Projects Abroad volunteers planting seedlings during Conservation volunteering in Costa Rica for teenagers

Conservation Volunteering in Costa Rica for Teenagers

Team up with high school students from around the world to protect the majestic wildlife of Costa Rica

At a glance

  • Collect data on howler monkeys and scarlet macaws through wildlife surveys and camera traps.
  • Help with ongoing maintenance and organic gardening projects.
  • You’ll be based in Barra Honda National Park, a government-run wildlife reserve made up of lush forests and deep cave networks.

Start Dates: 

Summer/Winter Break

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks



Is Conservation volunteering in Costa Rica for teenagers right for me?

This project is ideal for adventurous teens who are passionate about protecting our planet. If you’re looking to pursue a career in environmental studies, zoology, or botany, this is for you! You’ll gain practical experience working on conservation initiatives in the heart of the tropical dry forest.


Thrill-seekers and nature lovers are welcome! You’ll trek through the forest and explore caves, so be prepared for a step out of your comfort zone and into something extraordinary. This is a completely safe and secure way to experience this breathtaking ecosystem.


You don’t need any skills or qualifications to join. You just need to be physically fit and willing to skip some of your home comforts, like regular Wi-Fi access and hot showers. But you’ll find that in the heat of the forest, a cool, refreshing shower will be exactly what you need at the end of the day.


Travelling abroad for the first time? This project is ideal if you’re looking for a bit of extra support while you’re abroad. Our hassle-free approach means our staff will be on-hand 24/7 to guide you.


Conservation volunteering in Costa Rica for teenagers is available over your summer holiday. This project has fixed dates and a set itinerary, filled with plenty of exciting activities to keep you busy.

A group photo during Conservation volunteering in Costa Rica for teenagers

What will I do on this volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica?

You’ll spend your days working with other teens to protect the wildlife of Barra Honda National Park. Here are some of the tasks you’ll do:


  • Collect data on wildlife to help create effective conservation plans
  • Do community work and maintenance work to keep the park running
  • Plant trees to help combat habitat destruction and climate change
  • Explore the beautiful reserve and bond with your fellow volunteers

Your work will focus on the following 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

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


Some of the species you’ll survey include:

  • Scarlet macaws
  • Monkeys


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 work


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. This project has a set itinerary, with time set aside for social activities. This includes meals shared with your group, late night cards and board games, and even a trip to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano!

Project Partners

For this project, we’ve partnered with Barra Honda National Park. This is a government-run wildlife reserve in desperate need of volunteer support. We provide the park with the manpower to do important conservation work. In exchange, our volunteers work with and learn from some of the top minds in environmental studies.

Where in Costa Rica will I work?

Barra Honda

Our volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica for teenagers is based 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 project, you’ll work within the reserve. This area is a lush tropical dry forest with an intricate network of underground caves. You’ll stay in host family accommodation 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, you'll 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 are the aims and impact of Conservation volunteering in Costa Rica?

The main aim of this project is to support the staff of Barra Honda National Park in their vital conservation work. In the process, you’ll also 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 project, 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.

Interesting facts about conservation volunteering in Costa Rica with projects abroad

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.

We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family, close to Barra Honda National Park. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica and have a truly unique experience.


On our High School Specials, we will always try to have you share a room with at least one volunteer of the same sex and approximate age. 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 a $295 deposit, which comes off the total program fees.

Things are changing rapidly these days. If you have ANY questions, please call us at (+1) 619 320 2424 and we’ll fill you in on the latest updates.

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