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Marine Conservation and Animal Rescue

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Esparza, Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Conservation
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Trip Code: CRVCN1
Duration: 4 Weeks - 12 Weeks
From £1000 for 4 Weeks + £225 per Week
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PelicanConservationMarine Fish

Get involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of sea birds, mammals, and reptiles, before they are released to the wild - not many people can say that they have cleaned a shark!

You will be involved in rescue and rehabilitation, as well as working behind the scenes in the aquarium, cleaning and feeding animals, including docile sharks & sea turtles.  You will get closer to rare marine animals than most people ever do.

Your Role
You will be working with local staff as they clean, feed and give medical attention to animals at the marine park, both in the aquarium and in the rescue centre. On site training will be given.
 
Larger marine animals need to be scrubbed periodically to remove algae, and temperature and pH levels in tanks need to be monitored.  Glass tanks and enclosures need to be cleaned, and all the animals fed.
If funds allow, you may be involved in constructing new enclosures for the rescue centre.

Trip Objectives
The main objective of the rehabilitation centre is to return animals to the wild.  You will be involved in improving the lives of animals that have been neglected and mistreated, or that would have died of disease or accident.  The aquarium aims to educate locals and tourists in the importance of marine conservation.  

Volunteers are needed to keep the programme running smoothly in the face of government budget cuts.

Example Itinerary
Monday to Friday
A portion of your first day will be spent with an introduction to local staff and facilities, as well as the animals and rules and regulations.   Your schedule will be flexible, but you should be prepared to be active for 4-6 hours a day.  Your day will start with breakfast in the volunteer centre at 7:30am, followed by transport to the project. The project site is nearby, only 100ms from the sea.  You will have lunch with your local co-workers and can expect to be occupied between 9:00am in the morning until just before 4.00pm, depending on your schedule, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the project and to get to know co-workers.  Dinner will be between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

Weekends
Weekends will be free, with brunch at 10:00 and dinner between 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

Conservation Gap Year, Summer Holidays and Career Breaks in Costa Rica.
If you are thinking of taking a gap year or career break in Costa Rica and have a love for the natural world then this placement is ideal. Even if you are shorter on time and are visiting Costa Rica on holiday then come and take part in this rewarding animal rescue and marine conservation project from 4 weeks or more.

Quick Facts

Trip Name
Marine Conservation and Animal Rescue
Trip Code
CRVCN1
Continent
South America
Country
Costa Rica
Airport
Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
Minimum Duration
4 Weeks
Maximum Duration
12 Weeks
Minimum Age
17
Trip Type
Volunteering
Activity
Wildlife & Conservation
Cost
From £1000 for 4 Weeks + £225 per Week
Deposit
£ 195.00
Preferred Duration
The longer the better but 8 to 12 weeks is usually a good amount of time
Pre-requisites
Basic Spanish language required. You will need to have a keen interest in animals and conservation. You will also need to be of reasonable fitness. Cannot be allergic to seafood. You will also need to send us a CV highlighting any relevant experience you may have as well as your interest in doing the placement.
Ideal for
Gap Year and Career Break Work With Animals; Student Holidays; Conservation Projects Abroad; Animal Rescue Work Experience in Costa Rica
• • •

Arrival Dates

Start Dates 
Our projects start on a Monday so you are free to arrive over any weekend of the month and we can pick you up from the airport or agreed meeting point if you are travelling overland.

Note that during some national holidays there may be disruption to your placement. 

Arrival Notes
We require you to arrive at SJO (Juan Santamaría) international airport on a Saturday or Sunday, otherwise there might be an additional charge to support your arrival. If you are arriving overland, then please contact us to arrange a meeting point.

Additional charge per person of USD80 for transport transfer outside standard collection time.

