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Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The camaraderie

The camaraderie that was created by the extra activities (game nights, chicken Friday, etc) was definitely the best part of my experience here. It made the amazing wildlife that much more meaningful that I was experiencing these things with friends.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Adventure of a lifetime

Living at Jalova, Costa Rica was such an amazing adventure and allowed me to focus on a career that I am passionate about. No it is not for everyone, but if you like being off the grid, seeing exotic/new things, and making new friends, then you need to go. It is remote; no phone, electricity, etc, however you realize quickly how much fun you can have without any of that. I worked with sea turtles, jaguars, birds and more. I learned about conservation and how important it is. The food was good, the fruits were interesting and fun. Everyday was a new experience and the memories gathered are worth a lifetime!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Well-organized program

I really enjoyed learning new skills by doing the turtle survey work and feeling like you made a contribution to the programme. I loved the experience of seeing a new place and living in conditions that are completely different to my everyday life whilst meeting new friends.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great location

Well organised, passionate staff, location was better than any of the sister organisations in the area. The whole trip was a positive, i was burnt, bittern and working all the time (at my request, i enjoyed helping out), all the staff were brilliant and great to work with but the surveys with the biologists were definitely my favourite, specifically identifying target species for my b-tec, living away from electricity and other luxuries was a great part as well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Doing something meaningful

Just getting to be out there and see all these amazing things was incredible. As i did some more travelling after the program i know how much i was given, like the staff were all excellent in the field and could teach me many things. And i saw things that i would have never seen, a corona around the moon, the turtles emerging from the sea in the dim light of the full moon- there are no words to describe that. I really enjoyed being with that group of people; everybody was so open-minded and easy-going and happy to be there, it was just great. I kinda even enjoyed the fact that the food is nothing close to what I'm used to (even though i did get a little tired of having rice all the time) and the very basic conditions on the base.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience!

I absolutely LOVED this program, and want to extend my awareness and experience into different areas. I enjoyed applying the training we learned out in the field, the people, and side trips in Costa Rica.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Learned a lot

I really enjoyed meeting people from all over and becoming good friends with them. I feel like I really learned a lot while I was in Costa Rica, and my trip was far from a vacation - which is exactly what I was hoping it would be.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience!

What I liked most about this program is how we lived in the jungle and overcoming my fears. Although, having an updated living quarters would be greatly helpful in improving volunteer and staff morale.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Awesome experience!

The people, their knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife and knowledge was inspiring! The turtles and how up close and involved we were after a short while was incredible, AMAZING!! The location was also a bonus, like in a film!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great having an active lifestyle

The field staff had a great positive influence on me. It was inspiring to be around people who are so passionate about what they do. I enjoyed getting to be active everyday and never knowing what we would see every time we went out.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Enjoyed every minute I was there

My most positive experience was to count turtle eggs while it was laying it's eggs right on my hand, to me it was a one time life experience and it honestly influenced me to want to do more with volunteering in these kind of programs. I enjoyed cleaning the beach just because I felt like i was doing something better for something/someone else rather than myself and i enjoyed every minute i was there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Very well put together program

The camaraderie of the volunteers and staff was wonderful. When I left I felt like I was leaving behind a family. The organization of the entire program was exemplary. From the moment I arrived in Costa Rica, I felt well taken care of, safe, and knew it was going to be a wonderful experience from the very beginning. I was impressed with the overall program, but most notably the passion that the staff have for the program. I was so very sad to leave. This experience changed my life forever- I cannot wait to participate in similar projects in the future!

GVI strikes me as a very well put together program. I am already planning my next excursion through GVI and have recommended GVI to all of my friends!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Truly unforgettable!

This experience was more than I ever hoped for. I've been contemplating for years as to what career path I want to take. After joining this program in Costa Rica I know I want to work in conservation efforts. The actual work we did with the turtles just blew me away. My first night I was able to stick my hand under the turtle's cloaca and count the eggs as the came out. I never expected to be able to get that close to something that amazing. Let alone touch the eggs. Also seeing baby leatherback turtles make their way to sea was one of the most amazing experiences I will ever have in my life. Truly unforgettable and life changing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

People were amazing!

I loved being able to work in such close proximity to the wildlife- it made me feel good because I was actually out there doing something! And the people were amazing; they were so passionate about what they were doing, and it was really inspiring.


The program I participated in showed me that field work is what I want to do, so I would of course take advantage of another opportunity to do a GVI program to get some more experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience

I loved being a part of a field team and undertaking a wide range of biological surveys. I would participate in another GVI program because the whole experience was a lot of fun, educational, and felt like I was making a positive contribution.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I would never hesitate to do again!

