Intern on rainforest conservation projects on the Caribbean coast and receive career development opportunities.
Gain valuable field-based experience and boost your career when you join a conservation internship in the pristine coastal rainforests of Costa Rica. Learn a range of skills from undertaking biological surveys to canoeing alongside an international team of researchers on a range of projects focussing on species such as jaguars and sea turtles.
Gain experience in the rainforests of Costa Rica for a conservation-based career, working and living alongside our research team.
You will learn a range of skills on the internship from those focused on research such as data processing, biological surveys, camera trapping, species identification, to practical skills such as first aid, canoeing and more.
On successful completion of your initial training phase, you will proceed to your work placement site and will have the opportunity to work with one of our project partners doing wildlife and habitat conservation. Either way you will be working alongside a professional conservation team, learning from them all along the way.
After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for us or selected partner organisations in Costa Rica, or in other countries around the world where we operate. Field work positions can be paid or unpaid, range in duration from one month to one year, and availability varies.
All internships are geared at developing your leadership and role model skills, allowing you to develop a variety of key soft and hard skills that will put you a step ahead the rest of the pack. We have been running community development, education, and conservation projects since 1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects.
“I am so pleased that I made a 6 month commitment to living and working in such a unique place. The wealth of biodiversity I wanted to experience has exceeded all my expectations. I have met wonderful people here who have further enriched my experience. The Jalova 6-month internship was a great choice for me and I would recommend it highly.” – Rachel Aronson (USA)
Our Award-winning Partner
Conservation Careers has teamed up with an award-winning, mission-driven organisation with a team of passionate experts across the globe who will make your experience a truly unforgettable one.
Founded in 1998, they run programs in 21 locations, in 13 countries around the world, each aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the objectives of local partners. They welcome participants from all around the world and help facilitate their development into global citizens. This is how they achieve their mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Their commitment to running high-quality sustainable development and experiential education programs has earned them recognition from numerous organizations such as Panthera, the Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority, as well as Stanford, NYU, Duke, and Ohio State.
If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!
To see all our Conservation Careers Internship opportunities, please click here.
Location – Jalova
Life on the Internship
Your First 12 Weeks
The first phase of your internship will concentrate on training alongside our team members. You will learn how to conduct biological surveys, set up a camera trap, species identification and practical skills such as first aid, canoeing and more.
The second phase of the internship will be a work placement which is based on performance. You will be placed with one of our partner organisations in other regions of Costa Rica, where interns will be assisting in local conservation efforts and/or scientific research.
By the end of the internship programme, participants will have the skills to monitor a wide range of mini-ecosystems in a very diverse location, apply a holistic approach to conservation and return home with a range of certifications alongside valuable field based experience.
The programme, once the rigorous training (including an obligatory first aid qualification) phase is complete; rotates amongst a series of focus projects:
Monitoring and Conservation of Sea Turtles (running March to October): Recording important conservation data on nesting for a range of marine turtle species including hawksbill, green, and leatherback.
Marine Turtle Predation by Jaguars: investigating the impact of Jaguar populations on sea turtle populations.
Jaguar, Mammal and Prey Species Abundance Study: we set up camera traps, and conduct transects that record tracks and signs in the National Park forest.
Resident and Migratory Bird Research: We monitor 30 key aquatic bird species to collect long-term seasonal trend data on resident and migratory birds on canoe based surveys.
Biological Assessment Survey (BAS): The aim of the BAS study is to identify all species of Amphibia, Aves, Mammalia and Reptilia across trails encompassing the four major habitat types around Jalova biological station, to provide important data necessary to understand and preserve the local ecology and find a balance between human needs and those of all other species inhabiting Tortuguero National Park.
During your program, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience tailor-made adventure and wellness activities. These have been specially designed to further immerse you in the diversity and richness of the habitats and cultures around you.
Exclusive local 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
Increasing Employability: Pre Departure Program Training:
Our programs are not only life-changing experiences but are also designed to help participants increase their employability. We have developed a curriculum to be completed prior to arrival in the country in order to ensure that more time is dedicated to program work once you commence your volunteer program.
Eight weeks prior to your start date, you will complete the following online courses in preparation for your in-country program:
PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION (1 hour)
PROGRAM SPECIFIC TRAINING (1 – 5 hours)
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
LEADERSHIP COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
CAREERS COURSE (10 – 15 hours)
In order to obtain a certificate for the Wildlife Conservation, Leadership and Careers courses which are endorsed by the University of Richmond and UNC Charlotte, you will need to complete quizzes & assignments and will be given 4 weeks post program to submit your work.
