Volunteer at an animal rescue sanctuary, learn about sustainability and navigate through National Parks during this Summer Internship Program in Costa Rica!

Experience a Summer Internship Program where you will not only get to explore the amazing country of Costa Rica, but you will get to expand yourself personally and learn about conservation and animal welfare. The nature-based activities will have you observing bioluminescence on a night time kayak tour, pushing through the river on a wild water rafting adventure, surfing on the Pacific Coast, and seeing new wildlife.

Moving onto the internship aspect, you will get to experience first hand the impacts that you can make for other living creatures like sloths and spider monkeys at an animal rescue sanctuary. After some hard work and animal snuggles, you will be working alongside a local community, furthering your sustainability education and learning skills such as carbon neutrality through tree planting. At the end of the program, you will walk away with a Certificate of Completion, showing a total of 30 contact hours of this internship, a great asset to your resume!

Who is this summer program for?

This summer program is perfect for high school students and non-students, ideally 15 to 17 years old, that are interested in animal welfare and conservation.

Or maybe you want to stay closer to home? Have a look at our Hawaii Internship Program

  • Internship and Volunteer Projects
    • • Volunteer project working with sloths and monkeys at an animal rescue center
    • • Investigate sustainable agriculture and its importance in developing communities
    • Hands-on marine debris clean-up in a Wildlife Refuge
    • • Gain real-life work experience and a Certificate of Completion, showing a total of 30 contact hours
  • Personal Development
    • Work confidently and collaboratively with others
    • • Step up with confidence to new opportunities and challenges
    • • Transfer the applicable learning activities to benefit both school and personal life
    • Apply innovative leadership that encourages and empowers others
    • Become a global citizen with a global perspective on issues
  • Fun and Adventures
    • • Surf on the pristine beaches of the Pacific coast with professional guides
    • Bioluminescence adventure: see plankton glow in the dark while floating on the water
    • Yoga and meditation retreat to increase strength and enable self-reflection
    • Hiking, caving and a night safari near Tinamu
    • White water rafting trip through rapids and waterfalls on the Sarapiqui river
    • Rest days on idyllic white-sand beaches

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**

Week 1. Rafting & Animal Rescue Volunteering

Take a peek outside the plane window to get your first glimpse of Central America as you arrive to San Jose. Start your journey off right by enjoying the most common, delicious local cuisine, Gallo Pinto. Wake up to the sights, sounds and smells of a Latino capital! San Jose is surrounded by lush rainforests and is home to just 300,000 people. Amidst the small, winding streets you will get to see a great mix of European architecture.

A short hop north from San Jose and you will be immersed in a green paradise. Whilst here, you will be white water rafting on the Sarapiqui River! Getting to know your group will be our priority, as well as familiarizing yourself with the culture and history of Costa Rica. Your instructors will facilitate some important orientation topics over the course of the next few days.

Next, we head over to Cebadilla, where we will be undertaking our animal rescue volunteering! This rescue center is home to a variety of animals that were rescued from the illegal animal trade, which is unfortunately still functioning in parts of the country. The goal is to help the animals recover from both physical and psychological wounds that have arisen from their past suffering. During the stay we’ll support the center with volunteer work such as working in the animal kitchen, assisting with the sloth garden, helping with the compost and enriching their homes. We’re sure that by the end of the week you’ll feel as at home at the center as the animals and won’t want to leave!

Week 2. Surf Camp & Environmental Work

After finishing the volunteer work in the animal rescue center, we will spend two days learning how to surf and honing our skills on the Pacific swell in a world-renowned surf mecca, in between exploring the area’s breathtaking beaches. Give your mind a well-deserved rest and kick back on the beach with a coconut, sprinkled with a few amazing sunset hikes and croc encounters along the way. 

Spend your final day in Jaco furthering exploring the coastline, surfing or swimming in the warm, salty Pacific Ocean. Any activities you choose are optional so make sure to have a good look into all that the surrounding area has to offer.

Next, we make our way to an education and farming center in the rural farming town of Tinamu, situated on the edge of evergreen forests by the River Savegre Basin. It is a working farm, mountain lodge, and community rooted in environmental sustainability and caring relationships. We will be working alongside the community, furthering our sustainability education and learning skills such as carbon neutrality through tree planting. This experience embodies the essence of service learning, as you will go away with just as much as you have given at Tinamu. 

You will be able to reconnect with nature, peace and relaxation while exploring the surroundings. There are many rivers and waterfalls, as well as some magnificent views of Cerro de la Muerte and the coastal area of Quepos with clear weather. You will also get a chance to go on an epic day hike, night safari and caving adventure.

Week 3. Bioluminescence Tour & Beach Clean-up

We take an adventurous journey to the very southern point of the Nicoya Peninsula in Curu National Park. In this exclusive and remote destination, we will be exploring with self-led hikes and beach clean-ups. We take an evening trip on a boat to spot bioluminescence and fall even more in love with Costa Rica. 

We’ll also head to the most renowned beaches of Guancaste Province and get acquainted with the relaxed pace of life. Journey a little deeper with a two day yoga and meditation retreat located slightly inland from your coastal accommodation. Each day will bring a further exploration into self-reflection, development and empowerment.

Experience the idyllic beaches as we spend our last couple of days on the program in Tamarillo. Reflecting on our program with our group members will be an important aspect whilst here. Aside from that, you can spend as much time as you want absorbing that salty sea and delicious food!


**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet


Open to students and non-students, ideally 15 - 17 years, that are interested in animal welfare and conservation. This program is suitable for anyone of average fitness with an enthusiasm for the outdoors, conservation and new experiences. You need to be committed to, and prepared for, some physical work whilst on the volunteer components of the program i.e. tree planting or the removal of invasive plants and while on the outdoor activities, be prepared to give-it-a-go.

The program is a shared group experience. We expect you to join the program with an open mind and a willingness to work together with your group mates to make the program an amazing experience for the whole group. Additionally, the program will be as much about the inner journey of personal growth and learning about yourself as it is about what you will experience in the outer physical journey. We expect you to be open to learning and challenging your ideas and assumptions.


Our accommodation will be a mixture of comfortable and clean hostels, lodges and campsites. Laundry and Wi-Fi facilities will be available most days, except during the weeks in the field on the volunteer projects and on expeditions. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.


Meals are fresh, tasty, healthy and varied. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $12 per day for.

Meals are a mixture of eating out at restaurants and food preparation shared by students. An average day on program would consist of the following: 

  • Breakfast: gallo pinto, which is rice, beans, plantains, and eggs
  • Lunch and dinner: casado, which is rice, beans, steamed veggies, protein, plantains, salad, and sometimes a kind of macaroni salad. There is also a lot of ceviche here

Camping meals will be adjusted to the cooking equipment at hand

Program Tuition Includes

  • All program-related travel and transport included
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • Certificate of Completion that mentions the volunteer/service-learning hours worked
  • Safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environment
  • Environmental education and service learning projects
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves - working towards a deeper understanding of their values, identity, passions and purpose
  • Individual mentorship from program instructors, supporting you in your personal goals for the program
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Pre-departure web-page with all information you need in one place to prepare for the program
  • 24/7 emergency contact number for students and parents
  • Global medical rescue and political evacuation insurance
  • Instructors have 24/7 access to a physician and a psychologist, for advice and support
  • Pacific Discovery T-shirt

Summer Dates 30 Jun - 20 Jul, 2022
Duration 21 days
Program Tuition $6,599 USD Estimated Flight Cost $500 USD
Availability Open
Group Size 14 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 15 - 17 Ideal
Optional College Credit No Start/Finish San Jose, Costa Rica