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Costa Rica Animal Rescue Project

Costa Rica Animal Rescue Project

Work at a centre dedicated to the care and conservation of some of Costa Rica's most threatened species.

Prices from $1,045

Set between tropical Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most breathtaking countries in the world. Even though it covers just 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it is home to an incredible 500,000 species including jaguars, sloths, spider monkeys and five species of turtle.

oin this incredible project to experience front line conservation and help safeguard Costa Rica's precious wildlife and unique habitats for future generations. The rescue centre has been set up to provide a sanctuary for animals that have either been rescued from captivity or found injured. At the centre you will have the opportunity to work hands on with these incredible animals and help improve their lives. Once at the centre they are given superb care and attention in an effort to rebuild their fragile lives, and where possible are re-introduced back into the wild.


  • Gain hands on experience working with sloths and other primates
  • Explore the critical ecosystems of Costa Rica
  • Work directly with a range of endangered species


  • Minimum age of 17 years


Location Costa Rica
Activities Preparing food & feeding the animals
Cleaning and maintaining enclosures
Environmental education work

Volunteer house/shared dormitories


Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt (UK only)
In-country Accommodation
Local orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup


A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.


Human encroachment and activities, both legal and illegal, have resulted in the steady decline of many of Costa Rica's most defining species. Animals which have been recovered from poachers need to be cared for before being reintroduced to the wild, if they even can be. Volunteering at an animal rescue centre could be your opportunity to contribute to the care and possible rehabilitation of any number of species, while getting up close and personal in the process.

The Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center and Sanctuary is a privately owned wildlife rescue facility focusing on the care, rehabilitation and study of Costa Rican wildlife. We work directly with the government receiving confiscated, sick and injured wild animals. All the animals that come to our rescue center receive all the medical attention and love needed. We are able to release many back into the wild however those who can't, stay in the center. These animals accomplish a mission in life, they help us in our education programmes so that everyone can learn to respect nature. Although we work with the government we do not receive governmental support, we rely on our membership programme, private donations and international volunteers for their contribution to this amazing project. 

The kinds of animals that can typically be expected at the sanctuary include sloths, white-faced, howler and spider monkeys, toucans, parrots, kinkajous and olingo.


Working alongside local staff, volunteers help look after the animals and educate visitors. At the centre volunteers may have the opportunity to work hands on with monkeys, sloths and other wildlife.

You will be involved in every aspect of the day to day running of the centre, including feeding the animals and preparing the food, cleaning the enclosures, building and repairing the enclosures and feeding platforms. Your experience here will enrich your knowledge and your expertise on wild animal care.

At the rescue center everyone is expected to pull their own weight and work together as a team and take responsibility for the daily duties looking after the animals. The animals do not work on our schedule, rather they follow their own internal clock which insists that they eat early in the day. The time for your rest and relaxation is later in the day when high temperatures usually demand it.

A typical day at the rescue center could consist of the following:

7am: Breakfast

8am: Morning meeting to allocate chores

8am-11am: Morning chores: cleaning enclosures, preparing food, babysitting, etc.

12pm: Lunch

1pm: Lunch meeting to allocate afternoon chores

1pm-3pm: Afternoon chores: continued duties around the sanctuary as required such as cleaning, sweeping, enclosure maintenance.

3pm-6pm: Relaxation, reading, swimming, individual projects, free time.

18:00-21:00 Dinner & socializing 

21:00 Bedtime


Upon your arrival to Juan Santa Maria International Airport in San Jose you should make your way to the project site, the address is indicated in your field brief.  Please be aware that you will also be responsible for organising your own transport from the project site back to San Jose airport at the end of your project. This is pretty straightforward and your volunteer coordinator will be more than happy to help you with your own arrangements.


Throughout your stay on the project you will be living in shared dormitory style accommodation at the biological centre, with volunteer common room and communal kitchen. You will be provided with a mosquito net, bed sheets and a laundry service once a week. Although basic, your accommodation will of course be clean and comfortable and you will soon feel at home with your welcoming hosts.


While you are on the project, all meals are included in the programme (breakfast, lunch and dinner).  These will be based upon a typical Costa Rican diet.  Your food will be fairly basic and consist mainly of rice, beans, corn, meat, pasta, vegetables and seasonal fruits, as well as plenty of gallo pinto.

Beautiful country!  | 18 May 2017
I had an amazing time on the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Project, I'll always look back on the p...

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Working with animals  | 28 Apr 2017
Frontier were really great in helping me decide where to go for my trip because I knew I wanted t...

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This year I had the pleasure to stay at the wildlife centre - the most beautiful home for orphan ...

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A good insight  | 11 Feb 2017
Having narrowed down my choice of conservation projects I settled on volunteering at a rescue pro...

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Unforgettable memories...  | 23 Sep 2016
I highly recommend this project! Vanessa and everybody else are really involved with helping...

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Hands-on from the beginning!  | 25 Jul 2016
This was a great place to volunteer as you got to be hands-on from the beginning and involved in ...

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A pleasure to stay at the wildlife centre  | 16 May 2016
  This spring 2016 I had the pleasure to stay at the wildlife centre - the most beautifu...

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The best part of the volunteering experience for me was being able to work hands on with all the ...

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During my two weeks on the project, I encountered and worked closely with many animals, such as s...

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I’ll never forget my time spent in the Costa Rican jungle!  | 23 May 2014
This family run Animal Sanctuary was such a brilliant place to visit. They receive no government ...

Read more

1 to 10 next >


You will have one day off per week, which can be arranged with the centre's administration. San José is situated in the middle of the country making it a convenient location for travelling to other parts of Costa Rica. In San José you will find buses that will take you directly to the Caribbean coast, the Pacific coast, the famous Arenal volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio National Park and many other destinations.

There are many interesting sights and activities on the Carribean coast such as the tourist hub of Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero and Cahuita National Park for incredible wildlife viewing, Uvita Island for relaxing days off and even ziplining and river rafting opportunities nearby for the adrenaline seekers amongst you!

Alternatively many of our volunteers have also helped out at one of the local schools and donated their day off to this incredibly rewarding experience. Please ask your in-country coordinator for more information if this is something that you would be interested in.


2 weeks $1,045

Extra week $345


Weekly. Please arrive on the Monday.


You can join this project for 2 weeks +


Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt (UK only)


  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ backup


Nearest airport(s): San Jose Juan Santamaria Apt (SJO)



Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .


For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.


You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.

Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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