Live in Costa Rica’s lush tropical dry forest and contribute to valuable conservation work. This is a chance to take practical measures to preserve this breathtaking environment. It’s the ideal project for wildlife enthusiasts and budding conservationists.
You’ll work in a government-run conservation reserve, Barra Honda National Park. Through the work you do, you’ll gain plenty of conservation experience. This will set you apart as someone committed to solving global conservation issues.
In the process, you’ll make a tangible difference to wildlife in the forest. Your work will include trips into underground cave networks to survey bats, reforestation work, and many other activities. Through these tasks, you’ll play a vital role in conserving indigenous plants and animals. Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity, making it particularly important to protect these species.
The park is located in Costa Rica’s Nicoya peninsula. You’ll live in shared accommodation with other volunteers, giving you the opportunity to bond as a group. Over late-night card games, with the sounds of the forest surrounding you, you’ll find yourself building friendships to last a lifetime.
Children aged 3-14 must be accompanied by at least one adult paying full price
We offer discounts for families and groups of friends travelling together. Call us on 09 889 0587 for more info.
When you apply you only pay $495, which comes off the total price.
Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 09 889 0587 to see if we can offer a discount.
Completely flexible dates
Barra Honda (Read More)
Shared accommodation at Conservation base Read More
Anyone aged over 16 can join
What's included in the price?
Food (three meals a day)
Travel and medical insurance
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival
Transport to and from your work placement
In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff
Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team
Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources
A supervisor/mentor at your work placement
Training and workshops from our experienced local staff
Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns
Access to our local office with internet connection
Certification of project completion
Access to our alumni services and discounts
Visa support and advice
Fundraising support, including your own personalised fundraising website
Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor
Personalised MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination
A free cultural awareness course
Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch
Support to help you complete registration or internship documents, if applicable
What's not included?
Visa costs (where applicable)
What will I do on this Conservation placement in Costa Rica?
You’ll spend your days assisting with conservation work in Barra Honda National Park. Here are some of the tasks you’ll do:
- Help with biodiversity studies to develop effective conservation strategies
- Run environmental education campaigns in surrounding schools and communities
- Combat climate change and restore natural habitats through reforestation work
- Do maintenance work to keep the park running
Your work will focus on four main areas:
A large portion of your time will be spent collecting data for biodiversity studies. You’ll work with experts to survey wildlife and record details about their behaviours and distributions. With this information, the park will be better equipped to develop effective conservation strategies.
Butterfly surveys are particularly important to learn more about climate change. By analysing the altitude where different species are found, you’ll help create a clearer picture of how our planet is warming.
You’ll collect data during hikes through the dense forest, night walks, or trips into the depths of the park’s cave network. Some of the species you’ll be surveying include:
- Scarlet macaws
You’ll also share your conservation knowledge with people in communities surrounding the park. This work ensures people continue to protect the reserve after you’ve finished your project. You’ll help communities appreciate the value of the forest and become dedicated to conserving it.
Through workshops, you’ll teach people strategies for eco-friendly living. This could include topics like how to start an organic farm or the importance of recycling.
Human expansion and forest fires, exacerbated by climate change, have caused the destruction of a large portion of Costa Rica’s forests. This has a devastating effect for a range of species. With much of their habitat destroyed, many animal populations have been drastically reduced.
You will help restore the habitat of many species. By working in the park’s tree nursery, you’ll care for young saplings until they are strong enough to be planted in the forest.
This reforestation work also helps combat climate change, by increasing the number of carbon dioxide-absorbing trees in the area.
Barra Honda relies heavily on volunteer support to continue their conservation work. As a volunteer, you’ll help with the running of the park. This could include tasks like clearing trails, maintaining fire breaks, or helping with general camp upkeep.
Although these seem like more menial tasks, they play an important role in the overall functioning of the park. For example, clearing trails means people will be less likely to walk through vegetation and disrupt the habitat of indigenous species.
For this project, we’ve partnered with government-run Barra Honda National Park. This partnership ensures the park has volunteers to support their important work. It also means our volunteers work alongside and learn from park staff, who are experienced professionals.
Where in Costa Rica will I work?
This project is based in Barra Honda National Park, a wildlife reserve in the northwest of Costa Rica. The park is located in the Nicoya peninsula, about a 25-minute drive from the town of Nicoya.
As a volunteer, you’ll live and work within the reserve. You’ll stay in shared volunteer accommodation in the heart of the forest. This is the perfect place to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with nature.
During your free time, you can relax on a hammock, beneath the leaves of towering trees. Or challenge a fellow volunteer to a board game. With very little internet access, it’s the perfect opportunity to live in the moment, connect with fellow volunteers, and experience something completely different.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring Our Impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.