Volunteer at this sloth and wildlife sanctuary in Costa Rica and help protect these amazing animals from the dangers of deforestation.
Located in the rainforests of Costa Rica, the Sloth Conservation and Wildlife Experience has an incredibly unique and inspiring backstory. The project began back in 1999, when two young girls decided to make their mutual vision of saving the rainforest become a reality. The duo began by selling handmade crafts on the side of the road in an attempt to raise money to put towards rainforest protection, and eventually their hard work paid off, with their little dream evolving into something much greater: a wildlife sanctuary!
Today, the once-humble wildlife sanctuary now helps countless animals throughout Costa Rica, taking in various wildlife species (such as monkeys, anteaters, and sloths), and providing them with the care that they need. Whether working to rehabilitate the animals, preparing them for release, or creating a permanent home for those that can no longer survive in the wild, the Sloth Conservation and Wildlife Experience serves as a shining example of Costa Rica’s overall conservation efforts.
As a volunteer on this project, you will play a crucial role in helping to protect not only the sloths which reside here, but many other animals too. Your assistance with activities such as enrichment, food preparation, reforestation and maintenance will be crucial in helping the centre to run smoothly, ensuring that it can continue caring for the wildlife in the region for years to come.
Please note that this itinerary is subject to change, and what follows is a rough guideline.
You can join this project on any day of the year, so if you would like to join on a date that is not listed below please enquire and we can book your place for you.
To secure a place on this project, a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
This project was founded back in 1999 by two nine-year-old girls with the help of one of their mothers, and it certainly had humble beginnings. Life began for the project at a small roadside shop, where the two young founders, Janine and Aislin, sold painted rocks to help raise money to protect the rainforest. From there, the project began to evolve, and it eventually became the project you see before you today!
The project has taken huge steps towards achieving all of the conservation goals they have for the area: so far, the project and its volunteers have installed over 130 aerial monkey bridges, planted more than 7,000 rainforest trees, and in 2016 they began planting 94,000 more! The wildlife rehabilitation centre on-site was founded in 2005 and it treats and releases almost 200 rescued wild animals each year. The wildlife sanctuary, which was opened in 2010, provides a safe home for those animals that are unable to be released back into the wild due to injury or other issues.
Without this sanctuary, injured and threatened wildlife in the local area would have nowhere to go for help, and your work as a volunteer plays a very important role in providing a better life for the animals in Costa Rica.
Friday the 20th October marks International Sloth Day 2017 and here at The Great Projects we want to help you learn a little more about these amazing animals. Sloths may be extremely popular animals, but very few people know much about them so we want to change that! Read up on the blog and learn a little more about sloths and International Slot Day 2017!
Love anteaters? Check out our top 10 fascinating facts about these awesome animals! Just remember that you have an amazing opportunity to volunteer with anteaters on the Sloth Conservation and Wildlife Experience, with 10% off of all bookings made before the 31st of July! What are you waiting for? Book your dream volunteering trip today!
During your time on the project, you will be staying in a volunteer house on the third floor of a stand-alone building with up to 8 other volunteers of mixed genders and ages. You may be allocated a top bunk, so you must be comfortable ascending and descending the bunk bed ladders. There is a shower in this building, separated by a rounded, stone-wall partition with a curtain, and there is also a toilet separated in the same manner. These are shared facilities.
The volunteer house comes complete with a kitchen and dining table, and you are welcome to stock the fridge with your own drinks and snacks. There are lockers in the volunteer accommodation but take your own padlock just in case!
If you wish to upgrade your accommodation during your stay, then one of the private cottages on-site may be available for an additional cost. Please enquire with us to check availability.
Lunch is the main meal of the day at the project, and this large, buffet-style meal will typically consist of rice, beans, salad, and vegetables, with the other parts of the meal will change on a regular basis as to ensure variety. Lunch is prepared for you by a member of project staff, however, we do ask that you clean up after yourself!
Breakfast and dinner are both to be prepared by the volunteer, but sufficient food is provided, and you may be invited along for the weekly shop to stock up on supplies! There is a large kitchen which volunteers are free to use.
