1. Do I need to know Spanish?
No! You definitely do not have to know Spanish. A lot of our Volunteers do not speak Spanish (yet!) . A little knowledge in English OR Spanish is sufficient to communicate. And don´t worry – you are going to improve your language skills very fast!
2. What kind of injections do I need before coming?
A standard set of vaccines is sufficient but if you want to be sure just check the recommendation in the Department of Foreign Affairs. It is not required to have an anti-rabies vaccination because the animals are medically checked before you are working with them so if you are a bit careful and have some germicide you can put on scratches or little bites from the animals with you, it should be fine. In 11 years we have never had a case of rabies at the Center.
3. Are there dangerous animals on the property like snakes, frogs or spiders?
There are some poisonous amphibians and insects in Costa Rica in general, so we cannot guarantee that you will not see one of those. But if you keep some simple rules like never going barefoot, especially not after rain, staying on the path and never touch unknown animals – everything is fine. We never had a case where a Volunteer got injured seriously by any kind of animal.
4.Which currency is used in Costa Rica? Do I have to change my money before?
Ticos (how the native Costa Ricans are called) pay with Colón (Colones) but the US Dollar is accepted almost everywhere as well, especially when you have small bills.
5. Is there a Hospital, Bank, Supermarket close to the Rescue Center?
We have a hospital 30 minutes away but there is a good doctor and the red cross with ambulance service 10 minutes away. The bank is 10 minutes away. A small store is within walking distance. The doctor fee is $40.
6. Is there Wifi at the Rescue Center?
Yes, We have WiFi, it´s jungle WiFi so it's not always in working order. If you need WiFi and it's not working at the Center, there are places in town where you can go to get connected.
7. What should I bring?
Please do not bring expensive clothes or equipment. Likewise, expensive items such as jewelry and fancy watches will attract attention from the locals and will be a temptation to steal.
At the end of your stay any clothes, medical equipment, stationery, toiletries or other things you leave behind will be donated to the center or local community.
Recommended Packing List
- Closed-toe shoes and Shirts which dare to get a little dirty, a flashlight and if you are coming between May and September a raincoat.
- Travel – For travelling bring a rucksack (65 liters should be adequate) and day pack (20-25 liters). Make sure it has a rain cover.
- Zip lock bags – Useful for keeping everything (especially electrical items) dry and dirt-free.
- Flashlights and batteries – Bring a head torch with some batteries, these are invaluable for late night toilet visits. If you can, get your hands on a solar powered battery charger and bring a couple of sets of rechargeable batteries as backup.
- Reuseble water bottle there is an overabundance of plastic water bottles in Costa Rica, and to limit our negative impact on the environment we require that you bring your own refillable water bottle to use while here. Please make sure it is labeled as well, for your own sake.
- Toiletries – bring your own towel. Sarongs dry the fastest and are light-weight. Please try to only bring biodegradable products in order to limit our impact on the environment.
- Bug spray - Is essential for caring for mosquito and bug bites. If you can find DEET free repellent, this is preferred as it will not harm the animals or the environment as much.
- Clothing – Rough work clothes, along with a lightweight waterproof coat.
- Footwear – A pair of sturdy hiking boots are most appropriate for working. You may also want to bring some comfortable trainers for your free time, and sandals or flip-flops for relaxing in.
- Medical & Hygiene – Please make sure you have read the medical and safety guidelines within your project area. No matter how careful you are, you will always find yourself getting numerous small cuts and grazes. Make sure you have plenty of plasters/band-aids, bandages, decent tape, lots of cotton wool and an adequate supply of Betadine and Cicatrin powder and talc.
- Other – Insect repellent is a must, there are a number of different brands but make sure you find one of suitable strength. A good Spanish dictionary will be useful for learning the local language. Also, do not forget to bring lots of sunscreen (at least factor 15), sunglasses, and a wide brimmed sunhat.