Alturas Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Program
Submitted by Alison - Texas Tech | August 08, 2016
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.
Submitted by Nicole - Pickering Canada | August 07, 2016
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 wholeheartedly about the well-being of the animals, while still taking the time to ensure that the volunteers weren'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
Submitted by Grace - Warsaw Poland | August 05, 2016
My voluntary work at the Alturas Wildlife
Sanctuary has been lasting 2 months and became a
unique, unforgettable experience. An intimate site,
surrounded by forest offers animals peace and a
perfect recovery conditions.
The staff presents a top level of professionalism
and a rare commitment. Volunteers learn from them a lot about a Costa 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 highly 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 privilege of access to
that area: those ones, who clean cages, prepare food,
develop toys for animals.
It is a very responsible approach, which
significantly helps in process of bringing animals back to
In course of my 2 months work at the Sanctuary
I witnessed a number of such touchy and exciting
I cannot find proper words which
might express how grateful I am to all people who
established the Sanctuary, 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
Last but not least: thanks to that adventure I
have now even more friends, and worldwide.
Volunteering at the Santuary Villas Alturas
Submitted by Regina LC - Universidad de Guadalajara, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biologicas y Agropeuarias, | August 05, 2016
Volunteering at the sanctuary it is a experience that you can make a lot from it: learning and sharing would be the way. Up to go for a quiet time if you feel like, or time to hang around in town with the other volunteers, staff and why not random people on your free time.
The veterinarians and the people that work there they're just Pura Vida. They work really hard for such a good reason.
Volunteering here means compromise, there is a lot of diversity in the animals that come into the clinic; as we want them to go back to the wild as soon as they are good to go, some of them do not need any human interaction.
You'll get to feed the animals and be around them at the sanctuary where the tours happen.
The place its up a hill, great exercise if you wanna walk to the beach, if not i'm pretty sure that someone is going down the hill any second so you can get a ride.
Hikes, beaches and markets they are always happening and if not you can make them happen.
GDL, Jal. México
Alturas wildlife life changer
Submitted by Natasha - Canmore Canada | August 04, 2016
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 willing 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.