Your trip at a glance


  • Gain valuable research and conser­va­tion work experi­ence for future academic and profes­sional goals
  • Make use of a well-equipped labora­tory and the guidance of knowl­edge­able profes­sionals while pursuing your research interests
  • Contribute to critical refor­esta­tion and habitat conser­va­tion work in the heart of the Costa Rican rainforest
  • Build your resume and contacts in a fun and engaging environ­ment of likeminded conser­va­tion­ists
  • Explore and protect one of the most biodi­verse regions of the world


San Gerardo de Rivas

Plan your trip

  • Included in the programme fee
    • Placement in the programme
    • Assistance with travel arrangements
    • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
    • Assistance with booking flights
    • Risk coverage certificate

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Meghan, your travel expert for Costa Rica

Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to learn more about this journey! I answer all of your questions and assist you before, during and after your adventure abroad.


Work placement in Costa Rica

As an intern, you can jump into the reserve’s exciting conservation and reforestation projects. Support resident researchers, or come as an independent researcher and contribute your focus and skillset in a new way. Here, passionate conservationists and creative minds work together towards the common goal of environmental protection and regeneration.


Arrival and orien­ta­tion in Costa Rica

As your project begins on a Sunday, we suggest you arrive in San José via Juan Santamaria International Airport 1-3 days beforehand. On Sunday, you will make your way by public transportation (bus and taxi), first to the city of “San Isidro de El General” and then to the town of “San Gerardo de Rivas”, where a staff member will pick you up and bring you to the reserve. Once you arrive at the reserve (generally around 4 pm), you will settle into your accommodation, receive a brief introduction and a tour of the facilities. The following day, orientation and training begin, and you will be given a schedule of your activities for the week.


Tasks as a forest conser­va­tion intern

Research interns will work on one to two projects focusing on plant and/or animal species across the three major types of habitat: primary forest, reforested secondary forest and secondary forest that has naturally regenerated. These studies assist researchers working in reforestation to analyse the effects of natural regeneration versus active planting while building an understanding of the scope of species on the reserve. Interns will also be trained to work with the three long-term fauna research projects at the reserve: mammal camera trapping, bird point counts and herpetology visual encounter surveys.


Accom­mo­da­tion at the reserve

You will stay in a mixed dorm room with bunk beds for 4-8 people. You will share a bathroom and shower, as well as a kitchen. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor communal space for you to spend your free time. If you are interested in a single room for you or to share with a friend/partner, there are two small independent houses available to book for an added fee. They include a private kitchen, bathroom and shower, one queen bed and a private patio. They are subject to availability.


Leisure time as a trainee

During your free time, after all of your activities have been completed, you can make use of one of the many fun facilities that the reserve has to offer, including: an outdoor bodyweight gym, grass volleyball court, yoga lawn, slackline, waterfall swimming lagoon, selection of games and sports equipment and a community library with a book swap.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

Learn what others say about their Natucate adventure.

Review Internship Abroad Peru – Lydia

“But not only did I adapt, I even learned to love it. I fell in love with the forest, the animals, and the green and for the first time I had the feeling that my work was contributing something valuable to the world. [...] I recommend this project to anyone who is looking for a special challenge, beautiful nature or professional prospects.”

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Review Internship Abroad Costa Rica – Fabienne

“The feeling of striving for the same goal together with other volunteers and interns was indescribable, and the way we supported the turtles and worked together in a team was real fun”

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Review Internship abroad Botswana – Victor

During his internship in Botswana, Victor became active in conserving endangered species. In his report, you can learn more about his tasks and experiences.

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Review Photos Internship Abroad Costa Rica – Varina

Education and outdoor adventure in Central America: Varina went to Costa Rica and spent eight weeks as an intern protecting endangered sea turtles. Here you can find some of her stunning impressions:

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  • auslandspraktikum-costa-rica-waldforschung-reiseort-san-gerardo-de-rivas-natucate
    1. San Gerardo de Rivas

    At the foot of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica, close to San José, lies the small town of San Gerardo de Rivas. The cloud forest area at an altitude of around 2,000 m is a birdwatcher's paradise with spectacular waterfalls, lush forests and a great biodiversity. Many fascinating bird species live here. Among them is the beautiful Quetzal. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the remote trails. For the well-trained, a hike to Cerro de la Muerte is a must on your Costa Rica adventure. San Gerardo is an ideal place to relax, slow down, get away from the tourist crowds and admire nature.

Background on the inter­na­tional forest conser­va­tion trainee programme

Our partner’s reserve was established in 2002 by purchasing degraded farmland. It is dedicated to nature conservation, reforestation and preserving this priceless tropical ecosystem. The NGO’s vision is to become an international destination renowned for its vibrant educational laboratory and the variety of life-changing, immersive experiences it offers.

Our partner is committed to providing emerging professionals with practical fieldwork skills. They encourage academic curiosity and strive to offer motivated scientists the resources they need to progress their research.

Are you curious about international and intercultural perspectives on forest conservation? Is your analytical thinking driven by discovering new things, establishing correlations and gaining more knowledge? Then we would love to hear from you and share our passion for the cloud forest and its restoration with you!


Conscious Travel with Natucate

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