We recommend browsing from our website to ensure the most relevant information Go to site
Continue browsing here
Volunteer and Intern Abroad since 1997
New Program! GVI's Business Internships in Cape Town have just launched. Find out more here.

Under 18's Costa Rica Wildlife Awareness

Contribute towards protecting the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica alongside local partners, such as the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • 6
  • 12
  • 14
  • 15

Our Impact


Location

Volunteer in Jalova

GVI’s research station in Jalova is found in the stunning Tortuguero National Park, surrounded on three sides by protected rainforest and on the other by the Caribbean Sea and a beach that is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of Green Turtles in the world. Spend your time surrounded by the breathtaking scenery and wildlife of the rich canals, tropical rainforest and Caribbean beaches. There is no road access to this location, so all transportation is via canoe and motor boat, through the stunning canal and river system surrounded by tropical rainforest and wildlife.


Program Information

Travel to Costa Rica and contribute to our long-term conservation and community projects. Immerse yourself in a Costa Rican community, experiencing its rich culture and food, while contributing to the conservation of sea turtles.
Overview Project Life Project Details Adventure The Team Dates & Costs

Overview

Immerse yourself in a Costa Rican community while supporting our long-term projects and local partners. You will be contributing to both conservation and community projects, living south of Tortuguero National Park, doing sea turtle, jaguar, wildlife and bird surveys, in the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. This project has been specially designed for those looking to volunteer, but are aged between 15 and 17 years old. Throughout this project, our younger volunteers will have greater supervision, training, and world-class leaders in the field who have been chosen for their mix of relevant experience and ability to mentor and inspire young people.



Project Aims and Objectives

GVI has been operating in Costa Rica for almost 10 years. As well as our wildlife conservation work, GVI also focuses on community development work. We work in line with the UN Sustainable Development goals and each project contribute to two or more goals.

Each projects’ objectives are based around specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will largely contribute to pre-established environmental monitoring and research initiatives by collecting and reporting critical data. Emphasis will also be placed on increasing awareness surrounding pertinent conservation issues and knowledge of the local environment

Our projects are well established and respected amongst the communities. GVI’s long-term involvement, capacity building and commitment to our projects, ensure that the service elements of our participants’ trips are contributing to long-term sustainable projects helping to achieve our partners’ objectives. These local partnerships along with stakeholder discussions drive the service elements of our trips to ensure they are fully focused on the most prevalent issues and produce the results required locally.

 

Testimonial

"Surrounded by amazing, rich and diverse rainforest is surreal. Whether its trudging knee deep in mud or working a leatherback, it is truly a rewarding and unforgettable experience!! Plus, there aren´t many opportunities to meet people from such different walks of life."
- Josh Haley (United Kingdom)

Program Details

Program Type Under 18
Program Code CRJL0530F

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

GVI Live

Teen travel with an impact: meeting new people, having an adventure, understanding more of the world, and making a difference in local communities. Book your Under 18 impact adventure here: http://bit.ly/2nsr8uh Sara will tell you why you should - “During the summer of 2015 I spent a month in Costa Rica volunteering with GVI on their U18 programme. The first week was cultural immersion, which meant four hours of Spanish lessons a day, salsa class, and cooking class and staying with a host family for a week. This was one of my favourite parts of my whole trip. Staying with the host family improved my Spanish more than the lessons did because my family didn't speak much English so it was up to me to make conversation and pass along information in Spanish. My tican family (tico is a term Costa Ricans use to refer to themselves) were absolutely amazing and I loved spending a week as part of their family. I got to experience every part of tico life in a welcoming environment, which gave me a more authentic and real view of Costa Rica than many other visitors could hope to get After spending a week in Quepos with our host families, we moved to a hostel in the neighbouring hillside town of Manuel Antonio. The next two weeks were spent doing construction work at a school in a community called Roncador. It was hard work under a hot sun but we got through a massive amount of work, more than anyone expected. We dug drains to stop the playground flooding, cleared, levelled and landscaped an area behind the kindergarten classroom for a new playground for the kindergarten kids, wire-brushed and painted tin panels for a new roof for the GVI English classroom, filled in the holes in the wall with cement and gave the lunch hall, kindergarten classroom, outside wall and English classroom all a fresh coat of paint! One day we got to have a sports day with the kids, and while we'd seen them in their lessons and running around during their breaks this was the first time we got to interact with them. They practiced their English on us and we practiced our Spanish on them, and we got to really meet the people that we were doing all this work for. The kids are the life of the school, their smiles, their laughs, their eagerness to learn, and knowing that we could help them was very rewarding. It reminded us all why we were there, where all our sweat and effort was actually going. The day we left the project for the last time after two weeks there was a sad one and I think part of us wished we could stay for another week and do more. I am so proud of what we achieved throughout those two weeks and I know that the difference we have made will have a very real impact on the kids. It gives them a safer, cleaner, nicer learning environment to learn in and be proud of. After two weeks of hard work we moved into our adventure week! We started with a trip to the Manuel Antonio National Park where we saw everything from monkeys and baby boa constrictors to spiders, lizards and crabs climbing trees and even a sloth! The next day we took to the beach where I learnt that surfing is just as hard as it looks (which is hard!) but about a hundred times more fun! For our next adventure we drove across to the other side of Costa Rica to Turrialba and went zip-lining and abseiling in the rainforest before embarking on a rafting trip down the Rio Pacuare, one of the best rivers in the world for rafting. We spent two days navigating down class III and IV rapids and on the day in between we hiked to an indigenous village. When it was time to leave Costa Rica, I was heartbroken. It is such a beautiful country, from the stunning landscape to the warm, welcoming people and I didn’t want to say goodbye. Costa Rica will always be very special to me and I will never forget the things that I saw and learnt there. I share a very unique connection with the people I met while on this trip and I now have a family that is spread all over the world. This trip has ignited a desire to travel in me, one that was already there but has now sparked. It has also shown me the way I want to spend the rest of my life – seeing the world and helping as much of it as I can. So until next time – ¡pura vida Costa Rica!”

