Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. Even though the country has only about 0.25% of the world's landmass it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Both tropical plant and animal species are abound in Costa Rica. The country is home to more than 200 species of mammals and more than 800 species of birds. Volunteers working in this program mainly work with animal victims of repossession, loss of habitat and accidents from all corners of the country who are brought in by local officials. Many are able to be back to health and released back into their natural habitat.
The most important requirements for this volunteer program are: Hard working skills, being ecologically sensitive, willing to learn about new cultures and the most important one: enthusiasm. In most of the projects there will be a volunteer coordinator in charge to assign the jobs but you are welcome to help anytime you consider is needed. We appreciate creativity.
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It is advised to apply for the projects once the volunteering/ traveling dates are decided as there are limited spots available. The application fee is valid for one full year and can be sent earlier than the desired period of volunteering, for timely confirmation of the seat. As soon as you decide the travel dates, we suggest you to apply for the program and hold your spot. We abide by the first come first serve policy.
Usually, it takes around 10-12 working days for the application to be processed and placement to be confirmed. After we review your CV and documents, your booking is confirmed and the booking confirmation is updated in your My Account and you can view the information in your account. The application acceptance depends on the availability of seats in the project as well as the eligibility criteria of the program (age, skills and experience etc.).
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Costa Rica volunteer projects:
Volunteers must be 17 years or older for Teaching, Childcare, and Spanish Immersion at the beginning of the program. For all other programs, you need to be 18 years or older.
Volunteers joining the medical volunteer project must be either Pre-Medical, Medical or Nursing student or possess other qualifications related to medical and nursing field. Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are also welcome to join the program.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
The participant must be in good health.
Knowledge of Spanish (basic to intermediate) is necessary for all the programs.
Yes, you are welcome to take part in Costa Rica Volunteer Programs as part of a group. We welcome families, friends, high school students, college/university and corporate groups to volunteer together in the Costa Rica volunteer programs.
Yes, most definitely you can, as we believe that every participant brings something new to the project. If you do not have previous experience, we offer you the opportunity to have a great start with us. We make international volunteering easy – not only are our Volunteer Abroad opportunities rooted in offering you extensive support, but they are also very affordable.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The certificate is provided on request.
All volunteers have to arrive one day before their program start date. You can view your arrival dates here. Volunteers are picked up from the Juan Santamaria Airport by the local coordinator or representative and taken to the respective host family accommodations. On the next day, i.e. Monday, there will be an orientation session which will cover the program highlights and provide you details about the city. You will get to know about the local culture, marketplaces, ATMs, internet cafes and where to shop for your daily essentials. On Monday, volunteers would also be required to take a Spanish test to assess their Spanish knowledge.
To add to the project experience, you can also join the Spanish Immersion Week which gives you a crash course in Spanish and even tests your current Spanish skills which would help you in volunteering, and you would also get a chance to experience Costa Rican culture, learn cooking and Latino dancing before beginning the program.
Note: Host accommodation is located in suburbs of San Jose in the Heredia and Santa Barbara areas, along with your projects placements.
The Childcare, Teaching and the Medical Healthcare projects are located near San Jose, primarily in the areas of Heredia and Santa Barbara.
The Turtle Conservation project is located in the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts.
The Wildlife and Rescue Center project is located across different locations mainly in Alajuela Province and the Central Pacific Region.
Participants (most nationalities) require a Tourist Visa to travel to Costa Rica. Travelers from most countries can get a 90-day permit stamped on their passport on arrival.We advise you to check with your nearest Costa Rican embassy as well.
Juan Santamaría International Airport is well connected with direct flights coming in from different destinations in the US and South America. For volunteers coming from North America, following Airlines are recommended:
For those flying in from Europe, direct flights are available, and the recommended airlines are:
Costa Rica is a tourist friendly and safe destination. Volunteering Solutions is very particular about the safety of its international volunteers. We have stringent selection criteria for host family accommodation. You will be given safety precautions and instructions by the local coordinator team during the orientation as well as in your Pre-departure handbook after you become an enrolled participant. Apart from that, we advise volunteers to consult their in-country coordinators before embarking on a weekend trip or going on a night out.
All participants are recommended to consult their physician or travel doctor before traveling to Costa Rica. To view the general list of vaccinations recommended for your travel to Costa Rica, click here.
Yes, for all participants, it is mandatory to have a valid travel medical insurance for their trip. Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions Costa Rica program participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit ?the Meet a Volunteer section on our website.
Volunteers working in Turtle Conservation Project stay in ranger house, host family or volunteer house accommodations close to the project near the beach. Dorm-style accommodation is provided where you will be sharing rooms with other volunteers (same gender basis). Upon arrival in Costa Rica, volunteers are provided lodging in a host family accommodation in Heredia or Santa Barbara. After completing the orientation and project introduction on the first days, volunteers join their respective Turtle Conservation Project in either Pacific or Caribbean Coast.
For all other projects, volunteers will be staying with host families. More details about the host families would be provided after you apply for the program. Volunteers would be provided meals 3 times a day.
Volunteers are provided with three cooked meals a day at the host family house. Local Costa Rican cuisine is a fusion of cuisines from different parts of the world. Common foods are Rice, Vegetables, Beans, Pork, Meat, Chicken etc.
Unfortunately, the entire volunteering experience is as much about volunteering on your project, as it is about the cross-cultural exchange and community building. A lot of that happens through the accommodation that we have set up, where one can enjoy by being with like-minded people. Additionally, for safety reasons, all volunteers must live in the allotted accommodation.
Yes, however, you must inform us in advance and also mention about any dietary requirement in your application form.
Depending on your project placement, you will get evenings and the weekends free to travel and explore the place. In the evenings, volunteers usually get together and go out for social gatherings, eat out or just relax at the volunteer house. Weekends are free for the volunteers and you can go for short weekend trips. There’s actually so much to do in Costa Rica. Visit Nicoya Peninsula, Arenal Volcano, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Tabacón Hot Springs, San José, Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Tortuguero National Park and much more.
The local coordinators will be happy to help you with more information.
Your program fee does not cover your personal expenses. You will need to provide for yourself your personal expenses, such as bottled water, local transport, telephone, shopping, sightseeing etc. However, you should carry around $70-$80 per week for your basic personal expenses. This amount can vary and you would need a higher amount if you choose to go on weekend trips out of town.
Volunteers usually work for 4 to 6 hours a day depending on their program. You will have weekends off so you can travel on weekends. However, volunteers need to be flexible, open-minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
You can change money upon your arrival at Juan Santamaria Airport or from the bank. There is a good network of ATMs as well.
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