Butterfly and Botanical Gardens Assistant

Overview Requirements What's included Dates & Fees Reviews
founded in 2009
Coordinator | Colleen
Coordinator | Colleen


Interact with nature in one of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
Contribute to reforestation and restoration in the coastal tropical rainforest of the Osa Peninsula.
Work with enchanting tropical butterfly species and learn their host plants.
Get a little dirty processing compost, maintaining trails, and pruning fruit trees.
Located less than 1 mile from the beach perfect for swimming and kayaking.
Age 18+

Introduction: The Butterfly and Botanical Gardens Assistant assignment is located at Osa Interactive Gardens in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica. Osa Interactive Gardens is a conservation project that works closely with the community to educate youth about the natural world and unique rainforest surrounding the community. The Butterfly and Botanical Gardens Assistant is an important role in the direct breeding, research, and conservation of butterflies in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica and continued development of the botanical garden collection of native and endemic plants of this wildly biodiverse ecosystem. The assistant also participates in school group visits and our educational program.

Tasks of the assistant: Gardening work includes planting, soil preparation, filling plant bags, weeding, harvest, irrigation, seed processing, etc. There is also the chance to assist in field botanical collection expeditions.

Butterfly tasks include egg and caterpillar collection, trap monitoring, butterfly tagging and mapping, host plant propagation and collection, and data collection and entry.

School groups visit the property on average 1-3 times per month (January-September) and we participate in school workshops and activities about once a month (January-October). Volunteers will support the tour leader and may be asked to help develop activities. Transportation from O.I.G. to the local schools is provided for O.I.G. volunteers.

Requirements of the project for the assistant: Working hours on the property are 7AM-3PM Monday-Friday. Assistants staying at O.I.G. property housing typically work 3 to 6 hours per day five days a week starting around 9:00 AM, breaking lunch around noon (lunch not provided but the cabin has a kitchen and we are located walking distance from town). Volunteers can work out a schedule with the supervisor and should notify them if they would like days off to travel. Those not staying in O.I.G. housing can arrange flexible work hours, but we ask for 24-hour notice of any changes. The number of work hours depends on the nature of the day’s tasks. There will be days of hard work in the sun, like filling plant nursery bags with soil or digging holes to plant trees, and days that involve more slow, thoughtful work like making rooted cuttings or collecting butterfly eggs and caterpillars. The more laborious days we work shorter hours. Volunteers will be trained on each new task.

Soft skills: plant propagation, seed processing, egg and caterpillar collection, butterfly trap monitoring, data collection/entry, plant pruning, design exhibits, computer work.

Hard skills: digging, sifting soil, moving soil/planting bags/rocks, working with basic tools and construction. The heat is difficult to work in, so we take plenty of breaks and provide shade and water.

Typical day

Breakfast at 9:00 AM and begin work after. We have a weekly work schedule: 

Monday: Caterpillars and Butterflies
Tuesday: Greenhouse and planting 
Wednesday: Compost 
Thursday: Trails
Friday: Harvest, plant projects, art projects
Saturday: Optional special projects
There are many learning opportunities and you will be trained for each task.

Free-time activities

Puerto Jimenez is a very desirable tourist destination in Costa Rica. It is the jump off point to enter Corcovado National Park and Cabo Matapalo beaches and surfing. The butterfly farm is minutes from Golfo Dulce beaches and the Puerto Jimenez airport. A incredible nature place to discover with mangroves, primary forest, wild beaches, waterfalls and mountains.

Water Sports

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) or Spanish (basic level)
Education Requirements
Biology, education, conservation at University level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Very desirable:
Field work
research experience
farming skills

Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 13:00

Included Services

Services by Osa Interactive Gardens

Only charges for those staying at Osa Interactive Gardens cabin. If you are not staying with us, there is no fee to volunteer. 

Includes breakfast on work days (Monday-Friday), and cabin includes all utilities: gas, water, electric, WIFI and there is a clothes washing machine. LUNCH AND DINNER ARE NOT PROVIDED. The cabin has a kitchen and we are located walking distance from town.

Airport Pickup at Puerto Jimenez

We can pick you up from the Puerto Jimenez airport, bus station, or pier. To get here, fly to San Jose International Airport, then chose your transport preference once in Costa Rica. Domestic airlines that fly to Puerto Jimenez are Sansa and Skyway.


Simple cabin in the jungle has 3 beds (queen and single bunk beds) with basic essentials (sheets, towels, fans, soap), outdoor, covered kitchenette with small refrigerator, propane stove, sink, coffee maker, and all basic kitchen supplies. 1 full bathroom and clothes washing machine. There is no hot water. WIFI all over the property.

Food & Beverages

We provide breakfast Monday-Friday and drinks (water, juice, and or coffee). We do not work on Saturday and Sunday. LUNCH AND DINNER ARE NOT PROVIDED. The cabin has a kitchen and we are located walking distance from town.

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 Puerto Jimenez (PJM) in Puerto Jimenez. 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

Any day, but we recommend contacting us as soon as you know the dates you would like to be in Puerto Jimenez, especially if you are interested in reserving a bed in the cabin. We are closed holidays.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 20 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$ 180
2 weeks
$ 340
2 weeks
$ 360
3 weeks
$ 480
3 weeks
$ 480
4 weeks
$ 640
4 weeks
$ 640
6 weeks
$ 950
6 weeks
$ 950
8 weeks
$ 1,150
8 weeks
$ 1,150
20 weeks (max. stay)
$ 2,700
Average fees
$ 158 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Osa Interactive Gardens 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 Osa Interactive Gardens 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 Osa Interactive Gardens 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 Osa Interactive Gardens.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

  Americas Central America Costa Rica  Puerto Jimenez , 500 m West of Osa gas station
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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