Volunteering in Costa Rica

Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country where you can find nature, get to know its culture and have that experience you’ve always wanted through volunteering in Costa Rica.

We collaborate in 6 volunteer programs in Costa Rica, each one focused on a specific need. Your collaboration in any of these projects is of great help in the protection of abused animals, in the conservation of sea turtles or in the teaching and care of children, young people and the elderly.


ANIMAL CARE

Many of the animals that live in the centers have arrived injured, malnourished, and orphaned; therefore, the wild animal centers in Costa Rica perform healing treatments, both at a corporal and energetic level. This generates the recovery and autonomy of all their inhabitants to achieve their integration back into their natural habitat.


SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION

We support the protection of the different species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches where we work. With the objective of reducing the negative impact created by natural and human factors. Depending on your needs and the season, you can go to the Caribbean or the Pacific.


CHILDREN WITH FUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY

Support us in developing the skills of people with special needs such as: Blindness, Deafness, Autism, Asperger’s, Down syndrome. Through didactic workshops, music, dance, art and theatre.


ASSISTANCE TO THE ELDERLY

Every day a grandfather needs us, support the staff of the center in the care of abandoned adults or without families in Costa Rica, who need our support. Your company will be of great motivation and joy.


TEACHING AND CHILDCARE

We support the development and personal growth of children and young people, strengthening their social and personal skills in a different, creative and dynamic environment.


ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING

Helps children and youth learn a second language and in some cases to improve the level of English in some people in the community. They will welcome you in with open arms and the best of their smiles.


REQUIREMENTS FOR VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

Anyone who wishes to be part of a volunteer program in Costa Rica, in most cases, does not need specific training, only the following is required:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Availability for various jobs and activities
  • Be a communicative, participative and committed person
  • Have a good behavior and to be respectful with the people who collaborate and the community
  • Respect the culture and customs of the country
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Adaptability and flexibility

You can consult the requirements of each project of volunteering in Costa Rica in their links.


WHERE WILL I BE DURING MY VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

The projects are developed in the country of Costa Rica.

  • Animals will sleep in Alajuela or San Carlos where the project is located.
  • To collaborate in the teaching projects, care and support of the elderly, you will stay in San Ramon with host families and close to where the projects are located.
  • Sea turtles will be on the same beach where the project is developed, therefore for this program you will have to spend the night in Costa Rica City on the day you arrive. The beaches we work are in the area of Matina Limon, Corcovado, Quepos, Samara and Montezuma.

WHEN CAN YOU COLLABORATE ON VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

Social projects volunteer in Costa Rica such as:

  • Teaching the English language
  • Work with underprivileged children (all year round)
  • Supporting children with special needs
  • Attention to the elderly

Animal projects in costa rica

They are open all year round so you can go any time of the 2022 calendar year.

Rescue and protection of wild animals is also open all year round.

scholar projects in costa rica

They are closed during the vacation period, which is the first and second week of July. They are also closed for the end of the year, between the third week of November and the second week of February.

The child care, teaching project, and the elderly care project are only closed on December 24, 25, and 31 along with the first week of January.

Likewise for Easter, the projects are closed all week.

sea turtles in Costa Rica

Sea turtle conservation is open from the first week of March to the last day of July in the Caribbean and from June to February in the Pacific.

In each project, you have the arrival and start dates in the country.

ARRIVAL AT YOUR DESTINATION

Once you arrive at the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in Costa Rica, located 17 km from downtown San Jose, you will be welcomed by one of the transporters or coordinator of the local organization.

You will be taken to your accommodation or directly to the project, depending on your chosen program. If you are going to the sea turtle conservation project, you must spend the night in a hostel (data sent in the last email before traveling) where you will sleep one night and the following day, the transportation organized with the hostel (cab driver) will take you to the bus station and will tell you where to take the bus to get to Batán where a member of the organization will be waiting for you to take you to the project facilities.

