Animal Rescue Volunteering in Costa Rica

Does helping provide care for some of the most interesting and beautiful animals on the planet peak your interest?  If so, then animal rescue volunteering in Costa Rica is sure to be an amazing experience!  You’ll spend your days looking after exotic species that have been brought to one of our partner’s rescue centers for care due to injury, being orphaned, or deemed unwanted as a pet.

The thought of animal rescue often evokes images of retrieving an injured animal from the field or raising a baby orphaned shortly after birth.  While these events do occasionally occur, they are (fortunately for the animals) not the norm.  The actual day-to-day aspect of volunteering with animal rescue is more similar to that of a shelter for dogs.  Your primary focus will feeding the animals, cleaning their enclosures, and providing enrichment activities for them.  This isn’t one of those shady “cuddle with big cats” or “play with a baby sloth” experiences (both of which are bad for wild animals). However, this doesn’t mean that this project lacks excitement or enjoyment.  You’ll spend your days with incredible animals in one of the world’s most beautiful countries.  It’s a relaxing and refreshing experience that will have you wishing you were staying longer!

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Room & Board

Your project fee for animal rescue center volunteering in Costa Rica covers your room and full board in either a host family house or volunteer dorm-style facilities depending on the location of your placement.

  • Shared, single-sex room (occasionally a private room is available) with a fan
  • 3 meals per day (meals will typically be simple Costa Rican dishes)
  • Drinkable tap water
  • Hot water is not available (hot water is not common in Costa Rica)
  • Some locations have limited WiFi access (location dependent)



As with all GOAT Volunteer projects, there are 2 primary fees associated with volunteering: the application fee paid to GOAT and the project fee paid directly to the NGO after they accept your application.

1 week$275
2 weeks$500
3 weeks$700
4 weeks$875
6 weeks$1,150
8 weeks$1,550
12 weeks$2,250
Prices for projects in Costa Rica are in US dollars; please check the current exchange rate for costs in your local currency (

Included: Airport arrival transport • Pre-departure information • In-country orientation, training and coordination • Accommodation: private or shared room (location dependent) in a host family house or volunteer dorm-style facility with a fan • 3 meals per day (in most locations*) • 24/7 emergency phone

*In the volunteer houses in Jacó & Heredia, volunteers receive breakfast and lunch. Dinners are not provided as most volunteers choose to eat at local restaurants or cook for themselves and food waste became an issue.

NOT Included: Flights • Travel insurance • Local transport • Return airport transfer • Personal expenses • Bank/wire transfer fees

For custom lengths of stay not listed, please contact us for pricing.


All projects incur a $250 application fee.  Please see the The Fine Print page for more information.


Trip Add-ons

Volunteers participating in all projects in Costa Rica have the opportunity to take add-on Spanish language lessons.  Click the button below for more information.

Spanish Lessons


Special Considerations | Animal Rescue Volunteering in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

For special considerations regarding all projects in Costa Rica, please visit the Costa Rica page.

Placement Location

Our partner NGO in Costa Rica supports a huge number of projects.  In most instances, placements will occur at the location most in need of volunteers at the time.  Occasionally, volunteers will be given the opportunity to select which location they prefer.


Costa Rica is home to a significantly large stray dog population and volunteers on projects working with animals are highly encouraged to consider vaccination against rabies.  Rabies is found on all continents except Antarctica and is fatal if not treated quickly after a exposure.

Justin’s Advice: If you can get your rabies vaccinations outside of the United States, do so. In the US, this series of 3 injections costs about $1,000.  It’ll be a fraction of that in another country.

Dangerous Animals

Animal rescue center volunteering in Costa Rica usually involves being in the proximity of potentially dangerous animals.  Poisonous frogs, venomous snakes & spiders, monkeys, and big cats all pose significant dangers.  Volunteers are never to engage these animals other than the tasks assigned.  In some locations, these animals are also present in the wild and volunteers should maintain vigilance, especially in rural areas and at night.