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Costa Rica Wildlife Experience

Price Costa Rica 2 weeks+
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Costa Rica Wildlife Experience

Costa Rica

This rescue center is dedicated to the treatment and protection of exotic animals indigenous to the tropical paradise that is Costa Rica. Working alongside an experienced wildlife vet, volunteers help to rescue, rehabilitate and release these animals back to their natural habitat whenever possible. Volunteers are responsible for basic medical and day-to-day care of the resident animals, including optional nightly rotations for juvenile and nocturnal critters. All medical procedures and treatments are performed under the direction of a qualified veterinarian and all training is provided on arrival. This program was designed to provide hands-on experience in a veterinary setting to those with limited wildlife experience.  This is a unique way to learn new skills, explore this Caribbean nation, and an opportunity to make lifelong friendships with other volunteers from around the world.

*Please note that this is a working rescue/rehabilitation center and wildlife hospital- activities and caseload are highly variable and invasive procedures will not be performed on otherwise healthy animals. Therefore, some activities may not be available in every session and some sessions may have a heavier caseload than others.  In addition, there are other volunteers on site working in a variety of capacities.*

The program fee covers transportation, food and accommodation, as well as financial support for the rescue center. Guided tours are available during free time.

Some knowledge of Spanish is recommended as staff members have varying levels of English-speaking ability.


2-week session: $1,000 USD

Additional weeks: $500 USD/week

  • Destination
  • Departure
    Every Sunday - Year Round
  • Departure Time
  • Return Time
    Animal Lovers | Pre-Vet Students | Vet Students | Vet Techs & Nurses | Vets
  • Dress Code
    Training is provided for all activities. The program fee helps to support the non-profit clinic as well as volunteer activities, transportation and accommodation. Limited to 6 volunteers per session. On-Site free-time activities are included but off-site trips have an additional fee.
  • Included
    Airport Transfers
    Free-time Activities
    Laundry Facilities
    On-Site Support
    Pre-Departure Support
  • Not Included
    Travel Insurance
    Visa Fees (if applicable)
7:30 AM:
8:30 AM:
Morning volunteer meeting with coordinators
9:00 AM:
Animal food prep & feeding
9:30 AM:
Enclosure cleaning & animal enrichment (see “Activities” for details)
10:00 AM:
Medications, check ups & procedures (see “Activities” for details)
11:00 AM:
Exercise baby animals in the yard
12:00 PM
Lunch & free time (pool, hammocks)
1:30 PM:
Afternoon volunteer meeting with coordinators
2:00 PM:
Animal food prep & feeding
2:30 PM:
Enclosure cleaning & animal enrichment (see “Activities” for details)
3:00 PM:
Medications, check ups and procedures (see “Activities” for details)
4:00 PM:
Collect & deliver leaves to all animals
5:00 PM:
Free time (pool, hammocks)
6:00 PM:
7:00 PM:
Night activities (bonfire, night walks, movies, trivia)
Night feedings (optional, variable, need-based): 9pm, 12am, 3am

This itinerary is an example of a typical day at the center. Weekly activities are planned according to the needs of the rescue center and the community, new opportunities, vet emergencies, and inclement weather.
Arrival and Departure days are every Sunday. Training & Orientation take place in the first 1-2 days of each session- volunteers learn about the history and day-to-day operations of the center, feeding & cleaning procedures, handling techniques, etc. before starting the daily routine outlined above in the animal hospital.
Free time/tour days may vary but volunteers can expect 1 day off per week.

Tour Location

Volunteers stay on-site at the rescue center with non-vet volunteers. There are 5 bedrooms (6 bunk beds per room), 5 showers & 7 toilets. Amenities include wifi, laundry service, outdoor pool and lounging areas. Staff stay on-site and are available 24/7 to ensure volunteer safety.  All meals are included in the program fee.  Weekday trips to the grocery store (10 min away) are available for snacks or other items.

*This is a non-profit rescue center in a rural location - please expect cozy and rustic accommodations, and limited Wi-Fi signal!*

  Wildlife Vet Experience in Costa Rica Accommodations - Global Vet Experience              
Overall Rating


  • Melanie

    August 11, 2023 at 8:56 am

    My sister and I had an INCREDIBLE experience in Costa Rica! The one thing I would recommend is to tell students they’ll need more cash with them for day trips […]. Dr.Eloisa and her assistant Marcel were so amazing to work with, and were always happy to answer everyone’s questions!

