Guanacaste offers a thousands ways for tourists and locals to enjoy Holy Week. A different alternative is volunteering in national parks and wildlife refuges. The Tempisque Conservation Area (in Spanish, ACT) has five different programs, four of which are located in Guanacaste: Camaronal, Ostional, Barra Honda, and Diriá.
Ostional National Wildlife Refuge: It is considered on of the most important nesting sites in the world for the hawksbill turtle. Volunteers are indispensable here, as tourists arrive daily to watch the turtles and learn about the nesting process. Here you can help biologists with patrolling, research, and other campaigns. You can stay in a two-bedroom house where each room can house up to six people. Call 2682-0400 or 2682-0937
Transportation: You can go by bus from Santa Cruz to Ostional town. A taxi from Daniel Oduber International Airport, in Liberia, costs around $160.
Barra Honda National Park: This mystical place is decorated with stalagmites and stalactites. It emerged from the ocean some 60 million years ago. Today the caverns are immersed in patches of forests, waterfalls, and natural springs. The parks has a lodge that houses up to 24 volunteers who help the park guards in their daily activities. They have electricity, potable water, bunk beds, bathroom and fans. Call 2659-1551.
Transportation: Get to Nicoya and take a bus towards the town of Barra Honda. From there you can take a taxi to the national park.
Diriá National Park: Protect the Nicoya Peninsula’s ecosystems, including the tropical dry forest and the humid premontane forest. With a huge variety of plants and animals, this is a popular place for studying, relaxing, and protecting. You can help repair trails, maintain green spaces, and work on other environmental education projects. Call 8358-4742.
Transportation: Public transportation will take you to Santa Cruz. From there take a taxi to the park for around $16.