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Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Program

5.00 ( 15 votes )

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Volunteer Reviews


Cannot Recommend Highly Enough

Such an amazing place to volunteer. So many opportunities to get involved, learn and to participate in in all aspects of sanctuary life. The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful- Rosie, Cristina and Tiffany always ready to answer questions and explain. The lovely vet Sandie takes time too to go through anything you want to know. Animal welfare is absolutely at the forefront here but the staff really care that the volunteers have a worthwhile experience too. Food is fabulous too and the accommodation very comfortable. Very sad to leave. Cannot recommend highly enough.


Best way to work with animals!

I stayed at Alturas for about 3 weeks, and I had the best experience ever. I have waited really long to work with animals, so I had very high expectations. The sanctuary really focuses on the animals and their wellbeing, and you learn a lot about animal wellfare just from working there. There was a really nice atmosphere at the volunteer house, and everyone were very nice. The staff was great aswell - Alice, Cristina and Jasmin took great care of the volunteers! It was definitely hard work and it takes a few days to get the daily routine down, but after that the work honestly became very enjoyable. My only regret is not booking a few weeks longer!


Fantastic Program

I spent a week here in February 2018 and it was a wonderful experience. Not only was it amazing just to be learning about the animals there but also the volunteer program is very well organized. They organize outings for you to see the surrounding area, are very helpful in helping you to coordinate your own trips and are always making sure that if anything is a problem, it is fixed right away. Being with a group of people that love animals as much as I do was a real treat. Hope to go back!!


It is such a special place!

Volunteered with my teenage son for a week in February 2018. It is such a special place! Beautiful animals and the staff was excellent! They truly care about the animals ! A great experience! Planning on coming back next year with a few friends!!



We really enjoyed our time volunteering at Alturas, the chance to help the animals and get to know them was really rewarding. The staff was very helpful and got us involved in many different aspects of looking after the animal. They also worked hard at combining tasks like gathering enrichment materials with activities for the volunteers, like swimming in the ocean, lunch at a local restaurant, or visit to the reptile sanctuary. Many thanks to Loyal, Alice, Christina, and the rest of the crew.


A real sanctuary!

The animals and volunteers that come here can call this a safe and wonderful temporary home - regardless of your species you will be taken care of amazingly! My husband and I volunteered for a way to short of a time over the holidays and can't say enough about the amazing staff at Alturas. The animals were just as amazing and I've never felt more honoured to clean poop on Christmas :-)
The sanctuary has a great set of rules that shows they are focused on the well being of the animals rather than the selfie glorification's of most volunteer programs trying to make a buck. Enrichment and animal comfort is a huge part of the volunteer role which is great for the animals- and the creative person! Feeding and cleaning is an easy task and wasn't as dirty as I expected, nor the spider situation - phew!
We stayed in the apartment and found it to be very clean and comfy. A heads up that you will need a 4x4 to get to the sanctuary (learned this the hard way - exhausting walk up with our luggage when the taxi couldn't get up the hill, but was still worth every step!)

Too many honorable mentions - so a big thank you to all at Alturas for giving my husband and I an amazing adventure and a very memorable Christmas - will definitely see you again!



I went to the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in March for 2 weeks and it was the most amazing 2 weeks of my life.
On arrival to the Volunteer house the other volunteers had a big vegetarian meal made and welcome us .

The rooms are clean and basic.
The facility's are great , considering you are in the middle of the jungle.

All the staff are unbelievable helpful and dedicated to the cause.
The work they do for the environment and the animals of Costa Rica is just outstanding and it is all thanks to Tom!
He is actually one of the most amazing people i have ever met in my life.
Loyal , Alice , Rebecca and Laura , thank you for your teachings and care .

I cant wait to see you all next year !

Thank you .
Jade Lynch


Great Experience!

I volunteered at Altura's for 1 week and although it was only a short amount of time I really annoyed every minute of it. I found it to be a great experience! The staff were all very friendly and knowledgable but most importantly always happy to help. The Sactuary itself was very clean and spacious. During your stay there are plenty of things to do. We went out to dinner most nights and explored the nearby town and surroundings, though they also provide you all food invade you're on a budget. On your days off the staff try very hard to organise activities for you to do. I went to visit an amazing waterfall nearby on my day off. I would 100% reccomend Altura's to anyone looking for a great experience and wanting to help a great cause! Also, Alice was a wonderful and hard working volunteer coordinator!


Once in a lifetime

ol This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.. amazing and somthing I never imagined I'd do
Just so glad I did
The emotional attachment you get with the animals is unreal but topping that tom Meryle and Molly Hannah and Amy made my experience even better than I could ever imagine and Laurah the vet she's amazing
Everyone is unreal. Want to be back


Thank you so much!!

I was lucky enough to become a volunteer supervisor together with Ben and absolutely loved my job at Alturas. I felt very welcome from the first day on and I wish I could have stayed longer than a month. My job was to welcome and help new volunteers, take care about personal problems as well as organising their freetime activies. Of course what I benefitted from most from was taking care of the animals (basically feeding and cleaning cages while they watch you suspiciously or peck your ponytail). The vets and biologists did a great job and tought us a lot about all the inhabitants. Everybody was friendly and it totally felt like the right time and place for me. I miss everybody and hope I'll get the chance to come back soon!! Thank you Tom, Mike, Dannia, Ben, Loyal, Laura, Larissa, Eric, Molly, Marina and everybody else for everything you shared!


