I knew it would be, but this truly was a life changing experience.
As an animal welfare supporter, advocate and volunteer back home to have the opportunity to help out at a place like this with these animals was humbling.
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is an incredible set up. At the heart of what they do is the welfare of animals whether that is to rehabilitate, treat or provide sanctuary to. The people who work there are dedicated, hardworking and passionate. Particular call out to Laura and Loyal who I learnt so much from.
As a more mature volunteer I was prepared to take on all the responsibility and workload required of me, at the end of the day we are there to help and provide a much needed role to the sanctuary. I did find that was not true of all the volunteers. I think if you are going to go you need to understand that you, as a volunteer, are a cog in a wheel and that you are there to WORK and if you don't take it seriously it is the animals that will feel the effects. It is not a holiday on the days you are scheduled to work. However, make sure you do make the most of your days off. Costa Rica and what it has to offer is superb and I found those who had a less enjoyable experience to me were those who didn't go and explore on their days off. Things may not be cheap but they are worth it and if you've come all this way why wouldn't you.
The team at Alturas will do the best they can to make your stay enjoyable and interesting. Sometimes things may not go as planned or scheduled if they say they'll take you to the beach or a waterfall during the break between shifts....that's life people. An emergency case may come in or they are short staffed. Why not do some animal habitat enrichment instead and enjoy the experience you have been given to be near and around these incredible animals :)
The volunteer house was simple/basic and I believe there are plans for a refurbishment and improvements which I support as there were some areas that needed some attention. It was a nice set up though. The trouble is with such a turnover of volunteers you are depending on those leaving to have the respect and care to clean and tidy before they go and also to have basic care and consideration for the property and those who will be/are staying but as we all know if you have every shared accommodation this is not always the case!!!
The purpose of my stay was for the animals and that did not disappoint. You get out what you put in and I put in a lot and I got out a hell of a lot out. I am planning my return :)
LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!!!