Volunteer in Costa Rica with Volunteering Solutions, which offers four major programs in Costa Rica, located in and around the capital city, San Jose. VolSol has volunteer work opportunities at the wildlife and rescue center for animals, at the childcare centers and teaching English to the students as well as Turtle conservation at the beachside.
The Childcare and Teaching projects are located in San Jose and the suburbs, while the Turtle Conservation project is located in the Pacific or Caribbean coastal areas. Most of our volunteers in this location are High School students, followed by gap year travelers, young adults, and families.
For our summer volunteer travelers - Costa Rica attracts more than a million tourists every year with its beautiful beaches, wildlife, forests and mainly for Eco-tourism. More than a quarter of land mass has been set aside as protected reserves, the largest in the world. There are many famous National Parks and Forest Reserves throughout Costa Rica.
The Program Fee that you'll pay to volunteer will include your Pre-departure Guidebook, Airport pickup, Project Orientation, 24/7 in-country support, accommodation, and meals etc.
Volunteers in the Childcare Program work in child care centers, orphanages,community child care centers, community soup kitchens and day care centers` in an around....
As a developing country Costa Rica still needs the help of professional volunteers in the health area, but it is strictly focused on professional volunteers in long term.
Volunteers in this program work in beaches along the Pacific Coast as well as the Caribbean coast. As a volunteer, you will work on projects intended to protect turtle...
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 bio.....
Volunteers in the Teaching English Program teach English to primary and middle school students in schools , community centers as well as orphanages. Learning English i...
Costa Rica attracts more than a million tourists every year with its beautiful beaches, wildlife, forests and mainly for Eco-tourism. More than a quarter of land mass has been set aside as protected reserves, the largest in the world. There are many famous National Parks and Forest Reserves throughout Costa Rica.
Our Volunteer placements are located across different locations in Costa Rica. They are mainly based in Heredia, Santa Barbara, Alajuela and Jaco on the coast. Heredia is located around 10 km north of San Jose and is one of the most beautiful provinces in Costa Rica.
Volunteering Solutions provides unique volunteer work opportunities including Childcare, Medical Program, Turtle Conservation, English Teaching, Wildlife, and Rescue Centre Project as well as Spanish Language and Cultural Immersion Program. Participants traveling through VolSol are mostly Gap Year Travelers, college/ university students, and teenagers on their summer break or spring break.
We also see a good participation from the families and backpackers as well. Although there's no fixed time to apply for the projects, we would suggest you to apply as soon as you decide to volunteer. You must apply at least 45 days before traveling abroad to join your project. The procedure to apply is very simple. You simply have to create an account, and then Login to your 'My Account' to update the details as required and pay your Program Fee.
Projects in Costa Rica are available throughout the year. The minimum duration is 1 week and the maximum is 24 weeks. Participants can choose the duration as per their convenience.
Juan Santamaría International Airport in Costa Rica is well connected with direct flights coming from different destinations in the US and South America, as well as Europe and Asia. For volunteers coming from North America, following Airlines are recommended: US Airways, Delta.
For those flying in from Europe, direct flights are available, and the recommended airlines are Condor Airways and Iberia. You can choose other airlines as well.
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'll advise you to check with your nearest Costa Rican Embassy as well. Once you apply for the program, further guidance regarding the Visa will be provided to you in the Pre-Departure manual.
Due to its proximity to the equator, Costa Rica doesn’t have a defined summer or winter. It does, however, have a rainy season from May to November. The best time to visit Costa Rica is said to be from mid-December to April (which is apparently the dry season). This peak tourist season boasts plenty of sunshine making it an ideal time for exploring rainforests and lounging on beaches. However, for volunteering, any time of the year would be fine.
Costa Ricans believe in "Pura Vida" meaning Pure Life, and hence, the country is absolutely safe. 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 session as well as in your Pre-departure guidebook after you become an enrolled participant. Apart from that, we advise volunteers to consult their in-country coordinators before embarking on a weekend trip. Try to avoid late night parties, drinking with strangers and venturing out at odd hours. Also, don't carry expensive items during your volunteering journey.
Before you travel to Costa Rica, you must consult your physician and take the vaccinations as instructed. We generally suggest our volunteers to take the Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Tetanus vaccines. You must also carry your regular medicines along with you, in case you need them.
You need to get a Travel and Medical Insurance before setting out for a volunteering trip. VolSol also provides the insurance facilities, at an additional cost.
Volunteers usually work at the project site on the weekdays (Monday to Friday) for a duration of 4-5 hours daily. (This timing may vary, depending on the intensity of work). Volunteers working with kids can make a day-to-day plan and set a goal, that would fetch a more sustainable outcome. Apart from teaching and playing, volunteers also get involved in summer camps conducted by the local coordinators wherein they conduct activities with the children.
Volunteers engaged in the projects related to animals must be good in handling the little creature and compassionate about the tasks. It's very necessary to be open to all kinds of work that might be allotted to you.
The evenings would be relaxing, and volunteers can head out to explore the local markets, or stay at the accommodation and get to know their peers better.
Costa Rica is undoubtedly a beach lovers paradise and when you are there in the country, you'll surely spend most of your time by the beaches. Try out several water sports, go for the sunset cruise, and savor the taste of the cuisine at the beachside shacks. As mentioned earlier, the country has a huge span of forested area and you can take tours of the Tortuguero National Park, The Corcovado National Park, and Manuel Antonio National Park. If you are an adventure junkie, then you'll get ample options here - including zip-lining through forests and cave explorations. There is so much to do in Costa Rica, that your weekends might not just be
Volunteering Solutions Costa Rica program team comprises of fully dedicated local Costa Rican staff members who are committed to make your stay a memorable one. The local team will arrange your airport pickup, orientation, project introduction and your stay. The team members are available always in case of any assistance required and remain in regular touch with the volunteers to make sure they have a great time in Costa Rica.
Being an International Organization, we try to make sure that our volunteers are given the kind of comfort and flexibility they seek. In terms of airport pick up, stay, local travel or work and even city tour, we help our volunteers and facilitate everything for them.
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.