Permaculture Internship, CIRENAS (Centro de Investigaciones de Recursos Naturales y Sociales)

CIRENAS (Centro de Investigaciones de Recursos Naturales y Sociales) is seeking interns to work with the permaculture program on its campus on the Pacific coast of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.  CIRENAS is a research and learning center in the Bongo-Ario watershed that seeks to provide  replicable solutions for water management, food security, and healthy ecosystems. Located on a 1,800 hectare working ranch, CIRENAS demonstrates science-based, regenerative and productive ecological practices for our local community and beyond. 


Interns will work with the CIRENAS permaculture team on the following broadly defined projects:

  • Earthworks

-Water retention, slope stabilization, human and animal movement through landscape, regeneration of soils

  • Water management and storage

-Potable supply, irrigation supply, place based solutions

  • Planting and landscape design

-Cover crops, tree planting, guild establishment, support species, tropical permaculture theory, nursery work

  • Waste treatment

-Black water, grey water, run off, solid wastes and reuse/recycling

  • Potential entrepreneurial projects

-Business incubation, modeling, trials of ideas

Day to Day

Interns will get hands-on experience in all of the areas mentioned above and will also learn philosophy behind implementation methods.  The internship program seeks to have interns understand how the CIRENAS campus functions and is designed through practical application of solutions within a permaculture framework. Although interns will work with all facets of permaculture on campus, they will also be given the opportunity to focus on areas of personal interest.

Interns are expected to work five hours per day with the permaculture team, Monday-Friday. Saturday is a half-day (2.5 hours).  The remainder of the day/week is technically free but interns are encouraged to get involved in other aspects of CIRENAS’s work and/or work on personal projects. Interns will be given the opportunity to present information from their personal projects as well as participate in weekly seminar discussions. Outside of work, interns have the opportunity to explore on their own, surf, visit local turtle research centers, study Spanish, fish, kayak, and much more. CIRENAS is located just north of Santa Teresa, with easy access to Playa Hermosa, Mal Pais, and Montezuma.


Interns live in communal spaces that are rooms with bunk beds and shared bathrooms.  Meals consist of typical Costa Rican food and are mostly prepared by a local cook, three meals per day Monday through Saturday,with Sundays being an open kitchen day. Interns are expected to set up and clean up after meals and keep living spaces clean and clutter free; everyone coming to work at CIRENAS must be committed to participatory, community living.

Program Information

Interns pay $600 per month to cover room and board expenses, as well as their own transportation to and from campus (see travel section of website). Interns are required to carry their own insurance, travelers or otherwise, prior to beginning their time with CIRENAS. Interns are expected to stay at least one month to provide continuity and ensure significant depth of learning, with three months being the preferred time of stay.  The next “class” of interns will begin on March 1, 2016 and run through May 31, 2016.

For more information and to request an application, please contact gro.sanericnull@yhtrownekmas.  CIRENAS requires a brief application, a resume, and two references. Applicants will be interviewed over the telephone following preliminary selection. Applicants should be prepared to share an up to date police record.

Applications will be accepted through 10 January, 2016.