Clean drinking water and a variety of juices are available to drink throughout the day at the project site, but please note that whilst alcohol is not prohibited, it is not provided. You may also purchase soft drinks on-site.
Please note that the project can cater for vegans, vegetarians, and those with allergies, but please let us know before you travel so that we can inform the project team and they can get the appropriate ingredients in.
There are no specific skills needed to take part in this project, but you do need to be passionate about animals and willing to get involved in an array of activities. You will spend a lot of time on this project on your feet, walking from location to location and possibly carrying moderately heavy objects, so you will need to have a good level of fitness. It can be very humid in Costa Rica, so please bear this in mind when deciding if this is the project for you. If you are offered the opportunity to take part in reforestation, please be aware that this involves a lot of walking on uneven ground, as well as up and down quite a steep terrain. In the rainy season, this land overall can be quite treacherous, so be sure to take the correct footwear, as well as considering your own physical capabilities.
The vaccinations you require will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website. Please note that volunteers with Measles or the Herpes Simplex Virus will not be able to work with the monkeys as the animals are very susceptible to viral infections. The project also requires that you provide proof of both the Hep A vaccination and a tetanus shot upon your arrival.
As this project is predominantly based on the rescue and rehabilitation of sloths and other animals year-round, there is no preferred time to volunteer when it comes to the animals you see. Certain animals will reside at the centre for life, and new animals arrive on a regular basis, so you’re guaranteed to see an array of species! However, weather can have an impact on both your involvement, and the visibility of wild animals. The dry season runs from January through to the middle/end of April, and throughout this time the forests will be slightly barer due to a lack of rain, meaning fewer wild animals seen in the region. The rainy season in Costa Rica runs from May until December, and this is when the forests in the region really come to life. It will still be very warm between these months, with the rains typically falling in the afternoons or evenings, therefore you may find it preferable to volunteer between May and December when the forests are at their fullest and there are fewer tourists in the area.
The rainy season is the most likely time for reforestation activities to take place, so if this is an activity you would like to take part in, we advise travelling between May and December. Otherwise, all activities will be the same year-round.
You will need to arrive into San Jose airport in Costa Rica, located around 3 hours from the project site. Transfers are not included within the cost of the project but can be arranged for you at an additional cost of $150 each way – please let us know well in advance so that a trusted transfer can be arranged. Alternatively, there is a regular bus service between San Jose and Quepos; this service usually takes between 3-5 hours and costs approximately $7. You will then need to get a taxi from Quepos bus station to the project site; this will cost an additional $20. Please contact us for further information on scheduling and pricing.
Please note that other taxis from the airport, or those which you flag down, are likely to cost more – the drivers of these taxis are at liberty to charge extra, so we strongly recommend that you pre-arrange transfers with an agreed price.
Where possible, it would be better if you could arrive into San Jose before 12pm; this way you will arrive at the project site before it gets dark and will be able to enjoy dinner with your fellow volunteers!
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flight page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
British nationals do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica and can stay as a visitor in the country for up to 3 months, although the exact period is at the discretion of the immigration officer upon arrival. For other nationalities, please check with your local embassy as the requirements to enter Costa Rica may vary from country to country. Your passport should have at least one day’s validity from the day you are leaving Costa Rica, but if you hold a passport other than a British one different regulations may apply. You will also need to provide evidence of onward travel plans to ensure your entry into the country.
The currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón. The exchange rate is around 10 CRC = 0.01 GBP, 0.05 USD, or 0.07 EUR. Please note that exchange rates are subject to change, so please check www.xe.com.
You can, however, use the American Dollar throughout Costa Rica; these are dispensed from cash points throughout the country. We recommend taking dollars with you to use at the project site if you wish to purchase canned drinks, however, do be aware that in Costa Rica it is not unusual for restaurants, store cashiers and so forth to round USD up, effectively charging extra for your purchase. With that in mind, it is suggested to take Colones with you for spending in the local town.
The experience I had working with the animals and the information and research studies that I was able to learn about and be apart of, have completely changed my view and knowledge of Wildlife Conservation Projects.
Amy Cook, 2017
If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.
Nikita & team.