The earth is in your hands

Costa Rica Conservation Experience

Volunteer on long-term conservation initiatives in Costa Rica

Program information

Gandoca is the southernmost Caribbean coastal town of Costa Rica, and is surrounded by the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Whether you’re helping protect sea turtle nesting sites, working alongside the local community, learning to cook local cuisine, hiking through lush jungle, or learning about the area’s rich indigenous and Afrocarribean traditions, this expedition promises to be the adventure of a lifetime.

What's Included
Parent Info
Support & Safety
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Speak to alumni

Program overview

Immerse yourself in a Costa Rican conservation project and gain real world experience. This inter-disciplinary course, accredited by universities and colleges around the world, introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development, both in content and practice, in Gandoca, Costa Rica.

Historically, the community in Gandoca has been fully dependent on the sea turtle conservation project to attract tourism to the area, which remains less developed and accessible than other coastal communities. However, as turtle nesting and hatching season is only six months long and involves only a small part of the community, our impact goals also include working alongside indigenous leaders, schools, local farms and other businesses to promote sustainable agriculture, economic development and the ecological health of the entire region.

Work alongside our local partners to promote sea turtle conservation and assist with coastal clean ups, community recycle projects, sustainable farming practices, and cultural exchange initiatives. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Spanish language and visit one of the world’s highest concentrations of raptor birds.

As a group, you have the opportunity of contributing to on-going conservation projects. The exact work will greatly depend on the needs of our partners at the time. This is a great opportunity for students to work as a team in achieving an overall goal that will have long-lasting effects for the environment, community members and local partners.

Choose your bespoke itinerary

Select one of three expedition types where the activities are customised to meet your group’s specific goals.
Impact expeditions
Advanced activities
Communication skills
Emotional intelligence
Conservation initiatives
Community projects
Most Popular
Challenger expeditions
Comprehensive activities
Leadership skills
Explorer expeditions
Exciting activities
Cultural sensitivity
Positive mental health

Program details


The following itinerary is an example of the activities and project work that participants might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date.

Day 1

Hola, amigo! After settling into your homestay, you’ll get a health & safety briefing, be trained on how to work with turtles, and learn some key Spanish phrases.

Day 2

Take a tour of Gandoca! After exploring the jungles and beaches, meet the community and learn more about the region’s Afro-Caribbean culture.

Day 3

Take a boat tour of the lagoon and mangroves, learning more about the animals that live there and why this wetland ecosystem is so important.

Day 4

A big day! First up, you'll learn some more Spanish while cooking traditional Costa Rican tamales. Then off to the beach: to clean up plastic pollution and look for nesting turtles!

Day 5

Tour a local organic cacao farm. Then another Spanish lesson, before we head back to the beach to monitor turtle nests and protect hatchlings.

Day 6

Start the day at the lagoon, collecting and planting mangrove seeds for a reforestation project. Then help out at the community recycling program and learn the principle of “reduce, reuse, recycle”.

Day 7

Work alongside community members in their organic garden, where greens are harvested for free school lunches. After practising your Spanish, head to the beach for turtle surveillance!

Day 8

Travel by boat to Talamanca Bribri Indigenous Territory, a forested area in the foothills of the Talamanca mountain range which is home to the second-largest Indigenous population in Costa Rica.

Day 9

Spend the day with a Bribri elder and his family; touring the community, playing cultural games, and sharing traditional stories around the fire.

Day 10

Travel to Finca la Subversiva, an organic farm, where you will have a complete farm-to-table dining experience. After lunch, we’ll hike to a secluded waterfall to swim and play games.

Day 11

Hike from Gandoca to Mazanillo through one of Costa Rica’s most biodiverse jungles and along the Caribbean coast’s pristine beaches. Expect to see monkeys, sloths and a variety of reptiles and birds.

Day 12

Our last night in Gandoca! After looking for as many wild and wonderful jungle animals as we can on a morning hike, it’s time to greet your hosts. Can you thank them for their hospitality in Spanish?

Day 13

We’re off to Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, which has one of the highest concentrations of raptors in the world. You might also encounter raccoons, sloths, iguanas and basilisks.

Day 14

Adios, amigos! After a morning at Costa Rica's national history museum in San Jose, reflect on the friends you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned before your flight home.

What’s included?

