• Costa Rica

Program Details

Apr 26, 2018
Feb 27, 2014

About Program

We propose an environmental volunteer program with social commitment, regardless age, gender and profession. All our programs are open to people who are interested in contributing with their knowledge and skills in activities of environmental education, research and conservation.

These activities can be done at protected areas and conservation sea turtle projects. 

Yearly 1,800 national and international volunteers participate in our conservation programs at national parks, beaches, forests or at our offices. All this effort makes conservation possible.

Program Reviews

6.5 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 0%
  • 7-8 rating 50%
  • 5-6 rating 50%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 7
  • Support 8
  • Fun 6
  • Value 6.5
  • Safety 6.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program


Let me start by saying I have worked with many non-profits in the states. That being said this was the worst organized non-profit I have ever encountered. The tipoff should have been the heavy emphasis on paying the fee, the secondary emphasis on description of the actual work being done. When we arrived in San Jose we were informed we had to pay in cash for our volunteer service, then we were given little to no information on what we would actually be doing. The facility in Montezuma was dirty and quite run down, the staff tried to bring some structure where there seemed to be little but it was evident this was not well thought out. We encountered maggots in the kitchen facilities upon waking one morning and rotten food was also found in the refrigerator.
The hired cook cared little about food safety and preparation. Even after we discussed this with the staff after several of the volunteers became sick.

5 people found this review helpful.
Response from ASVO Volunteers

I am deeply dismayed to read these comments, and I have taken immediate action to investigate and resolve some of these issues. I appreciate all feedback - it really is the only way that we can focus on what needs improving.
Although I have no experience in working with a US based NGO - I am sure that things are structured very differently in developed first world countries. That, however, is not an excuse for lack of cleanliness. I am happy to report that the situation with food preparation and hygiene has been taken very seriously, and thanks to these comments ( and these volunteers!) we have implemented a strict cleaning plan which is supervised. The local lady that cooks for us is also taking a food safety course - which not only benefits our projects, but will benefit her in the future.
The financial aspect of our program should not take priority in our information, and I have taken measures to change this, but it is also important for volunteers to know how and where this money is spent. We have various permanent volunteer units that are supported by our international program, and they would cease to exist without that support. Again, I sincerley apologise for the negative experience that you had with us, and i hope that positive changes can be made because of this.
Many thanks for your comments!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering with ASVO

ASVO is a great volunteer program for those who'd like to get down and dirty and really just *work*. On my group's first day on the project, we spent hours learning about sea turtle nesting habits, why the work is important to the community, how to work with the turtles themselves, and more. Each day, we helped with beach cleanup (like removing fallen trees or palm fronds left after a storm) and camp chores, and at night we traded three-hour shifts monitoring the beach. This consisted of walking miles along the sand, watching for any nesting turtles, while other groups stayed at the hatcheries at different points along the beach to protect eggs from poachers. Short-term and long-term volunteers were put to work immediately, with a "three strikes" system, meaning if you were late to/didn't show up for your patrol three times, you were out of the project.

So basically, if you're looking for a program with guided excursions or lots of opportunities for daily outings on the town, you might want to work with another program--Gandoca is close to the Panama border (which had the closest town, I think), but honestly, you probably won't find time to go over the border if you're on the project for, say, a week or two. Volunteers with ASVO work with the community (really! the whole small town we stayed in was involved on the project!) as an extra hand where it's really needed, because there just aren't enough locals in the area to take on the whole project themselves. The staff all were extremely helpful and friendly, the volunteers were a very cool, international group, and we all had a great time. It's a fantastic program if you'd like to work your tail off and REALLY look forward to every meal!

7 people found this review helpful.

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