Volunteer in Costa Rica

VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is a country where you can encounter nature, get to know its culture and have that experience you have always been looking for through volunteering in Costa Rica.

We collaborate with several volunteer programmes in Costa Rica, each one focused on a specific need. Your collaboration in one of these projects is of great help.


ANIMAL CARE IN COSTA RICA

Many of the animals that live in the centres have arrived injured, malnourished and orphaned; therefore, the wild animal centres in Costa Rica carry out healing treatments, both on a corporal and energetic level, generating the recovery and autonomy of all their inhabitants, in order to achieve their integration back into the natural habitat.

The collaboration of the volunteers in Costa Rica is focused on environmental issues, as well as the care and protection of animals. Their activities may vary according to the needs that are generated in the programme. Depending on the needs and the length of time the volunteer is there, the following tasks can be carried out:

  • Animal care (legislation does not allow animals to be touched).
  • Maintenance and cleaning of enclosures.
  • Providing for the welfare of the animals.
  • Re-introduction of animals to their natural areas.
  • Daily feeding of animals (twice a day). For the feeding of the most dangerous animals, the volunteers in Costa Rica will be accompanied by the staff in charge of the centre.
  • Cleaning of green areas.
  • Support in environmental enrichment programmes.
  • Planting trees.
  • Crop production and composting (when available).
  • Construction of natural structures for the animals.
  • Assisting animals with veterinary care. Requires prior training at no cost and is on certain occasions or seasons.

Open all year round, with a timetable from Monday to Friday.

We recommend arriving at the weekend for an induction before starting the programme.

  • Minimum age: 18
  • Maximum age: None
  • Copy of CV required: No
  • Qualifications required: None
  • Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Good physical condition is required

In this programme you can go from 1 week and it has a cost with the donation included:

WeeksCost
1495€
2670€
Additional240€

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA OFFER?

  • Orientation and induction to the project or programme
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Programme monitoring and evaluation
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering
  • Tax certificate to be deducted in your income tax return
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the programme
  • Liability and volunteer insurance
  • Homestay accommodation for the duration of your volunteering placement
  • 3 meals during your volunteering period
  • 24/7 support from the local organisation
  • Orientation and induction to the project

WHAT IS NOT OFFERED IN VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

  • Flight to Costa Rica
  • Airport pick-up and transfer to the project
  • Visa if required
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Internal transportation or excursions
  • Trips or excursions within or outside the country
  • Travel medical insurance with Covid coverage
  • Beverages, special diets or meals

SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION IN COSTA RICA

We support the protection of the different species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches where we work. With the aim 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.

During the high nesting season of sea turtles, which occurs between 31 March and 30 July in Costa Rica, activities such as monitoring, night surveillance, conservation of the area, beach cleaning, hatchling control, release, etc. are carried out.

These activities last approximately 5 to 6 hours, where you will be accompanied by the assigned local team.

You will have activities during the night, night monitoring, and during the day.

Open from March to January, depending on the time of year, you will be sent to the Pacific or the Caribbean. Opening hours are Monday to Friday with approximately 3 or 4 hours split between morning and evening.

  • Minimum age: 18
  • Maximum age: None
  • Copy of CV required: No
  • Qualifications required: None
  • Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • The work is at night and a good physical condition is required.
  • No specific equipment is required

In this programme you can go from 1 week and it has a cost with the donation included:

WeeksCost
1495€
2670€
Additional240€

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA OFFER?

  • Orientation and induction to the project or programme
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Programme monitoring and evaluation
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering
  • Tax certificate to be deducted in your income tax return
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the programme
  • Liability and volunteer insurance
  • Accommodation during your volunteering stay
  • 3 meals during your volunteering
  • 24/7 support from the local organisation
  • Orientation and induction to the project

WHAT IS NOT OFFERED IN VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

  • Flight to Costa Rica
  • Visa if required
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Internal transportation or excursions
  • Airport pick-up
  • Trips or excursions within or outside the country
  • Travel medical insurance with Covid coverage
  • Beverages, special diets or meals

TEACHING AND CHILDCARE IN COSTA RICA

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. Many of the children are on scholarship and are disadvantaged.

