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first hand Costa Rica

Animals, Reforestation & Horse Trekking

Animals and Wildlife Wildlife Conservation

Here you will have it all - help animals in a wonderful nature and plant trees!

About the Program

This center is a paradise within another paradise in the middle of the jungle.

It is located in the central Pacific region, a biologically related location with the National Parks of Carará and la Cangreja, being a transitional zone between the northern dry forest and the rainforest, with the presence of species from the Puriscal forest, a large quantity of endemic and plant biodiversity.

Next to the program's hotel installations (which is an important income to run this program), the objective is to benefit wildlife and boost the estate´s capacities into a biological corridor, restore the eco-system and reforest with native species. Through these activities the adjacent communities can have improved repercussions, encouraging economic activity through quality ecotourism, development, and environmental education.

Currently, with the decrease in agricultural activity and new environmental consciousness plus the booming of ecotourism as a generator of work and development, a restoration of natural species has favorably presented itself as a priority to the program. For that reason, 110 hectares of the estate have initially been transformed to reforest the environment with native species. After almost 20 years and more than 20000 planted trees it is true to say that something has been done.

With the support of the Ministry of Environment, they have built a wild animal rescue centre that cares for endangered species and reintroduces them to a natural habitat in which they can thrive. There is an animal hospital, a quarantine centre and a supervised area in which animals can recover and be prepared for their release.

Things to Bring

  • Responsibility, orderliness, friendliness
  • Respect and love for animals and the will to learn from them – you should not be afraid of working directly with animals
  • Willingness of doing any kind of work as cleaning excrement of animals and also repeating tasks until they are well done
  • Motivation and love for work!
  • Being conscious that you are in a tropical country with heavy rains and really hot temperatures that you will have to work regardless of the weather!
  • comprehension of Spanish (a minimum is essential for communication)
  • a flashlight
Special requirements
  • Health insurance 
  • You have to proof by scan and copy that you have a tb-test or/and that you are vaccinated against tb. You will not be able to participate in this project without this test! After your application and after we reserved a place for you, you have to proof this by email/scan and you have to bring the copy to the project. Tb is a highly infectious disease that could contaminate easily the whole center including the animals. 
  • Medical insurance valid in Costa Rica; bring a copy 
  • Minimum stay 4 weeks
Please have the airport tax of 29 US$ in mind when you leave.

Suitable for


Typical day

You will work 6 days a week and 8 hours – from 8:00 – 13:00 am and from 3:30 – 5:30 pm.

Breakfast 06.30h

Lunch 14.00h

Dinner 19.30 h

Your work includes:

  • Help caring for animals (preparing food, distribute food, cleaning bowls, facilities and kitchen)
  • Monitoring animals (twice a week walk or horseback ride to the waterfall to bring food, preparing the horses, observing animals and their behavior)
  • Gardening (preparing soil and organic fertiliser, planting, watering, tearing weeds out, tree nursery)
  • Butterfly-garden (repair holes, cleaning, collecting eggs and larves)
  • Horse stables (cleaning the ground and the bowls, distribute food)
  • Maintenance (cleaning all areas and greens, painting handrails and cages, making signs and painting them, keeping pathways clean, reforestation)
  • Cleaning your room daily
  • Pickup of fruit from the near by plantations
  • Attendance of the vet, if necessary
  • Once a month, school visit

Details on Arrival

This program is available all year. It starts every Monday. Please arrive at least one day before the programs starts. 

Program 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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Required Documents
health insurance (valid for Costa Rica) and TB Test
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

Any questions? Just ask. We at first hand Costa Rica are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator

Free-time activities

This program offers a leisure time program: 
On Wednesday, after lunch, they go to Jacó, to spend the afternoon there. Return time is 6:30 pm.
On Sunday at 10:30 am there is an excursion to Manuel Antonio to spend the day at the beach. You can have a picknick for lunch and return time a 6:30 pm.
On Friday, after dinner, there is a transfer to Jacó – depending on the volunteers decision. The transfer back is at 2:30 am.

Water Sports
Contact & Reservation
4 - 6
4 - 6
Airport Pickup

Included Services

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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 first hand Costa Rica cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Services by first hand Costa Rica
  • Accommodation
  • 3 Meals a day
  • We provide airport pickup
  • We organize the journey to the project and we also do hostel reservations in San José if needed (mostly it is needed!).
  • And, if you will combine projects, we will also organize the transportation between the projects. You will have to pay the cost for the pickup and the transport.

You will be living in the project's hotel installations - which is an important income to run this project - and you will share a room with another volunteer.

Food & Beverages

You will get three meals, prepared by the hotel kitchen - breakfast, lunch, dinner - based on the typical costarican cuisine: rice, beans, vegetables, meat and fruit. 

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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
5 weeks
6 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Puntarenas/Costa Rica between 4 weeks and 6 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. first hand Costa Rica 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 first hand Costa Rica during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Costa Rica

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Costa Rica. Please check the visa regulations for Costa Rica.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Costa Rica and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Costa Rica.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Costa Rica.

What's next?

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.
Vaccine Checker
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.
What can you do in leisure-time in Costa Rica while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Parrita, Puntarenas, Costa Rica zoom="6"

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