Volunteer work in nature preserves or national parks is sometimes possible. Volunteers usually provide their own transportation to Costa Rica, pay a small amount towards their living expenses and live with park rangers in ranger stations. They help with a variety of jobs, ranging from providing visitor information to constructing trails or buildings to office work or surveys.
Spanish communication skills are required. Some volunteers are needed in the San José headquarters as well as in remote areas - efforts are made to match volunteers' interests and skills with the projects available. A minimum commitment of 15 days is requested, and volunteers work six days a week. Several hundred volunteers are used each year; almost half of them are foreign and the rest are Costa Rican.
If you are interested in working in the national parks, there are two programs: Programa de Voluntariado Internacional, SINAC (Tel/Fax (506) 233-4989, E-mail: email@example.com) and Voluntarios para la Conservación del Ambiente PROVAC (Tel. (506) 395-0412, Fax: 222-7549, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, Calle 21, Avenidas 8 y 10, San José.
Contact both organizations for more information and an application. Many apply, but few actually end up volunteering. Some travelers report that you can just show up at the park of your choice and ask to volunteer. A few private lodges and organizations need English-speaking volunteers too.
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Text by Lonely Planet.
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