Every volunteer in Costa Rica must have the ability to empathise, as you work and live with children who live in difficult situations or poverty. Therefore, the activities that volunteers carry out in the childcare programme are focused in the following way:

  • Outdoor educational activities.
  • Support in the early stimulation of some children.
  • Monitoring and support in the classes that take place.
  • Organisation of daily routines for the children.
  • The volunteer will help with feeding, tidying and cleaning of the children and the centre.
  • Care during breaks and games.

Open all year round, except from December to mid-March, due to school holidays. Monday to Friday.

  • Minimum age: 18
  • Maximum age: None
  • Copy of CV required: No
  • Qualifications required: Sexual Offences Certificate
  • Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Proactivity in conducting workshops is an asset.

In this programme you can go from 2 weeks and it has a cost with the donation included:

WeeksCost
2795€
3910€
Additional240€

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA OFFER?

  • Orientation and induction to the project or programme
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Pick up and drop off at the airport on the same day as the end of the volunteer programme
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the programme
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering
  • Tax certificate to deduct in your income tax return
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the programme
  • Liability and volunteer insurance
  • Accommodation during your volunteering stay
  • 3 meals during your volunteering
  • 24/7 support from the local organisation
  • Orientation and induction to the project

WHAT IS NOT OFFERED IN VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

  • Flight to Costa Rica
  • Visa if required
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Internal transportation or excursions
  • Trips or excursions within or outside the country
  • Travel medical insurance with Covid coverage
  • Beverages, special diets or meals

MUSIC SCHOOL IN TORTUGUERO

Helps children and young people to get to know and learn music. Music programme where children from the community are attended to and values are instilled in them through music.

Activities include musical language, rhythms, synchronisation, playing instruments, solfège, etc.

Open all year round, from Monday to Friday, approximately 2 or 3 hours in the morning or afternoon, depending on needs.

  • Minimum age: 18
  • Maximum age: None
  • Copy of CV required: No
  • Qualifications required: Sexual Offences Certificate
  • Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • If you can play an instrument or music, you are encouraged to create workshops

In this programme you can go from 2 weeks and it has a cost with the donation included:

WeeksCost
2490€
3700€
Additional210€

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA OFFER?

  • Orientation and induction to the project or programme
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Programme monitoring and evaluation
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering
  • Tax certificate to be deducted in your income tax return
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the programme
  • Liability and volunteer insurance
  • Accommodation during your volunteering stay
  • Breakfast and common areas for cooking
  • 24/7 support from the local organisation
  • Orientation and induction to the project

WHAT IS NOT OFFERED IN VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

  • Flight to Costa Rica
  • Visa if required
  • Airport pick-up
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Internal transportation or excursions
  • Trips or excursions within or outside the country
  • Travel medical insurance with Covid coverage
  • Beverages, special diets or meals


RESEARCH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN TORTUGUERO

Enjoy a magical place among the fauna and flora of Tortuguero. Get to know, learn and investigate everything about maintaining and conserving the environment.

The volunteer performs tasks such as: Compost, care of the nursery, clearing trails for ecotourism, day and night monitoring of animals by kayak or walking, using cameras or taking data, working with mist nets, sifting sand for plastic waste. Also important are environmental education workshops with children from the community, and labelling with the shops in Tortuguero.

Another major task is to reforest the vegetation line between the community and the beach for the nesting of the sea turtles (this will provide vegetation corridors, so that the turtles avoid being dazzled by the light and also act as a barrier). There are also spaying and neutering days with dogs to prevent zoonosis, and direct work with the sea turtles patrolling and controlling excessive tourism, and monitoring the behaviour of the Jaguar, among others.

Open all year round, Monday to Friday, approximately 3 or 4 hours of collaboration.

  • Minimum age: 18
  • Maximum age: None
  • Copy of CV required: No
  • Qualifications required: None
  • Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

In this programme you can go from 1 week and it has a cost with the donation included:

Weeks Cost
1495€
2670€
Additional240€

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA OFFER?

