Volunteering in Costa Rica
A country with great biodiversity in flora and fauna, Costa Rica is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Among its best known provinces are Limón, Puntarenas and its capital San. The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, but English is also spoken in various parts of the country, mainly in tourist and coastal areas.
Costa Rica offers a wide variety of activities, such as tours to natural parks, ascents to volcanoes and other nature-related experiences. Thanks to the welcoming and friendly local people, it’s considered one of the happiest countries in Latin America.
This is general information, you will find specific information on each project in its section. Depending on each program, different information will be included and there will be different arrival and cooperation timetables.
PROGRAMS IN COSTA RICA
Help the staff of the center to take care of abandoned adults or elderly people without families, who need our attention and support. Give them love, affection and companionship.
You can participate all year round in the following volunteer programs in Costa Rica:
- Care and protection of wild animals
- English Language Teaching
- Support for children with special needs
- Child Care and Teaching
- Attention to the elderly
March to August in the following volunteer programs:
- Conservation of sea turtles and maintenance of ecological garden, as this is the turtles’ nesting period. During the other months the work focuses on the ecological garden.
Our volunteers usually work between 4 to 6 hours a day. On weekends you will be free to travel the country and go on excursions.
For the Teaching programs in San Ramon and surrounding areas you must arrive at your destination on Thursdays between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm. If you arrive earlier, it’s recommended to sleep close to the airport.
Depending on the volunteer program in which you participate in Costa Rica, accommodation may be provided in:
- Family Houses
- Houses or areas in the same projects
As is the case of volunteers who participate in the Animal Care and Shelter and the Sea Turtle Conservation and Ecological Garden Maintenance program, they stay in the houses that are located in the project areas.
All volunteers who take part in the social programs are housed in the homes of Costa Rican families.
In both housing options, volunteers are provided with:
- Shared rooms with bathrooms
- Common Areas
- Meals during their volunteering
If you want to join our programs, no specific training is necessary in most cases. It’s only required that you are:
- Of legal age
- Available for various jobs
- A communicative, participative and committed person
- Respectful to the people of the community
- Aware of the culture and customs of the country
- Able to work in a team
In the specific case of social programs in Costa Rica, the volunteer must provide the following additional information:
- One passport-size photo
- Passport photocopy
- Criminal record certificate
In the case of social volunteer programs in Costa Rica such as childcare, language teaching, care for the elderly and support for children with functional diversity, the program costs start at €645 for 2 weeks.
For programs of conservation and protection of animals, the costs start at €630 for 2 weeks.
WHAT IS INCLUDED ?
- Airport pick-up
- Accommodation in the volunteer’s house
- Meals during your volunteering
- Orientation and induction to the program and country
- 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
- Monitoring and evaluation of the program
- Certificate of participation
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?
- Flight to Costa Rica
- Entrance fee to Costa Rica, $10 (approximately €10)
- Internal transportation or excursions
- Return to the airport on the last day
- Trips inside or outside the country
- Obligatory Travel Medical Insurance
ARRIVAL AT YOUR DESTINATION
We will pick you up from the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) located in the Central Valley. There you will be met by the responsible coordinator who will take you to the volunteer or family house, depending on the chosen program.
First you will be given an orientation day during which we will tell you the basic rules of the volunteer or family house and the place where it’s located. We will also explain all details of the program that you will take part in.
You will share a room with other volunteers and you will also have access to all common areas. In the sea turtle conservation program, WIFI connection is not available as the accommodation is located far from the populated areas. You can connect to 3G data with a Kolbi sim card on the beach to have constant communication with family and friends. In some houses or in the center where we developed the program you will be able to access wifi connection.
Depending on where you stay, the breakfast schedule will vary. In the sea turtle conservation program, breakfast is self-service, from 7:00 to 10:00 am. Lunch and dinner are served at the volunteer’s house and consist of local foods such as rice, beans, salads, meats, pasta, vegetables, fish. (We also have food options for vegetarians and vegans.) In case of the other houses, you will be informed of the time of meals on the day of your orientation.
The dry summer season in Costa Rica is between December and April, with the sunniest days and temperatures of around 31 degrees. From May to November the wet winter season comes, it rains more often and the temperatures can vary between 18 and 26 degrees.
The official currency of Costa Rica is the Colón. During your volunteer trip, you will be able to use both colons and dollars, their value depends on the current exchange rate. If you don’t use dollars in your country of origin, you can exchange currency in your bank before coming or withdraw money by credit card in Costa Rica. It’s not advisable to exchange money at the airport as the rates are not convenient.
Tip: Try not to bring 50 or 100 dollar bills as they might not accept them in some places.
For your volunteer work in Costa Rica, the flight must have as its final destination the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), from which you will be transferred to the location of the program.
Flights cost between 500 and 700 euros approximately (round trip).
80 kilometers north of Limón, there are beautiful rivers and forests and you can also get to see amazing endangered sea turtles such as the green turtle and the leatherback turtle.
There is also a great diversity of birds and other animals that you can see, such as: parrots, toucans, hawks, iguanas and crocodiles.
SANDY VOLCANO AND THE SANDY NATIONAL PARK
Here you can relax in the natural hot springs. They are the result of underground water and the magma of the Arenal Volcano, one of the 5 active volcanoes of Costa Rica. While enjoying this beauty, you can appreciate the nature that surrounds you.
If you like water sports like surfing, don’t miss the black beach (Playa Negra). As its name indicates, the sand has a dark color. Playa Negra is also close to another beautiful beach that is “Cahuita”. In its surroundings you will find hotels, restaurants and other affordable places. You can also kayak, dive and snorkel.
There is a road next to the beach, where buses run regularly. The bus routes also pass through places like Bri Bri, Manzanillo, which takes you to the beach of Punta Uva. This same route also reaches the Panamanian border by sixaola.
You can also transport yourself by bicycle, many locals offer the service. The cost can vary between 6 to 10 dollars per day.
Will you pick me up from the airport?
With the flight details that you send us, Adventure Volunteer will organize your pick up at the airport with the local coordinator. He or she will take you to the volunteer or family house according to the chosen program. You will then be given an orientation to the place, the program and the country.
Do I have to have travel insurance?
Yes, all volunteers who volunteer with Adventure volunteer are required to have medical travel insurance.
What vaccinations are required before traveling to Costa Rica?
Currently it’s not required to have any vaccine in Costa Rica, except if you have recently been in a country that is on the list of countries at risk. We recommend that you consult the Costa Rican Embassy in your country and your doctor before traveling. However, the vaccines that are always recommended are: Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B, and Typhoid.
Where can I exchange money in Costa Rica?
You can exchange money at the airport, for which you will need to show your passport, or with your credit card at ATMs. Try not to bring dollar bills of 50 or 100, as they might not accept them in some places.
Will I have free time while volunteering in Costa Rica?
Depending on the volunteer program you choose, you can have afternoons or weekends off to get to know the country. Volunteers usually use the weekends to go on excursions and get to know the country a little more. The local coordinator will provide you with information on places you can visit and potential costs.
How many hours should I devote to volunteer work?
Volunteers generally work 4 to 6 hours per day, Monday to Friday. The schedule will depend on the chosen program. The volunteer should also be flexible and understanding, as hours and work may vary from program to program.
- From the moment you fill out the registration form for a program in Costa Rica, your place is reserved for 7 days.
- To confirm your place definitively, you must pay a deposit of €150 within these 7 days. Once the deposit is paid, your place will be guaranteed and you will formally become part of the Adventure Volunteer family.
- As soon as you pay the program deposit, we will send you an email to confirm that your place is guaranteed. After that, you will receive another email with more additional information explaining everything you need to know to prepare your trip correctly. The rest of the payment is made one month before your incorporation to the project.