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NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary

Assistant in Animal Sanctuary

Aranjuez, Puntarenas, Costa Rica show on map

Be part of the NATUWAS's team assisting feeding the animals, animal enrichment, cleaning enclosures, maintenance of the sanctuary, and guiding tours for visitors.

Natuwa Macaw Sanctuary is a place that provides refuge and protection to the wild animals that have been victimized by human actions such as hunting, removal from their environments, and deforestation. These actions allow species to become vulnerable within their natural habitat, which can cause immense damage to natural ecosystems. The results of these human actions often include a displacement of animals from their natural habitat.

Many of these displaced animals find the care and rehabilitation that they need at the NATUWA Santuario de Lapas. At our sanctuary, the dislocated animals are given a chance to return to their natural habitat. Unfortunately, due to the actions of humans, reintroduction is often quite difficult. This is where you as a volunteer get to help!

As a volunteer, you play a very important role in the direct care of our animals. Here at NATUWA Santuario de Lapas, we have many animals that require daily care. Volunteers work alongside our workers with feeding, cleaning enclosures, and providing enrichment for all of our animals. Currently, we have six species of macaw, umbrella cockatoos, four species of amazon parrots, seven species of parakeets, ecleptus parrots, spider monkeys, marmoset monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tamarin monkeys, collared peccaries, deer, tapirs, ocelots, and jaguars. The workers that the volunteers will be assisting are from Costa Rica, and most of them only speak Spanish.

Not only do volunteers get to interact with our workers who are from Costa Rica, our project also has the support of local universities. Costa Rican students come to the sanctuary to do their graduation thesis, business practices (ecotourism), and also schools that send their students to perform a required volunteer work of 300 hours. This offers a great chance for our volunteers to be immersed in the Latin American culture.

NATUWA Santuario de Lapas is located in Aranjuez, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. Aranjuez is a quiet country town with dirt roads. The locals all know about our sanctuary, and they are very friendly! Volunteers are encouraged to bring board games and outdoor toys like footballs, frisbees, etc. About 1km from the sanctuary, there is a grass soccer field that volunteers are welcome to use and play with the locals. There is also a small supermarket located next to the soccer field.

Due to the environment that our volunteers work in, we require pants and rain boots to be worn while working. Rain boots can be brought, or purchased here for around $15 USD. It is also highly recommended that each volunteer bring a mosquito net for a twin sized bed. Volunteers sleep in a housing inside of the sanctuary, and all bed sheets are provided, but volunteers are welcome to bring their own! We also provide and cook all of the food for our volunteers. We expect nothing more than a positive attitude and willingness to work from each of our volunteers!

Typical day

This volunteer project is quite different from other projects around Costa Rica. We never have a shortage of work, in fact, we are almost always looking for more hands to help! We have over 500 animals that need daily care. If you are lack motivation or passion for animal care and conservation, this may not be the project for you (and that's ok!) Our daily schedule can be intense, but the work here is extremely rewarding!

6:00am-8:00am - Morning feeding of animals with light supervision after an introduction period (minimum 3 days).

8:00am-8:15am - Breakfast!

8:15am-10:30am - Daily tasks (see list below)

10:30am-10:45am - Juice break!

10:45am-12:00md - Daily tasks (see list below)

12:00md-1:00pm - Lunch, WiFi, and nap time!

1:00pm-3:00pm -
Afternoon feeding of animals with light supervision after an introduction period (minimum 3 days).

After the afternoon feeding, volunteers are free to do whatever they would like for the rest of the day! Dinner is ready by 5:00pm, and it is self-serve.

List of Daily Tasks:

Cleaning under animal feeding stations, providing water to animals, washing enclosure floors, moving animals, sanctuary maintenance, feeding baby animals, sorting macadamia nuts, providing fresh cut grass to our mammals, and anything else that needs to be done!

Details on Arrival

Volunteers may arrive at any time of day, any day of the week, any week of the month, and any month of the year! Transportation from the airport is not provided, but can be arranged - just let us know if you'd like help getting here!


Free-time activities

Every week, volunteers receive one day off to be able to relax and explore surrounding areas. The staff of the sanctuary can help organize places to visit. Options include the beach, local river, Puntarenas, Monteverde, etc.

Public buses run every day (except Sunday) to and from the Sanctuary to Puntarenas. At 6:00am a public bus arrives in front of the Sanctuary to transport people to the town of Puntarenas where there is a bus station with buses to travel around Costa Rica. The bus leaves from Puntarenas to Aranjuez at 11:30am, arriving at the sanctuary around 1:00pm. The price of the public bus is 1,000 colons (about $2).

A taxi service can be requested to bring volunteers to the sanctuary. From Puntarenas to the sanctuary, volunteers can expect to pay about $35 for a taxi, and about $80 from the airport (Alajuela) to NATUWA.


Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

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) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level) and Spanish (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Required Documents
Travel insurance
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Non-required, but appreciated skills include:

Veterinarian experience
Biology coursework
Natural resources management coursework
Tour guide experience
Painting, mural, or graffiti experience
Publicist experience
Web designer experience
io application developer experience
Carpentering experience
Building experience
Welding experience
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 06:00 - 15:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Included Services

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Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary (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 NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary

The cost per week is $ 210, plus transportation cost of $ 160 two trips to the airport. This price includes three meals, dorm style housing. This price does not include public transportation or personal expenses outside of NATUWA.

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

Transportation from the airport, once the volunteer provides us with the flight information, such as the flight number, arrival time and date, is carried out by a reliable company that has provided transportation services for several years. NATUWA is 2 hours from the Aeropuerto Juan Santamaria, in the province of Alajuela. The cost of transportation from the airport to NATUWA is $ 80.

Accommodation

Currently, volunteer housing is in two separate buildings. The first building is a typical Costa Rica country style house with one room including three bunk beds, a fan, storage space, and windows. The house is typically reserved for long-term volunteers (4 weeks or more). The second building is a modified shipping container with three rooms. Each room of the container includes two bunk beds, a fan, and storage space for personal items. It is advised for volunteers to bring their own mosquito nets. Volunteers are expected to keep their areas clean and respect the property of others.

The bathroom and shower are located in a separate building adjacent to the container. No hot water is available for the showers.

Laundry is typically done by hand, but a laundry machine is available for 1000 colons (about $2) per use. Drying of clothes is done on clotheslines.

No WiFi is currently available in the volunteer housing. WiFi is only available in the sanctuary gift shop.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

The meals are typical dishes of Costa Rica. Almost every meal includes rice, beans, or salad. Juice or coffee is offered for every meal.

Example Breakfast Meals:
1. "Gallo pinto" with: egg, plantain, or sausage.
2. Cereal
3. Fruits (watermelon, banana, and papaya).

Example Lunch Meals:
1. Rice and beans with a meat
2. Rice and beans with spaghetti
3. Meat and vegetable soup with rice

Example Dinner Meals:
1. Rice and beans with a meat
2. Hamburger
3. Cold cut sandwich

Note:
It is very important that you inform us if you have any special diets or food allergies.

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.
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)
$580.00
3 weeks
$790.00
4 weeks
$1,000.00
5 weeks
$1,210.00
6 weeks
$1,420.00
7 weeks
$1,630.00
8 weeks
$1,840.00
9 weeks
$2,050.00
10 weeks
$2,260.00
11 weeks
$2,470.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$2,680.00
Average fees
$257.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Aranjuez, Puntarenas/Costa Rica between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary 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 NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Costa Rica  Aranjuez, Puntarenas, 500mts norte plaza deportes
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