Earthwatch Institute Expeditions
Earthwatch, a nonprofit organization that does ecologically oriented scientific field research around the globe, has maintained a strong presence in Costa Rica for more than a decade. Travelers who want to do their part to preserve the country’s wildlife can join expeditions where they help monitor the nesting cycles and new hatchlings of leatherback sea turtles; study rainforest caterpillars and troops of howler and capuchin monkeys; and conduct field experiments on improving the sustainability of coffee cultivation. Volunteer researchers make their home base at Earthwatch field stations, where they lodge in communal cabins and share meals.
Be aware—these expeditions are work trips, not vacations. Although conditions vary, most trips involve long hours, difficult transportation, dirty work, and not much in the way of creature comforts.