Villas Alturas was one of the best experiences of my life

I have never felt so immediately accepted by a group of people like I have with the Staff of the Villas Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary. Everybody was extremely warm and happy to work in a hands on environment with you. Everyday was a new adventure. The organization is very connected with the local community and so it is easy to get to know your way around town and the beaches. Flavia, the volunteer coordinator, does a wonderful job of managing the house, your daily responsibilities, as well as teaching a Spanish class. There are always projects going around the sanctuary, like painting murals and inventing new toys for the animals, so you are never bored. I spent a total of eight weeks there and it really felt like it became my home. All of the fellow volunteers I got to live with were great exploring partners for our days off. I really felt immersed in the community, as well as surrounded by good hearted people who wanted to help me learn about the environment and the world we live in. I will definitely be returning to the sanctuary on any future trips to Costa Rica.



I spent three weeks there at the sanctuary and it was one of the best things I did. It was great to be up close with animals that you may never again have the opportunity to interact with. The staff is absolutely phenomenal and always willing to help and teach you about the animals and their stories. One thing I definitely did not expect was to see a troop of about 20 wild Capuchin monkeys crossing overhead our patio every morning. Honestly one of the coolest things.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will have a LOT of free time. There was a lot of stuff going on during my time there that they couldn't really control. But just as I was leaving, things started to fall more into place. They made a schedule with some pretty cool daily activities which was awesome. There is a beach close by, but the taxis are ridiculously expensive so don't expect to spend everyday there. It's actually quite nice just to sit in hammocks, eat mangoes, and get to know the other volunteers. They're all pretty neat.
Yes, there were a few bumps in the road, but keeping a positive attitude is key. Just remember that you're going there to volunteer, not for a vacation.



Volunteering at Alturas Sanctuary was a life-altering experience. It provided hands-on work (picking up poop, cleaning cages, doing more laundry than I ever would have expected, building toys, and feeding and transporting animals); education (about wildlife, the greater environment, and other ways of life); and fun (roaming around with other volunteers on days off, attending a concert, etc.). The environment was professional, safe, and comfortable (albeit be ready for some spiders and cold water showers).

The staff are overwhelmingly genuine, caring whole-heartedly about the well-being of the animals, while still taking the time to ensure that the volunteers aren't forgotten. The vet (Laura) would often share stories and answer questions during breaks - get to know her if you're logical, she's one of the coolest people I've ever encountered.

The animals are just as memorable. You'll build friendships quickly, and refer to them by name. I don't think I'll ever forget them.

My 3-week stay was during the busiest time of year, amid many changes (lack of dedicated coordinator, new volunteer house construction, etc.). This meant less organization, but going with the flow is all part of the Central American lifestyle. Although I found that some others had minor complaints, escalated items were addressed. The staff is there to help.

Be aware that the program is relatively new, but established. I expect that it will continue to develop. The owner shared goals regarding future projects, which I have high hopes for. While I'm extremely grateful for the experience I've already had, I'm definitely hoping to return.

It isn't a vacation; it's better. Go alone. Make friends (with people and animals). And use free time as an opportunity to learn and build relationships with those around you. It will change your life.


Unique and unforgettable experience

My voluntary work at the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary has been lasting 2 months and became a unique, unforgettable experience. An intimate site, sorrounded by forest offers animals peace and a perfect recovery conditions.

The staff presents a top level of professionalizm and a rare committment. Volunteers learn from them a lot about a Coast Rica's wildlife

The Sanctuary visitors can only watch those animals, which will never come back to their natural environment.. The number of visits is limited. I am especially higly recommending tours with Mike - it is a perfect possibility to learn a history of every single animal in Sanctuary.

The group of wild animals, which are to return to a natural environment in future is separated. Any stress must be limited, excluded. Only caregivers and volunteers have a priveledge of access to that area: those ones, who clean cages, prepare food, develpe toys for animals. It is a very responsible approach, which significantly helps in process of bringing animals back to the nature.

In course of my 2 months work at the Sancturay I witnessed a number of such touchy and exciting events.

I cannot find proper words which might express how grateful I am to all people who established the Sanctary, and for everything what they have done and still do for animals. I am happy that I could meet them and spend 8 weeks learning, and doing all those good things dedicated to animals in need. Thank you very much!

Last but not least: thanks to that adventure I have now even more friends, and worldwide.


Alturas Wildlife Life Changer

My time with Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary was everything I could have hoped it could be and more.

I had been researching wildlife rescue placements for over a year, looking for hands on work, in a beautiful place in the world, while still being safe since I was traveling alone and then I stumbled upon Alturas. It seemed to be everything I was looking for so I jumped on the opportunity to go. As soon as I stepped on the property I was welcomed with open arms and immediately felt comfortable and happy.

I would wake up every morning to the sound of Toucans and Howler Monkeys in the trees around the property, have tea and breakfast and then start my day which included grounds keeping, food prep, feeding the animals and hands on work with the orphaned baby animals.

The staff is incredible and so knowledgeable about the ecosystem, habitats and the wildlife. They're always wiling to answer questions, very friendly and I loved just sitting with them on my breaks and learning about their lives and how they got to be there. The passion they have for the work they do is so inspiring and made me want to do more with my life and help others in any way I can. Knowing inside you made a positive impact on another life is the purest happiness that can be felt.

This volunteer experience ignited something within me that I never saw coming. It opened my eyes to the larger picture of life.

Pura Vida

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