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Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica

Experience marine and rainforest conservation in this biodiversity hotspot

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

4 weeks from

$2,774.00

Code: CRJL0068E
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Program Information

On Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast you will join a team of international volunteers as an expedition member. Our expedition base camp is located in the Tortugero National park of Costa Rica. Your hands on work will contribute to the long-term management and conservation of this stunning rainforest.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

On Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast you will join a team of international volunteers as an expedition member. Our expedition base camp is located in the Tortugero National park of Costa Rica. Your hands on work will contribute to the long-term management and conservation of this stunning rainforest.

Gain a thorough understanding of the Costa Rican rainforest and this important ecosystem whilst participating in important research on species’ population studies as Jaguars, aquatic birds, and sea turtles (depending on nesting seasons). Professional development is very important, and as such a range of practical skills and practical knowledge are key parts of the expedition through additional training and field experience.

Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country

Highlights

Getting the chance to go on this unique adventure in a Costa Rican National Park; enjoying life at the research station; learning about the wildlife and their habitat; seeing unique wildlife in marine and coastal rainforest environments, including sea turtles, monkeys, neo-tropical birds and amphibians; exploring the area by boat and canoe, including remote Caribbean beaches, gaining a wide variety of skills, including learning survey techniques and gaining real field experience, joining the research team to undertake turtle nesting surveys and monitor nesting sites during turtle season; participating on jaguar surveys; setting up and checking camera traps and tracking in the rainforest.

Testimonials

"Surrounded by amazing, rich and diverse rainforest is surreal. Whether its trudging knee deep in mud or working a leatherback, it is truly a rewarding and unforgettable experience!! Plus, there aren´t many opportunities to meet people from such different walks of life."

- Josh Haley, (United Kingdom)

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GVI Jalova

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Wildlife Conservation
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Students

 

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Parents

 

Why Study Abroad

 

GVI Difference

 

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Course Life

This expedition is the essence of remote adventure as there is no road access to the base, you will truly be surrounded by the amazing natural beauty of Tortugero’s Caribbean beaches and rainforest, with all transport via canoe and boat, courtesy of the green canals. Although challenging, you will find the work extremely rewarding as you work on research projects and receive training on field skills.

With enough room for research and relaxation, the base is small but comfortable; and provides a great environment for volunteers to get to know their fellow participants. Camp duties are shared rotationally amongst all the expedition team.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Course Details

The expedition will provide a solid base of personal training and development whilst getting you immersed in the ongoing conservation efforts. The program is engaged in a number of key areas, including the study of jaguar predation of sea turtles and assessment of any possible impact on turtle populations, jaguar tracking and prey monitoring, turtle nesting studies and conservation (during the nesting season), migratory/resident bird species long-term trend data, and biological assessment surveys in specific habitat areas.

How this program makes a difference:

The volunteering carried out by GVI Costa Rica has provided critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest. GVI works closely with the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) and partners with world-renowned organizations such as Sea Turtle Conservancy and Panthera to provide data and collaborate on conservation efforts in Tortuguero. Having GVI volunteers in place not only allows more areas to be surveyed, and in greater detail, covering areas of beach and forest not previously under regular study, but also helps greatly to decrease poaching of sea turtle nests by maintaining a constant presence at the park boundary

The work carried out by GVI Costa Rica has provided a huge amount of critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them to make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest.

For example, much of our work has been used to achieve massive reductions in sea turtle nest poaching.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Life on the Internship

This expedition is the essence of remote adventure as there is no road access to the base, you will truly be surrounded by the amazing natural beauty of Tortugero’s Caribbean beaches and rainforest, with all transport via canoe and boat, courtesy of the green canals. Although challenging, you will find the work extremely rewarding as you work on research projects and receive training on field skills.

With enough room for research and relaxation, the base is small but comfortable; and provides a great environment for volunteers to get to know their fellow participants. Camp duties are shared rotationally amongst all the expedition team.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Program Details

The expedition will provide a solid base of personal training and development whilst getting you immersed in the ongoing conservation efforts. The program is engaged in a number of key areas, including the study of jaguar predation of sea turtles and assessment of any possible impact on turtle populations, jaguar tracking and prey monitoring, turtle nesting studies and conservation (during the nesting season), migratory/resident bird species long-term trend data, and biological assessment surveys in specific habitat areas.

