Costa Rica

we need Volunteers in Costa Rica

  • Around 30% of the population in Costa Rica sits below the poverty line
  • The majority of poverty is seen in rural areas, where there may be a lack of resources and limited job opportunites
  • Although Costa Rica has a national educational system, those in the poorer rural areas often lack teaching staff and resources
  • Climate change and deforestation are damaging Costa Rica's natural biodiversity

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Why Involvement Volunteers International?

  • Non Profit Org & Charity with 30+ Years Experience
  • Sustainable & Impactful Projects in Costa Rica
  • Social Experiences - Sharing with International Volunteers
  • Excellent Safety Record, In-Country 24/7 Support & Emergency Assistance
  • 1 Application Fee - Multiple Countries
waterfall into blue pool

Volunteer in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its incredible biodiversity and native wildlife. This is an adventure lover’s paradise, with white sand beaches, jungles, rainforests, artsy cities, hiking, surfing, natural waterfalls, volcanoes, national parks and plenty of adrenaline activities like white water rafting and ziplining. Costa Rica is a safe and peaceful country but does have people living on low incomes and encounters other various social and environmental issues.

What's included

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  • Accommodation
  • 2 Meals p/day
  • Arrival Airport Transfers
  • Project Materials & Equipment
  • Free coffee, tea & filtered water
  • Certificate of Completion
  • 1 Day Orientation
  • Daily Transportation
  • In Country 24/7 Support
  • Emergency Assistance
  • Fundraising Support
  • University Credits Assistance

Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica

Teaching in circle

ENGLISH TEACHING

Teach English to both children and adults to improve their English skills, making a true difference to the lives of the local people. Before the start of your project you will take part in an introductory course for teaching English as a second language (ESL).

Location: Manuel Antonio & San Jose
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: One Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

face painting

KINDERGARTEN TEACHING

Volunteer at childcare facilities, community centres, and schools. Assist with the general running of the place, such as lunchtimes and cleaning, providing individual attention and care for the children who most need it, playing games and sports, tutoring & teaching on hygiene.

Location: Manuel Antonio & San Jose
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: One Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

White headed capuchin monkey

BEACH CLEAN-UP & NATURE RESERVE

For those who have a passion for the environment, work on beach conservation & clean up, and on a local nature reserve, maintaining the centre and walking trails. There are many areas you can get involved in on this project!

Location: Nicoya Peninsula
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: 2 Weeks
Min Age: 18 Years (or 16 with guardian)
Special Requirements: N/A

setting a turtle back to ocean

TURTLE CONSERVATION

Help protect these endangered animals! You will work with a supervisor who will teach you how to do everything such as hatchery management, beach patrols, beach clean-up, data collection, and community education.

Location: Offsite Location
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: 2 Weeks
Min Age: 18 Years (or 16 with guardian)
Special Requirements: N/A

sitting in ambulance

MEDICAL VOLUNTEERING

Work in hospitals, clinics, assisted living, and other healthcare facilities. You also have the chance to volunteer on week-long medical campaigns, vaccination programs, whilst learning the healthcare system in Costa Rica.

Location: Manuel Antonio & San Jose
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: One Week
Min Age: 18 Years
Special Requirements: Medical/ health professional or student

Medical volunteering in Costa Rica

NUTRITION & HEALTHCARE

Work in local assisted living centres, and other healthcare facilities, such as with the disabled, special needs or with children with HIV. You also have the chance to volunteer on week-long medical campaigns and vaccination programs.

Location: Manuel Antonio & San Jose
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: One Week
Min Age: 18 Years
Special Requirements: Medical/ health professional or student

painting steps

COMMUNITY CONSTRUCTION

Assist on building and decorating classrooms in local schools, clinics, community centres, homes and churches. The local supervisor will teach you about how to use adobe, plaster, bamboo, cement block, drywall, and aluminium, as well as how to build, cut, mix, paint, and decorate.

Location: Manuel Antonio & San Jose
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: One Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

volunteers on coffee farm

SUSTAINABLE FARMING & AGRICULTURE

Learn about eco-farming and sustainable agriculture. Get hands on, in this project that will require some hard labour. You can volunteer at coffee farms, macadamia nut and permaculture farms or help to grow local tea and cacao.

