A group of Projects Abroad volunteers do conservation work within the caves of Costa Rica

Conservation Volunteer Work with a Team in Costa Rica

Live and work with a group in a tropical rainforest and help protect endangered species

At a glance

  • Work with conservation experts in Barra Honda National Park, a unique area filled with thick forests and cave networks
  • Collect scientific data to support crucial environmental decisions and craft conservation strategies
  • Conduct biological research in the field
  • Help protect endangered indigenous species, like birds, butterflies, and bats

Start Dates: 

Fixed dates throughout the year

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


Anyone aged 18 or over can join

Is conservation work in Costa Rica right for me?

Picture this: You’re living in the heart of a tropical forest, waking up every morning to the twittering of several different species of birds. You spend your days exploring on foot, hiking, and venturing into ancient caves to study bats. The deepest cave in this area is 60 million years old! 

Does this description make you say “Yes! When do we leave?” If it does, this Team Trip is perfect for you! 

You should join if: 

  • You’re a curious adventurer with a passion for protecting our planet
  • You want to pursue a career in the natural sciences
  • You want to gain practical experience working on real-world conservation initiatives
  • You want to add international biological research to your resume to stand out to universities and employers

You’ll trek through forests and explore deep caves, so be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and into something extraordinary. Expert conservationists and other staff will be there every step of the way, so this is a completely safe and secure way to experience this breathtaking ecosystem. 

You don’t need any specific skills or qualifications to join. All you need is to be physically able to participate in hiking, and be willing to skip some of your home comforts. Don’t worry, in the heat of the forest, you’ll learn to love a cold shower! 

This Team Trip follows an itinerary, and is available during set dates throughout the year.

A stunning view of Arenal Volcano shot through the overgrowth in Costa Rica, showing bright green fauna and a pyramid peak volcano

The project runs all year round, you can start on any day, and it’s fully supervised. So all you need to do is decide on some dates, complete our application form with a £195 deposit and we’ll take care of the rest.

Your work will focus on five main areas: 

Collect data on wildlife

One of your main tasks will be to collect valuable data on different species. You’ll do this during hikes through the forest, night walks, and trips into the park’s caves. You’ll also help with setting up butterfly traps, which safely catch butterflies so that you can record details about them. Once, you’ve collected this data, you’ll release them unharmed.

The data you collect will tell us more about the behavior and distribution of species. With this information, we can create and implement more effective conservation strategies.

Some of the species you’ll survey include:

  • Bats
  • Scarlet macaws
  • Monkeys
  • Butterflies

Raise conservation awareness

During your trip, you’ll be learning a lot about Costa Rica’s unique plants and animals. Experts will also equip you with details about conservation strategies. You’ll then share this information with locals in the communities surrounding the reserve.

You’ll take trips to schools or community centers, where you’ll give presentations on topics like organic farming or recycling. This work ensures surrounding communities are invested in protecting the forest. It also means they’ll carry on important conservation work after you’ve finished your project.

Do community and maintenance work

Get your hands dirty and use your energy to make a tangible difference! During your project, you’ll dedicate some of your time to community initiatives. This could include planting vegetable gardens or painting environmental education murals at schools.

You’ll also help with park maintenance. Barra Honda relies heavily on volunteers to keep up it’s amazing work. You’ll play a vital role in maintaining the park by clearing trails, maintaining fire breaks, and renovating the camp.

Help with reforestation 

The tropical dry forest is threatened by deforestation. Cutting down trees and clearing land for farmland and urban expansion leaves many creatures without homes. You can make a difference by helping with reforestation initiatives.

As a volunteer, you’ll tend to young saplings in the tree nursery. You’ll also help with planting the larger saplings in the forest. This initiative helps rebuild this vital habitat.

Reforestation also helps combat climate change. More trees means more carbon dioxide absorbed, which helps reduce the catastrophic environmental consequences of this greenhouse gas.

Explore the surrounding nature

It’s not all work and no play! You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the park and connect with your fellow volunteers.

Where will I work in Costa Rica?

Barra Honda

In Costa Rica, we work in Barra Honda National Park. This is a government-run wildlife reserve located in the northwest of the country. The nearest town, Nicoya, is about a 25-minute drive from the reserve.

During your volunteer project, you’ll live and work within the reserve. This area is a lush tropical dry forest with an intricate network of underground caves. You’ll stay in shared, same-sex dormitories with volunteers your age.

You’ll find living in the forest is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Surrounded by the sounds of chattering monkeys, chirping birds, and buzzing insects, you’ll get to truly connect with nature!

Airport pickup, flights and visas costa rica

When volunteering in Costa Rica, your arrival airport will be Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). You will be met at the airport by a Projects Abroad staff member. You can find more detailed information on flights, arrival airports, orientation, and visas, on our Costa Rica Arrival Procedures page.

What is the goal of this Conservation Project?

The main goal of this project is to support the staff of Barra Honda National Park in their vital conservation work. In the process, you’ll gain valuable skills and practical experience.

Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity. So even though it’s a small country, it has plenty of indigenous wildlife. However, this wildlife is threatened by deforestation and climate change. That’s why it’s vital to understand how best to conserve local plants and animals, while also taking steps to ensure humans in surrounding areas work to protect the forest.

On this Team Trip, you’ll play an important role in making this happen. Your work will help us in striving towards long-term, sustainable goals to protect the tropical dry forest ecosystem.

Join us in Costa Rica and contribute to vital conservation work.

Volunteers recording information about the vegetation in Barra Honda National Park on a Team Trip

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers during your stay at Barra Honda National Park. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your time together.

Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers during your stay at Barra Honda National Park. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your time together.

Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay $295, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options, fundraising advice, and scholarships available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on (+1) 619 320 2424 to see if we can offer a discount.

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