How this program makes a difference:

The volunteering carried out by GVI Costa Rica has provided critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest. GVI works closely with the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) and partners with world-renowned organizations such as Sea Turtle Conservancy and Panthera to provide data and collaborate on conservation efforts in Tortuguero. Having GVI volunteers in place not only allows more areas to be surveyed, and in greater detail, covering areas of beach and forest not previously under regular study, but also helps greatly to decrease poaching of sea turtle nests by maintaining a constant presence at the park boundary

The work carried out by GVI Costa Rica has provided a huge amount of critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them to make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest.

For example, much of our work has been used to achieve massive reductions in sea turtle nest poaching.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Project Life

This expedition is the essence of remote adventure as there is no road access to the base, you will truly be surrounded by the amazing natural beauty of Tortugero’s Caribbean beaches and rainforest, with all transport via canoe and boat, courtesy of the green canals. Although challenging, you will find the work extremely rewarding as you work on research projects and receive training on field skills.

With enough room for research and relaxation, the base is small but comfortable; and provides a great environment for volunteers to get to know their fellow participants. Camp duties are shared rotationally amongst all the expedition team.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Project Details

The expedition will provide a solid base of personal training and development whilst getting you immersed in the ongoing conservation efforts. The program is engaged in a number of key areas, including the study of jaguar predation of sea turtles and assessment of any possible impact on turtle populations, jaguar tracking and prey monitoring, turtle nesting studies and conservation (during the nesting season), migratory/resident bird species long-term trend data, and biological assessment surveys in specific habitat areas.

How this program makes a difference:

The volunteering carried out by GVI Costa Rica has provided critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest. GVI works closely with the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET) and partners with world-renowned organizations such as Sea Turtle Conservancy and Panthera to provide data and collaborate on conservation efforts in Tortuguero. Having GVI volunteers in place not only allows more areas to be surveyed, and in greater detail, covering areas of beach and forest not previously under regular study, but also helps greatly to decrease poaching of sea turtle nests by maintaining a constant presence at the park boundary

The work carried out by GVI Costa Rica has provided a huge amount of critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them to make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest.

For example, much of our work has been used to achieve massive reductions in sea turtle nest poaching.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Jalova field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Costa Rica!

Optional Side Trips

Given your isolated location, a lot of your down time will be spent on base, the rainforest is not a place to go wondering! However there are still some possibilities in the immediate area for you to make the most of your time in Costa Rica. You can visit Tortuguero Village, browse its small souvenir shops, visit the delicious bakery and just watch the world go lazily by. For longer term volunteers on long weekend breaks, you could decide to head off base and further explore the Caribbean region. Hiking, snorkelling, fishing, or canopy and zip-line tours are just some of the activities that are possible in the area. For something a bit more intense, you could raft on the white waters of the famous Pacuare River on class III to IV rapids over the course of 1- or 2-day trips. And if the adventure activities are not for you, then simply relax in a laidback Caribbean village!

Further Travelling Opportunities

Costa Rica is an amazing country with an abundance of travel opportunities further afield with the following just a snapshot of the many possibilities!

Admire the famous and active Volcan Arenal from a distance and relax in the natural hot springs; surf the Salsa Brava – a hotspot of the Caribbean for the advanced surfer; ride horseback on the beach in Puerto Viejo or simply enjoy miles and miles of beautiful beaches kissed by palm trees; spot migratory raptor birds in the Talamanca Mountains and visit indigenous villages to learn more about their amazing culture; discover the cloud forest at Monteverde, visit the hummingbird gallery, enjoy the locally made ice cream and other fresh dairy products or walk among the treetops on the hanging bridges; enjoy the organised wildlife tours of Braulio Carrillo National Park; travel across the country to discover the beautiful Pacific Coast with its hidden white sand beaches; visit Volcan Irazu and discover coffee farms on the way back to San Jose; back in the capital, visit the Gold Museum or the Jade Museum, attend a play in one of the numerous theatres or take in the Latin American vibe with its lively nightlife.

 

The Team

Frank Spooner
Project Coordinator

Meet Frank, one of our Project Coordinators in Jalova. What does Frank like most about being based here? “We find such amazing animals, and we’re constantly learning. We get to see Whale Sharks, Bull Sharks, Jaguar, Anaconda and so many amazing frogs and butterflies – a not so secret passion of mine!”

Franks highlight since working for GVI? “Working on a ‘before and after’ multi taxa study of the edge effect of a road going through Primary Amazon Rainforest. Quite a mouth-full to say but it was an amazing project to be involved with.”