  • Orientation and induction to the project or programme
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Programme monitoring and evaluation
  • Certificate of weeks spent volunteering
  • Tax certificate to be deducted in your income tax return
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the programme
  • Liability and volunteer insurance
  • Accommodation for the duration of your volunteer placement
  • Three meals a day during your volunteering
  • 24/7 support from the local organisation
  • Orientation and induction to the project

WHAT IS NOT OFFERED IN VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

  • Flight to Costa Rica
  • Visa if required
  • No airport pick-up
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Internal transportation or excursions
  • Trips or excursions within or outside the country
  • Travel medical insurance with Covid coverage
  • Beverages, special diets or meals

How can I volunteering in Costa Rica?

Anyone wishing to be part of a volunteer programms in Costa Rica, in most cases, does not need any specific training, but only a degree:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Willingness to carry out various activities
  • Be a communicative, participative and committed person.
  • Have a good conduct and be respectful of the people you work with.
  • Respect the culture and customs of the country.
  • Ability to work in a team
  • You must be able to adapt easily

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


Where can I volunteer in Costa Rica?

The projects take place in the country of volunteer in Costa Rica.

  • In the Teaching and Care programmes you will sleep in Alajuela, while with the Animals project you will sleep in San Carlos, where the project is located.
  • In the Turtle programmes, you will be on the same beach where the project takes place, so for this programme you will have to spend the night in Costa Rica the day you arrive, the beaches where we collaborate are in the area of Matina Limón, Corcovado, Quepos, Samará, Montezuma.
  • In the programmes in Tortuguero, in the music school programme you sleep in a hostel, while in the environmental education and research programme you sleep in the volunteer’s house in the same project.

For more information, questions or assistance with a colleague of our team you can contact us via phone or Whatsapp here.

The steps to follow to register are as follows:

  • Fill out the form to reserve your volunteering.
  • Wait for our confirmation of availability.
  • Make a 1st donation for the registration to the Adventure Volunteer association.
  • You will receive an email with the volunteer agreement to be completed by you.
  • You will return to us by email all the requested information and you will be able to purchase the flight.
  • A few weeks before you start you will receive information from the local organization.
  • Now you only have to pack your suitcase, you have a whole team that will make everything easier for you and you will be in contact at all times, so you don’t have to worry.

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

To be part of the volunteer programs in Sri Lanka, it is not necessary any specific training and it is only required:

  • To be of legal age (possibility minor with guardian or parents).
  • To be a participative and committed person.
  • Be respectful of people, culture and customs.
  • To know how to adapt and work in a team.
  • Criminal record certificate for social work.
  • Sign cooperation agreement and interview with our team.
  • Appropriate clothing for the destination.
  • Knowledge of English or Spanish.

LODGING IN TORTUGUERO

  • Accommodation in the Music School program will be in a hostel very close to the project. It has common areas and offers breakfast.
  • Lodging in the Environmental Education and Research program is in the same project in the volunteer’s house with shared rooms and shared bathrooms. It includes 3 meals a day.

What does the project housing offer?

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

ANIMAL PROJECT HOUSING

  • Volunteers stay in homestays. The homestays are humble, where you will share and live like a local, sharing rooms with other volunteers, as well as sharing common spaces and bathrooms.

What does the project housing offer?

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

HOUSING IN TEACHING PROJECT

  • Volunteers who are part of the volunteer teaching or care project live in a family home or in a volunteer’s home.

What does the project housing offer?

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

ACCOMMODATION IN TURTLE PROJECT

If you go to the turtle project, you will stay in the house that is available for volunteers at the project facilities (beach). We have several accommodations since you will go to the project that has the most nesting needs at any given time.

What does lodging at the turtle project offer?

  • Bunk beds in a room shared with other volunteers.
  • Use of common areas.
  • 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during your volunteering.

WHAT WILL THE ARRIVAL AT THE DESTINATION BE LIKE?

Once at the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in Costa Rica, located 17 kms from downtown San Jose, you will be welcomed by one of the transporters or coordinator of the local organization (depending on the selected program and if you have arranged a low cost pick up with them).

