wild life rescue center

general overview

This animal rescue center is a temporary or permanent home for ill, injured, and orphaned animals. With a focus on monkeys, sloths, other mammals, birds and reptiles: the center provides veterinary services, round-the-clock care and comfort to animals that would otherwise be unable to survive in the Caribbean rainforest.

You will work with rescued, mistreated and injured animals on Costa Rica’s laid-back Caribbean coastline, where reggae music fills the air and surfers line up on the horizon. Based just 4km from Puerto Viejo, a traveler hangout with a bohemian vibe, where tie-dye rules and Creole street food sizzles, you’ll help to rehabilitate the animals and re-introduce them to their natural habitat in a controlled, safe manner.

Title Address Description
Costa Rica
In front of Villas del Caribe, Limón, Punta Cocles, Costa Rica

Puerto viejo


wildlife conservation




Animal Rescue center
On the carribean Coast of Costa Rica

The rescue center was founded way back in 2004 by a European couple passionate about wildlife. After visiting Costa Rica several times and seeing firsthand the shocking mistreatment and killing of animals, they decided to move here and dedicate their lives to protecting the wildlife. Before long, the rescue center was inundated with reptiles, mammals and even a baby jaguar, highlighting the need for the sanctuary. Soon, the founders bought a large part of private primary rainforest so that they could gently re-introduce the animals to the wild.
The rescue center receives no financial aid from the Costa Rican government, so they are dependent on the money and manpower of volunteers. By spending some time here, you’re not only helping to cared for injured animals – you’re also helping to keep the rescue center alive.

As a volunteer, you’ll work with monkeys, wild cats, sloths, racoons, anteaters and marsupials, so its safe to say that every day will bring new surprises. Your responsibilities will include everything from diet preparation to cleaning, monitoring and, finally, accompanying the animals as they are slowly re-introduced back into the wild.

What is included?

    • Project donation
    • Orientation meeting
    • Local support volunteer coordinator
    • 21 nights accommodation in dorms at the project
    • 7 nights accommodation in dorms at the release center


What is NOT included?

  • Meals
  • Getting to the proyect
  • Medical insurance (mandatory to confirm the reservation)


What to consider…

  • Projects starts on Mondays.  
  • Located close to the town of Puerto Viejo 
  • Available all year round
  • Longer stays are possible
  • Poor WiFi
  • Work can be physically demanding
  • Travel/health insurance is mandatory
  • Tuberculosis test is mandatory
  • Kitchen available
  • Maximum of 25 volunteers


Activities in the Animal Rescue Center
• Cleaning and reparation of the facilities and different areas
• Maintenance of pathways and areas around animals
• Diet Preparation and assistance to the keepers
• Attending to visitors, guiding them
• Training and Observation
• Help caring for animals

Activities in the Release Center
• Helping to clean and maintain the site and animal enclosures
• Preparing animal food feeding the animals
• Keeping trials clear
• Both captive and wild animal monitoring


Since the Rescue centers offers tours to tourists throughout the week and the animals need constant help, volunteers work 5 days a week.These can be weekdays or weekend days. The days starts at 07.30 am and ends around 04.00 pm.

On your arrival day (a Sunday) you will meet the other volunteers that are already there and the some of the staff. You can use the rest of the day to visit the town and get settled in. Your orientation meeting and training will start Monday at 11 am where you will be introduced to the other volunteers and join a tour of 90 min of the Center with tourists. After that your volunteer manager will get you started.

During the following weeks, the work can include a broad range of tasks, from doing the dishes and cleaning up after the animals (which is a constant!), to building and remodeling enclosures, or baby-sitting a new arrival to ease the stress of their new environment.

On the last week, on Monday you will transfer to the Release Center, located close to the rescue center but far away so the animals can find their way back to nature. You will be accompanying animals into their reintroduction process, visual tracking and making written comments for a final report on the state of the reintroduction.


You can get active at the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildife Reserve, where you can hike, kayak and snorkel your day away in the tropical waters. You’ll also stumble across several protected beaches where sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.

Hit the beach at Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva, all just a short tuk-tuk ride away. On these beaches, you’ll find yourself in a postcard-perfect paradise with swaying coconut palms and golden sands.

Reef snorkeling. Transparent waters, vibrant coral reefs and a myriad of multi-colored marine creates make snorkeling around Puerto Viejo a must.

An hour away from Puerto Viejo, the tiny beach town of Cahuita is a wonderful place to explore, perched on the coastline right next to a stunning national park with shady hiking trails and playful monkeys.

Feast on fresh seafood in the sunshine, packed with Caribbean flavours and the taste of the ocean. There’s no better way to celebrate an evening off.


You will be stay the first 3 weeks at the accommodation in the project and the last week you will stay at the accommodation at the release center, located 5 km away from the project in a reserve of 49 hectares.

• The accommodation at the rescue center has 6 rooms with 4 beds
• The accommodation at the release center has 6 rooms with 2 beds
• There are 3 shared bathrooms
• Bed linen & towels are included.
• Meals are not included and can be prepared in the communal kitchen of your accommodation.
• There is no TV.
• There is no mobile phone signal nor Wifi.
• An emergency phone is available.
• Volunteers are in charge of the cleaning.

about Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is a much-loved beach town perched on the shore of the Caribbean in the south of Costa Rica. With a laid-back, lively Creole culture and reggae music permanently drifting through the air, it’s somewhere very easy to get beautifully stuck for a while. The vibe is bohemian through and through, with surfers, hippies and locals all living together peacefully in the sunshine. Expect tie-dye, dreadlocks and a big-hearted welcome.
The Creole influence comes from the Jamaican immigrants that arrived in Costa Rica to work on the railways in 1900, and the flavour of Puerto Viejo is firmly rasta. 

The nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildife Reserve offers great opportunities for hiking, kayaking and snorkeling in the tropical waters. There are also several protected beaches where sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Though the beaches in town are not the best for swimming and sunbathing, head east and you´ll find golden stretches of sand, complete with swaying palms and turquoise waters. The nicest are Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva, both just a short tuk-tuk ride away. Slightly further afield the tiny beach town of Cahuita situated right next to a stunning national park with the same name is a great place to relax.

Due to its tropical climate, Puerto Viejo gets its fair share of rain, making the weather slightly unpredictable on a year-round basis. However, the showers are always followed by bright bouts of sunshine and they keep the surrounding forests lush and green.


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