Conservation Research Internship in Costa Rica

Specialize in Marine or Land Ecology, or get a taste of both with this versatile Conservation Internship

Venture to the stunning coastline of Costa Rica and work on exciting, innovative conservation field research. This program equips you with practical knowledge of conservation, gains you in-field research experience, and lets you play a role in important work.

This internship places you with a conservation nonprofit whose goal is to create transformative connections between people and the environment through education, research, integration, and innovation. This means they take a ground-up approach to sustainable development. They research the region’s communities and natural ecosystems to develop sustainable practices that can be integrated into local life. There is an impressive array of research projects in operation at their 4,700 hectare base of operations, Hacienda Ario.

Your work as an intern could vary hugely depending on when you join the organization. In the later half of the year there are exciting opportunities to work on sea turtle nesting research or reforestation programs. In the earlier half of the year you’ll work on seed bank development, permaculture projects. In either case, you’ll get the chance to work on exciting land and marine conservation work, or specialize in the one that interests you most.


Based on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, this conservation-focussed nonprofit operates from their own 4,700 hectare research center and educational campus. Here, they run an array of fine-scale conservation research, devise sustainable practices, and establish conservation initiatives for the region. They then share their knowledge through community outreach, education programs, and online informational resources.

Their mission is to create transformative connections between people and the environment through education, research, integration, and innovation. Their work includes agroforestry and permaculture projects, in-field conservation work for nesting sea turtles, wildlife rescue, and development of a seed bank and nursery.


This internship is hugely versatile depending on when you join and where your interests lie. You could spend your internship on sea turtle nesting or permaculture and agroforestry or both. Whatever your specialization, you’ll gain extensive skill-development in conservation research and expansive insight into nonprofit conservation work.

What you’ll do
  • Sea Turtle programs (mainly June-February): beach monitoring, nest management, hatchery maintenance and leading volunteers and visitors
  • Blue Flag program: beach clean-ups, reforestation, and leading environmental education workshops with local schools and communities
  • Biodiversity monitoring program: camera trap deployment and collection, taking inventories and surveys of species, keeping records and managing database of biodiversity information, conducting ecology research activities
  • Permaculture program: maintaining agroforestry systems work (pruning, coppicing, pollarding etc), maintenance and installation of irrigation systems, contributing to experimentations with harvesting techniques and and food preservation.
  • Taking part in Nursery work; soil regeneration, seeding trees and plants, transplanting, etc.
  • Data work: organizing tree and species list and data entry for field work, creating zones maps plant inventory/plant, generating harvest and maintenance schedule for trees and annuals
  • Studying towards or have completed a degree in biological sciences or related field
  • Fluent English. Basic Spanish skills is a bonus
  • Capable of outdoor physical labor
  • Adaptable and innovative
  • Strong written and verbal communication
  • Self-driven and responsible
  • Bring your own laptop
  • Be over 20 years old
  • Must be able to commit to six hours of work five days a week with occasional night shifts


You’ll stay on the Cirenas campus near the town of Manzanillo, a short drive from popular beach Santa Teresa on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. This area is an area of staggering natural beauty and rich biodiversity in one of Costa Rica’s most important coastal watersheds along the Bongo-Ario basin.

The campus covers a huge portion of the peninsula and contains a great diversity of scenery. There are bungalows where interns can stay and a large dining hall where they’ll eat. There’s also classrooms, laboratories, a huge network of nature trails, and spaces for yoga, meditation, and events.


Internship dates are flexible. The exact start and end dates will be discussed with you during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (2023 rates)

2 months USD 2,871
3 months USD 3,579
4 months USD 3,933

What you are paying for:
  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • Shared accommodation
  • Three meals a day for five days a week (you will have cooking shifts)
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • Supervision and support during your internship
  • Regular check-ins and feedback from your supervisor.
  • Access to workshops with a focus on career development
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship
  • Flights to Tambor Airport (via San Jose)
  • Transfer from Tambor Airport to the campus
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
Manzanillo, Costa Rica
Conservation NGO
Data Capture, Permaculture, Conservation, Education, Monitoring, Research 
2-6 months
From USD 2,871
  • Gain international experience in a nonprofit conservation context
  • Build skills in data collection and in-field research
  • Develop extensive knowledge of sea turtle conservation
  • Work closely with sea turtles
  • Live and study in Costa Rica
2 MONTHS USD 2,871
3 MONTHS USD 3,579
4 MONTHS USD 3,933

See Detailed Rates



If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us


We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.


If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.


Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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