Location: Monteverde Cloud Forest, Brunca region & offsite locations
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: One Week
Min Age: 18 Years (or 16 with guardian)
Special Requirements: N/A

Testimonials...

30 Years Experience

IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.  We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.  

Affordable Volunteer Travel

We’re not motivated by shareholder profits.   Our fees are fully transparent to ensure maximum benefit where it is most needed. 

Safe & Responsible Projects

All projects include a dedicated 24/7 in-country management team, operational & risk assessment & overseas support contact.   All projects are personally inspected to ensure very high quality.
 

Work Experience & University Credits

We place thousands of Uni students and can assist you with course credits and in-field experience points.   Many of our project coordinators are qualified practitioners in their respective fields allowing unique in-field supervision and Uni accreditation options
 

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America and is bordered by Nicaragua to the North, Panama to the South, the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the Caribbean Sea to the East. The country has a population of 5 million people and is roughly the same size as a large city in the USA! Costa Rica offers incredible mountain trails, coffee plantations, lush rainforests and some stunning beaches, with a huge variety of landscapes.

Volunteer projects are situated in the beach town of Manuel Antonio and in the capital city of San Jose. Some projects are situated in areas further afield, offering a more ‘off the beaten track’ option. These areas are Guanacaste (beach), Caribbean (beach), and Monteverde (cloud forest).

Manuel Antonio: Located at sea level, you can expect average temperatures from 19 degree Celsius to 28 degrees. The dry season is from December to April with hot and humid weather. The wet season is from May to November. The weather will be humid, with showers throughout the day. The plus side of travelling during this time is that everything will be so green!

San Jose: At 1170 metres above sea level, temperatures can range from 20-30 degrees Celsius. December to April has little to no rain, moderate temperatures and can get cooler during the evenings. May to November experiences warm days, cool nights and short intermittent bursts of rain and sun.

Costa Rica still has much of its Spanish heritage (the national language), with a vast amount of the population being of Afro-Caribbean descent. There is also a small population Jewish and Chinese communities. A large proportion of the country is Catholic and Latino music and dance are enjoyed throughout the country, as well as a love for soccer. Cost Rica disbanded their armed forces in 1949, as the area is so safe. The people are happy, laid back and welcoming.

Manuel Antonio is a small beachside village, situated right on the Pacific Ocean. There is a nearby National park which is considered one of the most biodiverse parks in the world. You may even spot a howler monkey or a sloth! The area is known for its biodiversity, as well as perfect white sand beaches. There are lots of activities to do in the area, like mountain and rainforest trails.

There is a volunteer centre in Manuel Antonio is situated in an open-air building, located on a small mountain, with incredible views out to the ocean! Volunteers have space to work and study set amongst beautiful rainforest and close to stunning white sand beaches. The beach is a few minutes away by bus or walking, where you can spend your time off. Lockers are available at the centre for any personal belongings. This is a great place to meet other volunteers and interact/ make friends

San Jose is the capital of Costa Rica, and located in the middle of the country. It’s in a great spot to enjoy the city, as well as trips to the beach on the weekends. Around a 2 to 4 hour drive from the city, you will find rainforests, mountains, volcanoes, and beautiful beaches. San Jose also has plenty of shopping, cinemas, restaurants and nightlife.

The volunteer centre in San Jose is located in the university neighbourhood of San Pedro, only 2 blocks from the National University. The centre has indoor and outdoor common areas, WiFi, on-site snack bar, and other amenities. The local area has a good student feel and is surrounded by plenty of restaurants, gyms, shopping centres, and nightlife. The volunteer centre is just a 10 minute bus ride into downtown San Jose.

The majority of our volunteers will stay with a pre-approved middle-class Costa Rican family. You have the option of a shared or a private room. For shared rooms, you are placed with 1-3 other people of the same gender and age group. Breakfast and dinner will be served every day of the week. You’ll be given a key to the house and are free to come and go as you please, but you must respect the house rules and practices of your host family.

In San Jose, the host families live in the San Pedro area, which is around a 10 to 60-minute walk or bus ride (depending on where you’re placed) from the volunteer centre. On your first day, your host family will show you how to get to the centre.