What's Included
A rest and relaxation activity/excursion
24/7 backup and support
A dedicated trip co-ordinator
Access to local medical facilities
Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)
First aid equipment
All meals
Group leader and teacher
Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff
In-country transport is arranged
Pre-departure information
Up-to-date safety and country information
What's Excluded
Pre-departure withdrawal insurance
Travel insurance - unless otherwise stipulated
Medical insurance - unless otherwise stipulated (medical aid details will need to be provided)
Flights - unless otherwise stipulated
Personal kit
Additional spending money - maximum of $200 allowed

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


View support and safety protocols


View risk mitigation

Health and safety case studies

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GVI's commitment to safety and security

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How GVI remains prepared for natural disasters

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How GVI manages participants expectations

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...



01 Sep, 2022

A couple things I want to highlight is that food was ALWAYS ready on time. This made a big difference and i think mentioned it every day. There was never waiting around for food or ...


31 Aug, 2022

Fantastic and memory marking

Nishay Bhaga

17 Aug, 2022

Excellent. It was engaging, interesting and fun.

Kiara Luis

17 Aug, 2022

GVI is a great experience. I made many new friends and learnt many new things. I enjoyed myself greatly.

Emanuele Lionetti

17 Aug, 2022

It was pretty incredible to see a lot of marine life, I was really close to all of the animals I saw!


16 Aug, 2022

It was fun, I highly recommend this and what an experience

Thina Mpinda

24 Jul, 2022

9/10!! Food and accommodation was good game drives and bush walks were lots of fun. Activity in the community was eye opening and I learnt so much info about conservation.

Agnieszka Latka

24 Jul, 2022

What a privilege to be part of GVI's first corporate program. I wish I could describe more eloquently how meaningful this experience was for me. The volunteering activities we part ...

Matthew Hopf

21 Jul, 2022

The whole program overall was extremely insightful and taught me so much I loved helping the community and the 2 game drives were amazing.

Lili Becker

21 Jul, 2022

I think it was overall a really memorable experience.

Imran Lodhi

26 Jun, 2022

One of the best experiences In my life and a huge thank you to Vanessa, Brookland, Gay and Carrie for all your help, care and support. They are absolutely amazing and an inspiratio ...

Anna Legra’di

01 Jun, 2022

The programs were overall pretty good i loved every moment especially when we went out boating.

Liam Detert

31 May, 2022

This was a once in a lifetime experience and I will remember this forever. This trip was truly exceptional. It wasn't just the animals I saw things or things I learnt, but the peop ...


30 May, 2022

I loved this trip. I learnt a lot of new things and got to know people.

Zayana Variava

28 May, 2022

It was a unforgettable experience. I learnt a lot and I'm so glad I signed up for the program. Will treasure the memories forever and use everything I learnt in the future!

Mark Berenyi

24 May, 2022

I loved my experience here, because we did some extremely engaging and fun activities, and I clearly felt that we actually did something for the environment.

Bernadette Fagan

24 May, 2022

To volunteer with GVI is an experience that will change your life forever - in the most positive way. Do it if you possibly can!

Josh De Smedt

23 May, 2022

Overall a pleasant and enriching experience. Students were given the opportunity to learn and grow and have fun in the process


21 May, 2022

We enjoyed and appreciated the generosity and professionalism in GVI staff from the early stage about communication to the farewell. Everything has been well coordinated and clearl ...

Jaiden Rama

21 May, 2022

My experience was amazing and I enjoyed how GVI is so caring towards the environment.

Marlene van Rensburg

20 May, 2022

How wonderful to experience the bush in such a hands on way. The permaculture community garden was a humbling and uplifting experience. Thank you for this opportunity.


17 May, 2022

It was truly enriching in its purest form. I believe I gained so much from just committing to it.

Alexander von La Chevallerie

16 May, 2022

I wish in all honesty that the trip would go on forever. It was such a good experience from the community service to game drives. I have changed.


04 May, 2022

It was a good experience and I would recommend it to other people

Stephen Scott

30 Apr, 2022

This was a once in a lifetime trip. It significantly exceeded my expectations. The planning was seamless.

Bianca Ribeiro

10 Apr, 2022

The way the program was structured was really helped the way we we understood things. Nothing was rushed and they took their time explaining.

Samantha Dore

09 Apr, 2022

The program gives you an excellent experience. I definitely learnt a lot. I will definitely not miss the bugs but I will miss all the quality time I shared with everyone.

Kiera Howard

08 Apr, 2022

I really enjoyed this journey and learned so much.


28 Mar, 2022

I would rate my time here a 10/10. I really enjoyed all that we were able to do and I had a lot of fun.

Sean Smith

25 Mar, 2022

Very good program. Exposes participants to the bush and local community. A really great opportunity for the youth interested in making a difference in the world.

Dillon Feinstein

05 Mar, 2022

The facilities were really good and very clean. All the planned activities were very educational. All the staff were amazing. Definitely one of the top camps I have been on.

