help us with some of those tasks.

We stand that wild animals are sentient beings, under our responsibility, and not elements for the entertainment of people, and are the kind of values we want to share with our volunteers. For what we see the volunteer was expecting to have a different experience with the animals.

About sloth walks: In the same way of the other procedures, sloth walks are done for a reason, which is improve animal conditions, not just for mental enrichment, but to give them the opportunity to get back and reinforce climbing/hanging abilities that may help them under the possibility of a reintroduction, as well as help as mental and physical enrichment while their recovery. Similar to the aspect covered before, these procedures should be done by trained personnel, which is the reason why volunteers working at the hospital (vet team), are the ones leading the task. In order to enhance the volunteer experience, we allow regular volunteers to sign onto a list to accompany vet team volunteers while doing the sloth walk, so they can share some information on what’s the sloth walk about, and about the importance of reducing interaction with the animals while “training”. Working day hours at 7am– 3pm, turn on 7am-6pm, but then compelling for lack of activity at the evening

Working day hours at 7am– 3pm, turn on 7am-6pm, but then compelling for lack of activity at the eveningIn a regular day, the activity can run until 3pm, though there are times of the year or environmental conditions that pull us to increase our time commitment to be sure the animals are under good conditions. This is not a mandatory, as volunteers can get out of their working teams, to rest if desire.

In this time of the year, we are facing high temperatures in the region, so we need to keep animals cool, check water more than three times a day, and sometimes even change a little the feeding times, to avoid secondary issues. Most of the volunteers help us with these situations, and as I mentioned before, probably is about personal commitment. As an example, some volunteers help us with nocturnal animal feeding, or nursery activity, which represent an extra effort, as taking care of newborns or small baby animals that need to be under observation or fed very often, following a working schedule that extends to the evening and down . Of course, these tasks are developed by volunteers with other kind of commitment, and we respect entirely the decision of a volunteer if feel tired or don’t feel like want to participate on those.

Animal releasing: Every animal release should be coordinated with Costarrican wildlife agency. The regulation of Costa Rican wildlife Law has come into force since last February. This new regulation stands to divide Rescue Centers from Zoos, and change fundamentally the possibilities that can be done by each of those institutions. We (as other Costa Rican related institutions) have been forced to modify the scheme of the center, which under their suggestion was first to register the Zoo, and then the rescue center back. Contrary to what your client express, we are on the process, we have the Zoo accreditation complete, and the Rescue Center on it’s way.

Going a little deep, is important that the volunteers understand that the liberation of an animal is a process that take time, and not an act that can be done lightly. Under the new Costarrican wildlife regulation, we understand that animals that stay up to 72 hours on a rescue center are allowed to be released, while after this time, should be sent to the government agency to relocate on other institution.  In our case, part of the animals that we have in the center, have a history that doesn’t allow us to set them under a release program. Some of the animals came badly injured, or lost physical or behavioral abilities to live in the wild due to human interactions.

But even when the panorama looks difficult for the future of the reintroductions, we have some animals that with the permission of the wildlife agency are in the process to be released. But as you may imagine, those are animals that should be kept on a separated environment, without interactions with regular volunteers, in order to reduce human contact that may endanger their reintroduction opportunities.

Who we are looking for: Volunteers of all ages and with all levels of experience and education are welcome at the Rescue Center. Whether you're a veterinary student with a broad knowledge of animal medicine, or simply a person with a passion for saving wildlife; your help is what keeps our Rescue Center going. 

The location: The Rescue center's beautiful surroundings, kind staff and magnificent animals make volunteering at the Costa Rica animal rescue center a wonderful life - changing experience and keep our volunteers coming back year after year.

Typical day

The daily tasks include:

  1. Preparing food for the animals
  2. Feeding the howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, sloths, birds (Scarlet Macaws, parrots, owls, and others), olingo, and kinkajous
  3. Cleaning animal enclosures
  4. Cleaning the common areas
  5. Giving extra attention to the orphaned young animals 
  6. General tidying of the Center (sweeping pathways, etc.)
  7. Preparing toys and stimulating exercises for the animals
  8. Caring for our resident dogs
  9. And other great contributions you might have! We welcome creative initiative!

Details on Arrival

We have volunteers from every country and background possible. Spanish fluency is not necessary and we are open 24 hours a day and seven days a week all year long so the volunteers are welcome every day and every season.

Free-time activities

Normally volunteers have the weekend free to do different activities such as:

  • Surf Lessons
  • Spanish lessons
  • Tours by the city of Carribean Side , Puerto Viejo Town and Tortuguero Canales
  • hike to Volcanos like Arenal Volcano
  • visit Beaches
  • visit National Parks like Manuel Antonio and Monterverde
  • Horse Ride,  Canopy

We can help with reservations.

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/Music
Diving/Snorkling
Museum/Opera
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 14 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (basic level) and English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
required
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, Friday and Saturday from 08:00 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+
Wheel Chairs

Included Services

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 Volunteer Now Costa Rica 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 Volunteer Now Costa Rica.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Volunteer Now Costa Rica (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Volunteer Now Costa Rica

Accommodation , 3 meals and drink are included in the fees.

Accommodation

shared with other volunteers in our dorm style accomodation.

Bungalow
Food & Beverages

Three meals a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner,  fruits, typical food from Costa Rica but we also have special food for vegetarian's volunteers.

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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$550.00
3 weeks
$825.00
4 weeks
$1,100.00
5 weeks
$1,375.00
6 weeks
$1,650.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$13,750.00
Average fees
$275.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Alajuela/Costa Rica between 2 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Volunteer Now Costa Rica will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Costa Rica.
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 Volunteer Now Costa Rica during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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Reservation
The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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