Visa
British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica. You can stay as a visitor for up to 3 months/90 days, although the exact period is at the discretion of the immigration officer on arrival. If you plan to stay for a longer period or work, check entry requirements with the Costa Rican Embassy by clicking here (http://www.costaricanembassy.co.uk
• • •

Included

Accommodation
Your home will be one of two eco houses in our centre in Esparza: Jaguar House and Toucan House, sleeping 22 people max. Rooms are single gender occupancy, and sleep a maximum of 4 people in bunk beds. We have two private rooms available for those travelling as couples. Each house has two western style WC/shower rooms with cold water, which is refreshing in the heat of Esparza. Rooms are equipped with mosquito screens and 2 fans. All doors are lockable. Laundry facilities and a kitchen are provided, and there is a large dining hall/games room/communal area shared by both houses, with free WiFi, TV and table tennis, plus a large garden of tropical plants, including coconut palm, papaya, banana, and citrus.
Food
Three meals a day on weekdays (two on weekends) are included during your stay. The meals will mainly be a mix of traditional and modern Costa Rican food, so you may experience the Costa Rican take on foods you will be familiar with. Most meals will include either fish, chicken, pork or beef, but vegetarians can be catered for. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided in the kitchens.
Airport Pick-Up
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the accommodation.
Training
An orientation and induction to the local area will be provided in your first few days helping you settle in and adjust to your new surroundings.
Support
Our in-country team also operates an informal helpdesk during working hours for any feedback and questions from our participants.
• • •

Not Included

Flights, Travel Insurance, Visas, Vaccinations (rabies recommended), Spending money, In country travel, Laundry detergent, Toiletries, Soft drinks and alcohol, Extra activities not on itinerary. Return transport to airport but we will assist.
• • •

Location
Esparza is a medium-sized agricultural town nestled amongst the mountains above Rio Barranca,  in the Central Pacific Coast area of Costa Rica. The area was first settled by the Chorotega and Huetar peoples. The Chorotega people fled from Mexico 1,500 years ago and brought their traditions with them. This is a possible reason why there are Mexican words which jump several countries and turn up again in Costa Rica.

The Spanish town was founded in 1577, making it the second oldest in the country.  It has a rich history which includes legends of hidden pirate gold. Esparza is the second largest cantón in the province of Puntarenas, covering an area of 216.80 km², and with a population of approximately 35,000.



Social Life in Esparza and Costa Rica
Your placement will keep you busy during the week, but you will generally have your evenings and weekends free to get to know Esparza, Costa Rica, and of course your fellow volunteers.  Esparza is a largely rural community, and off the tourist track,  which means you can experience genuine Costa Rican culture. The pace of life is relaxed, and it is not unusual to see horses being ridden in the street. Our in-country team will organize a weekly evening activity, such as dancing lessons, cooking lessons, Spanish lessons or a trip to a nearby town or tourist destination. Every month, on a weekend, there will be an organised trip to a tourist destination - volcano, beach, waterfall, canopy, ziplining, horse riding etc. When there are local events and fiestas we will make sure that you are involved.

Accommodation
Your new home will be one of two eco houses in our centre in Esparza: Jaguar House and Toucan House, sleeping 22 people max. Rooms are single gender occupancy, and sleep a maximum of 4 people in bunk beds.   We have two private rooms available for those travelling as couples.  Each house has two western style WC/shower rooms with cold water, which is refreshing in the heat of Esparza.


Rooms are equipped with mosquito screens and 2 fans. All doors are lockable.

Washing facilities are provided, and there is a large dining hall/games room/communal area shared by both houses, with free WiFi, TV and table tennis, plus a large garden of tropical plants, including coconut palm, papaya, banana, and citrus.

With the environment in mind, all volunteers are asked to be sensitive with the resources they use, in regards to water, paper and electricity.

Facilities
There are shops within 300 metres of the centre, and bars, restaurants, and an excellent public pool within 15 minutes walk.  There is an ATM within 1km and more ATMs in town, about 2kms.  Buses into town and further afield leave from within 300ms of the centre.  

Esparza and the surrounding area has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants within easy reach.

Travel and Adventure in Esparza and Puntarenas
Esparza and Puntarenas have plenty to offer for weekend activities, including horse riding, watersports (surf is huge), game fishing, canopy tours, Puntarenas Marina, National Parks, hotels to suit all budgets, and some of the best scenery in the world. Puntarenas is also ideally suited to take a scenic ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula and its many secluded beaches. 

 

Beautiful beaches for surf and relaxation are a short bus journey away from the centre, and Esparza has its own secluded waterfall with legends of buried pirate treasure.  

Esparza is on the Panamerican Highway, so access to the rest of Costa Rica and the rest of the American continent is at your doorstep.

Costa Rica Map

It's not hard to see why Costa Rica was christened the "Rich Coast" by Columbus' New World explorers back in 1502. It is host to some of the most stunning landscapes and friendliest people Latin America has to offer.

Costa Rica has become a traveller's haven with its diverse adventure opportunities and unmatchable beauty. The capital, San José, is full of great places to see, containing many bars and restaurants that provide authentic Latino entertainment, including the number one dance - Salsa. San José is literally 'slap-bang' in the middle of the country which makes it a very easy base to travel out from. And, because Costa Rica is about a fifth of the size of the UK, it makes travelling short, quick and cheap!

Beyond San José, there are countless places to visit. You could enjoy the adrenaline-rush of sliding down a zip-line through the Monteverde cloud forest, or travel north and visit the active volcano of Arenal. Or head East to Cahuita beach to swim, surf and snorkel in the clear Caribbean waters, whilst sloths hang from the trees and the locals play reggae. Or perhaps you might watch sea-turtles hatch from their nests on the shores of Tortuguero. And then there's Corcovado in the south which is home to some of the world's most colourful tropical birds, the majestic jaguar and the deepest emerald canopies you could ever imagine. And with scuba diving, sports fishing and whitewater rafting, if you've got a taste for adventure, there's more than enough to whet your appetite!


Quick Facts
Name
The Republic of Costa Rica
Location
Central America
Bordering Countries
Panama Nicaragua
Capital City
San Jose
Government
Costa Rica is a democratic, free and independent republic
Population
5 million
Language
The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, however English is also widely spoken.
Currency
Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Name
The Republic of Costa Rica
Poverty
24% of the population live below the poverty line
Main Exports
coffee, bananas, sugar, cocoa, and cattle and meat products
Climate
Tropical country, due to its close proximity to the Equator there is little variance in the climate with each season
Time Zone
GMT - 6.00
Flag
Costa Rica Flag

Fun Facts
• Every Costa Rican radio station plays the national anthem every morning at 7am.
• They claim a 96% literacy rate.  In very poor and rural areas, where children can’t get to schools, they teach classes over a national radio station.
• In Costa Rica when someone is your significant other, your other half, they are your “media naranja,” or the other half of your orange.
Costa Rica is the only Latin American country not to have an army - you can't get more peaceful than that!

Travel Highlights 
• Viewing Volcán Arenal at night – Costa Rica’s youngest and most active volcano
• Climbing Cerro Chirripó – the highest mountain in Costa Rica with excellent views from the peak
• Surfing at Mal Pais or Santa Teresa – fantastic beach and reef breaks in a secluded setting
• Manuel Antonio Nature Reserve – rainforests, beaches and coral reefs in Costa Rica’s smallest National Park

Toucan Arenal Volcano Costa Rica Sunsets

Where is Costa Rica?

The Republic of Costa Rica lies south of Nicaragua and north of Panama in the heart of Central America. Because it is between two continents and two oceans, this convergence of land and water makes the region a great bottleneck, rich in ecological diversity. It is a relatively small nation, being around a fifth of the size of the UK.


People

Costa Rica has five million inhabitants and is home to a mixture of African, European and even Chinese descendants. About half of them live around San Jose, in the Central Valley. Costa Ricans (ticos) come predominantly from the mixture of European and indigenous heritage. Known for their easy-going lifestyle, you will find this race of people incredibly friendly and hospitable. You will also get ample opportunity to practise your Spanish with them.


National Anthem

Noble homeland, your beautiful flag

Express for us your life:

Under the limpid blue of your skies,

Peace reigns, white and pure.

In the tenacious battle of fruitful toil,

That brings a glow to men's faces,

Your sons, simple farm hands,

Gained eternal renown, esteem and honour,

Gained eternal renown, esteem and honour.

Hail, gentle country!

Hail, loving mother!

If anyone should attempt to besmirch your glory,

You will see your people, valiant and virile,

Exchange their rustic tools for weapons.

Hail, O homeland! Your prodigal soil

Gives us sweet sustenance and shelter.

Under the limpid blue of your sky.

May peaceful labour ever continue.


Food

The staple diet consists of black beans, rice, and meat, fish or chicken. Salads, fruit and plantain often accompany meals. The coffee in Costa Rica is excellent so definitely worth a try. However, western culture has left its mark, and there are an increasing amount of fast-food places springing up around the towns, just in case you feel like you need a burger and chips!

