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How to experience biodiversity in Costa Rica

By Mark Easterbrook 1 month ago

Develop yourself in the conservation arena on a program in Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park, Jalova. You’ll find evidence of jaguars hunting in their natural habitat, track sea turtle nesting, and learn about the life-giving rainforest that supports a diverse ecosystem.

When you sign up for a volunteer program in Costa Rica, you sign up for the experience of a lifetime. Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) as a roadmap, you have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the sustainability of a diverse ecosystem.

You will also have the opportunity to live and work in the jungle that linesTortuguero’s Caribbean beaches. 

We unpack the various ways you could learn about, preserve and experience the biodiversity of Tortuguero National Park as a volunteer.  

1) Contribute to jaguar conservation in Costa Rica

Participants start on a beach patrol, searching for signs of jaguars, or Costa Rica sea turtles.

 

The jaguar is an elusive animal. Direct, eyes-on experiences are reserved for the lucky few. However, there are many other ways to identify and understand the behaviour of the jaguar. 

If you choose to focus on jaguar conservation, you’ll be based in a location surrounded by beaches and rainforest. Your days will be spent supporting the research team. 

This helps you gain skills that include camera trapping and animal identification. Ready to sign up? These programs run throughout the year.

Jaguar conservation volunteering in Costa Rica

A GVI camera trap captures an image of the elusive jaguar in Costa Rica.

 

  • You’ll learn to setup and monitor camera traps.
  • You’ll identify jaguar paw prints and support scat collection activities. 
  • The information gathered helps to assist in the protection of the elusive jaguar.

Costa Rica Jaguar research and conservation short term internship

While volunteering in Costa Rica, volunteers find jaguar tracks on the beach.

 

  • You’ll receive training and real-world experience, to support entry into a conservation career.
  • You’ll live and work as a researcher in a diverse Costa Rican national park.
  • You’ll support local partners as they drive sustainable development initiatives in the region.

2) Add capacity to research projects on Costa Rican sea turtles

While volunteering with Costa Rica sea turtles, a GVI volunteer digs out a trench to help sea turtles hatchings make it to the water safely.

 

When you join GVI’s sea turtle conservation programs, you’ll be based in an area known to be a nesting site to four species of sea turtle. You’ll work with a team to support research activities on these endangered species. 

Turtles are at risk due to increased competition with others for their nesting sites and poaching. You can contribute to the protection of turtle nests and learn about the conservation techniques being applied to support these creatures.

 

The endangered green sea turtle makes its way back to the ocean on a beach in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica sea turtle research and conservation short term internship

  • Learn about turtle behaviour and biology, and how to safely excavate a turtle nest.
  • Contribute to research on nesting and predation that will help safeguard the species. 
  • Participate in surveys of the rainforest, and its wildlife, including tropical bird species, building observation skills.

 

While contributing to conservation research in Costa Rica, a GVI participant captures data.

Sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica

  • Conduct night-time patrols on the beaches, and observe nesting turtles. 
  • Participate in data-gathering activities to support conservation research. 
  • Support data collection activities on hatchling success, and rates of poaching and mortality.

3) Help preserve Costa Rica’s rainforest and ecosystems

A bird perches on a branch in Costa Rica. While volunteering in Jalova, GVI participants might help to record data on the biodiversity in the area.

 

Rainforests are the gardens of the animal kingdom, supporting a great diversity of life. You’ll spend time walking through the rainforest, conducting biodiversity surveys, and exploring the rainforest canals. You’ll learn all about the aquatic and terrestrial species that keep the rainforest healthy.

The following programs are available in Costa Rica, and provide an opportunity to get involved in ongoing conservation efforts.

 

GVI participants set off down a canal in Jalova, Costa Rica on a data collection trip.

Wildlife expedition in Costa Rica

  • Receive training and experience to grow professionally through transferable soft-skills and technical conservation skills. 
  • Work as a team, within a diverse group of people, honing skills such as intercultural communication. 
  • Learn biodiversity survey techniques and best practices for recording data.

 

This monkey is one of the many species of animal GVI volunteers might encounter while volunteering in Costa Rica.

Conservation internship in Costa Rica

  • While you monitor and engage with ecosystems, you’ll work towards an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) endorsed leadership certificate.
  • Explore the rainforest by canoe and observe an abundance of Costa Rican wildlife.
  • Learn how conservation initiatives are established, managed and maintained. 

Whichever program you choose, you’ll be working on projects that contributes to international conservation goals. So when you join, you’ll broaden your knowledge of the UN SGDs and learn how you can support their implementation in Costa Rica. 

Sign up to a GVI program in Costa Rica today and see the unique habitat of the Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica for yourself. 

Mark Easterbrook is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here