first hand Costa Rica

Macaw & Animal Reserve Supporter

Aranjuez, Costa Rica show on map

Take care of rescued animals - especially macaws -, to rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild.

About the Program

The Macaw Reserve was created in the year 1994 by two Costa Ricans for their grand admiration for the parrots. In addition, the reserve began as a result of their preoccupation with the constant threat that these emblematic birds face, the loss of their natural habitat and their extraction from the forest as pets. For these reasons there has been an incredible reduction in the population of native, wild macaws in Costa Rica, further highlighting the importance of such a sanctuary of conservation. 

The Macaw Reserve has the primary purpose to conserve native, wild macaws of Costa Rica and develop a captive management and breeding program to rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild, with support from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the National Police and volunteers from civil society. 

Additionally, the Sanctuary facilitates programs of reforestation, environmental education and ecotourism. For this reason, the proyect was declared by the Central Municipality of Puntarenas, a place of educational, scientific and touristic interest, by motion created on July 13th 2015.

Our Volunteers

Things to bring:

  • Love for animals and nature 
  • Being prepared for sometimes physically demanding work 
  • Ability to integrate and adapt to the center's rules 
  • Enjoy to communicate with the guests of the center
  • Good knowledge of Spanish or English

Typical day

Your Tasks

  • Assisting with care for animals
  • Preparing food and helping the keeper distribute the portions for each animal 
  • Cleaning and repairs of the facility and viewing areas
  • Maintainance of pathways and areas around animal pens
  • Helping in discussions and workshops with schools and visitors
  • Attending visitors

The day begins at 6 am cutting fruit und vegetables. You will bring the fresh cut food to the animals and clean their bowls. At 8:30 am you'll have a typical breakfast - rice and beans, fruit and vegetable. The works continues until lunch at 12:00 md and after lunch your work continues according to the special works that have to done. Be prepared for hard work and a lot of dirt!

Details on Arrival

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

Free-time activities

The Reserve is in a remote area - be prepared to chill after work and make friends with the workers and their daily life. There is an Airport for Ultralight Airplanes and Gyrocopter in footwalk distance - if you ever wanted to make this incredible experience to fly with such an airplane ... here you have the opportunity! It's not cheap, but it is unique! (See the picture.)

Puntarenas is close it's a rather big city - cruise ships land here - and you can go to the beach here ... although there are much nicer beaches on the pacific coast! ;-)

You can use your free days for excursions and there are so many lovely places to go in Costa Rica ... National Park Monteverde, Volcano Arenal, meet us in Sámara and enjoy surfing for some days, visit the caribbean coast and/or our rainforest lodge ...

Water Sports
Swimming
Hiking
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 20 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 (fluently) and Spanish (basic level)
Required Documents
Medical insurance valid in Costa Rica (bring a copy)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You should bring some experience with birds and animals.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

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 first hand Costa Rica cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by first hand Costa Rica.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
first hand 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 first hand Costa Rica

The fee includes accomodation and three meals a day.


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. From the airport to the Animal Reserve the cost is aprox. 60 US$

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

You will be picked up at the airport by our driver with a sign with your name and you will directly get in contact with your german, english, spanish speaking coordinator via phone. The driver will drive you to the reserved hostel (if necessary), give you the bus ticket (he will buy a ticket in advance to reserve you a seat in the bus), pick you up at the hostel the day of your journey to the project and bring you to the bus.
The cost will be around 60 US$ plus the hostel night (between 10-12 US$ (dorm) and 30 US$ (single/double room).

Accommodation

It is a volunteer house (cabina) that is very simple and you share it with other volunteers.

Guesthouse
Food & Beverages

You'll have breakfast, lunch and dinner with the other volunteers and workers based on the tipical Costarican diet, for example 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.
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)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$1,160.00
5 weeks
$1,345.00
6 weeks
$1,530.00
7 weeks
$1,715.00
8 weeks
$1,900.00
9 weeks
$2,085.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$2,640.00
Average fees
$255.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Aranjuez/Costa Rica between 4 weeks and 12 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.
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 {project.name} 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 social project site is open in Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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