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FCO Know Before You Go

Costa Rica Bat Monitoring & Conservation

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
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Get Project Info

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Download a PDF with details about Costa Rica for you to keep or print out

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How To Apply

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Find out more about Costa Rica

Start your adventure now by reading our country guide for Costa Rica!


Frontier Group Project

Working in collaboration with institutions and NGOs with the country, projects are research-based, creating sustainable and biodiverse programmes.

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Set between its tropical Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most breath-taking countries in the world. Even though it covers just 0.03% of the world’s landmass, it is home to an incredible 500,000 species including 110 species of bats. This is the highest density of bat species of any country in the world.

Frontier volunteers are carrying out ground-breaking survey work, exploring Costa Rica's remote habitats and helping to combat the effects of global warming by establishing a baseline which will support conservation efforts in the near future, allowing local stakeholders to advocate for an increase in protected area size in the region.  On this project you will live in a wilderness camp set in dense tropical forest on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

You'll live and work with other enthusiastic and energetic volunteers at a basic research camp near some of Costa Rica's most impressive protected areas. You'll carry out crucial surveys that are being used to find out how climate change is affecting endangered species and threatened habitats. 

Join this incredible project to discover a world of fragile beauty and help safeguard Costa Rica's huge diversity of bat species for future generations.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Make new friends
  • Visit this tropical paradise
  • Work with some of the world's most secluded bat species
Airport Pickup Camping Beach Emergency Meals Research Terrestrial Qualification Trekking Wildlife Rainforest Coastal Free Time Family
FAST FACTS

 

Location Costa Rica
Activities Bat Echolocation studies
Biodiversity surveys
Behavioural studies
Forest trails, river walks and beach walks 
Recreational sports
Trail creation and maintenance
Games nights
Nocturnal forest walks
Awareness-raising and recreation activities in the local community
Extra activities  and excursions (subject to availability and may involve extra cost)
Transport Pick-up from Puerto Jimenez weekly on a Monday before 12:00pm. Pick-ups available at all other times for $40
Accommodation Frontier forest research station in communal eco-cabins
 

 


WHAT'S INCLUDED
Before you go

Pre-departure support & documentation
Travel advice & documentation
Kit advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt (UK & US)
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country Accommodation
3 meals daily (while on project)
Project orientation and training  
Airport pick-up, Mondays before 12:00pm
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup
Qualifications available

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

You will be working in the Pacific rainforests and beaches near Corcovado, one of the most remote parks in the country. Home to one of the largest tropical primary lowland rainforests in the world, the Corcovado National Park is also the habitat of a large range of endangered plant and animal species. Dense rainforest creates a dramatic habitat for hundreds of bird and mammal species, along with a variety of bat species.

Our bat studies focus on echolocation, which is one of the most unique aspects of their biology, in order to monitor their abundance and diversity on various man-made trails in the forest. Echolocation is the use of sound to detect objects, and bats use this ability to both detect prey and to navigate in the dark. Most bat species have unique calls, and these can be recorded with a bat detector and later analysed in order to identify which species are present. We conduct surveys using a portable bat detector attached to a smartphone, which allows us to walk along a short portion of each trail and record any bats which have flown overhead. 

We are also recording the physical characteristics of each trail that we survey, taking information on canopy cover, linearity, undergrowth density and tree height. This will allow us to discern which trails are most used by bats, and whether man made paths are a benefit or hinderance to them.  

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

If you arrive on a Monday before 12:00pm, you will be greeted at Puerto Jimenez airport or bus station by a Frontier staff member and escorted by local bus to the project camp. If arriving after 12:00pm on a Monday or at any time on any other day, a pick-up can be arranged for an additional CA$100.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

Life on camp is a unique experience! You will be staying in simple, shared, mixed-sex eco-cabins amidst the jungles near to Carate. This is a jungle research camp, so a mosquito net is an absolute must! We have tried to keep the camp in harmony with its pristine surroundings, so conditions are simple, but environmentally friendly and comfortable.

The camp is situated about 5 minutes walk from Playa Carate, a beach which stretches for over 20 miles all the way into Corcovado National Park. There are cool, refreshing showers and  toilets on camp too. You’ll be feeling one with the jungle before you know it!

Check out our camp tour video!

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

We feel it is very important to support the local economy, so most of our supplies are sourced locally. This means we do not have access to everyone’s preferred foods and much of what we eat is seasonal and fresh. Costa Rican food is delicious, with a focus on rice, beans and good quality fruit and vegetables. 