If you are looking to travel in less than 8 weeks from now, you will still complete the course however this will be done in country and all content will need to be downloaded before arrival.
Health & Hygiene:
The work we contribute to across the globe remains important and new measures allow our participants to continue to join our programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. Changes to our existing protocols have been made by our health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities. Please inquire for more information on the protocols.
How this project makes a difference:
The volunteering carried out by our team in Costa Rica has provided a huge amount of critical data to the Costa Rican government to help them to make important conservation decisions and ensure the survival of the biodiversity of this unique area of the rainforest.
For example, much of our volunteering efforts have been used to achieve massive reductions in sea turtle nest poaching.
Volunteering with us not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your programme. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with us. Our Jalova field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Costa Rica!
Optional Side Trips
Given your isolated location, a lot of your down time will be spent on base, the rainforest is not a place to go wandering! However, there are still some possibilities in the immediate area for you to make the most of your time in Costa Rica. You can visit Tortuguero Village, browse its small souvenir shops, visit the delicious bakery and just watch the world go lazily by. For longer term volunteers on long weekend breaks, you could decide to head off base and further explore the Caribbean region. Hiking, snorkelling, fishing, or canopy and zip-line tours are just some of the activities that are possible in the area. For something a bit more intense, you could raft on the white waters of the famous Pacuare River on class III to IV rapids over the course of 1- or 2-day trips. And if the adventure activities are not for you, then simply relax in a laid back Caribbean village!
Further Travelling Opportunities
Costa Rica is an amazing country with an abundance of travel opportunities further afield with the following just a snapshot of the many possibilities!
Admire the famous and active Volcan Arenal from a distance and relax in the natural hot springs; surf the Salsa Brava – a hotspot of the Caribbean for the advanced surfer; ride horseback on the beach in Puerto Viejo or simply enjoy miles and miles of beautiful beaches kissed by palm trees; spot migratory raptor birds in the Talamanca Mountains and visit indigenous villages to learn more about their amazing culture; discover the cloud forest at Monteverde, visit the hummingbird gallery, enjoy the locally made ice cream and other fresh dairy products or walk among the treetops on the hanging bridges; enjoy the organised wildlife tours of Braulio Carrillo National Park; travel across the country to discover the beautiful Pacific Coast with its hidden white sand beaches; visit Volcan Irazu and discover coffee farms on the way back to San Jose; back in the capital, visit the Gold Museum or the Jade Museum, attend a play in one of the numerous theatres or take in the Latin American vibe with its lively nightlife.
BONUS! Conservation Career Kick-Starter online training programme (worth £295)
Do you want to spend your career helping wildlife to flourish, but are feeling a little lost, confused or disillusioned?
Start your career in wildlife conservation with a unique programme of training, support community & jobs from Conservation Careers!
The Conservation Career Kick-Starter is a proven step-by-step system to get clear, get ready, and get hired as a professional conservationist.
Whether you’re at university and planning your next steps, a graduate in the job hunt or working in an unrelated job but interested to switch into conservation, this course is designed to help you.
After going through the course, you’ll have created a personal career plan which will give you confidence in your job hunt and will make everything quicker, simpler and more fun!
All you need to do is register your interest in the project below, and if you choose to make a booking we’ll save a place for you on the Kick-Starter when you get back from your placement.
Included with the Kick-Starter is a year’s full-access to the world’s biggest conservation job board with over 15,000 jobs, plus access to our private online support community, CC Pro.
Dates and Cost
24 weeks for £10,195
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- Camera trap training
- Certification and summary of training and experience received
- Confidential professional reference
- Final evaluation from your mentor
- First Aid & CPR training
- GPS training
- Leading biological surveys course
- Location orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- Sea turtle tagging training (season and placement dependent)
- Teamwork and leadership experience
- Track identification training
- Transfer to rainforest location
- Tropical forest ecology training
- Weekly evaluation with your mentor
- Welcome meeting
- Wildlife identification skills
- Work placement (if successful during the first 12 weeks of the internship)
What’s Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- Food during the placement portion of your internship
- Internal transport to work placement location
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal kit
- Police or background check (where necessary)
- Spanish lessons
- Visa costs
Reserve your place or ask a question
About Conservation Careers
Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).
Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with them as ‘life changing’. Their approval rate from over 20,000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.
A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join their programs.