Rick Silverman

17 Feb, 2022

Six stars out of five; it was that good! GVI took great care of us and handled all logistics flawlessly. The program itself was very engaging and helped us better understand the cu ...


15 Feb, 2022

The GVI programme in Tenerife has been such rewarding, fun, thought and action provoking experience for both students and us as teachers. Cant recommend GVI highly ebough.


15 Feb, 2022

It was a wonderful experience. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Jaynal Rama

06 Jan, 2022

The experience is really worth it - you make friends and the learning is fun. The animal tracking was enjoyable. The food, travelling and rooms were nice. Amy and Ryan were tops.

Megan Cable, Ohio State University

08 Jun, 2018

My name is Megan Cable and I work at Ohio State alongside Brittany Savko. I was the staff lead for our May trip with GVI Costa Rica. I wanted to write to you to let you know we ...

Chris MacDonald, Stella’s School

08 Jun, 2018

We had a great experience in Nepal this year. The work project was awesome! This is mainly due to the site preparation by GVI and their affiliates in the village of Bandipur. ...

Matty Leadbetter, Newton International School

08 Jun, 2018

I thoroughly recommend GVI to anyone; whether you are an educator looking to take a group away, or an individual looking for a career break. I took a group of my students to Sou ...

Rhiannon Harvey, Duke University

25 Jul, 2017

I want to work as a marine biologist, so this program was a unique (and fun) way to experience several different methods of marine conservation, like sea turtle husbandry, biodi ...

Kevin Hwang, Duke University

25 Jul, 2017

My experience these past two months has been rewarding, educational, and transformative. I’ve had the opportunity to conduct service and have an impact on the surrounding commun ...

Emma, Duke University

25 Jul, 2017

I have known that I want to be a veterinarian since I was three years old. As such, I began surrounding myself with animals and science at a very young age. In high school and e ...

Erin McCarthy, Endicott College

17 Mar, 2017

The opportunity to come to South Africa and work with GVI has been life changing. As nurses in the United States, we are often times not exposed to many different cultures. Comi ...

Kori Kosiorek, Endicott College

16 Mar, 2017

This opportunity has been life changing. I wasn’t expecting much before getting to South Arica, but upon arrival and for the past two weeks all of my memories and experiences ha ...

Erin, Endicott College

16 Mar, 2017

Coming to South Africa to work with GVI was a once in a lifetime experience. I feel as if I gained so much knowledge and was able to be immersed in a captivating culture. I hope ...

Brittany Bushy, Endicott College

16 Mar, 2017

My experience in South Africa has been life changing. I really enjoyed how GVI also incorporated learning about the African culture as well as volunteering. My absolute favorite ...

Abagail Harris, Endicott College

16 Mar, 2017

I thought this experience was unforgettable! The amount of things that we saw and people with interacted with was unreal! I learned and improved my nursing skills by teaching th ...

Karen Young, Duke University

09 Nov, 2016

This trip has been a life-changing experience. I started the trip unsure of how I would adapt to Indian culture, I have found myself loving learning about more. Their customs, m ...

Harshel Garg, Duke University

09 Nov, 2016

I’ve learned more than I ever imagined I would. I didn’t know that some of my best teachers in life would come from such unexpected places. I had started the trip unsure of how ...

Genevieve George

09 Nov, 2016

I couldn’t think of a better way to learn about this amazing country and the experience was more than I could have asked for. This trip was so well organized and jam –packed wit ...

Eric Martin, AFS

09 Nov, 2016

Through the scholarship program that AFS gave, I was able to go to a place that not only gave me a great travelling experience, but a great chance to make friends and serve othe ...

Elissa, Wellspring Learning Community

09 Nov, 2016

Throughout this trip I grew as a person while helping others and challenging myself. This trip has been enlightening getting to know how the new environment around me works and ...

Mohamed, Wellspring Learning Community

09 Nov, 2016

When we first reached Nepal I was actually surprised because it looked exactly like Uganda where I used to live because of how there were many mini shops and they’re tightly pac ...

Amal, Wellspring Learning Community

09 Nov, 2016

Coming to Nepal was a new thing for me. I’ve always wanted to help people around the world and this was the best and greatest opportunity for me to come here, try new things and ...

Matthew Leadbetter

10 Sep, 2014

GVI have looked after us from the very beginning, but most importantly for me they ensured that our trip was an exact fit to what we were looking for. I thoroughly recommend GVI ...

Susan Greaney

08 Jul, 2014

The GVI team has done wonders for this lovely community! The students who participated have been thrilled at the amazing results from their efforts! We would love to come back a ...

