Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Join our volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica for teenagers and take practical steps to protect our planet.
You’ll be based in Barra Honda National Park, a government-run wildlife reserve. The reserve is made up of lush forests and deep cave networks. The deepest cave here is 180 m underground and 60 million years old!
Through wildlife surveys, you’ll collect data on indigenous species. This data helps the reserve develop effective conservation strategies. You’ll even survey bats in the depths of the caves. You’ll be accompanied and supported by experienced professionals, making this a completely safe way to explore underground caves.
What’s more, you’ll gain practical conservation and research experience. You’ll learn valuable skills that will stand you in good stead for any career you pursue. You’ll be able to talk about your experiences during university or job applications. This helps set you apart as an independent global citizen committed to making a difference.
You’ll live in shared, same-sex volunteer accommodation with teens your age. This project has a set itinerary with organised social activities, so you’ll have plenty of time to bond with your group. Over late-night board games, you’ll make lifelong friends with like-minded teenagers, with the hum of wildlife in the dense forest as your backdrop.
When you apply you only pay AUD$495, which comes off the total price.
Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 1300 132 831 to see if we can offer a discount.
Fixed dates during school holidays
Barra Honda (Read More)
Shared accommodation at Conservation base Read More
This project is only for 15-18 year olds
What's included in the price?
Food (three meals a day)
Travel and medical insurance
Airport pick-up and drop-off
Full induction and orientation by an experienced staff member on arrival
Transport to and from your work placement
In-country support and 24-hour back-up from our team of full-time local staff
Emergency assistance from our international emergency response team
Project equipment and materials, including access to our database with thousands of resources
Training and workshops from our experienced local staff
Regular social events and community activities with other volunteers and interns
Access to our local office with internet connection
Certification of project completion
Access to our alumni services and discounts
Visa support and advice
Fundraising support, including your own personalised fundraising website
Pre-departure preparation by your own specialist Volunteer Advisor
Personalised MyProjectsAbroad website, with all the information you need about your project, accommodation and destination
A free cultural awareness course
Membership to our volunteer social media groups, to share information and to get in touch
Organised weekend tourism trips
Dedicated full-time staff members with you 24 hours a day
What's not included?
Visa costs (where applicable)
What will I do on this volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica?
You’ll spend your days working with other teens to protect the wildlife of Barra Honda National Park. Here are some of the tasks you’ll do:
- Collect data on wildlife to help create effective conservation plans
- Run workshops and presentations to teach people about the environment
- Do community work and maintenance work to keep the park running
- Plant trees to help combat habitat destruction and climate change
- Explore the beautiful reserve and bond with your fellow volunteers
Your work will focus on five main areas:
Collect data on wildlife
One of your main tasks will be to collect valuable data on different species. You’ll do this during hikes through the forest, night walks, and trips into the park’s caves. You’ll also help with setting up butterfly traps, which safely catch butterflies so that you can record details about them. Once, you’ve collected this data, you’ll release them unharmed.
The data you collect will tell us more about the behaviour and distribution of species. With these information, we can create and implement more effective conservation strategies.
Some of the species you’ll survey include:
- Scarlet macaws
Raise conservation awareness
During your trip, you’ll be learning a lot about Costa Rica’s unique plants and animals. Experts will also equip you with details about conservation strategies. You’ll then share this information with locals in the communities surrounding the reserve.
You’ll take trips to schools or community centres, where you’ll give presentations on topics like organic farming or recycling. This work ensures surrounding communities are invested in protecting the forest. It also means they’ll carry on important conservation work after you’ve finished your project.
Do community and maintenance work
Get your hands dirty and use your energy to make a tangible difference! During your project, you’ll dedicate some of your time to community initiatives. This could include planting vegetable gardens or painting environmental education murals at schools.
You’ll also help with park maintenance. Barra Honda relies heavily on volunteers to keep up it’s amazing work. You’ll play a vital role in maintaining the park by clearing trails, maintaining fire breaks, and renovating the camp.
Help with reforestation work
The tropical dry forest is threatened by deforestation. Cutting down trees and clearing land for farmland and urban expansion leaves many creatures without homes. You can make a difference by helping with reforestation initiatives.
As a volunteer, you’ll tend to young saplings in the tree nursery. You’ll also help with planting the larger saplings in the forest. This initiative helps rebuild this vital habitat.
Reforestation also helps combat climate change. More trees means more carbon dioxide absorbed, which helps reduce the catastrophic environmental consequences of this greenhouse gas.
Explore the surrounding nature
It’s not all work and no play! You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the park and connect with your fellow volunteers. This project has a set itinerary, with time set aside for social activities. This includes meals shared with your group, late night cards and board games, and even a trip to Rincon de la Vieja Volcano!
For this project, we’ve partnered with Barra Honda National Park. This is a government-run wildlife reserve in desperate need of volunteer support. We provide the park with the manpower to do important conservation work. In exchange, our volunteers work with and learn from some of the top minds in environmental studies.
Where in Costa Rica will I work?
Our volunteer Conservation placement in Costa Rica for teenagers is based in Barra Honda National Park. This is a government-run wildlife reserve located in the northwest of the country. The nearest town, Nicoya, is about a 25-minute drive from the reserve.
During your project, you’ll live and work within the reserve. This area is a lush tropical dry forest with an intricate network of underground caves. You’ll stay in shared, same-sex dormitories with volunteers your age.
You’ll find living in the forest is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Surrounded by the sounds of chattering monkeys, chirping birds, and buzzing insects, you’ll get to truly connect with nature.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring Our Impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.