The Great Projects

Sloth And Wildlife Conservation Supporter

Quepos, Costa Rica show on map
Volunteer with sloths, monkeys and a range of other wildlife in their native home of Costa Rica and help protect these amazing animals from the dangers of deforestation. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Begin your volunteer adventure and head to the rainforests of Costa Rica, where you can take part in the vital conservation of some of the country's most vulnerable wildlife. Your help will enable the sanctuary to care for the many animals that come through its doors, giving these creatures another chance at life.

Founded in 1999 by two young girls, the project has grown from a humble fund-raising initiative designed to raise money to plant trees in the rainforest, to the phenomenal animal sanctuary that we see today. Take part in the enrichment of its resident animals, observe their behaviours, and keep their environments clean and suitable at all times. You could also take part in food preparation, the maintenance of enclosures, and monitoring of animal health.

Your time spent on the project will be crucial in the protection of sloths, monkeys, and a plethora of other exciting animal species, aiding the centre to run smoothly and effectively - and therefore, allowing the sanctuary to provide further care for any animal that needs it.

Activities

Enclosure cleaning: To ensure that all of the animals at the centre have a hygienic and suitable environment in which to live, you will help by cleaning the enclosures on a regular basis (typically once a day.) Cleaning will be done alongside a zookeeper resident at the project site.

Food preparation and distribution: You will spend time collecting, preparing, and then distributing food and water to the animal residents at the centre. You will do this alongside a trained animal caretaker who will ensure that you approach the enclosures in the correct manner, and have prepared the correct food for the right animal. 

Observation of animal behaviours: As a volunteer, you will help to observe the behaviours of the animals at the project site to ensure that the stress of moving enclosures or being introduced to newly rescued animals is not too much to bear. You will be tasked with observing any changes in animal behaviour, and you will be assigned to one animal so you will be able to more easily notice any changes in their behaviour. You may be asked to record this data, if necessary.

Reforestation activities: The project is currently working on reforestation on a plantation 1.5 hours from the project site itself. On this plot, trees are planted to provide food, shelter, and a safe corridor for the local animals to use. You will be working in teams of three to plant the trees which will provide a safe haven for the local wildlife. Please note that this is not a guaranteed part of your itinerary, as such an activity takes place sporadically and seasonally.

Educational research and reports: A big part of this project is working to teach others about the importance of conservation and you will play a big part in this. You will have the chance to gather information on a topic you are passionate about and then share it with tourists and visitors to a local Inn in an attempt to help spread awareness. 

Enrichment: You will complete a variety of enrichments that help exercise the animals' wild instincts. These enrichments can be both environmental and nutritional. The environmental enrichment activities entail the volunteers to head into the rainforest under the supervision of our biologist and zookeeper to find the leaves of native trees and palms to make the animals’ enclosure as close to their natural habitat as possible. During nutritional enrichments, volunteers will come up with ways to make the animals work for finding their food. This keeps the hunting instincts going strong.

Suitabilities

When taking part on this volunteer project, be aware of the fact that much time will be spent on your feet and therefore a moderate fitness level is required for participation. In addition to this, Costa Rica can be very humid, so do bear this in mind when deciding whether this project is for you. Finally, in reference to the reforestation activities outlined above, do note that this involves a lot of walking on uneven ground and on terrain that can at times be quite treacherous (especially after the rains!) In addition to wearing suitable footwear and breathable outdoor gear, please consider your own physical capabilities before taking part in this particular activity.

Location

This project is based within the rainforest, with an approximate 10 minute drive through palms to the door of your accommodation. Volunteers will share accommodation with up to 8 other people, in a spacious building complete with kitchen, toilet, shower, dining area and 4 bunkbeds (one single bed may also be available, if not already occupied). For a fee of $150 USD per night, volunteers can upgrade to private cottage accommodation.

The project grounds are vast and natural, shrouded in trees but still well-kept. There is an onsite pool if the volunteers wish to cool off or unwind in their spare time, and there is also a restaurant (self-serve for 2 out of 3 meals per day), and a seating/lounge area in the foyer.

