Costa Rica wildlife internship

Costa Rica

This sanctuary based in tropical Costa Rica accepts volunteers interested in working as a vet, nurse, veterinary technician or animal management roles. With over 500 animals that need daily care, treatment and support the work is exciting and varied. The sanctuary provides refuge and protection to wild animals that have been victimized by hunting, trafficking, habitat loss and human encroachment.


  • Care for jaguars, sloths, tapir, macaws, spider monkeys, and more.

  • Learn from the resident veterinarian

  • Learn about reactive and preventative wildlife medicine

  • Be part of a team fighting the illegal wildlife trade

  • Help rescue, rehabilitate and manage iconic species in one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet.

  • Enjoy fun and cultural excursions with other volunteers to temples, beaches, volcanoes, and rainforest

The sanctuary is home to six species of macaw, umbrella cockatoos, four species of amazon parrots, seven species of parakeets, parrots, spider monkeys, marmoset monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tamarin monkeys, collared peccaries, deer, tapirs, ocelots, and jaguars. Some days the vet team are rushed off their feet with sick and injured animals, other days the focus is ongoing work such as reviewing protocols, data input, and cleaning and reorganising the facilities. Whether you are rushing around the clinic, or reviewing management and dietary protocols, you will be assisting with important work and getting a true feel for sanctuary life.


Volunteers are encouraged to remember that no 2 days are the same in wildlife work and this is especially true in developing countries where plans can change with very little warning and activities may run late, be rescheduled or even cancelled. As a rule, the day will go as follows:

6:00 am - 8:00 am Morning feeding of animals

08:00 am - 08:15 am Breakfast!

08:15 am - 10:30 am Daily tasks (see list below)

10:30 am - 10:45 am Juice break!

10:45 am - 12:00 md Daily tasks (see list below)

12:00 md - 1:00 pm Lunch, Wi-Fi, and nap time!

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Afternoon feeding of animals

After the noon feeding you are free to relax or explore the local attractions. Dinner is from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm.

Whilst veterinary work is the focus of this project, there is always a huge amount of work going on to feed, house, clean, rehabilitate and enrich the lives of the animals on site, which you will also help with. Your tasks will include:

  • Cleaning under animal feeding stations, providing water to animals

  • Collecting samples for ongoing research projects (blood, faeces, feathers)

  • Translocating animals

  • Entering data to our record system

  • Running laboratory tests

  • Clinic organisation and maintenance

  • Feeding baby animals

  • Feeding fresh-cut food to the animals in the clinic

You will work 6 days a week from 6 or 7am to 5pm. Volunteers can join extra activities on the day off to discover more about Costa Rica. Activities include visiting the beach, a local river, Water Sports, Swimming, Sightseeing Diving, Snorkelling, Climbing and Hiking.


Currently, volunteer housing is in two separate buildings. The first building is a typical Costa Rica country style house with one room including three bunk beds, a fan, storage space, and windows. The house is typically reserved for long-term volunteers (4 weeks or more). The second building is a modified shipping container with three rooms. Each room of the container includes two bunk beds, a fan, and storage space for personal items. It is advised for volunteers to bring their own mosquito nets. The bathroom and shower are in a separate building adjacent to the container. No hot water is available for the showers, but no one tends to mind this because our climate is quite hot, and volunteers are always happy for a cool shower at the end of a good days work.

We provide 3 meals a day. The food is traditional dishes and consists mainly of rice and beans or salad and is hearty and filling. Tea and coffee is offered with every meal. Laundry is typically done by hand, but a laundry machine is available for free. Drying of clothes is done on clotheslines. Wi-Fi is currently available in the volunteer housing and in the sanctuary gift shop.


Costa Rica is a nature lovers paradise. It is studded with volcanoes, waterfalls, rainforest, beaches and cloud forests. Home to over 500,000 species of wildlife many of which are classified as rare or endangered.

The climate is tropical, warm and sunny and locals are rated as one of the happiest nations in the world. No wonder then that this country makes an incredible travel destination. There is no shortage of outdoor activities, whether you want to try surfing, hiking climbing, rafting or zip lining. The food carries a Latin American flare which has all of our volunteers coming back for more!


2 weeks: £840

3 weeks: £1160

4 weeks: £1530

5 weeks: £2270

6 weeks: £2640

7 weeks: £3010

8 weeks: £3380

Longer stays by request

Want to know what is included? Great news, it’s almost everything including

  • Pre-departure assistance

  • Accommodation on site at the sanctuary

  • 3 delicious meals a day

  • 24 hour support on every project and at the volunteer accommodation by onsite staff


  • Airport collection and returns ($100 each way, 2.5 hours in a private taxi that we will arrange for your)

  • Visas

  • Personal medical insurance

  • Flights


You can start this project any week of the year. Volunteers arrive on the weekend ready for Monday’s induction however alternative start dates can be accommodated if you need to arrive in the week. The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. 


Don’t fear! We have FLEXIBOOKINGS in place for all our projects. If you book a trip with us and have paid for the trip (deposit or in full), we have protocols in place to ensure you don’t miss out. Our main aim is for you to be able to attend your project in a safe and convenient manner so the FLEXIBOOKING system allows free and unlimited date changes if Covid prevents you from attending your planned trip. In the case of the following problems, you can reschedule until the end of 2023 at no cost. N.B if the project price rises between years, we will ask you to make up the difference before travel.

A) Your home country cancels flights to the project location, or your government advises against “all but essential travel” to the destination due to Covid.

B) Destination country cancels flights or closes borders to your home country due to Covid.

C) If you get Covid before travel or have a positive PCR test before your flight, wherever possible we aim to reschedule your project free of charge. In a few instances, the project may request a repayment of the non-refundable deposit, for example Safari Vet Internship project, where there are a set number of volunteers are needed to run the course.

If you choose to cancel your trip for other reasons, refund value depends on the time left until your project start date. Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.


If joining us in Costa Rica to help wildlife in need of medical care, attendion and management sounds like your dream trip, we want you! Be part of this amazing project, just fill in the form below and we will be in touch with you right away.

Project Photos