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Nosara Refuge for Wildlife - Costa Rica

Nosara Refuge for Wildlife Rescue is an amazing charity in Costa Rica, whom WVS have supported for the past couple of years. Last year we were fortunate enough to be able supply the refuge with life saving equipment such as a new ultrasound machine and incubator which has made a huge difference. 

In previous years, we have supplied the refuge with veterinary volunteers, which has been a great asset to the refuge, but they have opened their doors to non-vet volunteers too!.

Your main duties will include: animal enrichment activities,food preparation, enclosure cleaning, laundry and also for vet nurses assisting with the 24 hour a day operation with the infant monkeys in the Nursery.

Founded in January of 1999, it has been a place for injured, orphaned, and displaced wild animals from Nosara and the Nicoya Peninsula regions of Costa Rica for the past 17 years. The refuge focuses on the rescue, rehabilitate and release of animals that are found injured in the wild.

The refuge receives and treats all types of wild animals, but the Howler Monkeys have become their specialty. At the Refuge Clinic, their team of professionals and volunteers provide immediate and long-term medical attention. Injured adult animals that require continuing care, will be quarantined for a period then transferred to outdoor enclosures, where they will continue to receive supervision and medical evaluation. As soon as the adult animals are deemed healthy, they are returned to the jungle and whenever possible, to the same location they they arrived from. 

The orphaned infant Howler Monkeys are raised at the Refuge, until they are old enough to transition to the outdoor enclosures. Usually, this is at about 6 to 8 months of age. Many of the new arrivals are very young and arrive in backpacks, wrapped in T-shirts, towels, cardboard boxes and grocery bags. There they will join with other young monkeys. The goal is to help them form a new family group, in preparation for their journey to a new life in the jungle and provide them with immediate medical care and rehabilitation, with a goal of eventual release into the wild.

The refuge also runs an educational program for tourists and this acts as a way of funding the charity and covers the day-to-day running costs, but they also endeavour to raise funds to insulate transformers as every year the charity rescues hundreds of monkeys and other wildlife that have been electrocuted due to uninsulated power lines and transformers. Electrocution is the number one killer of howler monkeys in Costa Rica.

As a volunteer at Refuge For Wildlife, you will be helping us with our injured and orphaned baby monkeys and other wildlife. This project does not stipulate volunteers with a veterinary background and is open to non-vets.

Refuge for Wildlife is a non-profit organization that relies entirely on donations and volunteers. By dedicating approx 40 hours a week - 5 days a week, for a minimum of one month to the refuge, you will be helping to change the lives of animals that would have otherwise died in the wild. The infant monkeys do not respond well until they have become familiar with a volunteer, so length of stay is very important. We need to have volunteers that can commit to a minimum of 1 month, but the longer the better! 

The country this project is based in is listed as a high risk of Zika virus on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC)  website. Please follow the advice on their website when considering participating in this project.

  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation
  • Location
  • Requirements
  • Notes


Volunteer Tasks
• Food preparation
• Cleaning kennels and enclosures
• Laundry
• Wildlife enrichment activities
• Animal feeding (raccoons, all kinds of birds, squirrels, coatis and others -but not the Howler Monkeys)


The New Volunteer Dormitory is based on shared space, the Refuge Guest room for two people and the new Refuge Dorm will accommodate 4.  We are trying to keep the sexes separate unless a couple.  

The cost for all volunteers is a $100.00 per week. Each room does have a refrigerator and volunteers will be taken to the market  in order for them to purchase groceries each week.  The dormitory has a fridge and fully equipped kitchen which all volunteers share.

Country Costa Rica

Nosara - Nicoya Pennisula Costa Rica


This opportunity is available to non-vets volunteers who must be a minimum of 21 years old.  As the Refuge has an onsite vet there is limited veterinary work on offer for veterinary profesionals.  Any previous volunteering experience or animal care skills would be beneficial.  The refuge runs a 24 hour a day operation with the infant Monkeys in the Nursery.

You must make sure all your required vaccinations are up to date, including tetanus, rabies and all volunteers are required to have a vaccination against flu 30 days prior to arriving at The Refuge.

The refuge request all volunteers to pay a $150 refundable security deposit in cash on arrival. This deposit is intended to cover any damages and we would also want to have it as insurance that the volunteers will complete the agreed upon volunteer period. The funds will be returned in cash on departure. We will of course be flexible about this if the volunteer needs to depart due to a medical emergency or any sort of emergency situation. If the volunteer just leaves, this will help us cover the overtime payment for our staff :)

We ask volunteers to commit to at least one month (four weeks) and agree to work for 6-8 effective hours a day, 5 days a week.(40 hours a week)
You need to have traveler's health insurance and MUST be in good health to work with the howlers.
You need to be in Nosara for at least 48 hours before your volunteer work begins.

General Information
Volunteers are responsible for their own meals, accommodations and arranging transportation to/from the airport and in Nosara (if needed).

Important Notes

Not Included

  • Return flights to Costa Rica from the UK approx £600,
  • Accommodation $100 a week
  • Meals
  • Airport Transfers

What to pack

Volunteers should take practical / comfortable clothes to work in e.g (scrubs). If you would like to purchase a WVS scrub top please contact the office or visit our online shop.

  • Practical / comfortable clothes to work in (eg. scrubs)
  • Wet weather gear and warm clothing for the evenings
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Ear plugs and eye mask
  • Headlamp
  • Toiletries
  • Prescriptions & over-the-counter medication (eg. Imodium, Paracetemol etc)

The project may be extremely short on certain supplies and would likely be very grateful for donations. Please get in touch with us to find out if there is anything in particular that would be helpful to bring with you. If you have any spare room in your bag on the outbound flight, it would be highly appreciated if you are able to bring some spare supplies to use during your trip. This is at your discretion and entirely optional.

Travel Insurance

It is essential that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this project which also covers you for veterinary work. We recommend Go Walkabout who offer tailor made travel insurance policies for WVS volunteers. Please note that fully paid members of WVS also receive a 10% discount on Go Walkabout policies.

Health & Vaccinations

This information should be used as a guide only. For up to date information on immunisations please consult your doctor. You will need to allow plenty of time before travelling for your immunisations to be effective. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. As you will be working with animals the Rabies and Tetanus vaccines are essential. We have provided links below to websites with useful information on immunisations and travel advice which we highly recommend that you visit.


​UK passport holders are required to obtain a visa before travelling. Please visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office website for further details: All WVS volunteers are required to organise their own visas.

Trip dates

There are trip dates available throughout the year. Please speak to a member of the team on +44 (0)1725 557225.

Join us… Interested?

Benefits of volunteering with WVS

By volunteering with WVS you are making a huge difference to the lives of animals and communities around the world. As a WVS volunteer, you will also receive:

  • Pick-ups and transfers
  • UK office support
  • 24/7 emergency support on the ground through Red24
  • 10% discount at Cotswold Outdoors
  • 10% discount on travel insurance from Go Walkabout
  • Vet Nurse
  • Other
Details 1 month minimum
No spaces available
Cost £100 (WVS admin fee)
+ Return flights from the UK to Liberia approx £600 + Accommodation onsite $100 per week
Details 1 month minimum
Spaces available
Cost £100 Admin fee
+ Return flights from the UK to Liberia approx £600 + Accommodation onsite $100 per week
Volunteers must be over 21 years old
Country Costa Rica

Questions? Call us now:

+44 (0)1725 557225

Download the Trip Pack for more information.