    July 2023

  • Anonymous

    August 11, 2023 at 7:33 am

    The vet was exceptional and let us do a lot. I learnt so many things I would not have gotten the opportunity to do elsewhere and I had one of the best experiences of my life.

    May 2023

  • Anonymous

    July 25, 2022 at 9:46 am

    This experience is for people who love animals enough to get their hands dirty and live in humble conditions. But it’s totally worth it to interact with the vet and the wildlife.

    July 2022

  • Sandra O.

    June 17, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    The program is perfect for pre vet or early vet students! I learned a lot of new stuff and the vet was awesome! All in all it was an amazing month and I would definetely recommend it!

    February 2022

  • Fatou

    June 17, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    I spent 1 Month at the Center and really enjoyed my time. The vet who is Working there is such a Lovely Person. She explained everything, let me do Practical Things and never let me Alone with complicated Tasks. She really wanted me to understand and learn nee Things. I would really recommend the place for an Internship.

    February 2022

  • Ben W.

    June 17, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    The veterinarian was amazing, super knowledgeable and with great energy and willingness to teach (as long as you want to learn)!

    June 2022

  • Bailey

    June 17, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    An incredible, hands-on wildlife experience! Would highly recommend and would definitely do again!

    June 2022

  • Allena

    June 17, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    I definitely got the exotic/wildlife experience I was looking for! Sloths, porcupine, owls, squirrels, possums, parrots, monkeys, toucans, deer, peccaries. Really loved the veterinarian currently working there. She was really enthusiastic about helping us learn. There were foreigners volunteering there which made for extra interesting conversations. Very long days and hard work, but the people I met and animals I worked with made it definitely worth it.

    June 2022

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Vet/Animal Activities:

  • Food Prep (species-specific)
  • Routine Feeding and Cleaning (twice daily)
  • Daily Treatments (wound management, oral/injectable medications, etc.)
  • Intake exams for new animals
  • Regular Monitoring (vitals, weight, feed intake, etc.)
  • Late Night Feedings* (as needed, optional)
  • Diagnostics (blood tests, skin samples, fecal analysis, etc.)
  • Discuss & design plans for release and prepare eligible animals
  • Enrichment & Training (food puzzles, novel toys & objects, etc.)
  • Assist in veterinary procedures (x-rays, sedated exams, surgeries, necropsies, etc.)
*Night Feedings: Newborns require feeding every few hours and nocturnal animals only eat at night, so there is sometimes a rotating nightshift schedule with 3-4 feedings per night. These shifts are in addition to the 8-hour work days, are scheduled in pairs and are OPTIONAL, but reflect a realistic and important part of vet life at the rescue center. Any additional voluntary time spent at the hospital is very much appreciated!
These are examples of activities that have been performed at this center in the past. This is a working rescue/rehabilitation center and wildlife hospital- some treatments and procedures are more common than others, but cases and caseload are highly variable and invasive procedures will not be performed on otherwise healthy animals. Therefore, some activities may not be available in every session and some sessions may have a heavier caseload than others.

Animal Experience: 30-40 hrs/week
Vet Experience:  25-35 hrs/week
Clinical Experience: 5-15 hrs/week
Surgical Experience: 0-5 hrs/week

For the welfare and safety of the animals and staff, some animals are trained to present body parts, accept injections, etc. All medical treatments and procedures are performed under direct or indirect veterinary supervision. This center currently has 1 vet and staff are trained to provide day-to-day veterinary care.

Free-Time Activities:

Daily Free Activities Include:

  • Lounging by the Outdoor Pool & Hammocks
  • River Walks
  • Board Games

Nightly free time activities include:

  • Dance lessons/Karaoke
  • Game night
  • Bonfires
  • Guided Night Walks
  • Sun Downers
  • Movies
  • Visiting San Jose for souvenirs, restaurants, bars, etc.

There are scheduled weekly trips/tour off site during the busy seasons.  Additional off-site trips/locations or trips during quieter seasons (Sept-Nov) can be arranged with assistance of staff (Paula) or coordinators on site upon request.  There will be additional costs associated with transportation and entrance fees. Price ranges are estimated $35-$125 depending on tour and how many volunteers are going.

Popular destinations include:

  • Jaco Beach
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Isla Tortuga
  • And more...
Wildlife Vet Experience in Costa Rica Accommodations - Global Vet Experience    Wildlife Vet Experience in Costa Rica - Global Vet Experience                

Please submit an application for this program below. Our team will contact you with more information within 72 hours- if you don’t hear from us, please check your spam folder!