The host family can help you with washing laundry. There is a small charge of ₡2,500 or $5 per kilo (2.2 lbs) which is paid directly to the family. If you are staying at a student residence, hostel, hotel or apartment that does not have a laundry service available, you can use a nearby laundrette (lavanderia).

The food in Costa Rica is a mix of African, Italian, French, Chinese, and Spanish cuisines. Common food are grains such as rice, corn, and beans and different meats mixed with spices like coriander, saffron, parsley, oregano, thyme and nutmeg. The food is usually mildly seasoned and has plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Gallo Pinto and Casados are popular dishes. Gallo Pinto consists of rice and beans seasoned with coriander, onions, and sweet and salty tasting sauce. The locals might have this for breakfast with scrambled or fried eggs, alongside a cup of Agua Dulce (pure sugarcane diluted in hot water) or coffee. A Casado is made from rice and black or red beans, pork or chicken meat, a little cabbage or leafy salad, and fried sweet plantains.

Other traditional dishes that you can taste when in Costa Rica are tamales, picadillos, chiles rellenos, vigaron, chifrijo, chicharrones, arroz con camerones o marisocs mixtos, and sopa negra.

Each project will include a 1-day orientation to familiarise yourself with the local area, rules, safety advice and general information. Your host family will show you the best way to get to/from your accommodation to the volunteer centre. Orientation will include health and safety advice, do’s and don’ts, cultural norms, activities and tours you can do on weekends, and a short walking tour, showing you the local area. You are also able to take a free Spanish placement exam. On your first day the local coordinator will take you to the placement, where you will be introduced to everyone and shown around the project.

Most volunteers either walk or take the bus, depending on how far their project is. Journey time varies widely from project to project, and you should expect to spend 15-60 minutes traveling each way. You might also need to change buses during your trip. Taxi’s are also widely available but do cost more than buses. It can be hard to change your project after you start volunteering, so please be ready to travel to your designated project every day. 

PLEASE NOTE: Volunteers are required to pay for the daily transportation to and from your project. Local buses are very affordable, and a one-way trip will cost around ₡350 (around $0.60) on average. Taxis are more expensive, and costs vary based on how long the journey is. A budget of around US $5 is recommend per day for transportation to and from your project.

San Jose

San Jose is the capital city and has plenty to do from city tours, watching a show at the theatre, markets, museums, parks, and city walking tours. You can also take day trips to mountains, volcanoes and the beach.

Arenal Volcano

Situated about 90 km northwest of San Jose is Arenal volcano, measuring 1,633 metres high. This scenic volcano is one of the most popular tourist attractions, with daily tours walking around it, plus it’s proximity to the nearby rainforest and waterfalls make it a popular place to visit.

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio

Close by the where a lot of our projects are, this National park is one of the most popular in Costa Rica. With beautiful beaches, rainforest walking trails and an abundance of wildlife, this is a must visit for any traveller!

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Another stunning destination to visit and a lush oasis of green rainforest and misty fog and clouds sitting at the top of the canopy. There are around 420 different types of orchids, ferns mosses, as well as a large bird population- perfect for nature and wildlife lovers. There are also night time walking tours.

Corcovado National Park

A stunning national park with plenty of hiking trails, natural swimming holes, waterfalls, rainforest, wildlife, flora and fauna and camping. Here you will find more than 400 bird species, monkeys, sea turtles, over 40 frog species, 100 butterfly species and perhaps even a jaguar.

Adventure activities

Costa Rica has so much to do for those who like to live on the wild side! From ziplining, white water rafting, canyoning, surfing, snorkelling, diving, horse riding and paddle boarding. This is a nature and adventure lovers paradise!

Beach Hopping

There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. From white sand, black sand, beaches that meet jungle and all with crystal clear, blue waters. Many of the beach town have cafes, restaurants, accommodation and places to grab a fresh coconut juice, the perfect way to chill out after a hot day!

Check out this amazing blog with step by step info on how to raise funds for your overseas volunteer experience to help maximize your impact abroad. Guide to Fundraising

Spotlight on Costa Rica!

Ready to Volunteer in Costa Rica?

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APPLY NOW

Ready to Volunteer abroad? Complete your application in about 5 min

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NEED MORE INFO?

Not sure which program is right for you? Contact us for more info

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SCHEDULE A CALL

Let's talk about it! Schedule your preferred time and date.

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