4 days ago

GVI Seychelles

GVI Seychelles Curieuse: Volunteers are off island exploring Vallee de Mai today, a world heritage site found on ou… https://t.co/6BrgnQAJMa

20 hours ago

Project Life

During your time on the project, your work will be varied, from doing night and early morning surveys, to learning about Wildlife conservation and Turtles, to raising awareness in the local town. Volunteers will also learn about community living and rotate around the different roles, of camp duty, cooking, etc. Volunteers should expect the days to be long, as well as hot, with plenty of walking while taking part in the various surveys. Your accommodation will be quite rustic, in an amazing place.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Project Details

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival at San Jose Airport and Transfer to Base (Sat)

On arrival, the group will be met at San Jose’s International Airport by a GVI representative or staff member. Students and accompanying teachers/chaperones will be transferred to their hostel accommodation and given time to settle in and rest before meeting in the afternoon to cover Health and Safety Risks as well as an overview of GVI and what our overall aims are globally as well as locally.

Day 2: Arrival to project site (Sun)

Accompanied by a GVI staff member or representative, the group will journey by bus 4 hours and where the trip will be based. The group will meet for an afternoon orientation and welcome session. The week’s logistics, duties and responsibilities will be explained and the GVI staff and local partners introduced. Materials and tools will also be prepped so as to maximise productivity for the next 4 days.

Days 3-7: Conservation based service and reflective learning (Mon-Friday)

The project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions and lectures. This may include night and early morning walks.

Each evening the students will come together for group and individual reflection work. This is time set aside for a discussion on the day’s achievements and how make the following day as constructive as possible.

Days 8 & 9: Adventure or local tours

During these days you will be taken to visit some of the astonishing natural or cultural sites Costa Rica has to offer and maybe even endeavor into an adventure activity

Days 10-13: Conservation based service and reflective learning (Mon-Friday)

The project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions and lectures. This may include night and early morning walks.

Last Day: A Fond Farewell

GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavor to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects volunteers contributed to during their time in Costa Rica, through “GVI Live” on social media.

The days are long and volunteers should expect to be working in a hot and humid climate. Don’t worry this is often interspersed with refreshing downpours! It is important to be flexible and adaptable to the changing nature of life in Costa Rica.

Jalova's short, mid, and long-term objectives

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Jalova:


1. Increase scientific knowledge of Tortuguero National Park

2. Increase awareness of GVI Jalova projects and the ecological value of the Tortuguero National Park.

3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in Costa Rica

4. Continue to minimize our environmental impact on TNP and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and visitors

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Adventure

Although this trip follows a structured itinerary, don’t think you won’t be seeing and doing some amazing things! During these days you will be taken to visit some of the astonishing natural or cultural sites Costa Rica has to offer and maybe even endeavor into an adventure activity.

The Team

Thjis Claes

Bird Poject Leader
Meet Thijs, our resident bird expert and project leader. Thijs was first attracted to GVI by the perfect mix of education, wildlife, science and communal living that we offer. He holds a Master in Biology (with a focus on freshwater biodiversity and ecosystem stability) and this knowledge comes in handy while in the field.

