Costa Rica

Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica

These projects are now open to international volunteers!

Costa Rica Projects

Join our volunteer projects in Costa Rica, where we have different projects available. You can start every Monday, and you can join from 2 weeks up to 8 weeks. You can combine the projects and create your own program!

Fast Facts

Location: Esparza, Costa Rica
Start Dates: Start every Monday
Duration: Minimum 2 weeks – Maximum 8 weeks
Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO)

Submit a free application so we can check your eligibility and availability for you.

costa rica volunteer

Unique Cultural Experiences

Sustainable Worthwhile Projects

Receive Top Quality Support

Meet International Volunteers

Location & Accommodation

Esparza is a medium-sized agricultural town nestled amongst the mountains above Rio Barranca, in the Central Pacific Coast area of Costa Rica. The area was first settled by the Chorotega and Huetar peoples. The Chorotega people fled from Mexico 1,500 years ago and brought their traditions with them. This is a possible reason why there are Mexican words that jump several countries and turn up again in Costa Rica.

The pace of life is relaxed. It is not unusual to see horses being ridden in the street. The town itself is off the tourist trail. However, the nearest beach for surfing and relaxation is only 20 mins (14kms) away. Within a distance of 25 kilometers, you can also find canopy tours as well as the world-famous attractions of Puntarenas, including a marine park and a newly renovated marina. Likewise, the nearest national park, Carara, is only an hour’s drive away.

You will be met upon arrival at Juan Santamaría Airport (SJO) on Sunday. You will be picked up by the local team and transferred to your accommodation to meet the other international volunteers. We will provide you with full arrival and contact details when you book your program.

On the Monday of your first week, there is an orientation by your coordinator, so you can get comfortable with the surroundings as well as the local culture.

The accommodation is in shared rooms with other volunteers. Throughout the journey, you will be accommodated in basic but clean single-gender dorm-style rooms. The rooms will be shared with other volunteers. There are 3 meals included per day from Monday to Friday, and 2 meals per day on weekends.

The Projects

Childcare Project

During this week, you will visit a Childcare Placement program where you will work with the daycare and preschool kids aged between 6 months and 6 years old.

This placement is all about cultural interchange and fun, helping the children to grow up to be happy, inquisitive, creative, and unique individuals. You will gain an insight into childcare and the local education system through this experience.

You will either be in a bilingual private institution, government daycare, or a charity-run daycare. 

The program consists of working with students aged between 6 months and 6 or 12 years depending on the placement, teaching, and playing in English.

Participants will be working alongside local staff but will be free to bring their own ideas into class. It is important to
understand that the methods of teaching and interacting are less important than the attitude of the participant towards the children.

This is the schedule:

Monday to Friday
You will be balancing a range of activities for your duration at the school or daycare. Your schedule can be flexible, but you should be prepared to teach 3-6 hours a day. You will have lunch on-site and can expect to remain there from 07:30 until just after 16.30, depending on
your schedule, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the school and its activities, and to get to know its students and staff.

* This schedule can be changed or amended depending on weather or local circumstances

Physical Education

During this week, you can get involved with children in the local community while experiencing cultural exchange and giving them an opportunity to play sports at school.

You can teach Physical Education in a school in Esparza where there is no formal sports equipment, classes, or sports facilities. You’ll have a chance to be creative and share your skills and expertise in your field of interest. This program consists of working with students aged between 5 and 19. You will be organizing games and engaging in training exercises during school time. You can teach in English or Spanish, or a mix of the two.

You will be organizing and balancing a range of classes for your duration at the school. With some schools, your schedule can be flexible and you may also have some say in what classes you prefer to teach, but you should be prepared to teach 3-6 hours a day.

You will have lunch at the school and can expect to remain there from 08:00 in the morning until just after 16:30, depending on your schedule, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the school and
its activities, and to get to know its students and staff.

You should also have plenty of time to reflect on and compare your experience with your personal experiences back home and to plan classes.

