Tropical Dry Forest Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica
You can take part in a Conservation & Environment project in Costa Rica in Barra Honda National Park. The park is about 2 hours’ drive from Liberia and boasts 2,295 acres of tropical dry forest. One of the main attractions for visiting tourists is the fantastic network of underground caves and caverns.
The project involves research into local wildlife and important maintenance work. You can help with the conservation of howler and capuchin monkeys, peccaries, coatis, small cats, scarlet macaws and a wide variety of other birds and reptiles. This will all take place under the guidance and supervision of our experienced local staff.
This project is ideal for anyone interested in wildlife conservation. You will get the chance to work in an incredible environment and perform important work. You do not need previous experience to take part in this project. Volunteers are welcome on a gap year, a career break, for university research, or as part of a summer holiday.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?
Volunteers on this project can take part in tasks such as:
- Helping with wildlife research. Current methods include using automatic sensor cameras, butterfly traps and a bat census
- Assisting in environmental education projects in schools and local communities
- Constructing, maintaining and extending trails within the park
- Recording meteorological information
- Mapping trails, rivers and other important areas in the park
- Maintenance of the park's nursery garden which provides native species of trees to be used in reforestation activities
- Maintenance of fire breaks
- Protection of the scarlet macaw nesting sites
Volunteers on average work for around six hours a day. The day often starts with work in the heart of the park, such as monitoring wildlife or restoring caves. In the afternoon volunteers often work closer to the camp. The middle of the day is normally devoted to rest and relaxation to avoid the midday heat!
During your stay you will also receive a series of lectures from the very knowledgeable staff you will be working alongside. Topics will range from broader conservation issues to specific flora and fauna found in the park.
The temperature at Barra Honda is warm year round, but there are wet and dry seasons. The wet season runs from about May to November, however, the rains are becoming less predictable. Work is performed all year round on this project. There is always plenty for volunteers to do, no matter what time of year you arrive!
What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?
The main aim of this project is to help ensure that the beautiful and diverse natural resources of Costa Rica are not destroyed. Currently over 25% of Costa Rica is devoted to the conservation of plants and wildlife - more than any other country in the world! Ecotourism has become very important too, bringing in over one billion US$ per year. However, as tourism becomes a major industry, the risk of environmental damage increases.
Projects Abroad volunteers have an important role to play in Costa Rica's National Parks. These protected areas are under-funded and can only employ a few full time staff. Your presence gives them the extra hands needed to work on larger and more significant projects. We can then also work on new research initiatives, such as identifying new species of butterflies and bats or helping with reforestation.
Another key issue is environmental education work with local schools and communities that border the national park. The aim here is to raise awareness of the projects taking place within the park and conservation issues in general. This helps your volunteering efforts to be felt throughout the wider community. It also allows local people to understand the importance of conservation in their area.
Where will I live on this project?
Volunteers live within the park close to the conservation manager. There are four dormitory style rooms which sleep up to 6 volunteers. The rooms are basic and have a bathroom attached with a cold water shower, toilet and sink. There are also fans to help keep you cool during the day and night, and shelves to put your things on. The camp has a main dining room area with tables where everyone east together. There is also a TV and DVD player in this area.
The park also has a fully equipped kitchen next to the dining room. The camp's cook is very friendly and will always be happy to make special meals for people who have any specific food requirements.
Just outside the park's protection limits (about 5 minutes’ walk), although still on the park's land, there is a large football field which is free to use. There is also a small bar with a swimming pool which volunteers can use for a small fee. The park also possesses a breath-taking look-out point which offers impressive views of the valleys of the Tempisque River and some of the islands in the Gulf of Nicoya.
You can join the Conservation & Environment project in Costa Rica for two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely on a variety of conservation activities please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.
All volunteers on Teaching, Care, Sports, Journalism, Medicine, Physiotherapy or Spanish placements in Costa Rica now have the opportunity to add a 1 Week Conservation Add-On to the end of their main placement. For more information visit our 1 Week Conservation Add-On page.
For more information, please visit our Volunteer Conservation in Costa Rica project website.