Volunteer: Five Incredible Opportunities You Could Experience in Costa Rica in 2017!

Sustainable Tourism – the concept of visiting a place as a tourist and trying to make only a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.

As part of our recent adventure to see why Costa Rica is becoming such a popular adventure destination for European travellers, we were also keen to see how Sustainable Tourism is booming in this Central American oasis.

Any excuse to explore, we recently visited the Central American oasis to find out more about some of the amazing projects you could be part of this year from childcare and humanitarian work to ecology and nature projects (including working with sea turtles!).

Here’s five of the best projects in Costa Rica in 2017…

Dominical Sea Turtle Project

Who’s heart didn’t break hearing of the plight of the baby sea turtles in Planet Earth 2, being confused by man-made light in Mexico?

Working with one of the world’s most endangered and beautiful little creatures simply has to rank up there with one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences you can have.

Taking six volunteers from around the world on a monthly basis, the coastal Costa Rican town of Dominical with peak hatching season August to December.

Your responsibilities would range from maintaining a natural and safe environment for hatchlings and adults nestors alike plus night patrol to aid as many of the little lads to the sea as possible.

I know what you’re thinking – where do I apply? Email us volunteer@usit.ie and get the full details.

Cartago Botanical Gardens Ecology Project

I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Lankester Gardens during my recent trip. If you imagine what Eden looks like, you’ll probably end up with something resembling these lush, beautiful and wild gardens.

Home to some of the most rare orchids and other forms of flora in Central America, working in the grounds of these gardens is the perfect escape from the modern world. A tranquil, peaceful and rewarding couple of weeks spent with nature will refresh you and it will also look incredible on a CV too.

The full project brief is available on request. Just pop us an email volunteer@usit.ie.

Monteverde Ecological Reserve Project

The simply legendary Cloud Forest of Monteverde – 69,000 hectares and undisturbed, lush rainforest absolutely teeming with wildlife. It’s very hard not to be inspired by such surroundings but such a magical place needs magical people to maintain it.

On an average day in the reserve you’ll encounter tucans, monkeys, coatis, tarantulas, snakes, sloths and even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a jaguar in the wild (keep out of his way though!).

Volunteers are taken in all year round working with local communities for anything from trail construction through the rainforest to educating visitors on the reserve, performing biological research and teaching English.

Having been to Monteverde in March I can tell you right now, this is an animal lovers dream. Places are limited so you better move fast.

Nicoya Spider Monkey Refuge Project

Helping Costa Rica’s endangered spider monkeys that have been despicably taken from the wild in attempts to domesticate them as pets or benefit from them as attractions.

The Nicoya refuge does some genuinely incredible work in improving the health of these beautiful wild creatures and preparing them for a return to the wild jungles where they belong.

Volunteers are taken on all year round to help out with living quarters, feeding and to educate local communities of the critical importance to protect the monkeys and their natural habitat for the collective benefit of all in Nicoya.

Full project brief available on request – volunteer@usit.ie

San Jose Children’s Museum Project

If working with people and in a humanitarian setting is more the calling you’re looking for. A brilliantly unique and iconic project for Costa Rica’s forward thinking governance, the Kids Museum is downtown San Jose is an old military prison transformed into a haven of learning for Costa Rica’s young population.

The museum encourages imagination, curiosity, innovation and play for kids from all over San Jose and the surrounding areas – for free!

Volunteers are welcomed from all over the world, all year round to help kids let their imagination run wild while learning. The centre includes an earthquake simulator and over 50 different display rooms all of which made to be interactive and fun!

Volunteering in Costa Rica

Like all of our projects in Costa Rica, this one includes free accommodation via local host families as well as complimentary Spanish lessons scheduled around your volunteering hours.

Volunteering and Sustainable Tourism is becoming one of the fastest growing travel trends in 2017. Looking to give back while experiencing a new culture? Contact Luigi.DiMarzo@usit.ie or call us on (01) 602 1906 to enquire about any of our programmes including India, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

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