This is the schedule:

Monday to Friday
The local government and Educational Supervisor are fully behind our project, giving us access to many schools in the area. This program consists of working with students aged between 5 and 19 and organizing games and exercise during school time.
You can teach in English or Spanish, or a mix of the two.
Participants will be free to choose their own way of teaching. It is important to understand that the methods of teaching are less important than the attitude of the participant towards the students.
At times schools may focus on different activities, for example, environmental issues or current festivals, and you will be given the opportunity to take part.

* This schedule can be changed or amended depending on weather or local circumstances
** Please take note of the long holidays (late Dec to early Feb) and the other Public Holidays, at those times, renovation work continues, with the option to join special classes and English camps when requested by the local community.

Language Teaching

The language teaching program is for your chance to give back to the local rural community by teaching children in government schools and by giving them exposure to other cultures and languages. You can teach in one of the many rural schools around Esparza and get an inside track on the Costa Rican educational system. You can teach English or French, German or Mandarin according to your expertise and way of teaching style.

Teach in one of the many rural schools around Esparza and get an inside track on the Costa Rican educational system. Teach English (or French, German, or Mandarin if qualified) to the children in a fun and
practical way. Create real-life situations, games, and other activities.

There is a lot of freedom for your own creativity and ideas in the classroom!

Some of the larger schools have English teachers, but the teachers themselves often struggle. Participants will be free to choose their own way of teaching and may bring their own ideas into class. It is important to understand that the methods of teaching are less important than the attitude of the participant towards the students.

In addition, the subjects to be taught can alter, depending on current activities in the schools which might include, for example,
environmental issues or current festivals. 

This is the schedule:

Monday to Friday
You will be organizing and balancing a range of classes for your duration at the school. With some schools, your schedule can be flexible and you may also have some say in what, classes you prefer to teach, but you should be prepared to teach 3-6 hours a day. You will have lunch at the school and can expect to remain there from 08:00 until just after 16:30, depending on your schedule, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the school and its activities, and to get to know its students and staff.

* This schedule can be changed or amended depending on weather or local circumstances
** Please take note of the long holidays (late Dec to early Feb) and the other Public Holidays, at those times, renovation work continues, with the option to join special classes and English camps when requested by the local community.

Construction Project

During this program, you can help maintain, restore and construct buildings such as schools and retirement homes, as well as recycling gardens and sports fields. You will be involved in bio-gardening projects, biogas projects, and river or beach cleaning. The projects you will be working on will depend on the requirements of the local communities we work with. Environmental projects are also eager for workers when their funds allow for projects to commence. If you are staying for longer than weeks, you can expect a varied workload.

This is the schedule:

Monday to Friday
Your workload will vary depending on the project, and you may not be at the same site all day.
You can expect to work for 3-6 hours as manual work in Costa Rica is demanding, due to the humidity. You will have lunch either on or near the site or at the center and can expect to be away from the center between 07:00 in the morning until approximately 16:30, depending on your schedule, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the project and to get to know other participants and local contributors.

* This schedule can be changed or amended depending on weather or local circumstances
** Please take note of the long holidays (late Dec to early Feb) and the other Public Holidays, at those times, there may be disruption to the program, as we work with local organizations, and so must be flexible to their needs

Marine Park & Animal Rescue

Get involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of sea birds, mammals, and reptiles, including rare marine animals, before they are released into the wild.

You will also work behind the scenes in the aquarium, cleaning and feeding animals, including docile sharks & sea turtles. You will get closer to rare marine animals than most people ever do.

This program lets you join a rehabilitation centre where we strive to improve the lives of animals that have been neglected and mistreated, or that would have died of disease or accident. We also educate locals and tourists on the importance of marine conservation. During this program, you will also work behind the scenes in the aquarium, cleaning and feeding animals, including docile sharks & sea turtles. You will get closer to rare marine animals than most people ever do.

