Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

Costa Rica: Cloud Forest Nature Reserve Volunteer

Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica


Location: San Isidro del General, Costa Rica

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks commitment

Start Dates: This project is ongoing and you can join whenever suits you best, depending upon availability.

Cost: For stays over 90 days, the housing and project fee is $18 USD per day for a dorm room with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. For stays between 30 to 90 days, the fee is $20 per day and for stays less than 30 days, the participation fee is $24 per night.


  • Gain hands-on conservation experience
  • Help to protect a rich biodiverse environment
  • Work alongside a passionate and highly-skilled team
  • Keywords: Costa Rica placement, volunteer, Costa Rica research, environmental research, environmental conservation, Costa Rica volunteer, construction and maintenance
Costs Explained


Live and work in a Costa Rican mountain cloud forest nature reserve, while helping to maintain and improve the reserve’s infrastructure, and contributing to its reforestation, research, and education efforts by assisting researchers and potentially working with student groups. This project is dedicated to teaching visitors more about the local wildlife and environment, aiding in conservation efforts, and researching reforestation and the cloud forest environment. As a non-profit, the reserve relies on donations from visitors and the expertise and enthusiasm of its dedicated volunteers to provide a valuable experience to its visitors and researchers, while conserving a piece of rare and disappearing cloud forest habitat.

All are welcome to apply. You will contribute to reforestation efforts, conservation research, and the day-to-day operation of a nature reserve while immersing yourself in the natural landscape of the majestic Talamanca mountains. There are over 400 species of vertebrates living within the reserve, 15 of which are listed on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

As a volunteer, you will plant and maintain newly planted seedlings, work in the tree nursery, conduct trail and building maintenance, assist research interns and researchers with their work, develop educational displays for visiting hikers, greet hikers at the Welcome Centre, and work with visiting student groups, to name just a few potential projects. You will also be encouraged to use your unique skill set to develop your own projects and ideas to improve the reserve. Working alongside a passionate and educated team, you are required to commit to the placement for at least 2 weeks.

Daily Life

You will typically be working 30-40 hours per week from Monday through to Friday, which equates to around 6-8 hours per day. However, hours can vary depending upon the type of project you are working on. Most of the year, it is sunny in the mornings and rains in the afternoons. As such, work starts at 7 am so that you can get back from the field before it starts to rain.

For leisure activities, the reserve and surrounding area has extensive trails to hike on (including a hike up the tallest mountain in Costa Rica), clear mountain rivers to swim in, frisbees and footballs to throw or kick around, board and card games, and a projector for movie nights. The reserve is also within walking distance of several restaurants, a fish farm where you can catch your dinner, a football pitch to play games on, and a thermal springs. A short car/bus ride down the mountain, there is a community which has cheese, chocolate, bread, and gelato makers; a bar with artisanal and local beer; and a butterfly garden. On the weekends, many volunteers will take trips down the mountain to visit one of the many beach destinations available to swim and soak up the sun.

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accommodation

You will be given easy to follow instructions on how to reach the project from the airport.

Volunteers stay on-site in one of our 6 dormitories, which hold between 4-8 people on bunk-beds. Rooms are rarely filled to capacity and volunteers usually share a room with 1-3 other people, although it is dependent upon current occupancy.  Private rooms may be available in the dormitories or one of our cabins for an additional fee (subject to availability). Bedding and towels are provided.

You will need to buy and prepare your own food, which is often done with other volunteers and interns. You can eat a basic, mostly vegetarian diet for around $5-7 USD per day. Weekly trips to the local village for grocery shopping are provided. For more exotic or specialty food items (ex. vegan, gluten-free), supermarkets with a selection of local and imported food are available in a town located an easy bus trip down the mountain.

Kitchen and bathroom facilities are shared, and located in the common building. The kitchen is equipped with a gas stove and oven, table top burners, two refrigerators, microwave, and a variety of pots and pans and cooking utensils. There are four bathrooms with flush toilets, three of which have hot showers. The common building also serves as a common area and is equipped with tables, chairs, couches, a book exchange, a research library, and Wi-Fi. Outside, there are several hammocks to relax in.

Fundraising Help


  • Minimum age 20.
  • Minimum 2 weeks commitment.
  • Physically capable of walking up and down steep hills and steps
  • Comfortable living within a close-knit community
  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Necessary flight & visas.
  • Full travel & medical insurance – full assistance provided in arranging everything you will need if you choose our Premium Support
  • Proficiency in English speaking.
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$24 USD per day + $250 one-off admin fee
(= Total of $530 for the first 2 weeks)

If you wish to stay longer than 4 weeks, the daily rate is discounted.

* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a $250 payment to Global Nomadic.

What’s Included:

Project Fee includes accommodation, orientation, in-country support and project activities.

What’s not included:

Food, flights, airport pickup insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate