I went away with Frontier in 2014 and feel my money could have been better spent. The project was marketed well through the website with lots of awesome photos, but when i got their it was basically a cobbled together project with minimal support, no investment at all in the projects we were there to support, really in-experienced field staff, and we did not make a positive contribution to the local community - we spent money in their shops but thats about it. i also got a pretty poor service before I left, despite the fact i really liked my coordinator who was very sweet on the fone an gave me lots of personal travel tips I don’t think they had been to any of the projects an i just got the feeling they were trying to look after too many people as it took them ages to answer my questions. i would advise other travellers to just ask lots of questions, and do lots of research. I actually read one of the articles below before i went travelling but wish i’d paid more attention - hopefully other volunteers will find this useful:-
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Frontier has over 300 projects globally, offering unlimited opportunities to volunteer abroad. You could be spending memorable days scuba diving off the brilliant white beaches of Fiji or discovering South Africa on a conservation project with lion cubs! You can learn new skills, gain valuable qualifications and make lifelong friends.
The trip and program were great. Caye Caulker is beautiful and the work we did (snorkel surveys, beach cleaning, fish identification, helping local organizations) felt valuable. I learned a lot both from the work and from absorbing the Caribbean atmosphere. The only major problem I had with Frontier was communication. Planning the trip and getting questions answered was difficult and I had to call and email many times just to get one answer. I didn't receive the packing list until the morning of my flight, so getting ready was stressful and confusing. Once I arrived in Belize and met the project leaders, everything fell into place and I had a great experience. I would definitely participate in another Frontier program if given the chance!
The surroundings around our camp in Costa Rica are amazing. The forest is packed with wildlife, the opportunities for conducting relevant scientific research is enormous. However unfortunately at the moment we don't have the resources to conduct proper surveys for most of the projects. But we are hopeful that will receive the necessary support from Frontier Headquarters, so we can continue our meaningful scientific research and monitoring here in this biodiverse place, like we used to do in the past.
The frontier conservation project running here is Costa Rica offers an opportunity to get up close with an amazing tropical environment while meeting wonderful people. located in a patch of primary rain forest, which hosts a great array fo primates birds and mammals and the occasional paw print of the elusive big cats.
The camp itself is simple with three main decks, one communal area for cooking and hanging out and the other two for hammocks, surrounding it is a large area of hammock strewn trees which often host the monkeys and birds we head out to survey each day. be aware that camp is not the luxury of home, clothes are cleaned by hand in buckets, lighting is by candle light and entertainment comes from companions and books, but for me this is what makes the experience more unique.
Each day is varied between different the different survey options of turtles, birds, primates, otters and attempts at finding cats. there is a lot of walking to be done and at first my legs were a bit surprised by the hill and the impact of tropical heat.
scientifically the project is lagging a bit in specific procedure and ability, held back by lack of resources such as radios and camera traps. but staff have told me that this will soon change with an expected resupply from London headquarters.
The staff are a great team who are friendly positive and knowledgeable.
the lifestyle out here is very different but one that i would recommend to anyone, for its challenges, natural splendor, and the great people that make the experience what it is.
If you are looking for a real, rougher and true tropical experience this project is a good one.
The camp of Frontier in Costa Rica is situated in the middle of an magnificent old growth forest with the presence of 4 different species of primates that you get to see almost every day, mixed with countless stunning bird species all around you. There is loads of wildlife to see and the beach near by is really wild and unspoilt. Outside the research project we do loads of exciting extracurricular activities not a single day is a boring one.
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