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Animal Lover Vacations

5 Great Volunteer Vacation Ideas For Those Who Love Animals

What’s the perfect vacation for someone who loves animals but would rather take a pass on seeing captive animals in zoos and aquariums, or stuffed ones in natural history museums and would rather see the majestic animals in their natural habitat?

How about choosing a vacation destination where you can have fun, see the sights, and help animals all at the same time? Here are a few travel ideas for those who want to make a difference in the lives of animals while getting away from it all. 

Sea Turtle Conservancy, Costa Rica

Sea turtles on the sand in a Sea Turtle Conservation center

The Sea Turtle Conservancy welcomes animal lovers with their Eco-Volunteer Adventure program in Costa Rica. You’ll get training, lodging, and the opportunity to participate in hands-on research out in the field during nesting season on the black sand beaches of Tortuguero.

Your presence will also help protect the turtles from poachers. You won't find a single aquarium on any of their turtle walk tours, but you will get to experience the natural beauty of these breathtaking creatures!

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab, Utah

If your travel plans include taking in the majestic scenery of the American Southwest, make sure your trip includes an overnight stay in one of the guest cottages on the grounds of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

While at Best Friends you can volunteer with the resident animals, enjoy vegetarian meals, and explore nearby scenic wonders like the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. Visit the Sanctuary website for more information.

This sanctuary is also the nation's largest sanctuary for neglected animals.

Shiripuno Research Center, Ecuador

Thinking about really getting away from it all?  It doesn’t get more remote than the Shiripuno Research Center in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin. Volunteering at the center is the perfect choice for adventurous animal (and plant) lovers. 

You can assist researchers in a wide range of activities, from collecting plant specimens to monitoring and photographing birds and animals.

Gibbon Conservation Center, Santa Clarita, California

A picture of a gibbon

Does the idea of working with primates sound like your idea of heaven?  Then check out the many volunteer opportunities at the Gibbon Conservation Center

Whether you’re just passing through the area and can only stay a day or two, or if you have a few months to devote to living on-site at the center as a volunteer gibbon caregiver, the GCC and their adorable resident gibbons would love to hear from you!

Birding Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico

Birding Puerto Rico is looking for bird watchers to help them with their Christmas bird counts in December. They have a variety of organized bird counting trips planned.

You can spend a few days exploring the island of Puerto Rico and participating in the bird count. There are even opportunities for a few after-dark screech owl and nightjar outings. 

So there you have it, five great volunteer vacation ideas for you. Whether you want to see rescued animals or wild animals, you'll surely enjoy your time in these sanctuaries.


What is the largest sea turtle?

The largest sea turtle are the now endangered leatherback sea turtles. They can grow up to two meters and weigh up to 900 kgs.

Check out our animal rescue t-shirts - each purchase helps animals in need!

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