Research Intern


Our research internships give students, graduates and professionals an opportunity to gain conservation research experience and build skills towards a career in biological field work. Interns are trained in how to conduct research that will be used for the conservation, protection and renewal of the reserve and rainforests in general. With the mountainous cloudforest as your backdrop, you will be part of a passionate and skilled team of people committed to the long-term protection of this richly biodiverse part of the world.

A minimum 11 week commitment is required for this internship.

Birding intern taking a break from point counts to admire one of Cloudbridge’s waterfalls.
Golden Hooded Tanagers (Tangara larvata) are one of the many birds seen regularly during bird surveys.
Golden Hooded Tanagers (Tangara larvata) are one of the many birds seen regularly during bird surveys.

How it works

The aims of the internship are to build the biological field technician skills necessary to make you more employable and to gain sufficient knowledge of the methodologies for you to run your own independent research in the future. Cloudbridge staff are experienced field technicians and teachers, who will aid you with advice and knowledge take the next steps in your career or passion. All interns will have the chance to see how our 3 main long-term fauna studies work (bird point counts, herpetology visual encounter surveys and mammal camera trapping), as these projects are almost always being conducted – perhaps by you!

Each intern works on 1 (or potentially 2, time permitting) projects studying animal and/or plant populations within our 3 major habitat types: mature forest, naturally regenerating secondary forest, and actively planted (reforested) secondary forest. The main goals of these studies are to 1) study the effects of long-term active planting strategies compared to natural regeneration, 2) build/maintain comprehensive species lists for the reserve, and 3) gain a better understanding of the species on the reserve.

Potential projects include:

  • One of our long-term studies monitoring:
    • Birds: point counts and walking transects recording bird species seen and heard
    • Amphibians: visual encounter surveys at night and pictures to identify specimens in situ
    • Mammals: camera trap deployment and monitoring
    • Other topic of your choosing, discussed ahead of time with Scientific Coordinator
  • A shorter (3-month) study on another group of organisms or subject:
    • Habitat Assessments and Forest Recovery: various studies such as monitoring forest regeneration, canopy cover, and forage potential
    • Butterflies: setting live traps and sweep netting
    • Beetles: pitfall trapping and lab identification of captured animals

Cloudbridge will also accept interns in fields unrelated to the above projects if we feel we have sufficient expertise and resources to provide an effective intern experience.

Butterfly intern showing off an Archaeopreopona butterfly.
Butterfly intern showing off an Archaeopreopona butterfly.

During a typical work day, interns conduct field work, maintain comprehensive field notes, and input the resulting data into computer records. Interns work approximately 30 hours per week (6 hours per day on weekdays), although actual hours can fluctuate depending on the project.

Camera trapping to monitor mammals in the reserve.
Camera trapping to monitor mammals in the reserve.


A Spiny Green Lizard (Sceloporus melachiticus) spotted sun bathing.

Research intern requirements:

  • Academic or practical experience in floral or fauna research
  • Physically capable and willing to walk up and down steep hills in all types of weather
  • Able to work independently, in pairs, and as part of a small team
  • Self motivated, with good timekeeping, record keeping, and ability to meet realistic deadlines
  • Comfortable living in a close knit community
  • 20 years or older; exceptions may be made for outstanding candidates as young as 18
  • Able to fund your food and accommodations for the duration of your stay
  • Commit to a minimum of 11 weeks
  • Responsible for renewing your visa, if staying longer than 90 days
An Emerald Glassfrog (Espadarana prosoblepon) found during night survey.
An Emerald Glassfrog (Espadarana prosoblepon) found during night survey.


To apply, please fill and submit the Volunteer/Research Application.

Accommodations and Costs

Housing is provided at $18 USD per person per day for stays 12 weeks and over. This includes Wi-Fi, hot showers, shared bath, shared kitchen and unlimited access to all of the reserve (research trails, public trails and off-trail). For stays between 4 to 12 weeks, the fee is $20 per day and for stays less than 4 weeks, it is $24 per night.

Food costs and cooking are the responsibility of the individual volunteer/researcher, most of whom can eat a basic, mostly vegetarian diet for around $10 USD per day.  Most people stay in shared rooms, although accommodations in our private casitas may be available (subject to current occupancy) for an additional fee. Housing fees are paid in full upon arrival or one month in advance, to the Cloudbridge Manager.

A $200 “good faith” fee is required prior to being accepted as a volunteer or researcher. This fee will be credited toward your accommodation fees for the last 2 weeks of your stay. The fee is payable through the Donate page.

Please note that our intake day is Sunday, meaning you will only be able to be picked up and join the rest of the participants on Sundays. Please plan your trip accordingly.

Questions? Contact

Please visit our blog site for monthly updates and photos on our volunteers and researchers, their projects, and other activities at Cloudbridge Nature Reserve.