FAQ

Is there a difference between Work with Nature's reserve and the research project?

Yes, the foundation owns and protects its own reserve. This reserve has no permanent residents. The research project is part of a 9 hectare parcel, at about 3 kilometers from the reserve. This is the place where the accommodations are, and where we work, sleep and eat together. At the project we organize visits to the reserve, for example to do research or to plan walks for visitors.

Requirements

  • Minimum age 18
  • Minimum 3 weeks commitment
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • You must be physically and mentally fit, and able to walk for at least 3 hours in a hot and tropical climate
  • Comfortable to live and work with up to 10 other volunteers and staff at any one time.
  • Be respectful of the rules of the project and agree to the codes of conduct.

How can I reach the project with public transportation?

The easiest way to reach the project, is to make an appointment with us to be picked up in Bataan. There is a direct bus line from San José to Bataan. When you made an appointment, someone will pick you up at the bus stop and you will be brought to the project in the village of San Miguel by car. In special cases it can be possible to pick people up from the airport by car. This, however, is a full day of travelling. That’s why this service costs €75 per person. Plus, this has to be arranged in advance, and is not always possible.

Liability

You yourself are responsible for the time you spend on the project or in the reserve, including your own belongings and safety. Make sure you have good (not standard) insurance and find out what your study can do for you in this respect.

How do I reach the project with my own transportation?

The project is accessible by car. A 4x4 is not needed, but a positive nonetheless. The roads consists mainly of dirt roads. From route 32 between Siquirres and Limon, take the exit San Miquel. However, this exit is not clearly indicated. Coming from Siquirres, the exit is quickly after ‘Soda Karina’, in the turn before a bus stop with blue billboards. After the exit you’ll see several signs, among them ‘Escuela San Miquel 3km’. This is a dirt road (for now). When you arrive in San Miguel, you’ll pass the mini-supermarket, the elementary school, the bar and the soccer pitch on your left side. After the soccer field, keep following the road for another 300 meters, until you see a large wooden gate on your right side. This is the entrance to the project. Link to google maps: google maps

How do I get from San Jose to the project?

Take a taxi to “Los Carbiños” bus station in San Jose. Every taxi driver knows this destination. Buy a ticket at the Matina/Bataan-counter. These tickets can only be bought on the day there, and not in advance. Take the bus at 9:00am to Bataan. You will arrive at 11:30am in the center of Bataan at a small bus stop. We will be there to drive you to the project.

What does a regular day of a student look like?

At 7:00am you will be served a Costa Rican breakfast. At 8am the students will go into the jungle to accumulate data, work on their own research, do projects in the garden and other activities. At 12:30pm it’s lunch time. Then there is an afternoon program of processing data, writing or do work in the garden. At 5:00pm dinner is served. At 6:00pm it’s dark outside and you’ll be expected to be silent at 9:00pm. Sometimes we’ll organize night tours to observe the jungle by night.

What can I experience by a day visit?

If you only visit for a day, there’s several options. You can get a tour through the garden and jungle at the project. You will learn about the existence of a great variety of biologically grown fruit trees, vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants. Also there’s possibility to spot animals like toucans and poisonous frogs, since the garden is surrounded by rainforest. Another option is a tour through Work with Nature’s reservation. By car we’ll take you there. Wearing rubber boots we’ll continue our way on foot, right through the rainforest. You can be sure of getting to see the amazing view over our “mirador”, the glistening Rio San Miguel and a great variety of plants and animals. Also it is possible to spend the night and even do a night tour on the project. Meals will be served for you. For prices and more info, see: day tours

What do I take for a long stay?

Important are bug spray, sun lotion, flashlight and a lot of easy fitting clothes that dry quickly. Besides shorts, long pants are important for evenings, because of mosquitos. Rubber boots are a must, but best to buy somewhere around here. Don’t bring expensive clothing and unnecessary equipment. Because of the humidity there’s a chance that (unused) stuff might start growing moldy.

What is my accommodation like?

The accommodations are equipped with well-ventilated bedrooms, with 2 bunk beds each and personal closet space. There is a separate building with a dining room, kitchen and storage space. Showers and toilets are also shared spaces. For day guests there are also two persons bedrooms available.

I am scared of bugs. What can I expect?

The accommodations are well secluded from the outside world. Nevertheless, during your stay you come across lots of the animals that live here. A stay in the tropics without seeing any beautiful spiders, frogs, cockroaches, bullet ants, gorgeous beetles and wonderful geckos is impossible.

What guidance will I get as a student?

As a student, you’ll get support in your practical work as well as research. There are two certified biologists present on the project. They will guide you in finding out whether or not you’re using the right methods and if your research is manageable. Also, there is a guidance interview once a week.

Is there drinkable water and electricity at the project?

Yes there is. Though don’t forget a power converter to be able to use the sockets (110v).

Is there internet and wifi at the project?

There is no wifi at the project. It is possible however, to buy a sim card ($2) and use a 3g-connection. The connection at the project varies a lot, but overall it isn’t very good. The best connection you will have with a Movistar sim card. 

Can my family reach me by phone?

Yes they can. For 2 dollars you can buy a sim card with a Costa Rican phone number and internet. The connection at the project varies a lot, but overall it isn’t very good. The best connection you will have with a Movistar sim card. 

At dinner, are vegetarians taken into account?

At the project, we already cook vegetarian quite a lot and when there are vegetarians around, we’ll take this into account. Vegan cooking however is organizationally impossible.

Who cleans the beds, toilets and such?

Students are expected to keep their own accommodation clean. A washing machine is available for use.

Can I go out into nature by myself in my free time?

This is possible. Make sure you don’t leave the farm by yourself though. On the farm, stay on the pathways. And when it is dark, never go out by yourself and without a flashlight.

Can I drink whatever I want and bring to the project?

There will be no usage of alcohol or drugs at the project. This is strictly forbidden. Obviously you can buy your own non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in the pulperia in the village and consume them back at the project.

What is there to do in the village San Miguel?

San Miguel is a little village without any stores, except for a mini-supermarket. On Saturdays and/or Sundays, there are soccer matches and there is also a bar in town.

What are Costa Rican people like?

“Pura Vida” is the motto. Pure life. Costa Ricans are friendly, helpful people who know how to enjoy life. In San Miguel people aren’t intrusive, however, in touristy areas some people can be. Always mind your belongings.

As a student, can I arrange trips myself, in order to experience more of Costa Rica?

There are possibilities to get away for a weekend, for instance to the Caribbean coast or San José. Using public transportation you can get to a lot of places. You can catch a bus at a stop along the highway, or in Bataan.

Can my friends and family visit me during my stay?

When we have beds available, visitors can - for a compensation - stay at the project. There is also a hotel not too far away, in case all beds are taken.