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Environment & Wildlife, From the Field

Adding Tours to Your Deep Ecology Experience in Costa Rica

February 15th 2024

Tagged: Costa Rica, Sustainable Travel, Volunteering Abroad

Max Hughes has recently returned from volunteering at our Deep Ecology & Sea Turtle programme, and in his 2 days off he chose to book two add on 2 tours and wanted to share some insight/feedback for anyone also volunteering there about what add-on activities you can get up to on this project in your free time!

The programme can organise many tours, such as Caño Island snorkelling ($95) or diving ($155), visiting the Corcovado National Park ($95-$110), whale and dolphin watching tours ($120), mangrove tour ($100), plus cheaper local or rural tours, such as kayaking, quad-biking, birdwatching and horse-riding, amongst others.

Read below to find out what Max thought as well as some top tips!

Volunteers study scarlet macaws in Costa RicaVolunteer in Costa Rica | WorkingAbroad

The Corcovado National Park

As I stepped off of the boat and up the sandy shore to the starting location of the tour, I was immediately struck by how dense the jungle was, towering trees swayed gently in the breeze, casting dappled sunlight onto the forest floor below. I was greeted by a chorus of birdcalls and distant sounds of monkeys before the tour had even started it was clear that this was going to be an enchanting experience.

Meeting Our Guides

After getting into small groups we were each assigned a guide who would lead us through the park’s labyrinth of trails. I feel that I cannot understate what a great job the tour guides do, their ability to seek out rare wildlife was mind-blowing and without their expertise, I feel that I would have been lucky to find just one of the plethora of animals we saw during our time there thanks to them. This coupled with their encyclopaedic knowledge really elevated the tour and made it so much more than just sightseeing.

Encountering Wildlife

Corcovado is a sanctuary for an astonishing array of wildlife, from elusive Tapirs to playful spider monkeys and vibrant bird species. Each encounter felt like a privilege, a glimpse into a world completely untouched by humans. Some highlights for me were coming across a baby fer-de-lance, getting close to a group of spider monkeys (one of which was a mother with a new-born), spotting a breath-taking macaw soaring in the jungle canopy and coming across the largest grasshopper I have ever seen.


Leaving Corcovado, I felt very grateful for the opportunity to experience its wonders. The tour was certainly an unforgettable highlight of my time in Costa Rica. The tour guides also leave you with a much deeper understanding of the delicate balance of nature and the need for responsible tourism practices to preserve the parks beauty for future generations. This is something that I think really makes this tour stand out as not only an opportunity for sightseeing but as a way of opening your eyes to how important it is to protect these incredible habitats.

The Cano Island Snorkelling Tour

Embarking on the Caño Island Snorkelling Tour began with a scenic morning boat ride from Drake Bay with the team of very friendly local guides out to the waters surrounding the island. Our guides meticulously prepared our group, ensuring that each us felt both informed and equipped for the mesmerising underwater odyssey that awaited us. Their knowledge and enthusiasm set the stage for an experience that seamlessly blended exploration with environmental consciousness.

Upon descending into the warm crystalline waters, I was greeted by an enchanting underwater world teeming with life. The visibility was absolutely astounding, allowing me to marvel at the enormous coral formations that adorned the seabed, with schools of vibrant fish gracefully weaving through them. As we slowly got further from the boat the diversity of Costa Rica’s marine life only got more and more apparent.

Similarly to the Corcovado tour, the role of the guides was extremely valuable, they led us through the waters to various spots where rare species were. At one point I even dived down to the bottom of the sea with our group leader to catch a glimpse of an enormous moray eel hiding in a reef.

One of the highlights of the expedition was encountering elusive sea turtles, we were lucky enough to witness several over the duration of the tour. Sometimes getting just an arms length away, which was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I also particularly enjoyed our brief break on Caño Island itself, the more tranquil shallower waters were equally amazing to swim in and catch my breath before continuing on with the tour.


I can sincerely say that there was never a dull moment during this tour, and as somebody that has always been fascinated by the ocean this experience was invaluable to me. For anybody that feels the same way, you would be insane to pass this opportunity up. So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey of discovery unlike any other, I urge you to explore the wonderful waters of Caño Island and experience the magic for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Written by WorkingAbroad Volunteer Max Hughes

About the Author

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