Depending on the time of arrival in the country and the facilities of the volunteer project in Costa Rica, you will be oriented to the house, project and activities to be carried out. At that time the coordinator responsible for the project or area where you will be assigned will tell you the norms, rules and procedures to follow during your volunteering.

IMPORTANT FACTS TO CONSIDER WHEN ARRIVING IN COSTA RICA

  • If you arrive and pass the immigration controls and do not find the cab driver or local coordinator, do not move from the airport, they will be waiting for you. You can also write to us at the numbers we have provided for inquiries.
  • If you do not have local currency (money), you can change when you arrive at the airport, or withdraw money from an ATM.
  • If you want to have data to be connected at all times, you can buy a local SIM card (Kolbi, Movistar, Claro) and activate a plan for the time you will be volunteering.

VACCINE

To enter Costa Rica, at the moment there is no compulsory vaccination. Also if you come from a country where yellow fever is present, you will be asked for a vaccination card to verify that you have this vaccine.

COVID-19 Requirements

  • Have a negative PCR test 72 hours before your arrival for animal programs
  • Digital form from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund
  • Travel Insurance, including quarantine lodging and medical expenses due to illness.

VISA TO ENTER COSTA RICA

Not all people who travel to Costa Rica need to present a visa, it will depend on your nationality.

Spaniards do not require a visa for a maximum stay of 90 days, but if you need the following documentation:

  • Valid passport
  • Round trip tickets

SECURITY IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is considered one of the most developed countries in Latin America, but as in any country in the world there are areas or zones that are not recommended to go for a person who is not from there.

Generally in San Jose you can find people who approach you and between laughter and kindness ask you for something to eat or money, avoid these situations, as it often happens that without realizing you lose something from your purse.

The tourist areas of Costa Rica are generally safe, but we still recommend you to keep in mind the following:

  • Let your coordinator know where you will go, in case of an excursion, so that he can warn you about the places.
  • Have your coordinator’s phone number and the address where you are staying for your safety.
  • Avoid giving out information about the house, workplaces and other volunteers for safety.
  • Do not take anyone other than the organization to the volunteer’s home.
  • Recognize and avoid hazardous areas in every place you visit.
  • Travel in austerity in your daily transfers and on your excursions.
  • Avoid attracting attention with very uncovered or expensive clothing (jewelry and accessories).
  • Avoid taking your mobile phone out in public or leaving it on a table somewhere.
  • Try to use the country’s safe transportation services or services such as Uber or safe taxis.
  • Avoid walking alone in the street at night.
    Never put someone you don’t know into an unknown vehicle, or someone you don’t know into yours.
  • Do not drink any drink of which you do not know the origin.

ACCOMMODATION IN HOST FAMILIES

All volunteers who collaborate in social projects such as:

  • English language teaching
  • Support to children with special needs
  • Teaching and caring for children
  • Attention to the elderly

will live with Costa Rican host families, selected by the local organization.

WHAT DOES HOMESTAY INCLUDE?

  • Beds, in a room shared with other volunteers
  • Use of common areas
  • 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your stay as a volunteer.
  • Wifi connection

ANIMAL PROJECT HOUSING

The volunteers who are part of the Animal Rescue and Protection Volunteer Project live in designated spaces within the project facilities.

WHAT DOES THE ACCOMMODATION INCLUDE?

  • Beds, in a room shared with other volunteers.
  • Use of the common bathrooms
  • Use of the common areas
  • 3 Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your stay as a volunteer
  • Wifi connection

TURTLE PROJECT ACCOMMODATION

If you go to the turtle project, you stay in the house that is available for volunteers at the project facilities (beach).

WHAT DOES YOUR TURTLE PROJECT ACCOMMODATION INCLUDE?

  • A bunk bed in a room shared with other volunteers
  • Use of the common areas
  • The 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your volunteer work

The contribution in some volunteer projects in Costa Rica for a period of 14 days is 650€.

