Jaguar Conservation and Research

Discover the Costa Rica rainforest and assist in the research of the endangered Jaguars

While on project, you will be located on a remote research station within the stunning Tortuguero National Park.  Although basic, the volunteer base has a rustic charm, which allows you to truly experience the magnificent Costa Rican rainforest. You will be housed in dormitory style accommodation, with communal kitchen and bathroom facilities. There is cold running water, bucket flush toilets and a generator for electricity ­ all of which prioritize conservation in this region! Meals are predominantly vegetarian, and volunteers prepare these on a rotational basis. As a volunteer, you will be involved in a variety of different survey work; these surveys are conducted along trails throughout the rainforest, usually 6 days a week. Species surveyed include turtles, jaguars, monkeys, canal birds and incidental sightings. 

The project is in partnership with Panthera and Coastal Jaguar Conservation, with most of the data being collected from camera traps set within the survey area. You will get involved with setting traps and potentially, also with analyzing the images. You will also conduct a 13 mile survey along the beach, usually once or twice per month, collecting data on jaguar predation rates. Please note, while you will encounter some wonderful wildlife, jaguar sightings are very rare.

Duties could include:
- Jaguar feeding behavior
- Monitor turtle predation (during season)
- Use of camera traps to identify individual jaguars 
- volunteers staying longer than 2 weeks will also take part in some of the other surveys carried out on base which is dependent on the time of the year but may include, marine turtle, canal/shore bird, spider monkey or amphibian monitoring, general biodiversity/incidental sighting surveys.

Suitable for


Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Health Declaration
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Costa Rica? Volunteer World directly connects you with Global Vision International (GVI)

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Free-time activities

You will be based at the research station within the National Park, located 1 hour by motorboat from the nearest town of Tortuguero, and working on the surrounding canals, rivers, forest, beaches and in the nearby communities. Travel around the local area is limited and dependent on expedition staff and water taxi services.

Before and after your program you could explore the rest of Costa Rica, or travel onwards throughout Latin America. Buses are cheap but basic, and regional flights are relatively affordable. With so much culture and adventure it's sometimes hard to know where to start – the possibilities are endless!

Water Sports


What's included?
Pre-departure support and discounted services
24-hour emergency phone
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
Long term experienced staff
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
Welcome meeting
Location orientation
All necessary project training by experienced staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support

Medical/travel insurance
Visas cost
Airport taxes
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

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.
Airport Pickup

Most volunteers arrange international flights to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (IATA code: SJO) at least one day before expedition starts. If you are arriving between 6pm and 10pm on the evening before the start date, transfers will be arranged by GVI. Those arriving outside of this time, or arriving to San Jose by other means, will be responsible their own transport to Gaudy's(meeting point on Saturday start date)


Accommodation is in shared (mixed sex) dorms with shared bathroom facilities at the field station. There is running water available for washing and cooking, with suitable water for drinking and brushing teeth. Supplies are limited and usage may be restricted when necessary. Flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share responsibility for base duties, including cooking, cleaning, and other chores.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is very basic and mostly vegetarian, with meat rarely available. Breakfast could be porridge or occasionally pancakes, typical lunches and evening meals may include lentils, chicpeas, pasta, beans, or rice, with vegetables. Fresh fruit is provided each afternoon.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Jalova/Costa Rica between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Global Vision International (GVI) will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
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 Global Vision International (GVI) 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 Santamaría International (SJO) in San José. 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?
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Costa Rica upfront.
GVI Jalova, Limon, Pococí, Costa Rica, Jalova, Costa Rica