Trip Details

Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteer in Costa Rica

It’s a great privilege to work with marine animals, but even more so, to help nurse often neglected and mistreated animals back to health. So, if you’re looking to volunteer with animals abroad, this is an incredibly rewarding project to take on! You will be working with local staff as they clean, feed, and give medical attention to animals at the marine park, both in the aquarium and in the rescue centre. Further, on-site training for this Animal Rescue volunteer experience in Costa Rica will be given to all volunteers.

Work with a Dedicated Team, caring for Sick Marine Animals

The main objective of the rehabilitation centre is to return animals back to their natural habitat.  Consequently, no two days will be alike on this programme, and you will find yourself busy helping to scrub larger marine animals, cleaning and monitoring their environments, and, of course, feeding them! Please note the Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteer project is for hard-working individuals who love nature, the marine environment, and, importantly, are keen to learn about marine animal care. However, an intermediate level of Spanish is also advisable, and a CV, together with a letter of motivation is required for this project.

Explore Costa Rica’s City, Landscapes, Culture and Cuisine!

You will be staying in Esparza, a quiet town and one of the oldest in Costa Rica. Here you will find people who follow a traditional way of life, with horses for transport and small village markets for basic needs. However, just a short journey away, there are many adventure activities, such as surfing and canoeing, jungle canopy walks, and superb hiking and trekking trails to occupy you on the weekends. Through the week, you can choose to explore the local area, or simply enjoy relaxing at our Eco-houses, complete with communal areas, inside and out.

Why Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteering in Costa Rica?

  • Be part of a dedicated team that plays a valuable role in Costa Rica’s marine life
  • Work with rare marine animals and gain an understanding of their care
  • Explore Costa Rica with new friends and immerse yourself in its culture
  • Stay in one of two comfortable Eco-houses with wifi and communal areas
  • Discover Costa Rican cuisine, with meals and beverages included

*tea, coffee and drinking water

Get in touch to find out more or browse through our many other volunteer experiences.

Trip Itinerary

Your schedule will be flexible, but your day will generally involve 4-6 hours a day of volunteering, with your day beginning at 9:00am until approx 4.00pm.  Also, you will have lunch with your local co-workers and meals will be provided as part of the programme.  This gives you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the project and of course, to get to know your local co-workers.

Mandatory Orientation Day

On the Monday of your first week as a Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteer, here in Costa Rica, you will join our orientation day to get accustomed to your local surroundings as well as local culture. Your programme will continue as usual from Tuesday onward throughout the rest of the week.

Orientation Day Schedule

  • Introduction meeting, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
  • Costa Rican Do’s and Don’ts, Costa Rican Culture Lessons and Spanish Language Lessons.
  • Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary
  • Lunch
  • Introduction to the Project, Project site and start participating on the project (if possible).

Weekly Schedule

Monday to Friday

  • Breakfast
  • Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteering (2-3 hrs)
  • Lunch
  • Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteering (2-3 hrs)
  • Dinner

Evenings and Weekends

After a day of working on your Marine Park and Animal Rescue Volunteer project, Costa Rica will be calling! Evenings and weekends are free to do as you wish, and there’s plenty to see locally after your day of volunteering.  Many of our volunteers plan group outings together at the weekends, or simply hang back at the accommodation and get to know each other in the evenings.

Places to Visit

Esparza and Puntarenas have plenty of activities to offer for weekend activities. These include horse riding, watersports, game fishing, and jungle canopy tours to name a few. Puntarenas is also ideally suited to take a scenic ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula and its many secluded beaches. Further, Esparza is on the Panamerican Highway, so access to the rest of Costa Rica and the rest of the American continent is at your doorstep!

Please note: When confirming your dates please take note of Public Holidays in the Holidays section. During such times, there may be disruption to the programme, as we work with local organisations, and so must be flexible to their needs .