A typical Costa Rican dish is Gallo Pinto. Eaten nationwide either for breakfast, lunch or dinner you therefore stand a pretty high chance of trying this dish whilst in the country. Many visitors with us organise a fundraising event to raise some of the cost of their trip. Fundraising is also a great way to tell people what you are getting up to overseas so you might want to include a typical Costa Rican dish for people to try as part of a cultural evening.


Language

The most widely spoken language in Costa Rica is Spanish (97% of the population), although basic to intermediate English is taught in most schools. There are also other native languages used mostly within the indigenous reserves. As part of your stay with us, you will have the opportunity to join a Spanish language course. Learning in the community is not only the best way to learn a new language but you will also be developing your own skills which could be a very important factor in whatever career path you choose to take. Being good at languages or having the ability to learn a language quickly is an important factor if you want to do a Costa Rica placement so please consider this before you apply.


Music

Much of the music of Costa Rica reflects African, even pre-Columbian, as well as Spanish roots. Ticos love to dance. By night, San José gets into the mood with discos hotter than the tropical night. At weekends, rural folk flock to small-town dance halls and the Ticos' celebrated reserve gives way to outrageously flirtatious dancing.

Throughout the year, you will find many organised events from the El Desfile de Carretas (The Parade of Carts) to the Festival de la Luz (The Festival of Lights) and Fiestas Patronales (Street Fairs). Each province throughout the country also has its own Fiesta Patronal where locals come together to dance and celebrate and watch the bloodless bullfights. You will also come across styles of Salsa, Calypso and Classical traditions, all reflecting the spirit and rhythm of Costa Rican's love for music and an opportunity to party.

Before you come to Costa Rica, you may want to check the sounds of the culture by purchasing a CD. This again may be something you want to use for a fundraising event and would be a good excuse to get people out of their seats and dancing!


Getting Out

During your stay, you'll have plenty of time to get to meet both locals and travellers. From warm, turquoise waves, red, oozing magma, and dripping cloud forests, to bustling markets, tropical fruit and bright hand-painted oxcarts, Costa Rica offers endless opportunities to experience and explore. The capital, San José, is full of great places to visit and you'll get the opportunity to visit many of the bars and restaurants that provide authentic Latino entertainment, including the number one dance - Salsa.

Beyond San José , there are many places to visit. You could enjoy the adrenaline-rush of sliding down a zip-line through the Monteverde rainforest, or visit the active volcano at Arenal. Or head down to Cahuita beach to swim, surf or snorkel in the clear blue waters, whilst sloths hang from the trees on the beach-side. Or perhaps you might watch sea-turtles hatch from their nests on the shores of Tortuguero. Our in-country team will be happy to advise you on what to do and see around the country.

Costa Rica can also boast that it is the country with the highest percentage (25%) of its territory designated as protected areas: Forest Reserves, Biological Reserves, Nature Shelters, and, of course, National Parks, so you will be in for a treat. In addition, travel is short, quick and cheap!


Health & Safe Travel Advice

It is important that you are fully prepared for your trip and that you are aware of the potential risks involved. Health care in Costa Rica is very good and sanitary standards are high. First class hospitals are found throughout San José and some of the other largely populated areas. Since long ago, diseases such as malaria and yellow fever were eradicated in Costa Rica. There are no special vaccine recommendations for travellers but you should make sure the necessary boosters for use in Britain are up to date; typically tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid.

We recommend that you seek professional medical advice before going. You may also want to take a look at the NHS travel website (www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk ) which provides country-by-country advice on immunisations and malaria and a list of relevant health organisations.

We consider the welfare of our volunteers extremely important. Although you will get a lot of support and guidance whilst staying with us, it will be impossible to be by your side all the time. Our team will assist you wherever possible and recommend the must-see places to visit. However, you may want to put in a bit of preparation before you depart so you feel well informed about Costa Rica as a country.


Other useful links to check out are:

• Foreign and Commonwealth Office (London) - http://www.fco.gov.uk

• World Health Organisation - http://www.who.int

Some people find the concept of paying to volunteer a bit strange. The truth is you don’t actually pay for your volunteer placement. That part is free. Your money goes on all the other benefits around it.
 