Thijs has explored deserts and swamp areas in southern Africa during a group journey, he has completed a Leadership and BST internships at GVI Jalova, and has volunteered for a scientific laboratory, governmental organisation and nature organisation. What is the best part about working for GVI? "Being in close contact with wildlife, the possibility to continuously learn and working in a close team towards valuable educational and sustainability goals."

Danny Guy

Jaguar Project Leader
Meet Danny, our nature loving jaguar project leader! Danny has some extensive volunteer and travel experience, including volunteering at Kariega Game Reserve in South Africa, and travelling to see and experience animals in the wild (South Africa, Kenya, Rawanda, Tansania and Borneo) where him ad his team usually camped in tents with basic equipment. He also completed a wildlife internship at Jalova Tortuguero with GVI and he was especially interested in gaining more hands-on experience through this experience.

He fondly recalls his favourite travel memory: "When volunteering in South Africa, after the day’s work, we were on our way back to our house when the big bull elephant stopped us just before our gate. We decided to watch him for a while as he proceeded to pull down one of the trunks of our fig tree treehouse. Once he’d pulled it down he called the rest of the herd up from the valley below. They stayed around the tree for the rest of the night and we had to drive around the back of our volunteer area and climb over the fence."

Cormac Healy

Base Manager
Meet Cormac, our lovely Base Manager in Jalova, Costa Rica. This Scotsman is a rather eccentric guy and his fantastic sense of humour is one of his most appreciated characteristics. He achieved a Master's degree in History and Politics, and quite evidently can keep his own in any conversation on any topic.

His love for travelling started in his younger years already and since then he has explored New Zealand, Canada, the states, and South Africa! What is his one travel must-have? "A towel of course (for further information please read a Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy)."

Mac first joined our office team as a GVI Country Expert for Thailand and Costa Rica and he particularly enjoys getting the chance to meet people who are really passionate about volunteering. He thinks of himself as Carl Frederickson from the movie Up. "Just a bloke who enjoys sitting in a comfy chair; I think we can all relate to that." Mac, we absolutely agree!

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Megan Brett

Incidentals Project Leader
Meet Megan, our Incidentals Project Leader in Jalova. She loves anoles, frogs, and all the other animals she can find in the jungle, which seems to be a good fit with what she is doing here with us at GVI. Megan has previous experience working on a dairy farm and with local conservation groups in New Zealand.

While working with GVI she gets plenty of chance to see and identify interesting animals. Costa Rica is quite a change from what she is used to but she loves the chance to use her training in zoology and ecology with a very different ecosystem than any she would find in New Zealand, her home country.

Laura Dix-Bowler

Business & Systems Analyst
Meet Laura. In addition to once being a promising figure skater, Laura is also a trained animal handler, and used to volunteer at a zoo in NYC. She likens herself to Blossom from the Powerpuff Girls, “She’s the brains of the operation”. We can’t argue there, HQ would fall apart without her!

She joined the Costa Rica Wildlife Expedition as a volunteer and immediately knew there was no going back to working for The Man. She became an ambassador and started planning her next trip when we sent her the Regional Coordinator vacancy. 5 weeks later she was in Cape Town!

Laura’s one travel must-have she recommends to volunteers? Coconut Desert Essence shampoo… “It smells amazing and it’s environmentally friendly. No-one should have to sacrifice their hair while travelling, even in remote environments.”

Cynthia Arochi Zendejas

Costa Rica Country Director
Meet Cynthia, our Country Director in Costa Rica. She started out with GVI as one of our National Scholarship Program participants in 2006 and later became our Programme Coordinator in Mexico. Her skills and enthusiasm just made it too hard to let her get away!

Cynthia is a certified Veterinarian, an EFR Instructor and holds a Master’s degree in International environmental Science. She is also a member of the Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation, chapter Costa Rica.

The most interesting things she’s experienced during life in the field? “Watching the turtles hatching! Also finding jaguar tracks and being able to participate in community tours.” Apart from those, Cynthia also loves arranging and participating in the fun Charity Challenges with volunteers.

What does Cynthia think volunteers bring to the projects? Since our goal is to provide support to local organisations which don’t have the human or economic resources to achieve their conservation or sustainable development objectives, our volunteers play a key role by being the hands needed, or helping to fund raise for those projects.”

Select a Departure Date

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Select Add-Ons

+ £35.00
?
+ £50.00
?
+ £15.00
?
Departing on unknown for 0 weeks with 0 add-ons
£0.00
Speak to us about payment plans, available if you are booking 12 weeks ahead of departure.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
  • What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs