Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary

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1. In Brief

Set between tropical Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most breath-taking 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, pumas, monkeys and numerous species of birds. This is the highest density of species of any country in the world.

The survival of the majestic jaguar is being threatened due to hunting and habitat loss as a result of deforestation and human encroachment. Once prowling over the vast jungles of Costa Rica, the jaguar is now extremely rare except for in protected reserves. Their conspicuous tracks, market value and reputation for killing livestock has sadly made them a target for poachers and their large territories make them highly vulnerable to habitat destruction.

The Frontier-Costa Wildlife Sanctuary project was established to support a dedicated local non-profit organisation working to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals, and secure their future release to the wild into protected areas.

As a volunteer you will help support the work of the local staff at the sanctuary taking care of our weird and wonderful residents including sloths, armadillos, anteaters, wild cats, opossums, various primates and toucan to name just a few! If you have a passion for travel and wildlife conservation this project is perfect for you!   




  • Gain hands-on experience caring for a range of wildlife
  • Become a surrogate parent to young sloths and primates!
  • Experience life in the Costa Rican jungle


  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over
  • To work with certain animals a TB test will be required


Location Costa Rica
Activities Preparing food & feeding the animals
Routine cleaning and facility maintenance
Rehabilitating rescued animals
Release program (long term volunteers only)
Transport Make your own way to the project site
Accommodation Shared apartment


Before you go Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas and equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
In-country Accommodation
Project orientation
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.


On the Frontier Marine Conservation Group Projects, we will train you to PADI Advanced Open Water before you begin undertaking important biological surveys. Depending on how long you spend on the project, you may also have the option to take further courses up to Divemaster!

Please see the "Dates and Costs" tab for dive qualification prices or ask your volunteer advisor for more information.

Find out more about PADI qualifications.

2. The project


The Frontier-Costa Wildlife Sanctuary project was established to support a dedicated local non-profit organisation working to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals, and secure their future release to the wild into protected areas.

As a volunteer you will help support the work of the local staff at the sanctuary taking care of a range of indigenous animals including sloths, armadillos, anteaters, wild cats, opossums, various primates, caiman, snake, birds of prey and toucan amongst others.

The centre has been responsible for the rehabilitation and release of hundreds of endangered animals since its establishment in 2008. Most of the animals that are sheltered in the centre have gone through traumatic experiences, often infants that have lost their mothers. 


Upon arrival at the sanctuary you will receive an orientation and safety briefing, before being introduced to your wider responsibilities. As a volunteer, you could be involved with a wide range of activities supporting the work of the dedicated staff. The kinds of activities you may be involved with includes food preparation, feeding the animals, cleaning and repairing enclosures, training and observing the animals within the rescue centre. Depending upon the time of your volunteer placement, you may have the chance to work with different species of rescued animals so volunteers are asked to come with a flexible attitude and a desire to help out where they are needed most.  

A typical volunteer work schedule will see you work 5 days a week from 7:30am to 4:00pm. 

Long term volunteers (2 months or more) may also have the opportunity to contribute towards our animal reintroduction and release initiatives to protected areas.  

3. What to expect


The project is located close to the beautiful Caribbean coast in Costa Rica. You will fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose on the Sunday where you will then use our easy to follow instructions to make your way to the project site. We will provide you with all the information you need prior to your departure to enable you to plan your journey.  Upon arrival at the local bus station you will be met by a friendly Frontier representative and taken to your accommodation! Please aim to arrive before 1pm on the Sunday if you wish to transfer to the project site the same day, as the last bus departs at 4pm. 


Throughout your placement you will be staying in a shared house in the local town about a 15 minute cycle ride from the sanctuary. The house is a typical Costa Rican colourful wood built house close to the beach. The house has a veranda for relaxing, flushing toilet, shower, hammocks and basic kitchen.

Long-term volunteers that have the opportunity to participate in the animal reintroduction programme off-site may be required from time-to-time to take up external accommodation local to the release site for an additional fee which is not covered by your project cost. Typical shared accommodation in the area can cost approx. US$19 per day. 


Food is not provided as part of this programme. This is a fun element of travelling away from home as it gives you that added freedom and is a good opportunity to bond with fellow travellers while cooking at the volunteer house or exploring local restaurants and market stalls! 

Costa Rica is a melting pot of flavours and unique gastronomic experiences so exploring these and dining out while in town may be a brilliant prospect to spice up your Costa Rica experience!   

Volunteers usually hire or buy bicycles upon arrival to the site as a preferred method of transport and sell them again when they leave after their project. 

4. The reviews

5. Gallery

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6. Extras


Costa Rica provides everything you could ever desire for an action packed experience. You may wish to explore some of the activities and unforgettable sights that are on offer here whether it is in your spare time, or even in a few extra days spent in this spectacular country at the beginning or end of the project. There are so many possibilities to explore – here are just a few suggestions! Try white water rafting, river kayaking, or even ocean kayaking – all activities that Costa Rica is famous for whether you are an expert or a compete novice.

7. Dates and Costs


3 weeks US$1,695

Extra week US$445


Weekly. Please arrive on a Sunday.

Please note this project is fully booked until September 2016.

Please contact volunteer advisor for any updates on availability


2 weeks +


Before you go

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


  • Accommodation
  • Project orientation
  • 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 .


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.

8. How to apply

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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