Placement Assessment
Before you see a placement on our website, a lot of background work has gone on. We have met with local organisations, vetted in-country staff, conducted rigorous safety assessments and thoroughly evaluated the benefits of the placement, both for you and the community. Only then do you get to see the placement on our website and book your place, safe in the knowledge that it is well-structured and beneficial to the local community.
 
Help Choosing Your Placement
If you are not sure which placement or country to choose, our hugely informative Travel Advisors are here to help. They are a friendly bunch, have all travelled extensively and can offer lots of advice on choosing the right placement for you. This makes the task of deciding to volunteer in a foreign country much less intimidating, and far more exciting.
 
Pre-departure Advice
Once you have booked your placement, you will be assigned a dedicated Travel Advisor to offer essential pre-departure advice on vaccinations, visas, kit lists and more. They will also be on call to answer those important last minute questions like “how many pairs of socks do I need?” and “can I take my mobile phone with me?”
 
Help with Flights and Insurance
We do not include flights and travel insurance in our placement fee. This avoids us having to pass on unnecessary admin charges to you. It also gives you flexibility to plan any further travel before or after your volunteer placement. We do, however, offer lots of help on this through our leading flights and insurance partners, providing you with an easy booking facility and the best prices around.
 
Airport Pick-Up
Landing in a foreign country for the first time can be daunting. This is why we ensure our in-country staff are there to meet you on arrival. There’s nothing like seeing a friendly face when you walk out of a new airport. And once we have given you a warm welcome, the in-country staff will take you back to your accommodation where you can meet the rest of the team and other volunteers.
 
Arrival Orientation
We will take you through a local orientation and placement induction on arrival. This will introduce you to any useful amenities and local customs, and it will also show you how to stay safe while volunteering abroad. Our team also have lots of handy travel tips and advice if you are thinking of exploring the country in your spare time.
 
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation is included in all of our placements. Our volunteer houses, family home-stays and shared residences are comfortable and very sociable places to live while overseas. In some destinations, you may be able to upgrade to alternative accommodation. Just contact us for details. We endeavour to supply food on all of our placements, however in some cases this is not always possible. In many cases you will receive at least 1 meal a day, please see the project summary for further details.  
 
In-Country Staff
Your safety and enjoyment is extremely important to us. That’s why we have dedicated in-country teams to look after you throughout your placement. Our staff live nearby, can be reached 24-hours a day and will check-in with you throughout your placement to ensure everything is running smoothly, and you are happy in your new environment.
 
24-Hour Emergency Support
In addition to our in-country staff, you will benefit from our international support network. You will be given emergency contact details before you leave which you can call in the event of a crisis. We are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
 
Ongoing Project Support
For every volunteer who travels with us, we make a donation to support the work you do in-country. This donation funds future initiatives in the countries and supports the local community, ensuring that those living in disadvantaged communities also have opportunities to develop.

Recruiting More Volunteers
In order to provide a reliable flow of volunteers to our placements overseas, we have to spend a chunk of money on recruiting people like you. Our projects simply wouldn’t survive if we didn’t. It costs to maintain a website, an office, phone lines and a team of dedicated Travel Advisors to answer all your questions! 
Flights Costa Rica Plane Costa Rica Volunteer

There are quite a few things to consider and to organise before you travel to your chosen destination to take part in your placement, trip or tour. 

Flights and insurance are not included on your placement which means you will have to arrange them before you leave. But don't panic this can be simpler than you may think! To make life much easier for you, we offer a free, personal booking service through our chosen flights and insurance partner – STA Travel. They will guide you every step of the way. If you would like to talk with one of our STA Travel advisors to get a quote then either call them on +44 (0)333 321 3102 or email changingworlds@statravel.co.uk

In many cases your chosen destination country will have requirements with with regards to visas, which will depend on the purpose of your visit, and there will be recommended and required vaccinations to make sure you are protected against any possible health issues that you may face in specific areas. Changing Worlds is here to help and we are on hand to provide you with advice on visas and vaccinations.

Flights
Booking your flights is an essential part of your trip. That's why we have teamed-up with STA Travel. This means that once you have reserved your place on your chosen placement, trip or tour, you will have a dedicated booking agent on hand to talk through your plans. 

Travelling after your project? Need a round-the-world ticket? Not a problem. Your booking agent will work with you to find the most suitable and flexible flights possible. And remember, the sooner you book your tickets, the better the price will be.
 