Tim Douglas

02 Feb, 2014

Having spent 10 years planning and leading school adventures for young people I have experienced first-hand the benefits and valuable life skills that group travel brings. I hav ...

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve is a key area for many interlinked conservation efforts as it is home to several species including:

  • Jungle cats like pumas and ocelots. 
  • Peregrine falcons and plumbeous kites Kekoldi is the third most concentrated area for migratory raptors in the world.
  • Thousands of tropical bird, reptile and amphibian species.
  • Rare species like sloths, tamanduas and tapirs.


Rainforest biodiversity surveys

We assist the Kekoldi Reserve science team with biological assessment surveys of the three major habitat and forest types in the reserve. We note a wide range of species on our surveys, including the rain frog, red-eyed treefrog, three species of toucan, spider monkey, mantled howler monkey, white-lipped peccary, eyelash palm pit viper and Baird’s tapir (although these are very elusive, so no promises!) Staff and participants walk marked paths in the forest, noting sightings, tracks and vocalisations. Only species identified with 100% certainty can be recorded. The data is shared with KIR, who uses a standardised methodology to monitor the condition of each trail over time. This helps them to understand the health of the local environment and whether their current conservation efforts are working.

Sea Turtle Research

We assist Turtle Rescue Cahuita (TRC) with sea turtle research and protection by patrolling the beach, and assisting in hatchery opportunities using internationally recognised protocols during turtle nesting and hatching season (from March to August each year). 

To participate in the turtle project, you’ll need a good pair of rubber boots, thick socks, and dark-coloured, long-sleeved, lightweight clothing. 

From March to August a team walks the beach each night looking for nesting sea turtles. Depending on the time of year, you might not see a single turtle, or you might see multiple turtles in one night. When a turtle is encountered, different kinds of research activities might be carried out, depending on what stage of the nesting process she is in emerging from the sea, selecting a nest site, digging a body pit, digging her egg chamber to lay her eggs, covering her egg chamber, disguising her nest, or returning to sea. This might include checking for distinctive markings to see if she’s been to the beach before and making a note for future researchers if she returns, tagging her flippers, measuring her carapace, counting her eggs, marking her nest, or checking for abnormalities in the mother turtle or eggs. You might also determine whether any eggs have hatched, been eroded by the sea, been attacked by predators (like raccoons, white-nosed coatis or ghost crabs), or been poached by humans. This information is used to investigate whether any areas of the beach are more susceptible to nest loss. 

Hatched nests are excavated to determine hatchling success and survival rates, the reason for losses in egg development, and the actual status of the nests, including whether or not they were partially or fully poached.

Wild Cat Population And Predation Research

Kekoldi is home to several endangered or vulnerable wild jungle cat species including ocelot, margay, puma, jaguarundi and oncilla. 

Our research assists reserve authorities and conservation teams to determine the population sizes of each cat species, map out the territoriality of individual cats within each of those species, and identify the availability of prey species in the area and the subsequent effect on feeding behaviour. Direct observations of these elusive animals can be difficult, but the use of remote observation techniques like camera trapping has proven very successful in surveying and tracking wild cats across large areas of forest. 

Bird Research

Kekoldi has the second largest concentration of migratory raptors in the world, with 3.5 million raptors counted from a single point. It is also the biggest known migration spot for peregrine falcons and plumbeous kites. 

We assist Kekoldi Hawkwatch, who study and monitor raptors and raptor predation in the reserve. The study of the health of predators in an ecosystem provides invaluable data about the health of the entire system, environmental changes and pressure, and can help guide overall conservation strategies. The Hawkwatch watch-site is located in the heart of the reserve, and provides a 360º view of surrounding forest which is part of the Talamanca-Caribbean Biological Corridor that connects La Amistad National Park to the Caribbean coast. This zone is extremely biodiverse, including at least 59 mammals, 43 amphibians and over 400 bird species.

Project objectives


GVI Kekoldi’s Long-term Objectives:

1. Increase scientific knowledge of Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve.

2. Increase awareness of the ecological value of the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve.

3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in Costa Rica.

4. Minimise our environmental impact on Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst participants and visitors.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments


Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Program ethics

No orphanage programs

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
Child and vulnerable adult protection policy

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
No medical volunteering

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
No disability support programs

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
Aligned to local objectives

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

Local employees remain employed

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

Local employees remain focused

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

No entertainment-based activities

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

No orphaned animal sanctuaries

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

Guidelines for touching or movement restriction

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Animal welfare guidelines

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

Local community empowerment

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
No veterinary programs

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more

Speak to alumni

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us