The entire experience was positive. The location was amazing and the fieldwork was incredible. The thing I most enjoyed were the staff and people there. They were so helpful, knowledgable and friendly and I had so much fun with them! A great team of people with such passion and they are definitely the backbone to the very successful programme.

But perhaps it could have been less "duty" work. We were very few volunteers and I didn't spend as much time in the field as I hoped due to several entire days devoted to cleaning and cooking which I didn't realize I would have to (I knew there would be shared cooking but not entire days of it!).

It was a life changing experience and one that I would never hesitate to do again!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Constant eye-opening experience

The most enjoyable parts of my GVI experience were the people and the ambient wildlife surroundings. The people were extremely fun to be around, and made living in the remote jungle very fun and uplifting. People were rarely in sour moods, and the spirits were always high. Also, just being surrounded by so many different species even while being on base was a fascinating experience. I'm not used to having so much biodiversity in close proximity, and it made all the surveys as well as time on base a constantly eye-opening experience.

I got quite a bit out of participating from a personal perspective, and I simultaneously felt like I was contributing to a greater cause.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Fun learning experience

I enjoyed getting close to the wildlife and turtle surveys especially night walks where you actually get to see and touch turtles. I had good fun, met some cool people, and contributed to data that shapes positive decisions regarding the national park.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I would love to be back out there again!

I loved the turtle night walks and being able to actually work with the turtles. Realizing how lucky you are when you see a Leatherback making her way back to the sea after her nesting and being able to count her eggs! Yet also the people on the project both staff and volunteers. The whole staff team were very knowledgeable in their areas and I have learnt a lot from them. Seeing their passion for the projects has made me very excited for my future career after University. With everyone coming from all around the world it's a great mix of cultures and even though we were in a tight living space we all got along.

I really enjoyed my time on this project. It has given me the opportunity to be in the field collecting data for important research and I would love to be back out there again doing my little bit to contribute.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Incredible experience

I enjoyed chance to work a leatherback turtle. The canal bird surveys. The people. The location.

But the training week was a bit long. We all felt that it could have been compressed, as there were a lot of free time. The risk assessment element was, frankly, tedious. Whilst appreciating that in such as remote location safety is very important, it felt like being back in primary school as we each read them out. It smacked of covering the organisation rather than the individual participants. But then I used to be a health and safety officer, so perhaps I'm rather cynical about such things!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Working with like-minded people was really special

The most positive experience was exploring the jungle and seeing so many different species of wildlife in their own natural habitats. The thing I enjoyed most was working with a group of really friendly, like-minded people who made the program something really special for me.

I think the programs give people a chance to experience a different side of a country that isn't found in a tourist guide. I got to do real work, and I knew I was helping out which made it all the better.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Worthwhile volunteering experience

I really enjoyed feeling part of the team and that I was contributing to the work. I enjoyed learning about the work and wildlife as I did not know much before and largely due to the programme I now know that I want to continue this work back home volunteering. The staff were all very welcoming and accommodating, especially in providing more surveys when the Turtle season had finished.

I think it would be a lot more worthwhile spending time abroad volunteering than just going on a tourist holiday.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience

My most positive experiences were ones when everyone was involved and those that were spent out in the jungle at night or on the beach searching for marine turtles. What I enjoyed most was that the experience of it all made me think of college, in the middle of a rain forest, with no homework, and surrounded by people of the same interests as I.

There are few opportunities that would allow a person to experience wildlife and/or culture in such a way for a long duration of time. The person gets to travel to foreign countries and see and experience things that most people would not otherwise get to.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Exceptional project

I love working with live turtles especially lying in the sand of the Caribbean in the dark next to a nesting turtle and feeling and counting her eggs as they fell into your hand. It was very special - something I will never forget.

Although, it should have been made more clear of the dangers of working in long walks in soft sand in humid conditions for long periods resulting in forcing sudden stopping by participants. Participants were fit but it is very different to expect a different fitness requirement in those conditions. Suggest that on the nest check walks that participants are progressed gradually rather than expectations to succeed on first go.

Overall an exceptional project that I loved and will never forget. Also the staff were all very supportive and I liked them all very much.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience with wildlife

The organization of the company would make me feel comfortable traveling again.

The most positive was the experiences with wildlife that I had been looking and the diversity of surveys I was able to take part of. The website and people I talked too were very helpful and everything was explained clearly, there were no surprises upon arriving on base.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation