Wildife Rescue in Costa Rica (STA exclusive)
Day 1 San Jose
Arrive in San Jose at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Located in the central highlands, San José enjoys a moderate climate. The heat and humidity of the coast and lowland areas may affect you, with a general sense of lethargy and/or loss of appetite. This is no cause for alarm, it is simply your body’s reaction to the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water (bottled water is available everywhere) and do not attempt too much in any given day. We prefer fan-cooled rather than air conditioned rooms to avoid having to acclimatize to the heat and humidity every time you go outside. This is also a more eco-friendly approach. Like most cities, San José has its good and bad sides. It is the centre of government, theatre, and art, as well as of air pollution and congestion. It has beautiful parks and museums, and a few beggars on the streets. It is big and often noisy, but even from its crowded downtown streets, you’ll often enjoy a view of the surrounding lush mountains. Start your exploration of the city in the main plaza, a great place to people-watch. A mime, juggler, marimba band, magician, or storyteller may be performing for whatever is collected when the hat is passed. Artisan booths are common, creating a regular arts and crafts fair atmosphere. A source of pride for the ticos (as Costa Ricans are known) is the National Theatre. Inaugurated in 1897, the building was paid for by coffee growers through a voluntary tax on every bag of coffee exported. The National Museum, housed in the Bellavista Fortress, offers exhibits on pre-Columbian art, colonial art and furniture and religious art within a 19th century building that was converted from a military fortress after the army was abolished. The Museum of Costa Rican Art, located in La Sabana Park, was once the international airport; the museum is now housed in the old terminal building. The Jade Museum is on the 11th floor of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros building. In addition to the marvellous collection of jade objects, there are pre-Columbian ceramic and stone works as well as displays with archaeological and ethnographic information. The Gold Museum is located underneath the Plaza de la Cultura. Its spectacular collection of indigenous gold art belongs to the Central Bank of Costa Rica. The best and least expensive places to buy souvenirs in San José are the markets. The two main ones are the ones in Plaza de la Cultura, which is an outdoor open market, and the Central Market, where handicrafts are sold along with boots, fish, flour, herbal remedies, shirts and everything else you can imagine. Always watch your belongings and be ready for crowds. If you plan on spending a few days in San José after your tour, there are a number of activities within the city and area that you can participate in, many of them outdoors. Probably the hardest thing you will do in San José, other than get safely across busy streets, is keep the street numbering systems straight. Street and avenue numbers are posted on buildings at the corners of some intersections. Keep looking as you walk, and you will eventually find one.
Day 2-7 Jabillos / Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Project (6B,6L,6D)
Transfer to project from San José. Help take care of the wild animals by feeding them, cleaning their cages and assisting in repairing or building new cages. The animals at this project vary from month to month, but you may be assisting with monkeys, kinkajous, peccaries, raccoons and birds, such as the scarlet macaw or lered parrot. Costa Rica is known for its incredible forests and wildlife; however, human encroachment has resulted in a decline in wildlife populations and an increase in the number of species listed as endangered. This project works to rehabilitate injured animals and seeks to educate the public of the need to protect their habitats. Where appropriate, rehabilitated animals are eventually released back into the wild. Nearby are other projects you may opt to assist with, including a recycling project, English classes, reforestation and community construction projects. Your stay with a host family will really help you to experience rural Costa Rican life and connect with the friendly Ticos while practicing your Spanish. The Volunteer Work The life of a volunteer varies depending on the type of program, but generally most of our volunteers choose to work with the animals in the rescue center. Since Don Jaime is a well respected veterinarian, people from the community as well as local authorities bring in animals that have been injured, abandoned, or that are sick. The project has become a haven for wild rescued animals, and therefore they are unfortunately unable to be released back into the wild. Our volunteers are usually working with our groundskeeper, cleaning or building cages, feeding the animals, or working on other maintenance projects such as raking leaves, clearing walking paths, or working in our greenhouse. Volunteer Working Hours Volunteers generally work during the week (M-F) from 8am until noon (with a half hour coffee break at 10pm). Some volunteers choose to take Spanish lessons in the morning hours and return to their projects in the afternoon. During the middle of the day you will have a break for lunch here at the project site. The volunteers then return to work on projects in the afternoon and head back to their host families around 3:30 pm. Depending on your program, you can choose to volunteer full time, or take the afternoon shift to go on excursions such as white water rafting or hiking (which we can help you arrange). We are flexible and open to creating a volunteer program that meets your needs!
Day 8 Jabillos/La Fortuna (B)
Depart at any time. Transfer to La Fortuna included.