Large Parrot Breeding & Rescue Center

Ave Azul de La Osa with Volunteer Group

Ave Azul de La Osa with Volunteer Group

As a volunteer on this project you will live and work on a parrot farm in the middle of the jungle in one of Costa Rica’s most remote locations, on the Osa Peninsula. The region is also the most biodiverse of Costa Rica, with 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity found just here. You will help to clean cages, assist with exercising the birds (parrots need daily exercise outside of their cages), and assist with the daily running of the farm. You will also help out with landscaping, building of cages, and any other ongoing projects around the farm.

The project is called “Ave Azul” and is run by the amazing owners Patrick and Ruby-Ann. Patrick is a Zoologist and a retired Zoo director. He has lived and traveled in all parts of the world, but decided to move to Costa Rica to “retire” and run a large parrot breeding, research, and rescue facility.

His passion are Hyacinth Macaws, native to Brazil originally. They are very rare birds, and with breeding them at Ave Azul the gene pool is maintained and the chances of  survival of the species are higher. Besides Hyacinth Macaws Patrick has many other large parrots, including the Costa Rican native Scarlet Macaw. Ave Azul also runs research projects, for example installations of artificial nests for Scarlet Macaws in the area. Patrick and Ruby-Ann also rescue animals, and they get called if there is an animal in need somewhere around the Osa. They have the facilities and the expertise to take on wildlife, and eventually release them back into the wild if possible.

NOTE important info regarding the Large Parrot Project:


Because this a breeding program for endangered species that need work and as a result involves a number of complex breeding & diet strategies for birds that are very sensitive to surrounding activities when they go to nest. An incubating hen can damage eggs or injure chicks if forced to respond to every disturbance while nesting. She needs to sit quietly,comfortably and tightly on her eggs or brooding chicks undisturbed for,in some cases,near 3 months.Since she is tended to only by her lifelong mate and our services she leaves the nest only to drink water & relieve herself.
The collection may or may not nest but once a year in a 3 month period..The birds might lay eggs,they might be fertile and they might hatch…they might even fledge. The remainder of the time is spent by us maintaining,cleaning, feeding and monitoring them with no financial compensation or outcome. There is never any guarantee. If the expression, do not count your chick before they hatch ever is here. Aviaries and breeding boxes are places of content,security and bonding.Pairs of birds defend them seriously and fiercely and so, are kept off exhibit.

For these reasons we provide a number of tame young birds that are handle able to interact with the visiting public so that they may learn and experience the true beauty, sensitivity and plight of these avian gems that so desperately need work.

Volunteer’s Responsibilities Include:

Volunteer with Hyacinth Macaw

Volunteer with Hyacinth Macaw

  • Help with daily running of farm
  • landscaping (raking leaves, cutting paths)
  • Cleaning cages (with supervision)
  • Exercise the young tame birds
  • Assist with research projects
  • Help around the house and museum


An ideal volunteer on this project should have a passion for animals. It would be great if you have a biology background, but it is not necessary.

Language – You don’t need to speak Spanish on this project, since Ruby-Ann and Patrick are from the USA and speak English.

Accommodation and Food:

You will be staying with Patrick and Ruby-Ann on their property, most likely in a tent or if available in the guest house. You will be able to use your own cooking facilities and bathroom. You will need to prepare your own meals and purchase your own meals before arriving at the project. The farm owners will sometimes be able to invite you for a dinner, but they will mainly do their own meals. It is too much work for them to cook meals for you. You’re required to be independent and flexible. Mostly you’ll be making your own breakfast and lunch.

Volunteers at the Large Parrot Project

Volunteers at the Large Parrot Project

Working Schedule:

Due to the remote location of the project, you’ll most likely be at the project every day. If you like you may leave for a trip to Puerto Jimenez, Matapalo, or Corcovado National Park on the weekends, on your own expenses.

Supervision and Co-workers:

You will be working closely with farm owners Patrick and Ruby-Ann. You will be in touch with GLV’s coordinators.

Project Location and How to Get There:

The project is located in a remote spot on the Osa Peninsula, near a town called Carate. Corcovado National Park is just around the corner from there.

The farm is around 2 hours by collectivo bus from Puerto Jimenez. To get to the project you’ll have to arrive in Puerto Jimenez. During your sign up process we’ll help you with the organization on how to get to Puerto Jimenez. However, check for flights that go from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez using the local national airlines Nature Air or Sansa (flights are around $80-$140). You’ll get into San Jose and depending on the season you might be able to continue your journey right away and go to Puerto Jimenez the same day. Sometimes if your flight is arriving later in the day, you may have to stay a night in San Jose. In that case we’ll help you with hostel arrangements and explain to you exactly how to get there. Hostels are very inexpensive and might cost you around $12-$15 a night. You may also arrive to the Osa Peninsula by public bus (costs around $16). Buses leave from San Jose twice a day, at 8am and 12pm. The local collectivo bus that takes you from Puerto Jimenez to the farm costs around $9 one way. The collectivo leaves twice a day, at 6am and at 1:30pm.

Don’t worry though – we’re there to help you set everything up for you so that you’ll get to your project location safe and sound 🙂 !

What you need to do to sign up

Send us an email using our Contact Us Form, or go to Apply and send us your application and a photograph to If you like you can also send a resume along with your application.

Once we received your application and your photograph, we will contact the project and check for availability, and finally enroll you on the project. We will confirm your enrollment a few days after you submitted your application to us.

Volunteer with Hyacinth Macaw

Volunteer with Hyacinth Macaw

Quick Facts

Age requirement: 18+

Working Schedule: The work schedule for this project depends on the needs of the project. You will need to be flexible.

Language Requirement: English

Costs: A one week experience starts from $299, for each additional week add on $109 per week.

Accommodation – Host family

Food – You’ll need to cook your own meals and purchase your own food prior to arrival at the project (our coordinators will help you with this)

Location – Near Carate, Osa Peninsula

Welcome, Orientation, and Introduction to the Project and Host Family

Optional: A letter of recommendation and certificate at the end of your volunteer time

Volunteer Group watching Parrot Exercise

Volunteer Group watching Parrot Exercise

Not included in our costs are:

National and International flights, travel insurance, taxes and airport fees, in-country transportation during program and for traveling the country, additional food or snacks, food for the first day of your arrival and first morning until you arrive at your host family, and any other personal expenses.

Optional: Air-port pick-up & first two arrival days. This is perfect for volunteers who haven’t been to Costa Rica yet, and/or would like a bit more guidance and security for the first days of arrival until arriving at your project location. This service includes us organizing a stay in a hostel for the first night for you and having a volunteer coordinator pick you up from the airport and bring you to the hostel. The volunteer coordinator will either stay with you in the hostel or stay close by and (depending on project location) bring you to your project the next day. The service includes transport to your project location. We will also provide food for the first two days for you, until you arrive at your host family’s house. All that for an extra $200. 

Groups are welcome to volunteer on the Large Parrot Breeding & Rescue Project

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