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Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica
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Wildlife Expedition in Costa Rica

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    5

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Incredibly inspiring environment

My time at Jalova was incredible. I found an place with a perfect mix of wildlife, education and science for myself here. The staff members are extremely passionate and it reflects to all other volunteers in base which makes the experience in Jalova unique. I met a lot of like-minded people and made friends for life. Living conditions in base can be hard and connections with the outside world are limited. This was part of its charm however. You will experience so many extra-ordinary things here.

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 really enjoyed my time

Even though it was hard for me to get started with it I would have to say the BST and Tricky IDs were the best part of the program towards the end I really started to enjoy the bird surveys almost as much as the forest surveys.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It is a beneficial experience

My most positive experience was getting to meet people from all over the globe with the same passions and goals towards the future of this planet. Being able to make networks and connections across the world will be beneficial when wanting to move forward in conservation.

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 have thoroughly enjoyed my stay

I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and my time here has flown by so fast. I love getting hands-on experience with the turtles and hiking though the forest spotting different animals. I feel that I have made an impact to the park, especially with the turtles and their nests. The highlights have been seeing hatchlings and watching them safety enter the water, learning about the different animals like the agouti, snakes, and sloths. I loved the people I worked with and the relationships I have made.

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 absolutely loved it

Seeing the wildlife, touching wild turtles. I really liked how some staff members were so cooperative and really hightned the experience of the walks we did. Both night and day-walkes alike I loved. Basically, if I had something to do, I absolutely loved it. My alltime favorite walk was my second nightwalk, it was with Ed, Vix, and Sarah and I got to count eggs and we worked 6 turtles, so, everybody in the team got to roulate and do everything twice, which was nice.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day 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

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It was a very nice atmosphere

I was expecting it to be more serious, but I think the young ages of the staff members made the experience more laid back and fun, which was nice. I enjoyed the forest surveys hugely. I wasn't expecting to have to do many other surveys not involving turtles, but thankfully I enjoyed them, other volunteers felt differently. There was a lovely team atmosphere, where we all got stuck in with surveys and games in our spare time. I enjoyed how basic the base was. It was much more basic than anticipated, but it made the experience more memorable.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Field staff were excellent!

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to live in such a remote area and to experience the wildlife, and to learn about the wildlife from such expert staff. I was delighted to be able to contribute to the turtle research and conservation, as well as thrilled to work so closely with the turtles. I absolutely loved the long walks along the beach and into the forest - for the work we were doing, for the wildlife we saw, and just for enjoying the walks. The staff in the field were excellent - really knowledgeable and helpful. Stefan, the country manager, who was with us for about a week, was absolutely superb in his knowledge, friendliness, leadership and briefings on safety and other matters. Rich was a very good camp manager and a good patrol leader on turtle walks - really pleasant and friendly. Jon was an excellent patrol leader on walks, really knowledgeable and willing to share his knowledge, also very pleasant. It was great to have Andres there as it was nice to be able to ask a real Costa Rican about the country, and he gave a most interesting presentation about the country, also he was an excellent and v knowledgeable patrol leader on walks, and really enthusiastic. Joao was really knowledgeable and a good teacher, and very pleasant. I didn't get to do any walks with Molly but she was always really pleasant, helpful and making the effort to make everyone feel included, a really nice person and a great staff member. I only met Marta for a couple of days at the end and didn't get to do any walks with her but she was a really nice person too and clearly a great staff member. They all made a real effort to make everyone feel welcome and included.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Saw great variety of wildlife

The whole experience of travelling and meeting other backpackers at gaudys was good as it was my first time travelling alone. As for the GVI program I enjoyed seeing turtles on nightwalks, it was a privilege to actually get involved with handling the turtles and recording data. Also the incidentals walks around the forest trails were good, the thing i enjoyed most was the great variety of wildlife we could see within just a few miles walk from base.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Improved my language skills

Definitely the egg counting as a 'strange' experience, seeing the hatchlings running towards the sea, and, especially for me, being in a tropical rainforest and having the chance to walk through it. The chance to meet other people and improve my English language skills.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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 Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day 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

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Once in a lifetime opportunity

I enjoyed the amount of interaction I got with the wildlife and being able to perform so many hands on tasks with the sea turtles. It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity. But it would be great to Improve the accuracy of the field guide.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Rewarding experience

Being trusted to take part in main roles of the turtle walks, living on a beach, being given sufficient free time to explore the base and forest, going to town at least once (i think going to town so often doesn't benefit the turtles you guys are just polluting their ocean with all the gas you use i think a better system for getting food and necessities should be thought of,) the few times i got to cook in the kitchen was really rewarding, i enjoyed the hammock, i enjoyed being in the middle of nature with beautiful trees birds and lizards, i enjoyed the movie nights.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation