The illegal animal trade is the third largest in the world, and unlike other rescue centers, our animal reserve in Costa Rica is focused on rehabilitating wildlife and releasing them back into the wild. This center was founded to give endangered, injured and abandoned animals a home. Read about the animals at the project!

What do our alumni say about the program?

Besides a couple incidents involving monkey poop, I had an amazing time in Costa Rica.  My host family went above and beyond to make me comfortable and to make sure that I had an enjoyable time.  Everyone I met there was incredibly friendly and welcoming and I had such a fun time with all the cute animals!  I’m so glad I got to experience their culture, I definitely learned a lot. Thanks for all your support!” – Evelyn Scafe, Greenheart Travel volunteer alumna

Read more alumni reviews of the program on GoOverseas.

Project Details

The rescue center has grown tremendously in recent years, and more animals get dropped off every day. These animals may be injured by natural causes or they may be anonymously dropped off. Regardless of the circumstances, it is always our goal to try to release as animals as we can back into the wild. Without your help, there would not be enough hands to feed the animals, build and clean the cages, maintain the beauty of the center or connect with the local community through outreach.

How You Will Make a Difference:

You will have the opportunity to work alongside volunteers from around the world to support wildlife conservation efforts in Costa Rica.

  • Help feed, observe and administer general care to animals
  • Assist with various conservation projects
  • Work in the greenhouse
  • Help maintain trails on the reserve
  • Help with construction of new habitats for the animals
  • Assist with community outreach projects in the area

Here’s an example of what your schedule might look like while volunteering in Costa Rica:


Program Fees

Please note, all prices are listed in USD

  • 1 Week: $1,540
  • 2 Weeks: $2,070
  • 3 Weeks: $2,470
  • 4 Weeks: $3,100
  • 5 Weeks: $3,590
  • 6 Weeks: $4,010
  • 7 Weeks: $4,330
  • 8 Weeks: $4,640
  • 10 Weeks: $5,510
  • 12 Weeks: $6,390

*1 week is equal to 7 nights

Want to improve your Spanish language skills? You can add morning Spanish lessons for $150 per week!

What’s included:

  • Accommodations with a host family
  • 3 meals per day
  • Airport pickup and drop off to/from San Jose airport
  • Culture & Etiquette guide book
  • Medical/Accident insurance
  • 24-hour emergency support
  • Pre-departure and arrival orientations
  • Personal assistance from a Greenheart Travel program manager
  • Certificate of Completion upon request for successful completion of the program
  • Greenheart Travel also donates a portion of your fee to offset the carbon footprint of your travels.

What’s Not Included:

  • Airfare to Costa Rica
  • Airport exit fee in Costa Rica
  • Spending money for souvenirs or snacks while in Costa Rica

Start Dates

All participants should plan on arriving in Costa Rica on the Monday their program starts. Flights should arrive no later than 4:00 pm, since it takes 3 hours to drive to the animal sanctuary. Participants can choose the program length between 1-12 weeks.

Can’t decide when to go? Costa Rica experiences two distinct seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season generally runs from January to May and the rainy season goes from May to December. However, in the San Carlos province where the projects are located, is very rainy even during the dry season so you should plan accordingly.

Summer dates do fill up (especially July), so if your schedule is not flexible, you should apply early to secure your place on the desired date.

