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Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtle Conservation
Frontier participants Frontier participants

Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates & Turtle Conservation

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Overall experience 10/10

Having never travelled alone before I was nervous about getting to the project but it couldn't have been easier. Being provided with info before flying out and being met at the airport really helped me feel comfortable with travelling in country.

Best aspects: Having the opportunity to conduct a range of research and conservation work. Seeing an incredible amount of wildlife. Meeting and working with some amazing people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Absolutely loved the project

The staff group is truly what made this experience so special. I was welcomed with open arms. I was able to develop very close relationships and learn so much from their experience and knowledge. They were all very professional individuals and you can tell that they love what they do. The information they provided for the project was very informative, and constant support was given. I was fully trained and understood all the objectives within the first few days.

The science aspect of the project, and the variety of work completed makes the entire project worthwhile. The dedication demanded for the research by Frontier shows the amount of progress being made.

Some suggestions: the preparation provided before departure could be improved, for example a more detailed and appropriate kit list. I also only became aware of the volunteer forum after arriving. Therefore making it more clear to the public would also have helped with pre-deployment.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Loved the whole experience

Exceeded my expectations - I genuinely loved the whole experience. The best thing was all the friends I made.

I do think the kit lists could be improved - as a suggestion maybe previous volunteers could write these?

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Costa Rica big cats

The best aspects were:
-The wildlife and task variety
-Social side and community involvement
-Camp life, food and Spanish lessons

Areas that could be changed:
-Pre deployment information
-I would have liked to go for longer but had to spend money on some unnecessary kit items
-A 'Culture of Costa Rica' presentation would be good to have

Thank you. It has been a wonderful experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Costa Rica was amazing and so were the people!

Frogs! Turtles! Mammals! Fun! Food! The people, the wildlife, the general fact that this place is a magical haven!

The kit-list would have been better if it highlighted the importance/unimportance of certain items. Maybe it could be written by volunteers themselves. Also, maybe more training earlier in the project.

All staff were lovely, friendly, helpful, welcoming and smiley; as was everyone else! Camp is my favourite place in the hole world! Beds are good, food is amazing, what more could you want?

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Osa Peninsula wildlife

The health and safety briefing was very in-depth and useful. It was great to learn about all the animals we survey and why our work is important.

The best aspects were everyone here, and getting to see and learn about all the wildlife.

The info we get before coming on the trip needs to be updated.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Costa Rica Surveys

In general surveys were easy and i didn't feel training needed to be changed particularly. Instead of information about different species there could be more about the reasons and aims of the conservation.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Incredible experience

Overall i had an incredible experience on the Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates and Turtles project. The wildlife was fantastic, the surveys and presentations were great and the staff on the project were brilliant.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Ihad the most wonderful time

I missed my flight out of Newark to San Jose and Elle Keymer, my PC was wonderfully sympathetic and accommodating. I have loved this place and had the most wonderful time and I feel a good majority of that is due to the people working here and their incredible skills at what they do. Every single person added something incredibly important and valuable to the project, I couldn’t imagine it with a different staff. This includes former ARO’s, namely Kate Quinton, and former PI, Sarah Cheetham.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Fantastic work

If you are looking for complete idyll, Costa Rica is the place. If you are looking to gain further educational qualifications, Costa Rica is the place. If you are looking to experience life in the jungle, Costa Rica is the place. If you want to work closely with animals, Costa Rica is the place. The place is perfect, the people are fantastic, the work is vital, and the experience is unimaginable. You will not regret signing up. Fantastic work, living area, people and environment.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

The system in play works very well

I travelled separately from other volunteers and was given concise, easy-to-understand instructions for catching buses and whatnot from Elle, the project coordinator. Despite the lack of electricity/internet at the camp site, she always responded promptly to my numerous emails. When I arrived at the site, multiple staff members and volunteers were waiting for me to help me get comfortable and I felt at home immediately. Nathan was our resident scientist and was extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the projects we worked on. He was eager to explain the purpose and methods of all surveys and got all volunteers involved in the work. We were given presentations by the staff regarding results from the surveys throughout my stay. Everything from the sleeping areas to the food, to the availability of books and resources at the site exceeded my expectations. I felt very well-fed and was surprised by how well we ate every day, explaining the 10+. I can’t stress enough how easy it was to adjust to living without electricity. The set-up at the site was immediately comfortable thanks to the staff and other volunteers who helped me to quickly fall into the daily routine while making friends. We were allowed the freedom to choose which surveys we wanted to do, and it was easy to cram a day full of activities. The surveys themselves were fun, as was general life on camp. The rainforest environment was a wonderful setting. The staff, especially Elle and Nathan, had contagious enthusiasm. Elle was approachable and available to talk to for any problem that people had and generated a very positive attitude that permeated the site. Nathan seemed excited about everything he did and had a huge base of knowledge about the rainforest and the animals we saw. I wouldn’t recommend changing anything because the system in play works very well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I found it really interesting

Elle was incredibly friendly and welcoming, met me straight off the plane and settled me into the hostel before we went for a cold drink and explain the local town and prepare me for life on camp. Both Nathan and Elle on camp were extremely welcoming and explained each aspect of camp life which made every process very simple. I liked the hands on surveying with anurans, I found it really interesting. I enjoyed the beach walks and surveying because I liked to feel part of the much needed help for the sea turtles. All forest walks were good as well.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Life on camp was much better that I expected

Best aspects of the project: The staff were very helpful, got to see tons of wildlife and learned a lot. Life on camp was much better that I expected.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Camp life is awesome

Overall, camp life is awesome, and our situation in the heart of the Osa Peninsula is perfect. I loved being so close to wildlife. One can really appreciate living in the jungle, in a wonderfully preserved area. It is priceless. The food was much better than I expected, as was the camp itself and the utilities (toilet, shower, etc.).

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Wonderful

My favourite part was the Otter surveys. I enjoyed walking along the river setting up camera traps, and later check them for results. Primate survey was also one of my favourite, because of the incredible jungle in Costa Rica and fascinating Spider monkeys. The fact that English isn`t my first language has made it a little more difficult, but beside that it has been wonderful.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Lovely

I have been in Costa Rica a week so far and it’s already been one of the most amazing life experiences I have had. Travelling here alone was very nerve-wracking but once you arrive, the people and the setting are lovely. Only one week and I’ve seen all four species of monkey, plus lots more wildlife. I’m looking forward to spending the next 5 months in the jungle, seeing more of the wonder that is the Osa Peninsula, and experiencing the lifestyle of a Costa Rican conservationist.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Everything went awesome!

Once we got to meet Elle, everything went awesome! We were informed about everything we need to know about the project, and even about where we could get things we might need (from her personal experience) from town. Camp was more developed than I expected but gave a great jungle feel.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Overall it was an experience I will never forget

I was briefed on everything relevant to my 5 week project here in Costa Rica. Bird surveys and primate surveys were my personal favourites. The staff made me feel welcome and were always there to give me any support I needed. Overall it was an experience I will never forget, and I learnt a great deal while I was out here, about the creatures that inhabit this area, and about myself.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It is a good experience

The living conditions at Camp Piro are quite basic: no hot water and you sleep in a hammock or a tent. It takes a bit of getting used to but I found that basic accommodation is all you need here. It’s so warm and humid that you would not be able to stand a warm shower! The fact that the camp is quite basic is actually a good thing because this makes it more eco-friendly which is pretty important considering the camp is in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest. After a week, I found that I have learnt a lot from the staff members. I have accompanied them during several surveys (butterflies, birds, turtles,…) and I’m now able to identify a bit of Costa Rican wildlife. So far it is a good experience and I expect this feeling to last during the rest of my stay.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

My expectations were exceeded

I was greeted and my bags were taken immediately as I stepped off the plane and then again once I arrived on camp there were volunteers waiting to greet and help with luggage. My favourite surveys were the turtle, primate, bird and butterfly surveys. This was due to work being carried out on the beach and on trails. I was not a fan of the river surveys but that is just my personal preference many other volunteers enjoyed the river surveys versus the beach surveys. Nathan the new PI is very knowledgeable and put together a great science presentation for the volunteers. He made clear what the goals of the surveys were and explained on each new survey how they would be carried out. He also took the time to show volunteers how survey data is entered into the computer system to show a certain outcome. My expectations were exceeded on BPT conservation, living in the jungle the resources available to us were great ex. (toilet, showers, running water, new food weekly). The surveys were all carried out great and Nathan and the ARO’s did a great job explaining the techniques, I really enjoyed my time spent on camp. It is good Nathan is taking over, very friendly gives his attention to all volunteers, answers all questions and very knowledgeable!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

I really enjoyed my time spent on camp

I arrived in Puerto Jimenez by plane and was immediately greeted by Elle, who I had been in contact with via email before leaving home. She insisted on helping with my bags as well as another volunteer’s bag as we walked through town to our hostel for the night. I was expecting to be brought to our camp in the jungle as soon as I reached Puerto Jimenez however we ended up spending the night in a charming hostel, “Fanny Lu’s” where I had an entire room to myself to get settled and organized before heading to our campsite the next morning. I boarded the collective along with two other volunteers the next morning and really enjoyed the hour and a half bumpy ride down a scenic road where I saw my first monkey swinging through the vines along the dirt road. We arrived at a small stop where 2 campmates were waiting to help us bring our luggage to camp just a minute walk from the bus stop. Camp had exceeded my expectations having two outdoor showers, a flushing toilet, walkways made of bamboo, a tent deck for sleeping, a hammock area and main deck with a big table where people were reading and lounging around when we showed up. I setup my sleeping arrangements and Nathan, our soon to principal investigator, took us out for a quick trail walk to see the jungle for the first time. I was blown away by the diversity of the jungle that I saw by walking just meters from our camp. My first night on camp was spent getting to know the other volunteers as well as our principal investigators over dinner on our camp deck. There are multiple surveys for volunteers to choose from each day and it is amazing how much knowledge our staff as well as volunteers who have been on camp for a while have on each of them. My favourite surveys are the turtle patrols and I ask so many questions, probably getting annoying, but the staff never sounds irritated and always knows the exact answer for everything. Coming into camp I was expecting to be doing volunteer work all day long and ending the day exhausted after being out in the sun and heat, however surveys are carried out in the morning and we come back to camp with time to relax and rest before choosing the next survey. We also have the opportunity to play soccer with the Costa Rican locals and help out with teaching English to a young Costa Rican boy. My expectations of Frontier’s Costa Rican camp have definitely been exceeded by anything I could imagine before coming here. I have time to gain hands on experience in the field by carrying out primate, amphibian, river, butterfly and bird surveys as well as patrolling beaches and recording turtle tracks as well as relaxing in a beautiful atmosphere with BRILLIANT people! I will rave about Frontier’s Costa Rica camp when I get back home and definitely recommend this volunteer opportunity. I was greeted and my bags were taken immediately as I stepped off the plane and then again once I arrived on camp there were volunteers waiting to greet and help with luggage. My favourite surveys were the turtle, primate, bird and butterfly surveys. This was due to work being carried out on the beach and on trails. I was not a fan of the river surveys but that is just my personal preference many other volunteers enjoyed the river surveys versus the beach surveys. Nathan the new PI is very knowledgeable and put together a great science presentation for the volunteers. He made clear what the goals of the surveys were and explained on each new survey how they would be carried out. He also took the time to show volunteers how survey data is entered into the computer system to show a certain outcome. My expectations were exceeded on BPT conservation, living in the jungle the resources available to us were great ex. (toilet, showers, running water, new food weekly). The surveys were all carried out great and Nathan and the ARO’s did a great job explaining the techniques, I really enjoyed my time spent on camp. It is good Nathan is taking over, very friendly gives his attention to all volunteers, answers all questions and very knowledgeable!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I loved both the river otter surveys and primate surveys

I loved both the river otter surveys and primate surveys. I learned a ton about camera trapping and GPS usage. The staff was amazing, the Osa Peninsula was absolutely stunning, camp life was wonderful. I learned so much about the wildlife here and had a truly memorable experience. I wish I could stay for 3 more months.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

I think it is good value for what you get

The camp is more established than I was expecting, and it’s been really easy getting along with everyone. I feel like there is more down time than I was expecting (especially during the weekend), but that is a small complaint, because I am having a really great time. The staff has been great, and I am learning a lot about the flora/fauna here, and also learning some skills regarding data analysis. The wildlife I get to see, which is truly spectacular, and the people I get to spend time with, are what make this trip so special. The camp leaders are smart and informed, with intimate knowledge of the local wildlife. They have also been warm and welcoming, and add to the enjoyment I am experiencing. I worry about what camp is going to be like when we double our numbers. If I had known that there would be so many people here at one time, stressing the cooking abilities and sleeping arrangements of the camp, and the learning value of the surveys, I wouldn’t have signed up for such a long deployment . Overall, I am looking forward to the rest of my time here. This has been a great experience before I attend graduate school in the fall. I think it is good value for what you get. I am pleased that I chose this location, where the locals have been so friendly, and the wilderness has been left intact. I am learning a lot. I think the surveys are great, and I don’t think I will ever get over seeing a monkey in the wild for the first time.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Overall they were a great bunch of people and I made many new friends

Eleanor and Kirsty met me at the airport which was really nice. They answered all my questions, filled me in on things I should need and directed me in the direction of various places around Puerto Jimenez. I met them later for drinks and dinner and then Kirsty accompanied me to camp. Because of this I instantly felt included by the team and I’d like to thank them for their great hospitality. I enjoyed all of the surveys a lot as it was great to have exposure to many types of survey techniques and animals, however I think the night turtle patrols on the beach were the most special for me. I had the great opportunity of reading the science project summary from the previous quarter which was really interesting. The camp at Piro was so much more advanced than I was expecting! It was really great having so many facilities in such an out of the way place and the quality of the meals that the volunteers cooked with the supplies blew me away every time. I really enjoyed the science aspect of this project and being able to be involved so heavily in so many different areas. The only thing that stopped me from putting a 10 is that I didn’t realise that the age group of all of the volunteers would be so young – I am very close to being twice the age as most of them which at times was a bit off-putting! But overall they were a great bunch of people and I made many new friends.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

The staff were fantastic

Both the forest trails, such as the primate surveys, and the beach patrols were amazing! The Project Coordinator was excellent! The staff were fantastic. They were all welcoming, supportive and couldn’t have been friendlier. The activities were all well planned and great fun, particularly the surveys but also the evening activities.