Cooking and cleaning are carried out communally on a rotational basis, so everybody will be responsibility for meal preparation. You will have the opportunity to learn how to cook the national staple food, gallo pinto, consisting of fried rice and black beans. Another dish that is simple to prepare with local ingredients and is often eaten on camp is light and crispy tortillas stuffed with refried beans and vegetables.

There are no refrigeration facilities for meat, fish and dairy, so the team takes the environmentally friendly option of vegetarianism during their time on project. If this sounds worrying to you, not to worry, as volunteers regularly make delicious comfort foods such as pizza, falafel-style burgers, curries with homemade chapattis and ginger and cinnamon cakes to name but a few. Get creative! There is also powdered milk to satisfy you avid tea-drinkers. 

Much of the fresh water in the streams surrounding the camp and on the peninsula are safe to drink and it’s important to remember to keep hydrated. Just be sure to check with staff first.

Costa Rica is also world famous for its coffee and it represents the country’s biggest export, so coffee lovers will have plenty of opportunities to get their hands on some. Luxuries like chocolate and packet soup are available in the town nearby, but it is worth bringing some of your favourite treats out with you as well as any herbs or spices. It is recommended that you buy snacks when in town (cereal bars, biscuits etc) for mid-morning sugar dips or to give you energy on long treks.

Fantastic Time in Costa Rica  | 1 Feb 2019
Overall I’ve had a fantastic 10 weeks on camp: great people and the country is absolutely s...

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Costa Rica provides everything you could ever desire for an action packed and eye opening gap year or eco break. You may wish to explore some of the activities and unforgettable sights that are on offer here whether it is in your spare time, or even in a few extra days spent in this spectacular country at the beginning or end of the project. There are so many possibilities to explore – here are just a few suggestions! Try white water rafting, river kayaking, or even ocean kayaking – all activities that Costa Rica is famous for whether you are an expert or a compete novice.

If you have a head for heights see the landscape stretch out beneath you from above with a canopy tree top tour, or even an aerial tram! Other adventure activities that are on offer include biking, hiking, snorkelling and even bungee jumping! For something more sedate, there are butterfly and insect farms – fascinating for those with an interest in the natural world. The Costa Rica camp is also close to the border with Panama so you could always add another country onto your list by heading to this fascinating country too.

Alternatively you may wish to visit the Frontier house or local hostel in Puerto Jimenez ($7.50 per day, food not included). Costa Rica really does have something for everyone – you will never be short of ways to enjoy your spare time!

* Please note that you will need to cover your own costs for extra activities.

Kayaking

Learn more about one of the most biologically intense places on earth as you explore solitary beaches, beautiful rivers, mountains, waterfalls, farms and amazing diversity of wildlife on a guided kayak tour. You will have the unique opportunity to explore the mangroves from the water, and then paddle towards the sea where you may encounter dolphins, sea turtles, fish and ocean birds. You can kayak individually, in a group or with a guide who will teach you more about the incredible mangrove and coastal environment of Costa Rica.

Wildlife Sanctuary

Visit this remote wildlife sanctuary which is providing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation for orphaned, injured and displaced animals indigenous to south Costa Rica. The sanctuary promotes conservation through education and community involvement and work promote the maintenance of natural biodiversity. The sanctuary run a public education programme and you have the opportunity to visit the organisation for a day to see the animals, meet and chat with staff and walk around 700 acres of local forest land.

Modern conveniences

 

Puerto Jimenez - 1 hour collectivo from camp at own cost

  • Banks / ATMs; Banco Nacional and Banco de Costa Rica
  • Bar / cafe
  • Hotels and hostels
  • Internet cafe
  • Medical clinic
  • Souvenir shop
  • Supermarket
  • Traditional markets and cafes
  • Western style restaurants

COSTS

1 week CA$ 1,095

2 weeks CA$ 1,695

3 weeks CA$ 2,295

4 weeks CA$ 2,845

5 weeks CA$ 3,295

6 weeks CA$ 3,595

7 weeks CA$ 3,995

8 weeks CA$ 4,295

10 weeks CA$ 4,995

20 weeks CA$ 7,595

Extra week CA$ 495

Christmas week CA$ 345

DEPARTURE DATES

Every Monday

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 1 week

CHRISTMAS OFFER

This project is available for the special price of CA$300 per week over the Christmas period.  Placements starting on the 23rd or 30th of December 2019 are eligible for this price, subject to availability.  Please apply using the orange button below and then tell your volunteer advisor that you wish to take part over Christmas.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support & documentation
  • Travel advice & documentation
  • Kit advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt (UK)
  • UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country

  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals daily (while on project)
  • Project orientation and training 
  • Airport pick-up, Mondays before 12:00pm
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ backup
  • Qualifications available

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Puerto Jimenez (PJM)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.