STA Travel is also one of the world’s largest flight providers specialising in adventure travel and can therefore offer some of the cheapest prices around. They have over 700 branches worldwide, which makes them easy to contact wherever you are in the world. They also hold an ATOL licence through the Civil Aviation Authority, meaning you can book in confidence, secure in the knowledge that your flights are fully protected.
 
Note: If you choose to book your tickets through another flight provider, you must ensure that they hold a full ATOL licence.
 
Why are flights not included?
By not including flights in our placements, trips and tours, it avoids us having to pass on unnecessary admin charges to you. This keeps the cost of your trip lower and also means you have the freedom to search around for the lowest fares and most flexible tickets that fit your travel plans. It also means you can benefit from the expertise of our preferred partner – STA Travel.
 

Insurance
We take the safety of our travellers very seriously. You must therefore book adequate travel insurance before you come away with us – you simply won’t be able to participate in your placement, trip or tour if you don’t. Although policies vary, your insurance must include emergency medical expenses, personal accident cover, and repatriation. We also recommend that you book baggage, personal liability and cancellation cover.
 
To help you navigate through this confusing world of insurance, we have partnered with STA Travel to offer you a specialist insurance service. Your personal advisor will find out exactly what you’re planning to do, from scuba diving to jumping out of planes, and tailor a policy specific to your requirements. In addition to this personal service, some of the other benefits of booking with STA Travel are as follows:
 
• Access to a network of over 700 branches in over 40 countries worldwide
• Advice and assistance over the phone from a travel help facility, available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year
• Access to a 24-hour multilingual emergency telephone number for medical help, hospital treatment and/or repatriation
• A choice of 3 levels of cover to suit your needs – budget, standard and premier
• A range of durations, from 4 days up to a maximum of 24 months
• A simple extension service that gives you the flexibility to extend your 4-week volunteer project while in-country (up to 24 months!)
• Cover for over 100 adventure sports and adrenalin activities, including black water rafting, bungee jumping, elephant trekking, heli-skiing, kite surfing, scuba diving, shark cage diving and sky diving
• Peace of mind – STA Travel is an Appointed Representative of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
 
Note: You must provide us with details of your travel insurance before you leave as you will not be permitted to participate on your placement, trip or tour if you do not have adequate cover. It is also advisable to book your cover as early as possible to make sure you are insured for cancellation of your trip due to illness, serious accident or any other insurable reason.
 
Why is insurance not included?
Each of our volunteer’s plans are different, and while STA Travel can provide adequate cover for the vast majority of our travellers, there may be some activities or destinations that cannot be covered by STA Travel. It is therefore important to give you the freedom to choose the insurance that covers your plans and that you feel comfortable with. It also saves us from having to pass on extra admin costs to you.

Visas 
Different destination countries have different visa requirements depending on things such as your length of stay and your reasons for entering the country, and whether you will be gaining paid work during your time in the country. Changing Worlds will supply you with any advice you need with regards to the visas you require for your chosen destination, and we will make information available to you to assist with your application.

It is important that you check your visa requirements well in advance of your travel date, as with many tourist and working holiday visas you will need to submit an application to the relevant consulate, embassy or high commission before your travel date. In some cases entry to your destination country will be granted at immigration on arrival without having to apply for a visa before the departure date for your travels.

With all visa applications it is important that you have sufficient space available in your passport for the relevant visas required for your travels, and that your passport is valid for at least six months after your planned date of return.

Vaccination
At least 6 – 8 weeks before your chosen travel date you should visit your local GP or Nomad Travel Clinic to discuss your vaccination and medication requirements. Your medical professional will be able to advise you of any recommended and required vaccinations for your chosen destination(s).You should inform your doctor of all of your destination countries, and what activities you plan on doing, and in which regions you plan to stay while you are there, as different regions and activities have different health risks in some countries.

Some destination countries will require you to produce a certificate of vaccination in order to enter the country, so be sure that you understand any vaccination requirements for your chosen destination, so that you do not have any issues when passing through customs.

Above all you should make sure you are well prepared for your travels, so that you have the best experience possible whilst overseas! 
Speak To Us
If you have any questions or would like some more information, simply contact one of our friendly Travel Advisors. They will answer any queries you have and tell you what it’s really like to travel overseas. You can give us a call, request a call back or drop us an email.
 
Book Your Place
Once you have decided to travel with us, you can secure your place by paying a small deposit. You will then be able to pay the rest of your project fee in easy-to-manage instalments.
 
Welcome Pack
Once we have received your deposit, we will send you a welcome email confirming your booking. This will contain your personal login details for your Travel Centre – an online account full of useful information about your destination, you chosen trip and all the things you need to do before you depart.
 
Personal Information
We will ask you to provide some key information to help us create the best experience for you, such as medical and dietary requirements, any previous relevant experience you have, and what you’re hoping to get out of your time abroad. We may also ask you to complete a police background check depending on the nature of your trip.
 
Flights and Insurance
You will need to book your flights and travel insurance before you leave, and then provide us with these details. We do not include flights and insurance in the project fee (to avoid passing on extra admin costs to you) but our partners will help you find the best options around.
 
Visas and Vaccinations
Next you will need to get your vaccinations and visas for your trip. Your travel nurse or local doctor will tell you exactly what you need. We will also provide you with lots of information to make obtaining your visa very straightforward.
 
Final Payment
We will ask you for your final payment 90 days before your scheduled departure date. Once paid, you will be ready to pack your bags, grab your passport and get on the plane.
 
Orientation
Our in-country team will give you a warm welcome at the overseas airport before taking you to your accommodation. You will then receive a comprehensive orientation to help you settle in to the country and prepare you for your time overseas. 

"I am studying in animal welfare and this placement was perfect in getting real life experience relevant to my career".

Gordon Bennell

"The whole experience was fantastic from the staff at the rescue centre, to Andy and his family. Thank you for looking after me so well."

Ruth Eales
Do I need to bring anything? 
Not specifically, but be aware that this placement is very hands on.  You will get dirty, and you will get wet!  

Is there anything that I should be aware of? 
You cannot be allergic to shellfish/seafood.  It is advisable that you have a rabies vaccination, just in case. Occasionally, non-marine animals are brought to the rescue centre.  The chance of something happening is minimal, and the hospital is 1km away, but we advise having the vaccination, as Costa Rica is not free of rabies.

Are meals included in this trip?
Three meals a day on weekdays (two on weekends) are included during your stay. The meals will mainly be a mix of traditional and modern Costa Rican food, so you may experience the Costa Rican take on foods you will be familiar with. Most meals will include either fish, chicken, pork or beef, but vegetarians can be catered for.  We may be biased, but Costa Rican food is delicious!

What accommodation and support is provided?
Accommodation is provided in our comfortable volunteer houses (shared rooms of max 4 people.) There is WiFi, TV and table tennis, plus laundry and cooking facilities and a large garden.  You will be provided with a 24/7 emergency number for each respective country on arrival, and you will have the dedicated support from English speaking staff on site. Our in-country team is always available during working hours for any feedback and questions from our participants.

What ages are allowed on the trip?
We recommend that those taking part in this trip should be 18+ year olds. For those who are under 18 years old, it is still possible to take part in the trip, we would however need written consent from a parent or legal guardian. Please mention this in the comments section of your booking.

When do trip activities take place?
The general schedules for this trip runs from Monday to Friday with evenings during the week, and weekends free for travel, excursions and activities. This trip is available all year but please take note that schedule adjustments may occur on certain dates throughout the year, due to the constant evolution of the projects and circumstances beyond our control.

When can I arrive?
As part of our in-country service we endeavour to provide an airport pick-up for all participants. A participant should arrive at their arrival airport on the Saturday or Sunday of the weekend of their trip start date, and will be met in the airport arrivals by a member of our in-country team or transfer service. There are 2 times for a pick up; one at 10:00 and one at 16:00; participants should book their flight accordingly and should inform us which time they prefer to be picked up. 

How are participants transported?
You will be met at the airport by the in-country team, and be transferred to your accommodation by public transport (Taxi or Coach).  

What level of interactivity is required for this trip?
You will need to be socially active whilst taking part in your trip! This trip incorporates lots of interaction with the local people and culture and involves some local travel, so our volunteer projects will need you to use your initiative and the ability to think on your feet. In all cases, our in-country coordinators will be there to guide you and provide 24hr support to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

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Testimonials
  • "Lake Nakuru National Park is just incredible. The game rangers were so friendly and helpful, going out of their way to make sure I had an amazing time during my placement. I would love to do it all over again!"
    Maria Rossi , Wildlife & Conservation, Kenya
     
  • "It was great fun because the kids want to learn and everything you do is such a novelty to them. I was moved by what I saw, not for sentimental reasons, but because the teachers and the children were so keen and worked so hard."
    Katie Godfrey , Teaching, Kenya
     
  • "This was such a heartwarming project, the children have so little but are so greatful. I met some amazing people and will remember this experience forever."
    Sylvia Amani , Teaching, Kenya
     
  • "What a fascinating country. I not only learned so much about the healthcare system and gained some great experience to help with my degree, but got to visit some amazing places in Kenya. The Masia Mara trip was just unreal."
    Aaron Leyman , Medical & Health, Kenya
     
  • "The kids were so amazing, it was such a heartwarming experience and i'm just really glad that I could help out."
    Gemma Bracknell , Care Work, Kenya
     
  • "What a great project! I am so greatful to have had this opportunity and it is certainly something I will never forget."
    Suzanne Hart , Care Work, Kenya
     
  • "I really enjoyed my time on the Galapagos Islands. This tour is such a great way to see the islands. Everyone I met were so welcoming, and they helped to make this an unforgettable experience. Seeing giant tortoises up close was awesome!"
    Jocelyn Whitehead , Adventure, Ecuador
     
  • "This is was certainly one of the most unique and fulfilling trips I have had. From helping out the kids with learning the game of tennis, to seeing the smiles on their faces, these moments gave me a new light on my career and my way of life."
    Peter Kung , Sports, Argentina
     
  • "The experience of living with other volunteers and students was a great! An unbelievable sports experience! As a football fan I really couldn't imagine a better place to visit."
    Joseph Berry , Sports, Argentina
     
  • "Working in the orphanage with these adorable kids was a great way to do something really good with my time abroad on my gap year. I would recommend it to anyone who is keen to work with children. A magical experience! I cannot wait to go back to Argentina and see how they are all getting on."
    Jade Garcia , Care Work, Argentina
     
  • "I loved this volunteer project in the orphanage in Buenos Aires. So many great kids, who love to play and learn from you. I really enjoyed the cooking lessons in the bakery, and the kids really liked to do face painting and arts, which was really fun, it was great to be able to put smiles on their faces. I will treasure my memories of my trip to Argentina for a long time."
    Susan Tanner , Care Work, Argentina
     
  • "Football coaching in India was awesome - from the day I arrived to the day I left. The people, especially the children, the culture, the food, were all great!! It was an experience that I will never forget!! If you have the opportunity travel and coach sport... especially in India....then just go for it! .... Sanj"
    Sanjay Thanki , Sports, India
     
  • "The experience I had in Ecuador was without doubt the greatest experience of my life so far. I would recommend the programme to anyone who has even the slightest interest in playing or coaching football."
    Craig Lawlor , Sports, Ecuador
     
  • "My time in Quito was amazing. I had a wonderful experience working with the kids, and partying in the Mariscal. My homestay was also fabulous and I made amazing friends with my other housemates and the family. I look forward to returning sometime soon."
    Francesca Ioffreda , Sports, Ecuador
     
  • "Overall it is such an enjoyable placement and very good for helping my German and communication skills. It’s really fun and everyone is really friendly. The kids are lovely and there’s never a dull moment!"
    Stephanie Memory , Teaching, Germany
     
  • "The experience of becoming a ski instructor was out of this world. The group bonded and we all met friends for life! The local people were the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever come across."
    Phil Nolan , Sports, Canada
     
  • "The experience of becoming a ski instructor was out of this world. The group bonded and we all met friends for life! The local people were the friendliest and most welcoming people I have ever come across."
    Samantha Platt , Winter Sports, Canada
     
  • "I am extremely passionate about this project and being a professional photographer, meant I could teach a wide range of skills to the kids".
    Remy Whiting , Photography & Film, South Africa
     
  • "Having the in-country contacts to work on my own photography stories was perfect. Thanks to all involved".
    James Burton , Photography & Film, South Africa
     
  • "This law internship gave me a unique perspective on law in Africa and has certainly widened my options within the law field".
    Andy Smith , Business & Law, Ghana
     

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