What does Frank have to say about volunteers’ contributions to the project? “Volunteers help me with everything I do! They’re in the field finding animals and evidence of animals that can’t be done with just one or two people. It’s also great to have more people around, making base a more social environment.”

Christina Harnois
Logistics Manager

Meet Christina, our Logistics Manager for Costa Rica, based in Quepos. What does she love about being based here? “I’ve seen so many creatures it’s just unreal! Spider monkeys, capuchins, howlers, crocodiles, iguanas, sloths, turtles and countless bugs and birds. It’s become such a normal part of the day, sometimes I have to remind myself how special it is!”

Christina’s highlight since working for GVI? ”Our acceptance into the community by the teachers, children and community members. It’s amazing to feel so welcome and comfortable.”

What does Christina think volunteers bring to the project? “Their enthusiasm and care for the children has been so inspiring and it makes our work in the community possible. Watching them develop trusting relationships with the children is so satisfying.”

Mariliana Leotta
Base Manager

Meet Mariliana, our Base Manager in Jalova. She’s got over 18 years’ experience in conservation and natural sciences. She’s a Biologist, a scuba instructor with over 1000 dives behind her, an underwater videographer and she’s even taught marine biology.

Her most memorable occasion since joining us in Jalova? Seeing four jaguars in one day, which included two cubs! Her favourite aspect of her job? ‘Meeting with our partners like MINAE to discuss project development and going out on the surveys whenever possible’.

What does Mariliana have to say about volunteers? ‘They’re essential for our project because they collect data with us every day, and help us to cook and maintain base. The Interns placed on base assist with just about everything as well!’

Blaine Clarke
Country Director

Meet Blaine, she studied biology and medicine, worked as a rafting guide and adventure tour leader across Central and South America, before joining a social justice NGO in San Francisco. Luckily for us, she missed South America so we snapped her up as our Country Director for Ecuador. When that project was successfully wrapped up, she moved across to Costa Rica!

We asked Blaine what volunteers bring to the party in Costa Rica. ‘We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. They are the front line, out there with the staff every day, hiking the trails and collecting the data, or arriving bright and early to the school every morning with a smile on their faces and fun and inspiring lessons in hand. We have amazing staff, but no matter how hard-working they are, we could not have the reach and impact that we do without our volunteers.”

Laura Dix
Director of Program Enrolment

Meet Laura. In addition to once being a promising figure skater, Laura is also a trained animal handler, and used to volunteer at a zoo in NYC. She likens herself to Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls, “She’s the brains of the operation”. We can’t argue there, HQ would fall apart without her!

She joined the Costa Rica Wildlife Expedition as a volunteer and immediately knew there was no going back to working for The Man. She became an ambassador and started planning her next trip when we sent her the Regional Coordinator vacancy. 5 weeks later she was in Cape Town!

Laura’s one travel must-have she recommends to volunteers? Coconut Desert Essence shampoo… “It smells amazing and it’s environmentally friendly. No-one should have to sacrifice their hair while travelling, even in remote environments.”

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Biological Survey Techniques upgrade

(GBP250/USD425/EUR300/AUD425) (8 week minimum duration) GVI biological survey techniques course provides training and experience needed to start planning and running your own surveys in the field; and can be applied to any environment around the world.
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Charitable Trust Climate Offset Contribution


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GVI Internship Training upgrade


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My Travel Safe 1 Year Subscription

Ultra secure ‘cloud storage’ for copies of key info / docs - passport, insurances, tickets, names & addresses, credit cards etc. Also has encrypted communication – far more secure than email. See www.mytsafe.com
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What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Tropical forest ecology
  • Scientific techniques in collection of biometric data, transect work, incidental observation, tourist and human impact surveys, camera trapping and, track identification
  • Camera trap use
  • Wildlife identification skills
  • Transfer to rainforest location
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • GPS training

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes

Our Impact

Location

Jalova

GVI’s research station in Jalova is found in the stunning Tortuguero National Park, surrounded on three sides by protected rainforest and on the other by the Caribbean Sea and a beach that is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of Green Turtles in the world. Spend your time surrounded by the breathtaking scenery and wildlife of the rich canals, tropical rainforest and Caribbean beaches. There is no road access to this location, so all transportation is via canoe and motor boat, through the stunning canal and river system surrounded by tropical rainforest and wildlife.

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