Central America Volunteer Projects Volunteering

WILDLIFE VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA

We never would of thought our first time visiting Central America would be spent volunteering in the jungle of Costa Rica. But here we were, sitting on a bench surrounded by lush vegetation feeding a 2 month old orphaned sloth – our week volunteering at the Costa Rican Animal Rescue Center with GoEco was going to be an eye opener thats for sure!

This was our first time volunteering anywhere, let alone abroad, and we were so excited for our adventure to begin.

Costa Rica

Why Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 5% of the total species estimated worldwide. This makes Costa Rica one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world! However, habitat destruction from deforestation, poaching, indiscriminate use of pesticides, the illegal pet trade, and the lack of wildlife protection have caused a decline in the populations of many species to levels that threaten their survival. The rescue and conservation of these threatened species and their environment is vital for their protection. 

Costa Rica

The Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center

The Animal Rescue Center is located in San Miguel on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, surrounded by a beautiful tropical rainforest. The surrounding area contains pretty much all the animals’ natural diet, including leaves and fruit.

The animal rescue center we were paired with has an incredible back story. In January 2015, the center was forced to leave their original property in Moin (on the Caribbean coast) when the construction of a new port at their site was approved by the Costa Rican government. The center was given a very short time period to move, which of course was stressful for both the staff and the animals. The center worked to save as many of the cages and building materials as possible, however they were not able to recover everything given the limited time. As a result a lot of the facilities at the new location were still under construction, however they are making progress everyday thanks to the hard working staff and volunteers!

Costa Rica

We found not only the center to have a heart breaking back story, but also the animals. We were working with an alcoholic Howler monkey that had been chained to a bar for most of it’s life, used to a diet of beer and peanuts. Samona, a beautiful Capuchin monkey who was brought up as a pick pocketer. Serita, a baby sloth born blind and with only one ear. These are just a few of the stories from many more animals that we looked after at the center.

During our stay we provide hands-on support for every animal at the sanctuary. Our main duties included feeding, cleaning, and keeping the animals stimulated, whether it was inventing toys for the howler monkeys, making “ice-cream” for the kinkajous or building climbing structures for the sloths to exercise -yes, even sloths need exercise!

Here are a few things we got up to during our week of volunteering…

Preparing food for the animals.

Preparing food for the animals.

Painting artwork to brighten up the center.

Painting artwork to brighten up the center.

Feeding teenage sloths.

Feeding teenage sloths.

Trying to clean the Marmoset cage.

Trying to clean the Marmoset cage.

Feeding the cutest sloth you will ever meet!

Feeding the cutest sloth you will ever meet!

Babysitting orphaned baby Hocean was hard work...

Babysitting orphaned baby Hocean was hard work…

Feeding the cheeky kinkajous

Feeding the cheeky kinkajous

See.. sloth's need their daily excerise too

See.. sloth’s need their daily exercise too

Giving Ronko his morning beely scratch

Giving Ronko his morning belly scratch

Organising Volunteering Abroad

If you are interested in volunteering abroad we feel the best way to do this is with an organisation that can set you up with a project of your choice. We teamed up with GoEco who help people that want to volunteer abroad do just that. You simply tell them what kind of volunteering you are interested in experiencing and what country you would like to travel to and they will help find you your perfect project.

If you are interested in the volunteer project we experienced check out the Costa Rica Animal & Rescue Conservation with GoEco.

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Our Experience

As always, we filmed our entire experience here at the project. If you want to see exactly what it’s like to work at a animal rescue center you can watch our 5 day’s at the center below. 

Day 1: Wildlife Volunteering in Costa Rica

Day 2: Cute Sloth Overload

Day 3: Attacked by Tiny Monkeys

Day 4: Babysitting a New Born Sloth

Day 5: Honey Bears Going Crazy Over Honey

Have you ever volunteered abroad? We would love to read about your experience below.

Thank you to GoEco for allowing us to experience this incredible volunteer project in Costa Rica. Our opinion is, as always, our own.

Stephen and Jess signoff

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  • So sorry to hear about those animals! Its such a great thing you’re doing volunteering there and sharing about your experience.
    The animals are too adorable! I hope to have the chance to do something like this!

    x Carina
    Running White Horses

  • Looks like such an amazing experience

    Leonie ♥ Lo On The Go

  • Robin Rue

    Woah – what an amazing experience! I have always wanted to visit Costa Rica and if I ever do, I would love to do something like this.

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    Oh my God. I can’t believe people. An alcoholic monkey? People disgust me.

  • Maria Serritella

    I have never volunteered abroad, but Costa Rica has always been on my bucket list. This just gives me one more reason to visit. Seems like an amazing experience!

  • Jeanette

    This is right up my alley! I would have loved an experience like this. I am a HUGE animal lover and I love to travel! It looks like you all had a blast!

  • Aww what an awesome experience. It’s so good to hear that this center takes in animals with troubled histories.

  • Kori

    I would love to work with sloths at some point. My aunt does a lot of volunteer travel.

  • Wow, what an experience! You are a real talent with a camera, too!

  • beautiful pictures! sloth’s are my spirit animals!!! ha!

  • Clarissa Esquivel

    AW, i would of loved to hold a sloth like that. Such great pictures!

  • rika agustini

    Do you know the age limit for this program? I think my mother in law would love to volunteer

  • Eileen Mendoza Loya

    This would be a great experience. I love being close to nature and these animals looks so tame and harmless. Thanks for sharing photos of your wildlife volunteering experience!

  • Angie Kanellopoulos

    I have always wanted to volunteer abroad and this just makes me want to do it even more! Thank you so much for this post, it is very inspiring! Will be checking out goeco!

  • Jeanine @ sixtimemommy.com

    Wow this is so amazing. What an incredible experience. I couldn’t imagine but would LOVE to do something like this!

  • These animals are adorable. I’m sure you had a wonderful experience helping them out.

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    I have always wanted to travel to Costa Rica. It is so beautiful there. I would love to help take care of the animals.

  • chubskulit

    So cute, I ‘d probably all over that cuteness overload. I have never been to Costa Rica yet.

  • Kathy

    Those animals are so cute! Sounds like an amazing experience. I’d love to do something like this. I think it would be so much fun.

  • They so adorable, I want to cuddle with them all. My daughter would really enjoy this experience, she loves animals.

  • I haven’t been abroad yet, let alone volunteered abroad. That looks like an amazing experience. The kinkajoos are so cute!

  • I think I died of a cuteness overload. I love that they are helping animals in need, what a great way to spend time traveling!

  • Can I just say that I am jealous of this entire experience. OMG what a dream, the animals looks so cute which I know we shouldn’t say but still.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    This is such an admirable thing to do as well as being fun. These animals are so adorable and they each have their own personality. Thanks for the amazing pictures.

  • It’s so nice of you to volunteer for the wildlife. It must be fulfilling. I love the photos of the animals.