Costa Rica Conservation Short Term Internship

Kickstart your career in conservation by spending three months gaining work experience in a lush Costa Rica rainforest.

Durations:  4 - 12 weeks

Program information

Wake up surrounded by the sounds of exotic birds and wildlife in the heart of a verdant Costa Rica rainforest. For the next three months your office will be set in the gorgeous Tortuguero National Park. Experience the untouched beauty of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and its unique biodiversity while gaining valuable field-based experience to jumpstart your career.

undefined 31 May 2022

Included in your program

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Learn to pick and husk a coconut

Visit the world's oldest sea turtle research group

Meditate on the beach at sunrise

Take a jungle nightwalk and frog watch

Canoe along jungle river canals at dawn

Stargaze and learn the northern constellations

Hike an extinct volcano, Cerro Tortuguero

Visit a sustainable chocolate farm

Connect with our alumni
Want to connect with some of our past participants about their adventures? Get in touch with hundreds of friendly ambassadors all over the world who would be more than happy to answer any questions.
Testimonial bg

Christine Davison

15 Aug, 2018
I have wanted to travel to Costa Rica for some time now, so when I found this trip with GVI that could also give me a step into the field of conservation it appeared to tick all the boxes. I was nervous on arriving in San Jose, but form the moment I walked into the hostel and met 12 other people who were also on the course I felt at ease. We were met by staff in the morning who were friendly and welcoming before heading out to Jalova. The camp is remote but beautiful. While I was there a new volunteer hang-out area was built and the toilets and showers were updated, along with new bunk beds arriving. It was much more than I was expecting from the ‘basic facilities’ description. I didn't know much about birds before I went, but the thrill of identifying a species correctly got me hooked and I had great pleasure in ticking off all the ones I had seen in my bird book. The time spent out on ‘Porridge’ (the canoe) was so relaxing and exciting, it was one of my favourite places to be. The Forest Biodiversity Project is fascinating, all the trails are so different you never know what you are going to see each day when you go out. Some days you see lots of species you have seen before, but each time is an exciting spot especially as you get your eye in and start seeing more and more every time. On some occasions you will see something that even some of the staff have not seen there before! The thrill of seeing my first turtle will stay with me forever, I felt like she was so large but yet so delicate. I soon discovered they can handle themselves well and are not as delicate as you might think, you have to watch out for those fins when they are disguising their nests! During the day seeing Jaguar prints on the beach was so exciting, knowing they had been around at the same time as you but you had no idea. The beach would be covered in adult turtle tracks, baby turtle tracks and jaguar tracks (along with many bird species and of course crabs!). The baby turtles stole my heart, and on days when we witnessed numerous green turtle nests hatching my heart was so full of love for them I felt it would burst. Not only did this trip solidify my determination to work in conservation; it gave me the scientific knowledge, leadership skills and experience to help me on my way to a permanent job in the field. I got hands on practical experience and the enthusiasm of the staff for their projects was contagious. From the moment you arrive you feel like part of the family. The selflessness of everyone on the project was great to see. Everyone would go out of their way to help each other. All I would say is if you are thinking of booking 6 weeks, don’t. Book longer! I am hoping to go back very soon for a much longer time.

Alice Palmer

15 Aug, 2018
The short-term internship at Jalova has given me a kick-start in my career in wildlife conservation, and has given me the confidence and skills to pursue this career. The work undertaken at Jalova is at the forefront of wildlife conservation, and I really felt like I was part of a project that is making an essential contribution to conservation and sustainability. The experience of living and working in a remote tropical environment has been amazing- being surrounded by the life of the jungle meant that there was never a dull moment on base! Volunteering with GVI provides the perfect opportunity to travel and be part of different cultures. Through this experience I've worked with brilliant, passionate people who have the same interests as me- I've made friends for life from all corners of the world. The staff on base were brilliant- they were so enthusiastic about the project, and were very approachable and supportive. I can honestly say that the two months I spent with GVI at Jalova were the best two months of my life. Every day was an adventure that came with its own challenges, accomplishments and unforgettable moments. Completing an internship with GVI has been an invaluable experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in wildlife conservation and the will to make a difference.

Thijs Claes

15 Aug, 2018
The books and courses from university learned me about the intriguing ways in which evolution works to form one of the most astonishing features of this world. Biodiversity. I also learned that this treasure is under threat and that it is hard to do anything about it by reading books and following courses. Shortly after my graduation, the decision to actively pursue a career in developmental aid and/or nature conservation came naturally. Many projects of GVI seemed to offer the stepping stone I needed. The wildlife expedition project in Costa Rica, a land renowned for its natural beauty, could not have been a better setting. Although I prepared six months for this big adventure, I found far more than I had hoped for. A near perfect mix of research and developing logistical, maintenance and communicational skills literally ‘IN’ the amazing tropical rainforest ecosystem. Do not misunderstand, I presume everyone that lived in Jalova has had a difficult moment or two. That was no different for me, but those quickly fade away when you wake up on the rhythm of the Caribbean sun and sea, with wildlife lurking behind every leaf to make it the best day of your life. I saw a Jaguar predating on a turtle one of the volunteers might have measured just a few hours before, different species of monkeys settling their territory disputes and Great Green Macaws, one of the rarest species on earth. Maybe I was lucky, but if you join the wildlife expedition there is no doubt you will experience a tropical rainforest proving to be much more dynamic than anything the books on university ever described. I got closer than ever to many of the problems threatening biodiversity during my time in Tortuguero, including ocean pollution and poaching, providing a wakeup call time and time again. It made me feel even more compelled to be part of the solution to these problems. I must definitely praise the staff members from GVI here as well as the other volunteers, to provide me with the opportunities to learn how to do that. I was given the chance to be involved with physically challenging fieldwork for worldwide renowned partner organizations, educational programs in cooperation with local schools and community projects such as beach cleans. I also learned things from the field base itself. Growing vegetables and fruit on base, little meat consumption, using solar energy, be mindful of water use. Very basic measures of how to become less part of the very same problems I am trying to fight, but imagine everyone doing these efforts. In my spare time on base I was encouraged to find myself a companion and go look for some more natural beauty in the proximity of the base, for sure, while I was enrolled in the GVI project, my home was a paradise. Initiatives from other volunteers often provided a nice change of pace in base by preparing an interesting presentation or organizing a quiz or sports event. My initiative with GVI provided me with new skills, insights and friends. It gave me the opportunity to help honorable people, communities and organizations who are concerned about biodiversity as much as I am. I could not be more grateful. Thank you.

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