Join us and contribute in a fun and rewarding conservation experience.

Volunteering at Ara Manzanillo

The Ara Manzanillo reintroduction project could not exist without the invaluable help of our dedicated volunteer field assistants from across the globe. Working at Ara Manzanillo offers Nature lovers and conservation enthusiasts the opportunity to learn about and work closely with some of the most incredibly beautiful and charismatic birds on Earth. The exceptional experience of living in the tropical rainforest, meeting people from all over the world and experiencing rural Costa Rican life and culture in a remote coastal wildlife refuge is very special. Furthermore, contributing towards the survival of a threatened macaw species is uniquely rewarding.


Volunteer work at Ara Manzanillo site includes:

  • Managing the released population of Great Green macaws;
  • Maintaining supplemental feeders located in surrounding forest;
  • Monitoring the released birds and offspring - depending on the season this may include walking in the forest at dawn or dusk to monitor nest sites;
  • Collecting or foraging for natural foods – fruits, seeds and nuts;
  • General maintenance and cleaning of the field station;
  • Feeding and caring for chicks or injured bird inside the aviary when required;
  • Assisting with tourism site daily visits and giving tours;
  • Support of community education and outreach

Ara Manzanillo is located south of the town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in southern Limón province near Panama. This coastal area is one of the most attractive places in Costa Rica with beautiful beaches and lush coastal rainforests. You can Google - Puerto Viejo - Manzanillo in Talamanca, Limón, Costa Rica for more information.

Ara Manzanillo is located within the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge in the South Caribbean region of Costa Rica. The wet and dry seasons in this region are not as defined as other areas in Costa Rica. The Manzanillo site is located in a humid tropical forest where temperatures range from cool nights (18°-20°C) to hot days (26° - 32°) with both tropical thunder and rainstorms as well as dry spells during the same month.

Volunteers live in a simple cabin onsite at the release facility with 3 beds in 2 bedrooms, 1 shared bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen and an open porch living area with table and hammock. Bedding, fans and mosquito nets are provided and there is a small laundry area on site.

Getting to and from the station, includes a steep walk up a private road and travelling by bus or bicycle to get to local towns. Volunteers usually take the public bus for shopping, ATM and other services. There is a farmers’ market Saturday mornings. To live and work at Ara Manzanillo, you should be comfortable to be on your own and enjoy the beauty of Nature and spending evenings reading a book. There is basic cellular Wi-Fi service generally available at the station and there is also a faster cable Wi-Fi connection at the local general store. .