Equipment to bring

Volunteers are advised to bring a head torch, as it is very dark at the project site from around 5/6pm onwards and the walk between the restaurant and your accommodation is not well-lit (a head torch may also come in handy on some activities.) It is also wise to bring a rain jacket/waterproof clothing, plenty of spare socks, and some waterproof shoes with good grip.

Typical day

Itinerary

The itinerary here is subject to change, but as a rough guide is as follows:

Day one: Arrive at the project site from the airport, either by taxi transfer or a combination of bus and taxi transportation. Depending on your arrival time, you may be shown around the project site (including the kitchen, laundry room, pool and other facilities), and you will also be given time to settle in and introduce yourself to your fellow volunteers! Enjoy a delicious evening meal, prepared for you by a member of the project staff.

Project days: After breakfast, you will begin your day's work (around 8:30am), undertaking a series of activities such as enrichment and behavioural observation. The latter part of the day may involve 'walking' the animals, which means to take them out of their enclosures and to exercise them. This task is discretionary, but should the sanctuary staff assign you this task, you will likely be allocated one animal to work with and observe closely. One of the days in the week you will have the opportunity to visit the local Marina with your team, enjoying some delicious Costa Rican cuisine by the waterside!

Final day: Sadly, it's time for you to bid farewell to your fellow volunteers! Enjoy a delicious final meal of your choosing, prepared for you by the project staff. Share stories, reflect on any stand-out moments from your time spent volunteering, and enjoy exchanging photos and videos taken at the project with your fellow volunteers (if you so wish!)

If you are heading to the airport, there is a bus from nearby Quepos which will take you directly to departures; this costs $7 USD (but please note that if this is your preferred transportation method, you will need to make your own way to Quepos). If you would prefer to have a taxi from the project site to the airport, the volunteer coordinator will be happy to arrange this for you, and costs around $150 USD.

Details on Arrival

Volunteers will be accepted at roughly any time, but please try to be considerate with your arrival times (10am til 8pm would be the ideal timeframe.) In addition to this, be aware that buses and taxis may not always be available, operating on somewhat of a schedule. For further information, please contact our travel team.

The project takes on volunteers every day throughout the year, including Christmas, New Year and Bank Holidays. The doors will always be open provided volunteers are happy to get involved, so get in touch today!

Free-time activities

The project has its own pool on site, but if you would like to take part in a range of other activities, head to one of the nearby attractions. Go swimming at the beach, or enjoy time surfing, jetskiing or parasailing. Elsewhere, Manuel Antonio National Park is an excellent day out!

Water Sports
Swimming

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)
Required Documents
Hepatitis A vaccine and tetanus vaccine
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, Saturday and Sunday

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 The Great Projects 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 The Great Projects.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
The Great Projects (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 The Great Projects
  • A monetary contribution to the project itself
  • Full orientation from the project managers 
  • Accommodation and meals as indicated
  • All activities
  • Wifi
  • Laundry facilities (once a week) 
  • Access to a swimming pool 
Accommodation
During your time at the project, you will be staying in shared accommodation with up to 8 other volunteers. The bathrooms at the project site are also shared between volunteers, and you will have access to a full kitchen with multiple fridges so you will be able to have a steady supply of cold water and chilled snacks! 

If you wish to upgrade your accommodation during your stay, then one of the luxury cottages may be available for an additional cost so please enquire with us to check availability. 
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
Lunch is the main meal of the day at the project and this large meal will always consist of rice, beans, a salad and vegetables, with the other parts of the meal changing on a regular basis to ensure variety. For breakfast and dinner, food will be provided but it is up to you to cook it yourself so we recommend taking turns with the other volunteers to prepare a delicious Costa Rican meal! 
Clean drinking water and a variety of juices and sodas are available to drink throughout the day at the project site, but please note that whilst alcohol is not prohibited, it is not provided. 

Please note that the project is able to cater for vegans, vegetarians, and those with allergies but please let us know before you travel so that we can inform the project team and they can get the appropriate foodstuffs in. 

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. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.
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
15 days (min. stay)
$ 1,073
22 days
$ 1,587
4 weeks (max. stay)
$ 1,993
Average fees
$ 499 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Quepos/Costa Rica between 15 days and 4 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects 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 The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Americas Central America Costa Rica  Quepos, Puntarenas Provinc

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Reservation
The project site is open in: Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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