WEEKSANIMALSTURTLESSOCIAL PROJECTS
1495€
2670€670€650€
3860€860€820€
Additional190€190€170€

WHAT ARE YOU PAYING FOR A VOLUNTEERING IN PERU?

  • Welcome at the airport and transfer to the accommodation.
  • Accommodation during your stay as a volunteer.
  • Meals during your volunteer work (see each program).
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team.
  • Follow-up and evaluation of the program.
  • Orientation and induction to the program.
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering.
  • NGO receipt for your program fee.
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the program.
  • Volunteer T-shirt.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN A VOLUNTEERING IN PERU?

  • Flight to Costa Rica.
  • Return to the airport on the last day.
  • Visa if required.
  • Vaccinations, if required.
  • Internal transportation or excursions.
  • Travel in or out of the country.
  • Travel medical insurance (mandatory).
  • Drinks, diets or special meals.
  • Bottled water.

HOW TO BOOK MY VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

Costa Rica, a country with great biodiversity in flora and fauna. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with well known provinces and unique characteristics such as:

  • Limón
  • Puntarenas
  • Guanacaste
  • And its capital, San José.

It offers a wide variety of activities such as:

  • Tours to natural parks
  • Climbing volcanoes
  • Sea turtle sightings
  • And many experiences surrounded by nature.

Due to its very welcoming and friendly people, it is considered one of the happiest countries in Latin America.

CLIMATE

  • The summer season (dry season): Between December and April is where you find the sunniest days with temperatures that reach 31º C (87.8º F).
  • Winter season (wet season): It occurs between May and November, where it usually rains more, with temperatures that can vary from 18ºC – 26ºC (64ºF – 78ºF).

CURRENCY

The official currency in Costa Rica is the Colón. Convert it.

Example of costs in Costa Rica: (635,528 colones = 1€)

  • A 1500 colones cappuccino coffee (2,37€).
  • A menu of the day, in economic places 4500 colones (7,12€).
  • A bottle of water 760 colones (1,20€).
  • Bus transport 420 colones (€0.66). This may vary depending on the route.

You can also use dollars, they tend to accept it in more touristic places. Its value depends on the current exchange rate. If you do not have dollars in your country of origin you can change before coming to your bank or withdraw money by credit card in Costa Rica.

Tip: Try not to bring 50 or 100 dollar bills, you run the risk that in some places you will not be accepted.

FLIGHT

For your volunteer work in Costa Rica, the flight must have as its final destination the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), where you will be picked up and transferred by the taxi driver to the project or accommodation depending on the chosen program.

  • You can find flights from 500€ and 700€ approximately (round trip).
  • You can find good flight offers on google flights or skyscaner.

TOURIST SITES

CELESTIAL RIVER

Located in the Guatuso district of Alajuela, within the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Its main attraction is its blue waters, as the name suggests.

It is a recommended tour, not only for the color of the water, but for its natural environment and the feeling of total relaxation.

You must take into account the schedules of income (which are usually from 8am to 2pm) at a price of approximately €15.

rio celeste costa rica voluntariado internacional

THE FORTUNE

In a very quiet and easily accessible part of a small town in Costa Rica, it connects with the Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde Forest.

It is considered one of the most visited places in Costa Rica. The town has many activities and attractions that you can enjoy in your free time as a volunteer.

Some of these activities are:

  • Visit and swim in the La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Rafting
  • Walking
  • Kayak or Canoeing
  • Exploring the Canopy
  • Visits to the hot springs
  • Suspension bridges 
paseos en puentes colgantes en Costa Rica

ARENAL NATIONAL PARK

Home to two very attractive volcanoes in Costa Rica. Although one is better known, as it bears the name of the park, Cerro Chato. It is also very picturesque and the view of the landscape is incredibly unique.

