Our internships in Costa Rica allow you to put what you have learned at university to the test in an area of outstanding natural beauty. You will contribute to professional conservation projects devoted to developing and preserving tropical rainforests, marine ecosystems and endangered animal species like the sea turtle. The internship can also help you academically and professionally by giving you an opportunity to write about one of the projects or your own research in your thesis or doctorate.
Costa Rica has over 160 nature reserves, national parks and conservation areas, making it the ideal location for an internship in conservation and animal welfare. Protected areas make up more than 25% of the country's landmass, making Costa Rica one of our most important habitats for countless plant and animal species and one of the most biodiverse regions on earth. Costa Rica's beauty is no secret, but mass tourism hasn't come to the country quite yet. Costa Rica is committed to sustainable ecotourism in order to preserve the original and exotic character of this wonderful country.
To intern with one of our conservation projects, you must be studying or working in a scientific field at a university and able to understand basic scientific principles and issues. ou should also be between 18 and 50 years old and have good English skills. The project will involve physical activity in high temperatures and high humidity. Even night-time patrols will take considerable energy. A good level of physical fitness is therefore recommended. That’s why we require a doctor's certificate confirming that you are healthy and fit enough to take part in the course as well as a certificate of vaccination. In order for your application to be successful, we require a brief CV, cover letter and a letter of recommendation from your university. So that we can provide the best possible conditions for your internship, please write about two pages on the research topic that you want to cover, including your objectives, methodology, schedule and materials. Last, but not least you should be a team player and enthusiastic about meeting new challenges and becoming active in nature conservation. Basic skills in Spanish are also very helpful.
You will fly into Juan Santamaría airport in the capital San José on the weekend. If you like, the team can pick you up and bring you to a hostel in the city. The team will organise the transfer from the airport, your stay in the hostel and your later journey to the project. However, you will be liable for the costs. An orientation meeting is held every Monday to give you an overview of what will happen on the project and the specific tasks which you will be expected to perform. You will travel to your project by public transport after spending one or two nights in the capital. The return journey can also be organised by the local team in return for a small fee.
No matter which project you choose in Costa Rica, your work will give you an insight into the fundamental practices surrounding nature and species conservation while teaching you important research methods. You will acquire practical experience in the conservation of endangered species and areas while working with an international team. You will act as a group leader and help volunteers to perform their tasks on the project. You will also be responsible for how the equipment is used and maintained, take part in regular team meetings and one off meetings, and prepare monthly reports about the latest research findings. You can take part in the projects throughout the year. However, you should be aware that we cannot guarantee that you will work directly with the sea turtles during your stay, as it is not possible to predict exactly when they will arrive. You are most likely to work with them if you arrive between July and November/December, as these months have seen the most suitable activity in recent years. There may also be disappointing or frustrating moments during the project, as some of the young may not survive.
Conservation stations near Montezuma Beach and Buena Vista Beach (Samara) on the Pacific coast in the west of the country run a number of projects devoted to the conservation of endangered sea turtles. Each of these projects will teach you about conservation methods and allow you to take part in researching this fascinating species and its habitat. You will study a unique marine ecosystem to see how active nature conservation works and how you can help to foster and protect a species. As part of your internship, you will play an active role in these projects and work together with other interns from around the world to improve the conservation of sea turtles on the fascinating coasts of Costa Rica.
This internship focuses on:
This project will take you to the gorgeous east coast of Costa Rica. A team of professional conservationists, interns and volunteers from around the world work near Tortuguero National Park to protect part of an enormous reserve. The area's tropical rainforests, mangrove forests, swamps, beautiful beaches and lagoons make the ecosystem oneof the most biodiverse in the plant and provide a habitat for thousands of plant and animal species. The tropical climate's high levels of rainfall feed a lush, dense landscape which is full of life and in constant movement. The National Park is an excellent example of successful ecotourism and provides a wonderful opportunity to get a detailed look at what's involved in managing and cultivating nature reserves. With its rivers, beaches and tropical rainforests, the landscape is a living laboratory for extensive environmental studies. Its unique nature and biodiversity make it an important reserve for a number of endangered species.
This internship focuses on:
Everyone interested in our internship programme should be aware that these courses aim at educating the participants. The courses have a set content and deal with a variety of topics that are introduced in English. A number of theoretical and practical examinations as well as presentations in English are part of the learning experience and can be challenging for non-native speakers. Please note that the courses are not simply safari excursions but require effort. But if you are interested and also willing to learn something completely new, the challenges and tasks will be manageable for you. You should not get discouraged – feel free to contact us so we can discuss the detailed learning plan and explain the general procedure of the courses to you.
If you join the project in Montezuma, you will be staying in basic accommodation made up of two connected apartments. The accommodation also has a large common area with a balcony. Everybody helping on the project will sleep in bunk beds in three shared dormitories, and will have access to drinking water, bathrooms with showers, toilets and running water.
The rustic accommodation at Buena Vista Beach near Samara also has a large common area and a kitchen with a dining area. You and your group will sleep in bunk beds in a shared dormitory, and will have access to showers, toilets and drinking water.
If you join the project in the Tortugero National Park, you will stay in basic but comfortable housing in the biological station in the immediate vicinity of the Park. Everybody on the project will sleep in bunk beds in two dormitories and have access to a kitchen area, showers and toilets.
Unlike the accommodation in Montezuma and the Tortugero National Park, the accommodation at Buena Vista Beach is not connected to the electricity grid, and therefore uses solar energy. Three typical Costa Rican meals are provided every day to keep you going throughout the project. These simple meals mainly consist of rise, beans, salad, pasta, vegetables and a lot of fruit.
Everybody interested in internships abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.
It is difficult to predict exactly how much time you will be working and how much free time you will have, as your responsibilities and working hours are largely dependent on the season and the weather. You will work for between six and ten hours a day in Montezuma and Sámara, so you will always have time to explore the surrounding area or relax in your accommodation or on the beach.
In addition to working between 8 AM and 3 PM every day, the project in the Tortugero National Park will give you enough time for tours and relaxation. Every helper will have one free day during the week, usually a Sunday. The hours that you work and your responsibilities depend largely on the weather and the season, so there are no fixed working hours.
In addition to making excursions into the exotic natural environment and neighbouring sandy beaches, you can also visit the restaurants, bars and cafes in the tourist village of Montezuma and enjoy the relaxed feel of this small town. If you decide to join the project at Buena Vista Beach, you can visit the nearby tourist location of Samara or the city of Nicoya, which is slightly further away. You will also be able to visit some nature conservation areas near both projects to investigate fascinating forests, explore complex cave systems and watch turtles as they lay their eggs. If you join the project in Tortugero National Park, you can explore the Park for yourself, tour the canals by boat or go on a guided night tour through the Park. The Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge and Cuatro Esquinas ranger station are popular destinations which you can reach from the site.