Program Start Date
Deadline to Apply Date
March 5, 2018 February 5, 2018
March 12, 2018 February 12, 2018
March 19, 2018 February 19, 2018
March 26, 2018 February 26, 2018
April 2, 2018 March 2, 2018
April 9, 2018 March 9, 2018
April 16, 2018 March 16, 2018
April 23, 2018 March 23, 2018
April 30, 2018 March 30, 2018
May 7, 2018 April 7, 2018
May 14, 2018 April 14, 2018
May 21, 2018 April 21, 2018
May 28, 2018 April 28, 2018
June 11, 2018 May 11, 2018
June 25, 2018 May 25, 2018
July 9, 2018 June 9, 2018
July 23, 2018 June 23, 2018
August 6, 2018 July 6, 2018
August 20, 2018 July 20, 2018
August 27, 2018 July 27, 2018
September 3, 2018 August 3, 2018
September 10, 2018 August 10, 2018
September 17, 2018 August 17, 2018
September 24, 2018 August 24, 2018
October 1, 2018 September 1, 2018
October 8, 2018 September 8, 2018
October 22, 2018 September 22, 2018
October 29, 2018 September 29, 2018
November 5, 2018 October 5, 2018
November 12, 2018 October 12, 2018
November 19, 2018 October 19, 2018
November 26, 2018 October 26, 2018
December 3, 2018 November 3, 2018
December 10, 2018 November 10, 2018
December 17, 2018 November 17, 2018
December 24, 2018 November 24, 2018

Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staffAll volunteers live with carefully selected local host families near the volunteer project. Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process, and participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:


  • Agree to and pass a home inspection
  • Successfully pass a criminal background check

Costa Rican host families are very welcoming! Most of the host families have hosted foreign students from this program in the past but keep in mind that a majority of the host families do not speak English so you should be prepared to communicate primarily in Spanish. It is recommended to learn common Spanish phrases so you can communicate with them.


What do our alumni say about their host families?

“So my time here is half up- and I can say I’m feeling the sadness of the goodbyes already. Before coming to Costa Rica to volunteer, I’d never thought I’d make this many new friends, new coworkers, and even a new family. I can say that you will miss EVERYTHING about this place. Like I said, it’s like my second family here! All of this is a life changing experience, which I had no idea I was going to have. I now feel like my heart is in two places; half in my home town, and half is here”. – Summer Grandy, Greenheart Travel Volunteer Alumnus



Are there fundraising opportunities or scholarship offered by Greenheart Travel for this project?

All funds will have to be provided by you; however we do highly recommend fundraising! Read our detailed fundraising guide on how to raise money for your trip, or check out our scholarship page for available scholarships.

Can I apply with my friend/spouse/significant other?

Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends and couples.

What about allergy/specific dietary requirements?

Host families can cater to vegetarian needs quite easily. Any other specific diets should be discussed with us to see if we can arrange to have your needs met.

How can I contact friends/family from home?

The best way to communicate with friends and family is to get a local phone card and call from your host family’s phone. Keep conversations to a minimum, around 10 minutes, and make sure you ask permission before using the phone to make sure the family isn’t expecting a call.

What can you expect the host family to be like?

Costa Rican host families are very welcoming! Because the projects are located in a rural area, most host families are farmers. Typically they wake up early in the morning and go to bed early. Homes are kept very clean, so you will need to be sure to pick up after yourself. Follow their general lead and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Will I have internet access?

There will not be a wireless connection at your host family’s home, but wifi is available to volunteers at the sanctuary daily from noon to 1pm. You need to bring your own laptop or device to connect to it.


Volunteer as a Group

Want to share this life-changing experience with your family, friends or students? We take special care in putting together a customized itinerary for your group to ensure that you get the most well-rounded volunteer experience possible.

Check out this video and get inspired by a group of Chicago volunteers who made a positive impact in Costa Rica.

What kind of group are you?

  • A school or teacher looking for international experiences for groups of students
  • A service-based or religious organization
  • A business looking for unique team-building opportunities
  • A group of friends looking to get culturally immersed and have fun

Greenheart Travel combines significant service work with exciting excursions and cultural activities depending on your group’s needs. We can accommodate groups from 4-25 individuals with project lengths ranging from 1-4 weeks.

Benefits to traveling as a group:

  • For groups of 10 or more people, one person gets to go for free!
  • You’ll receive the same inclusions as our individual programs, like homestay accommodation, 3 meals per day & drop off to/from San Jose airport
  • Includes exciting excursions like exploring the Arenal Volcano and hot springs.
  • You can add on optional Spanish lessons!

For customized group itineraries and pricing, please contact us at travelabroad@greenheart.org.