During the program, you will be working with local staff as they clean, feed, and give medical attention to animals at the marine park, both in the aquarium and in the rescue center. On-site training will be given.

Larger marine animals need to be scrubbed periodically to remove algae, and temperature and pH levels in tanks need to be monitored. Glass tanks and enclosures need to be cleaned, and all the animals fed.

The main of the center is to return animals to the wild. Most of these creatures were
previously neglected and mistreated.

This project is for minimum 4 weeks.

This is the schedule:

Monday to Friday
Your schedule will be flexible, but you should be prepared to be active for 4-6 hours a day.
You will have lunch with your local co-workers and can expect to be occupied between 09:00 in the morning until just before 16:00, depending on your schedule, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself in the project and to get to know co-workers.
The project site is near the accommodation, on the coast, 100ms from the sea.

* This schedule can be changed or amended depending on weather or local circumstances
** Please take note of the long holidays (late Dec to early Feb) and the other Public Holidays, at those times, there may be disruption to the program, as we work with local organizations, and so must be flexible to their needs

Farming Placement

This week’s experience lets you assist local farmers with their livestock and crops of coffee, cacao, and avocado in Costa Rica. You will explore and engage with local farmers and get a real taste of rural life. You can also assist farmers with livestock (mainly horses, cattle, and fowl). This is an extraordinary experience where you will be immersed in rural life, perhaps assisting with bio gardening projects, horse training, and many more.

With the farming placement, depending on the farm, you may have the opportunity of staying on the farm rather than with other participants in town, although you will not be far away. This placement will vary depending on the season. You will be based on one farm, but may spend time at others to experience different aspects of rural life, such as cheese or honey production.

Many farms have a wide variety of livestock and crops, and several projects on the
go at any time, so be willing to get your hands dirty!

If there are opportunities to take part in rural development or agronomy projects during your stay, we will make sure that you are involved.

This is the schedule:

Monday to Friday
Your schedule will be flexible, but you should be prepared to be active for 3-8 hours. You will have lunch on the farm and can expect to be occupied from early in the morning until as late as 17:30, depending on what is needed at the time. Some days will be tough, while others will be relatively relaxed, and activity will depend on the season.

* This schedule can be changed or amended depending on weather or local circumstances
** Please take note of the long holidays (late Dec to early Feb) and the other Public Holidays, at those times, there may be disruption to the program, as we work with local organizations, and so must be flexible to their needs

Prices

2 Weeks: 999 Euro
3 Weeks: 1299 Euro
4 Weeks: 1599 Euro
+1 Week: 299 Euro

Our base prices are in Euro, but you can pay in Euro, US$ and Pounds. The prices will be at the currency exchange rate from the Euro at the time of payment. Click here to check the prices in your currency.

With us, there are NO Registration Fees, NO administration fees, and you can easily combine the different projects.

For Construction & Farming there is an extra fee per week of 35 Euro
For the Marine Park Animal Rescue there is an extra fee per week of 105 Euro

What’s included:
Volunteer program
Accommodation (shared room)
Meals
24/7 in-country support
In-country program orientation
Pre-departure support
Airport pick-up

Not included:
A 5% international banking fee is added.
Visa, flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, criminal background check, Covid tests (if required), transport to your project and back to the accommodation every day, return trip to the airport, transfers between different locations.

Requirements to join:

  • Volunteers need to be minimum 18 years old
  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent
  • Volunteers aged 16-17 are required to have parental consent
  • Volunteers are required to provide a criminal background check
  • Volunteers are required to have volunteer travel insurance
  • Volunteers might need to have a Covid test done before departure (we will inform you of this)

Book your place in 3 steps :

1. Apply: Fill out the Application Form (click below) and we will let you know if you are accepted within 24 hours.
2. Deposit: Once accepted you pay your deposit (200 Euro or 215 US$) to reserve you place in the program.
3. Remaining Fees: You pay the remaining fees of your program, minus the deposit which you already paid, six weeks before your start date of your program.