Within the Arenal National Park area, you can also enjoy other attractions such as:

  • Lake Arenal
  • Hiking
  • Suspension bridges
  • Going to the waterfalls
  • Visiting the spa

PORT OLD

If you like water sports like surfing, be sure to go to black beach. As its name indicates, the sand has a dark color. It is close to another beautiful beach which is “Cahuita”. Nearby you can find hotels, restaurants and inexpensive places to spend the day. You can also:

  • Kayak
  • Dive
  • Snorkel

There is a road next to the beach, where buses pass by on a regular schedule. Bus routes also pass through places like: Bri Bri, Manzanillo, which take you to Punta Uva beach. This same route also goes to the Panamanian border through Sixaola.

Another alternative to get around these beaches is by bicycle, as many locals offer the service. The cost can be between 6 to 10 dollars per day.

PUERTO VIEJO Si te gustan los deportes acuáticos como el surf, no dejes de ir a playa negra.  Como su nombre lo indica la arena tiene un color oscuro.  Playa Negra también está cerca de otra bella playa que es “Cahuita”.  A sus alrededores podrás encontrar, hoteles, restaurantes y lugares economicos.  También puedes realizar kayak, buceo y snorkel. Hay una carretera junto a la playa, donde pasan buses en horario normal (regular).  Las rutas de autobuses también pasan por lugares como: Bri Bri, Manzanillo, que te lleva a la playa de Punta Uva.  Esta misma ruta también llega a la frontera con Panamá por sixaola. También puedes transportarte en bicicleta, muchos locales ofrecen el servicio.  El coste puede estar entre 6 a 10 dólares por día.

TORTUGUERO

Located 80 kilometers north of Limón, with beautiful rivers and forests, you also have the chance to witness one of the most beautiful acts of nature as is the nesting of sea turtles.

You can also appreciate the great diversity of birds such as:

  • Parrots
  • Toucans
  • Falcons
  • Other

WILL YOU PICK ME UP FROM THE AIRPORT?

Adventure Volunteer with the information we ask you for your flight, will organize the pick up at the airport with the local coordinator.

He/she will take you to the volunteer’s or host family’s home, depending on the program chosen. Depending on your arrival time and program, that same day you will be oriented 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 TO TRAVEL TO COSTA RICA?

Currently in Costa Rica it is not mandatory to have any vaccinations, except if you have been in a country that is on the high risk list.

You will have to fill out a QR health form and have an insurance that covers hospitals $50000 and in lodging in case of Covid $2000. They do not ask for a PCR or Antigen test.

We recommend that all our volunteers consult the Costa Rican Embassy in their country and then their doctor before traveling. However the vaccines that are always recommended are: Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid.

WHERE CAN I CHANGE MONEY IN COSTA RICA?

You can change money at the airport by showing your passport. You can also change money by credit card at ATMs. Try to make sure that the cash you bring are not 50 or 100 dollar bills, because in many places they do not like to receive them.

WILL I HAVE FREE TIME WHILE VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

Depending on the volunteer program you choose, you may have afternoons or weekends to get to know the country.

Volunteers usually take the weekends to go on excursions and get to know Costa Rica a little better. The local coordinator will provide you with information about places to visit and reference prices. Also in the volunteer guide that we send you, you will find information about places that may be of interest to you.

HOW MANY HOURS SHOULD I DEDICATE TO VOLUNTEER WORK?

Volunteers generally work 4 to 6 hours per day, Monday through Friday.

The schedule will depend on the program chosen. Volunteering should also be flexible and comprehensive, as hours and work may vary from program to program.

Precious experience

I did my first international volunteering and it was a very nice experience, helping the children at school. I received a lot of love from the children and learned a lot about Costa Rican culture.
They have a great human quality and I think they live with a higher quality of life than we do, they are happy with the little they have and share it with others.
Ariadna
Teaching project

Pura vida!

I went to Costa Rica expecting to be able to take care of animals totally different from those I was used to, but I came back with much more: friends, memories of a lot of places, anecdotes to bore you with, and the feeling that I had contributed to something truly worthwhile.

If you’re thinking of going, stop thinking about it and sign up, because you won’t regret it.

  • General questions
  • Travel information
  • Specific questions