This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Accommodation

Esparza is an agricultural town and is the second oldest in the country. Further, it also has a rich history that includes legends of hidden pirate gold! The pace of life is relaxed here, and you will find locals to be incredibly warm and friendly – our volunteers are always the talk of the town when they come to visit!

About the Accommodation

You’ll stay in two newly built Eco houses in our centre in Esparza: Jaguar House and Toucan House.

These houses sleep up to 22 people, and most rooms have bunk beds, with all rooms single-gender. However, private rooms are available if preferred.

For relaxing, there is also a large dining hall/games room/communal area shared by both houses, with free WiFi, and table tennis, and a large garden of tropical plants, including coconut palm, papaya, banana, and citrus.

Food Arrangements

Costa Rican food is a blend of native American, Spanish and African cuisine, and is quite mild (not too spicy!). You will have three meals a day on weekdays (two on weekends), all included in your programme. Most meals will include either fish, chicken, pork or beef, but vegetarians can be catered for.


There are shops within 300 metres of the centre, and bars, restaurants, and an excellent public pool within 15 minutes walk. There is an ATM within 1km and more ATMs in town, about 2kms. Buses into town and further afield leave from within 300ms of the centre. Further, Esparza and the surrounding area has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants within easy reach.

Trip Country Info

Costa Rica

Capital: San José
Language: Spanish
Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time zone: UTC -6

Country Information
Pura vida (“real life”) has become the unofficial motto of Costa Rica. And for a reason. Costa Rica is, in essence, a slice of tropical paradise in Central America, and its inhabitants, AKA “the ticos”, are justifiably proud of it. Perfect waves for surfing, breathtaking sunsets, misty crater lakes, waterfall-filled hiking trails, white-water rapids, sun-kissed beaches, adventure-filled paths and wildlife that includes howler monkeys, capuchins and other friendly-looking animals await you in this small, yet magnificently varied country.

Costa Rica has a reputation for being a tropical paradise, and rightly so. However, due to its diverse terrain, the country boasts a range of different climates.

Costa Rica has no real summer or winter due to its proximity to the equator, and the average temperature ranges from 21°C to 27°C. However, a rainy season does exist, and takes place between May and November. The central valley is often cooler than the coastal areas.

The Pacific coast tends to be hot and dry all year-round, especially the northern part (known as the Gold Coast), while the highlands (around Monteverde) are filled with mist during much of the year, due to the high altitude. The Caribbean coast is quite hot and moist, and receives rain during most of the year. The lowlands have quite a warm climate, with an average temperature of 26°C, and the Central Valley, including San José, is said to have the best climate in the country.

Costa Rican culture, as in most Latin American countries, is heavily influenced by Spain, as a result of colonization. However, parts of the country have other strong influences, such as that of Limón, which has more of a Jamaican feel to it. There are also several indigenous areas throughout the country.

A great part of the music and folklore of Costa Rica comes from the north of the country, where Mayan culture mixes with Afro-Caribbean trends. Costa Rica has a distinctive musical genre known as punto and most of its music can be easily distinguished by a very unique rhythm known as tambito.

Costa Rica goes by the motto Pura Vida, which means “pure life” and the phrase can be used as a greeting or a farewell, or just to say “that’s great” or “all’s good”. The phrase was originally from a Mexican film, but was soon adopted by Costa Ricans, and is used in several contexts to express a positive outlook on life.

The cuisine of Costa Rica relies heavily on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meat. Rice and black beans are traditional and included in most meals. Potatoes are another staple of Costa Rican gastronomy as wells as plantain, a member of the banana family.

Due to the tropical location of the country, you will be able to find many exotic fruits that you might have never heard of before!

Due to the amount of tourism that Costa Rica boasts, international food is offered in many sites – from Japanese to Mexican to Peruvian.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Travel Insurance
Under 18, Parental Consent
CV and letter of motivation

Additional Requirements

Recommended Vaccinations

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Departures/ drop offs
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa