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What do internships in Costa Rica Involve? Jaw-dropping scenery, unbelievable wildlife, and some of the best conservation and sustainability opportunities on the planet.

There’s a good reason why we named Costa Rica as one of the best places for NGO internships in 2024. Not only is it a tropical paradise with buckets of culture, history, and adventure for a visitor to enjoy, but internships in Costa Rica offer fantastic opportunities for professional development, especially in conservation and sustainability.

In this blog, we’ll unpack what to expect from internships in Costa Rica so you can get the full picture. We’ll include details on paid internships in Costa Rica, the cost of living in Costa Rica, and Costa Rica visa requirements.

7 Things To Expect As An Intern In Costa Rica

1. Incredible Conservation And Sustainability Internships

At the top of the list of what to expect from internships in Costa Rica: fantastic career development opportunities in conservation and sustainability. Leading the planet in their commitment to the climate and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the sustainability and conservation internship in Costa Rica are some of the best in the world.

The caliber of conservation jobs you’ll engage in will earn you world-class conservation career skills and professional experience that will set you head-and-shoulder above other candidates. So, if you’re a young person trying to make a difference for our planet, pursue your passion this summer with an internship in Costa Rica.

2. Working Closely With Wildlife

What do internships in Costa Rica involve? Getting up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife.

Some of our programs place you in vital animal welfare roles. You could gain experience in setting camera traps, caring for orphaned wildlife, or even performing veterinary surgery. The skills you can expect to learn from an internship in Costa Rica could include animal husbandry duties, conservation research methods, and so much more.

3. Rough-And-Ready Rural Accommodation

Again, this shouldn’t be too surprising but part of what to expect from an internship in Costa Rica can be fairly basic accommodation in remote destinations.

This isn’t always the case. There are plenty of luxurious options of where to intern in Costa Rica. However, if you’re applying for a conservation internship you might stay in a campsite, rural village, or remote research center.

4. Tropical Climate

Hot and sticky weather is a big part of what to expect from internships in Costa Rica. As a tropical island, the country’s climate is characterized by heat, humidity, and rainfall.

Average daytime temperature ranges from 28°C to 32°C year-round with nighttime temperatures dropping to a cooler 22°C to 24°C. Rainfall is fairly consistent throughout the year, though the driest months will be between January and March. Nonetheless, be prepared for wet conditions at whatever time of year you visit.

5. Affordable Cost Of Living

In general, the cost of living in Costa Rica is fairly low compared to most Western countries. So, things like food, transport, and accommodation won’t break the bank. The country being so budget-friendly is a big benefit since, as we’ll get to later, paid internships in Costa Rica can be hard to come by.

That said, interns planning to engage in adventure activities or visiting remote regions may encounter extra costs relating to insurance, guides, and necessary equipment.

6. Safety Precautions

Compared to other countries in Central America, Costa Rica’s crime rate is low. Nonetheless, safety precautions are necessary. This varies depending on the destination, so safety should factor into decisions of where to intern in Costa Rica. We also advise practicing common sense precautions anywhere you go. Still, as a rule, crime needn’t be something to stress over.

There are dangerous things to expect as an intern in Costa Rica too — namely, the wildlife. Again, an intern in Costa Rica needn’t worry too much, as any time they are in close quarters with wildlife, they will be accompanied by professionals. It is simply vitally important that interns follow the instructions given to them regarding how to interact with and behave around wildlife.

7. Easy Visas

Costa Rica visa requirements are minimal for tourists from any country. In fact, US citizens can stay up to 180 days without a visa. So, stress over travel documents isn’t part of what to expect from an internship in Costa Rica. Even for non-US citizens, there is generally no issue for travelers to get a 90-day visa for their internship. This can be further extended with a little extra paperwork.

Are There Paid Internships In Costa Rica?

In short, yes but they can be difficult to find and moreover, the paid internships in Costa Rica aren’t always the best opportunities.

While Costa Rica has made enormous economic strides in the last 25 years, it is still very much a developing country with 21.8% of the population living in poverty. What’s more, Costa Rican law prioritizes the local employment pool over foreign workers.

So, working out how to finance an unpaid internship is one of the things to expect as an intern in Costa Rica.

Is it Worth it to Intern in Costa Rica?

An internship in Costa Rica is 100% worthwhile!

If you’re pursuing jobs in conservation or sustainable development, internships in Costa Rica are one of the best things you can do to advance your career. You will collaborate with industry leading experts there and contribute to globally significant conservation work.

Regardless of your academic field though, there are a wealth of reasons to intern in Costa Rica.

  • Here are just a few:
    Career development In Conservation – if you’re wondering how to get a wildlife conservation internship abroad, Costa Rica really should be the first place you look
  • Breathtaking Natural Beauty – Costa Rica is the picture that comes to mind when someone says the words ‘tropical paradise’. With rainforests, white sand beaches, and rocky mountainous regions too, this country offers so much for the nature enthusiast
  • Pura Vida Lifestyle – Two things to expect as an intern in Costa Rica: welcoming locals and a laidback lifestyle. Costa Rica’s famous pura vida way of life prioritizes positivity, gratitude, and living life to the fullest. This is probably why Costa Ricans are known to be so friendly
  • Wild Adventures – Costa Rica has a plethora of heart-racing, adrenaline-spiking adventure activities for thrill-seekers to engage in. Whatever your adventurous spirit yearns for, this country can provide, whether that’s ziplining, white-water rafting, surfing, or something less intense, like hiking over an active volcano

4 Internship Opportunities In Costa Rica

Really, the only way to fully grasp what to expect from internships in Costa Rica is by seeing the opportunities out there. Here are a few of our top internships in Costa Rica, to give you more of an idea.

1. Sustainable Development Micro-Internship

Where: Turrialba & Tirimbina

Highlights: First of all, what is a micro-internship? All the experience, skill-building, and industry insight of a normal internship, only on an accelerated time frame.

This multidisciplinary program is a fantastic exploration of Costa Rican sustainable development. From university discussion groups with world-leading professionals to hands-on experience at a rainforest nature reserve, this program is designed to give interns broad, varied exposure to innovative sustainability models across Costa Rica.

2. Project Coordinator Internship

Where: Multiple destinations

Highlights: What do internships in Costa Rica involve? Well, this program involves a bit of everything. Join our long-term partners, a renowned volunteer-travel organization, and build an array of professional skills and experience by guiding life-changing trips.

This organization arranges volunteer-focused expeditions that offer young people the chance for transformative personal growth, and your job will be the on-the-ground leader of these trips. This will involve a broad range of logistical coordination, project management, and behavioral management duties.

3. Photography Internship

Where: Multiple destinations

Highlights: Gain experience as a professional photographer, and build a diverse, powerful portfolio, as you document a once-in-a-lifetime expedition. Working with the same organization as above, you’ll take on the role of the resident photographer on these volunteer-orientated adventures.

As a photography intern in Costa Rica, your role will be to capture the highlight moments of these trips in photography and film and showcase the value of the projects for both volunteers and the causes they serve.

4. Wildlife husbandry Internship

Where: Puntarenas Province

Highlights: This is one of our best internship opportunities in Latin America for animal lovers. Join a remote wildlife sanctuary and contribute to valuable wildlife conservation work as you gain hands-on experience caring for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife in Costa Rica.

Your daily duties will include assisting in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife and contributing to the overall upkeep of the sanctuary’s wildlife through husbandry tasks. This internship is a bucket-list experience, but more than that, it is a fantastic first step in an animal welfare career.

Let An Internship In Costa Rica Help You Reach Success In Your Career!

Now you know the answer to ‘what do internships in Costa Rica involve?’, the only thing you need to work out is when your internship in Costa Rica will be.

Internships in Costa Rica promise unparalleled opportunities for professional growth, adventure, and contribution to global conservation efforts. From hands-on wildlife experiences to embracing the pura vida lifestyle, there’s something for everyone.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch to discover how you can embark on a transformative internship experience in Costa Rica.

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