Volunteer in Costa Rica

Volunteering is a great way to really get to know a new country. Costa Rica encompasses only 0.03 per cent of the earth’s surface, but it boasts 6 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. Volunteers come here to help protect and preserve this precious heritage.

three howler monkeys walk along a telephone line
Three howler monkeys walk nonchalantly along the telephone wire highway. Monkeys are part of the experience when one volunteers in Costa Rica.

A clan of howler monkeys walks calmly along the electrical lines at the side of the road. Excited, we stop the car to stare, but they ignore us. These are just one of four species of monkey that live in Costa Rica. Two days later we manage to see a second as we zip line through the forest canopy. Impish, white-faced capuchin monkeys provide a background chorus of screeches but scamper away before I can get my camera out.

capuchin monkey
This photo comes from Wikimedia but I met his noisy brothers in the forest canopy while zip lining. Unfortunately, by the time my heart returned to normal and I retrieved my camera, they were gone.

Stories abound about the thieving activities of these pint-sized pickpockets of the Central American jungle. Capuchins will apparently even open backpacks.

red and blue macaw in a green tree
A macaw stands out colourfully against the green foliage. These beautiful birds are common.

Monkeys are just a small part of the wildlife in Costa Rica. This tiny country which encompasses only 0.03 per cent of the earth’s surface, boasts 6 per cent of the world’s biodiversity. Protecting that heritage has become a critical job for both the government and many non-governmental agencies who recognize the importance of this task. And it has also become the mission for hundreds of travellers who visit Costa Rica every year. These visitors are a whole new breed of tourist. They’re coming to volunteer.

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