Intern (our volunteer) with Us!
With Renée’s background in hospitality and Bill’s background in communications combined, Rainforest Inn offers internships to a diverse interest range. We have hosted those interested in directly joining the tourism and hospitality industry, but also students with a passion for environmental science and sustainability, sociology and ecology, communications and marketing…
We are gradually trying to make our place more sustainable. We built a large fish pond with a bio-filter that grows watercress. The koi and dragonflies that live in the pond (as well as the bats that fly through the canopy at night) help keep our property almost entirely mosquito free without the use of any harmful pesticides. Our construction is from recycled materials and our energy use is as minimal as possible. We collect some of our own water (fairly easy in the rainforest). We recycle and compost our wastes.
Hospitality/tourism industry interns who are looking for a sustainable, eco-friendly hotel to train in will find interning at Rainforest Inn exactly what they are looking for. We certainly align with the growing trend of “ecotourism” and conscientious travel. Also, New York Times named Puerto Rico the number one travel destination of 2019, meaning the island will hopefully experience even more tourism than usual in the coming months. All hands on deck, right?
We also welcome those who might not be directly interested in tourism and hospitality but want to retreat into nature for their internship. We have had marketing and communications interns who help publicize Rainforest Inn by running our social media accounts, writing press releases and ready-to-runs, and posting to Innkeeper’s Blog. SquareSpace powers our website, so you will become familiar with that platform, as well as the other programs we rely on, including Mail Chimp and Reservation Key.
At this time, we are especially looking for people who are tech-savvy, preferably those with CSS (and other coding) skills. We have been having trouble producing our podcast on time and would welcome an intern who wants to learn how to edit and produce podcasts.
Other potential interests that would fit in well here are those passionate about sustainability, from whatever angle, be it the ecological/chemical side, the sociological side, or just more general interest in environmental stewardship. We have lots of landscaping project ideas that need to be executed, and are currently installing a plunge pool for guests. We have a garden and tropical fruit trees on the property and have hosted interns (and WWOOFers) with a passion for organic cultivation. We have also had a PhD student come do her thesis work here, exploring how the plants one is surrounded by impacts who they are as a person. So interesting, and we never would have thought of that ourselves!
Therefore, if you have gotten this far without seeing what you’re interested in but think Rainforest Inn is the place for you, we would love to hear more about your thoughts. Please reach out so we can discuss. We welcome all identities, and most ages. Many of our older volunteers find us via WWOOF USA. You do not have to speak Spanish, though it is helpful.
Here’s a video we ask that you watch first, for a bit more information:
This video also represents one possible “project” you might complete while working for us, as we love to post things like this to our social media accounts.
Please keep in mind…
…we are a working bed and breakfast, which is really a 24/7 job. Of course, we don’t expect that kind of commitment from you, but we do ask that you feel comfortable multi-tasking. We work best with people who are flexible and “on their toes.”
We are also continually making structural or garden improvements, which you might be involved in. You could also be doing some domestic chores, regardless of whether you join us specifically as a hospitality intern or some other variety. Interning here will allow you the chance to learn about the hotel industry, on top of your other area(s) of focus. All our interns have the opportunity to learn about housekeeping, preparation of gourmet breakfasts, and serving the guests. We hope you agree that these are great skills to have, no matter what you think your future profession and career might entail. In general, “Customer Service” is something you will undoubtedly experience here at the Rainforest Inn.
We are also constantly improving our bed and breakfast and doing everything we can to make it more "green" and sustainable in the local environment, but we want to be open that we are not yet perfect. (Suggestions? Let us know when you’re here!) We serve a 100% vegetarian breakfast and will not purchase meat of any kind, though you are welcome to order a pepperoni pizza on one of your various outings and bring it back to the Inn. ;-) Vegetarianism is just a preference we have developed as individuals; we still gladly welcome all kinds of eaters and people! We grow pineapples (in special raised beds over french drains), various banana species, papayas, and fruit trees like grapefruits, breadfruit, pomarosa. Recently we have planted many more exotic tropical fruit trees on the lower acre. Another goal we have is to be completely off-the-grid with solar panels and large storage batteries.
requirements for interns & volunteers
We prefer our interns to stay about three months. We recently hosted a student for their January Term though, which was a one month stay, so please just communicate honestly with us about your timeline as we are happy to work with you.
We ask that you arrange a video conference us via Skype as your interview. Then…
You will need (along with the appointment letter from your college or university):
1. Proof of Round-trip ticket
2. Proof of Health insurance that works in Puerto Rico, and/or travel insurance.
3. Commitment to three month stay (or whatever we agree on).
4. Copy of travel photo ID (passport, or driver’s license/state ID if you are a USA citizen)
5. References (we accept those from previous employers, volunteer positions, or professors)
*Must have no criminal record
*Non-smoker (we are 100% smoke free so that guests can enjoy the fresh air)
Please also inform us in advance, preferably during your interview, if you have any health problems, especially if it is something which would be a health issue when preparing food for guests. We are located at a slight altitude, so this is also something to keep in mind, and we are a bit of a drive from the nearest hospital.
DRESS CODE: All hotel interns & volunteers must be presentable, clean, and wear appropriate attire as they would if they were working in any other service establishment where paying guests are around. Deodorant is required, as are proper undergarments. You can wear whatever you want when we take you “out on the island,” but at the Inn, you will be asked to never leave the volunteer/intern quarters wearing clothes that have unclean or frayed seams (i.e “cut off” shorts), holes, or stains. You can wear tights/spandex if you are working out or doing yoga (we have a lovely yoga room!), but not when catering to guests, unless you also wear a long skirt/shirt to cover up. Please let us know if we can provide you more information about dress code once your stay with us is confirmed. We have written a blog about the best shoes to wear during hikes in the rainforest, which you might also enjoy perusing. A hat with a brim is also something good to bring. Also, even though we are in the Caribbean and have 80 degree days year round, it can get a bit chilly, especially at night, so pack at least one long-sleeve shirt, sweater, and pants (these will come in useful when hiking in the brambles too!).
Please note, our internship is unpaid but we provide free room and board, as well as transportation to experiences around the island.
The following video is another production from one of our previous interns, as an example of something you might work on while here. Amazingly, this is the first video Céléna has ever produced.
To begin arranging your internship, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, preferably from your .edu email. We will then get back to you about setting up a video interview and move forward from there.
We are so glad you found us and are interested in all that we & our ecolodge have to offer.