5 Great Volunteer Vacation Ideas for Animal Lovers


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?  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 animal lovers who want to make a difference in the lives of animals while getting away from it all.


Sea Turtle Conservancy, Costa Rica

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.


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.


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

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.


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