Depending on the time of arrival in the country and 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 information to keep in mind when arriving in Costa Rica

  • If you arrive and pass the immigration controls and you do not find the cab driver or local coordinator (if you have included the pick up or if you have arranged it at low cost with the local coordinator), do not move from the airport. 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.

VISA IN COSTA RICA

Not all people traveling to volunteer in Costa Rica need to present a visa, it will depend on your nationality.

Spanish nationals are not required to have a visa for a maximum stay of 90 days, but you do 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 for a person who is not from there.

Usually 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 recommend you to take into account the following:

  • Let your coordinator know where you will be going, in case you are going on an excursion, so that he/she can warn you about the places.
  • Keep your coordinator’s phone number and the address where you are staying handy for YOUR safety.
  • Avoid giving out information about the house, the work sites and the rest of the volunteers for safety.
  • Do not bring anyone from outside the organization to the volunteer’s home.
  • Recognize and avoid risk areas in every place you visit.
  • Travel in austerity in your daily transfers and excursions.
  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself by wearing very revealing or expensive clothing (jewelry and accessories).
  • Do not take out your cell phone in public or leave it on the table somewhere.
  • Try to use safe transportation services in the country or services such as Uber or safe cabs.
  • Avoid walking alone on the street at night.
  • Never take someone you do not know in an unfamiliar vehicle or in your own vehicle.
  • Do not drink any beverage whose origin you do not know.

To secure your reservation, the following contributions are necessary:

  • Initial registration payment: Secure your program with a 150€ deposit to secure your spot.
  • Project expenses: These funds will be directed towards supporting local initiatives, educational resources, infrastructure development, coordinator management, and other project-specific services like airport transfers, meals, and lodging.

Your journey supports small organizations worldwide, crucial for their funding and sustainability. Most operate without government or large institutional aid.

WEEKSANIMAL AND ENVIRONMENTALTURTLESTEACHING CHILDRENLITTLE MUSIC SCHOOL
1 495€495€
2 670€ 670€795€490€
3 860€860€910€655€
Additional240€240€240€210€

WHAT DOES VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA OFFER?

  • Accommodation during your stay as a volunteer
  • Airport pick-up (teaching children)
  • Meals during your volunteer placement (music school breakfast only)
  • 24/7 support from the Adventure Volunteer team
  • Programme monitoring and evaluation
  • Orientation and induction to the programme
  • Certificate of completed weeks of volunteering
  • RC insurance
  • Guidance, advice and management in the choice of the programme

WHAT IS NOT OFFERED IN VOLUNTEERING IN COSTA RICA?

  • Flight to Costa Rica
  • Airport pick-up (except for children’s tuition)
  • Visa if required
  • Vaccinations, if required
  • Internal transportation or excursions
  • Travel within or outside the country
  • Hostel accommodation
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Beverages, diets or special meals
  • Bottled water

How to get involved in volunteering in Costa Rica?

STEP 1

Once you have filled in the programme form, we will verify everything and confirm your place.

STEP 2

The registration fee must be paid within 7 days, then your place will be guaranteed and you will be part of the family.

STEP 3

We send you the volunteer guide, compulsory insurances and the international volunteer agreement.

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 the volunteer in Costa Rica is the Colón.

Example of costs in Costa Rica: 585 colones = 1€ (April 2023).

  • 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 volunteering 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 600€ and 800€ 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 the volunteering 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

Do I need to have travel insurance for volunteering in Costa Rica?

Yes, all volunteers who volunteer with Adventure Volunteer are required to have travel (medical) insurance.

What vaccinations are required for volunteer in Costa Rica?

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

You will have to fill in a QR health form and have an insurance that covers hospitals 50,000$ and accommodation in case of Covid 2000$. They do not ask for PCR or Antigens.

We recommend all our volunteers to check with the Costa Rican Embassy in their country and then with their doctor before travelling. However the vaccinations that are always recommended are: Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A and B and Typhoid.

Where can I exchange 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. Make sure that the money you bring in dollars is not 50 or 100 dollar notes, as many places don’t like to receive them.

Will I have free time during my 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 devote to volunteer in Costa Rica?

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.

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