Volunteering Abroad Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Veterinary Internship Costa Rica



We are a place that provides refuge and protection to the wild animals that have been victimized by human actions such as hunting, removal from their environments, and deforestation. These actions allow species to become vulnerable within their natural habitat, which can cause immense damage to natural ecosystems. The results of these human actions often include a displacement of animals from their natural habitat. Many of these displaced animals find the care and rehabilitation that they need at the Santuario de Lapas. At our sanctuary, the dislocated animals are given a chance to return to their natural habitat. Unfortunately, due to the actions of humans, reintroduction is often quite difficult. This is where you as an intern get to help!

As an intern, you play a very important role in the direct care of our animals. Here at Santuario de Lapas, we have many animals that require daily care. Interns work alongside our workers with feeding, cleaning enclosures, and providing enrichment for all of our animals. Currently, we have six species of macaw, umbrella cockatoos, four species of amazon parrots, seven species of parakeets, Eclectus parrots, spider monkeys, marmoset monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tamarin monkeys, collared peccaries, deer, tapirs, ocelots, and jaguars. The workers that the interns will be assisting are from Costa Rica, and most of them only speak Spanish. Not only do interns get to interact with our workers who are from Costa Rica, but our project also has the support of local universities. Costa Rican students come to the sanctuary to do their graduation thesis, business practices (ecotourism), and also schools that send their students to perform a required internship of 300 hours. This offers a great chance for our interns to be immersed in the Latin American culture.

NATUWA Santuario de Lapas is located in Aranjuez, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. Aranjuez is a quiet country town with dirt roads. The locals all know about our sanctuary, and they are very friendly! Interns are encouraged to bring board games and outdoor toys like footballs, frisbees, etc. About 1km from the sanctuary, there is a grass soccer field that interns are welcome to use and play with the locals. There is also a small supermarket located next to the soccer field. Due to the environment that our interns work in, we require pants and rain boots to be worn while working. Rain boots can be brought, or purchased here for around US$15. It is also highly recommended that each intern bring a mosquito net for a twin-sized bed. Interns sleep in housing inside of the sanctuary, and all bedsheets are provided, but interns are welcome to bring their own! We also provide and cook all of the food for our interns. We expect nothing more than a positive attitude and willingness to work from each of our interns.


NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary

Aranjuez, Pitahaya, Puntarenas

You need to speak English (basic level) or Spanish (basic level). Veterinarians, veterinary students, biologists, and wildlife managers are welcome to apply.

Dates of program:
Year round

Duration of program:
4-12 weeks

Age requirement:
Adults of both sexes 18+ (there might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if you are accompanied by your parents)

US$70 per day which includes accommodation (dorm room), all meals, Wi-Fi access, and training. Vegetarian options will be provided upon request. Transportation can be arranged via taxi (US$100).

Other information:
Every week, interns receive one day off to be able to relax and explore surrounding areas.


There are no reviews to display

Apply now

Members only content - Register or Login

Web links / Other ways to help

If you visit and apply via the website please mention that you saw this project on volunteerlatinamerica.com.