As an over-50s volunteer I approached my time in Jalova, Costa Rica with some trepidation. I knew I would love the wildlife, but how would I fit in with a bunch of gap year volunteers? Would I cope with the basic conditions after too many years of the good life? In fact in many ways I would say Jalova was ideal for more mature volunteers – as long as you don’t mind leaving home comforts behind for a few weeks. It is very isolated, and so there is a real team spirit – you have to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. The conditions are basic, but you get used to it pretty quickly. The terrain is flat, but that doesn’t make it easy – heat, humidity, soft sand, mud, and biting insects all create challenges, but with basic fitness (and good clothing) you will be fine! Embrace the fact that the majority of staff and volunteers will be younger than you – for me they were an integral part of the experience, with varied backgrounds, a crazy sense of humour, and enormous enthusiasm…and I learned a few new card games! I never felt in any way restricted by my age. I chose this program because it promised a large variety of habitats and wildlife, all of which it delivered – turtles, jaguars, birds, invertebrates and more, with surveys on the beach, in the rainforest and along the canals (that’s me in the dark blue shirt, in case you hadn’t guessed). You get close to nature in ways which you never could as a tourist, while also contributing practically to the local wildlife conservation efforts. If you love wildlife and have the opportunity, give it a try!