Wildlife Volunteer in Costa Rica
Wildlife Rescue Team!
Wildlife Volunteer who come to NATUWA join our Rescue Wildlife Team in an effort to help them carry out a daily routine of the Rescue Center. This includes, feeding the monkeys, jaguars, tapirs, macaws and many more. They perform maintenance work on enclosures and environmental enrichment initiatives for the animals. The tasks focus on providing welfare to the animals and allowing the volunteers to learn to manage wild animals correctly.
Best time to be a Wildlife volunteer
Costa Rica has two seasons, the wet season and the dry season. The wet season is from May to November, which brings a lot of rain, but at the same time highlights the lush green landscape of Costa Rica. During these months, the weather is cooler, making it easier to work in. The dry season is from November to May. During this time there is a lot of sun and clear blue skies. The landscape is covered with fruits (such as mangos) and beautiful flowers!. NATUWA is located in the dry forest where it is very hot and dry, especially during the dry season.
Landscape in November at NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary
How to travel to NATUWA ?
Public busses run everyday (except Sunday) to and from the sanctuary. At 6:00 am the public bus arrives in front of the sanctuary to transport people to the town of Puntarenas where there is a bus station with busses to travel around Costa Rica. The bus leaves from Puntarenas to Aranjuez at 11:30 am, arriving to the sanctuary around 1:00 pm. The price of the public bus is about 1 mil colones (equal to about $2).
A taxi service can be requested to bring volunteers to the sanctuary. From Puntarenas to the sanctuary, volunteers can expect to pay about $35 and $80 from the Juan Santamaria Airport to NATUWA.
Currently, wildlife volunteer housing has bunk beds for participants. Each participant will have their own section to keep clothes/shoes/other personal belongings.
Rooms are complete with a fan for comfortable sleeping.
Places to visit near NATUWA
Every week, volunteers will receive a day off to be able to relax and explore surrounding areas. The staff of the sanctuary can help organize places to visit. Options include the beach, local river, Puntarenas, Monteverde, and more!
- Limited WiFi access from 12 pm – 2 pm and after 5 pm. In case of an emergency, exceptions can be made.
- Transportation can be arranged via taxi.
- La pulperia (small store) is a short walk from the sanctuary. Only 1 km away!.
- All meals are provided for volunteers. Vegetarian options will be provided upon request.
- In case of an emergency, the closest hospital is 40 minutes away.
What types of work the wildlife volunteer will do?
The sanctuary is continuously working to improve the lives of the jaguars, tapirs, sloths, macaws and many more animals. Volunteers will participate in activities such as:
Measuring, weighing and distributing food to each animal species is a volunteer’s task.
Assisting animals in case of emergency.
Participate in efforts to rehabilitate and release animals.
Planting trees and plants.
Assisting in giving tours of the sanctuary.
Volunteers support the Ecotourism and Environmental Education programs.
Maintenance of animal enclosures and property.
Maintenance of the Sanctuary trails
Constructing organic structures for the animals.
Participate in the environmental enrichment of all types of animals
Everyone loves Bolas the jaguar.!!
Agricultural production (for volunteers and animals).
Cultivate the land for the sustainability of NATUWA.
Price of Wildlife Volunteering
- Transportation from Airport Juan Santamaria $80/one way
- *Discount with donation item.
Donations (Amazon wish list)
There are a few items that would help the animals that are difficult to purchase in Costa Rica. These items are listed on our Amazon wish list. Items that are easiest to carry in luggage are: Harrison’s Organic Juvenile Bird Formula and the Meyenburg’s goat milk powder. Volunteers are encouraged to bring these items to help the animals!
In Costa Rica, a $10 bag of Harrison’s Organic Juvenile Bird Formula costs $100 per bag due to taxes and transportation.
Meyenburg’s goat milk powder is not available for purchase in Costa Rica and is an essential source of nutrients for any juvenile mamals species at the sanctuary. This powder has the ability to save an animals life.
Why you should volunteer at NATUWA?
A view from above of the enclosures where wildlife volunteer will work.
At NATUWA, we are all animal lovers. However, being an animal lover comes with a lot of responsibility. It is our responsibility to direct our love in a positive manner. Loving an animal does not mean hugging, touching, or showing affection to an animal, but rather having scientific knowledge of how to care for an animal in a way that will allow it to succeed in nature, lear with us to be a real Wildlife Volunteer.
Volunteering at NATUWA is a wonderful and unique experience that is perfect for people of all ages and all backgrounds. Volunteers will be able to positively impact the animals of the sanctuary, learn and practice Spanish, meet new people from all over the world and experience a different culture.
We need YOU!
Each wildlife volunteer has a huge impact on the lives of the animals. With volunteers, we are able to make progress on all projects large and small. Together, we can directly improve the lives of the animals in captivity and focus our attention towards our rehabilitation and release efforts. All of which you can be part of!
What to bring:
- *Rubber boots (preferably white color).
- Natural repellent (without DEET).
- Natural sunscreen.
- Mosquito net.
- *Long pants (work pants).
- Clothing that dries quickly.
- *Shower sandals.
- *Quick drying towel.
- Beach items.
- Many pairs of socks.
- Reusable water bottle.
- *Biodegradable soap, shampoo, toothpaste, detergent and other hygiene products.
- Thin bed sheets (one pair is provided).
- Long sleeves.
- Rain jacket.
- Work gloves.
- No smoking inside of or around the sanctuary.
- Do not talk to any animals.
- No feeding the animals (outside of feeding time).
- Dispose of garbage properly.
- When taking photos, the use of flash is forbidden.
- The use of any kind of drug is forbidden.
- No alcoholic beverages are allowed at the sanctuary.
- Be respectful towards the sanctuary staff (no sexual harassment, racism or xenophobia would be tolerated).
- NEVER leave the sanctuary facility alone.
- Respect the personal belongings of others (food supplies, cell phones, bags, etc).
- Bringing outsiders into the project is forbidden.
- Maintain appropriate dress code including long pants while working.
- Follow security rules according the activity (gloves, helmet, eye glasses, boots, pants).
- Cell phones may only be used between 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm and after 5:00 pm.
- Do not leave electronic devices or personal objects in common areas.
- The use of any kind of aerosol is forbidden.
- Do not enter the dorms or any other sanctuary common area with dirty shoes.
- Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, detergent and other hygiene products MUST be biodegradable.
- The use of insect repellent containing DEET is STRICTLY prohibited.
- Maintain hygiene in the bathrooms.
- Music can be listened to through the use of headphones OR at a low volume (to not disturb one another or the animals).
- Do not leave tools in any common areas.
- Do not leave clothes lying on the floor (order in general).
- Dispose of sanitary napkins properly (women).
- Lights must remain off during sleeping hours (10:00 pm – 5:00 am).
Interested in volunteering with us?
Spaces are limited. Please send an e-mail to with the following information:
- Medical record for Pulmonary tuberculosis.
- Fill out application.
- Level of Spanish.
- Dietary restrictions/allergies.
View project reviews of NATUWA Macaw Sanctuary on Volunteer World
Wildlife Volunteer in Costa Rica
NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary
NATUWA offers refuge and protection to more than 500 wild animals such as: jaguars, tapirs, monkeys, macaws, sloths, anteaters. Be part of our professional team helping to care for these wonderful creatures.