Volunteer in Costa Rica | Education, Healthcare, Environment or Wildlife

Location
Costa Rica
Length
2 to 24 weeks
Housing
Host Family
Age
18 - 100 years
29 travelers are looking at this program

About This Program

Costa Rica is well known for its natural beauty, wildlife, and relaxed lifestyle. As a volunteer, you will become part of a team working towards helping country's most vulnerable areas and helping to create better and stronger communities.

Volunteers are placed in projects that match their preference and profile. Asides from working you will be immersed in the local culture, language and placed in caring host family.

Highlights

  • Volunteer in Education, Healthcare, Child Care, Environmental Protection and Wildlife
  • Seek thrills by zip-lining through the rainforest
  • Enjoy Surfing and Scuba Diving on your off-day
  • Explore unique wildlife in the many rainforests Costa Rica has to offer
  • Take a tour of Museo de San Ramon

CHILDCARE PROGRAM

In this program you will be doing a variety of activities with the children including: laying with the kids, helping staff with day to day chores, helping prepare meals for the kids, teaching the kids, helping develop educational materials.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction projects have become more popular over the past decade and many volunteers choose to take part in them in Costa Rica. During our construction program you will be helping, along with other volunteers, build houses for Costa Ricans living in poor conditions. During this program you will be: Helping design work plans, helping build the foundations for houses, moving earth to flatten out terrains, painting, building Houses, moving construction materials, helping to build furniture for houses and fixtures.

TEACHING ENGLISH

English has become a basic tool to get into the working world today. Volunteers in the English teaching program will help underprivileged kids in Costa Rica have a chance at learning this language. During this project you will be: directly teaching English, helping other teachers implement English in to their class, creating games for children geared toward teaching English, strengthening a class curriculum such as math and science.

What's Included
Accommodation
Airport Transfers
Some Meals
More info on what's included:

Airport welcome and private transport to your host family, 24 hour support and emergency assistance, project orientation and safety chat, walking tour of local community, Private accommodation (shared bathroom),
Breakfast and dinner, Letter of recommendation

What's Not Included
Airfare
Domestic Airfare
SIM cards
Transportation
Travel Insurance
Visa
More info on what's not included:

Flights to and from country of destination
Transportation upon finishing program
Mandatory health/medical insurance . If you don’t have one you can purchase one here
Personal spending
Visa fees (if any)
Any additional travel and tours

HOUSING

We will provide you with accommodation with a host family

MEALS

Gallo Pinto and Casado are typical dishes in the country but you will find that it differs by region. The basic diet includes beans, rice, meat, seafood, all kind of fresh vegetables and fruits, bread and tortillas which is what you will be mainly eating.

Video

Pricing

Two Weeks
$853 USD
Three Weeks
$1201 USD
Four Weeks
$1449 USD
Five Weeks
$1601 USD
Six Weeks
$1770 USD
Show More
Seven Weeks
$1957 USD
Eight Weeks
$2093 USD

Location

Location:
San Ramón
Currency:
Costa Rican Colón
Weather:
Jan-Mar
79 F / 57 F
Apr-Jun
81 F / 63 F
Jul-Sep
79 F / 61 F
Oct-Dec
75 F / 57 F
Airports:
Juan Santamaria International Airport
( SJO )

San Ramon, like most of Costa Rica, is largely relished for its agricultural abundance. Travelers will enjoy the mountains, forests, teeming wildlife, and litany of hiking trails.

Hosted by Integrated Learning Experiences- INLEX

Integrated Learning Experiences offers volunteer programs , group volunteering and internships in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru and Argentina. Our programs are customized to the participants to create great cultural experiences.
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Project Coordinator
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Reviews

88%
based on 18 reviews
  • Impact 8.1
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.2
  • Value 8.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
Default avatar
Nele
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica - an unforgettable experience!

I spent almost four months in San Ramon, a great city in the centre of Costa Rica.
My experience overseas started with a two-weeks language course which helped me a lot to learn about the specifics of the Costa Rican Spanish, to settle in and to prepare myself for the voluntary program.
I actually had two projects which I enjoyed a lot. The first project is a women empowerment project and it is the perfect place if you want to bring in your own ideas. I worked in the marketing and administration part, but although being a typical office job it was great to support a NGO with the knowledge I gained during my studies. Additionally I could exchange a lot with all participants, we had great events and I learned a lot about life in Costa Rica.
My second project was in the city hall, more specifically in the sustainable city development and here I could learn a lot about the efforts Costa Rica is undertaking in order to achieve their sustainability goals. The biggest part of my work consisted of supporting workshops in primary schools about recycling and it was super interesting to work with the children and teach them about this topic.
But my experience wouldn’t have been this great without my lovely host family. I felt like a family member and could really dig into the Costa Rican family life. For me it is a really important part of the voluntary program to also have this experience!
And to close I have always been supported greatly by my host organisation in San Ramon. I felt welcomed from the very first day and we also did great trips together.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t expect that everything is working like in your home country! You are in a new and different country and therefore things are working differently. Just take some time in the beginning to settle in and observe how everything is working. Don’t compare too much to your home country and just adapt a bit to the lifestyle, I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience!
Default avatar
Thassia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Education

I'm so happy to did this. It is a experince which i never forget. Thank you all for this.
I was in a kind of education project to support children who live in really poor areas and it was a pleasure to see how happy the children are in this project. It had a lot of work, in the morning i worked with the little ones and it was so so great. And in the afternoon i played with the older ones, for example soccer or other sports. It was really good to play and to see the children happy. For me it was the best decision in life and i want to do more in my future. Furthermore i had really good coordinaters in my procet who alwaysw support me. All in all it was a pleasure.
And the volunteering all in all was perfect, with my coordinaters and my spanisch lessons, it was so so good and i really miss it.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The moment when i visited a man in the poor area with my coordinaters. It was horrible to see the living conditions and to understand the whole history.
Nerve-racking isn't maybe the best fitting word, but it was really really sad.
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Tura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure in Costa Rica

It was a unique experience. People here are incredible nice, they are really helpful and amicable.
I felt at home at the family where I was staying and the food there was amazing!
The programm was always looking out for you and they offered some activities for you to get to know all the volunteers.
Costa Rica is a really safe place to travel even if you go alone and if you need anything locals are always eager to help.
The volunteer work is very fulfilling. You get to learn a lot from profesional people and you feel like the work you do really matters.
It’s an incredible oportunity to embrace another culture and get to live it with the locals. Great for learning and getting the opportunity to grow in both work and personal level. Being able to travel alone and discover yourself is one of the best things of this volunteer.
Overall it was an incredible experience and I woult totally recommend this program.

What was your funniest moment?
I went to Manuel Antonio and we visited the beautiful park where we saw a monkey open a woman’s purse and steal a banana.
Liam
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Costa Rica

I came to Costa Rica to practice speaking Spanish through immersion, to improve my teaching skills, to experience a new culture, and to have fun. I’ve definitely met all four of my goals.

I work as a teacher, and most of my students are from Spanish-speaking families. Teaching in Spanish with a new group of students helped me improve my Spanish, and my teaching skills, all at once.

I appreciate about INLEXCA that language immersion is important, as it helps one to be more of a participant in life here. Communication at the volunteer site, within the host family, and anywhere one wishes to travel are all greatly aided by knowing Spanish. INLEXCA makes the effort to connect volunteers with sites that can use their skills. It’s to everyone’s benefit that this is done, and creates a more meaningful experience for everyone.

I’m very happy with INLEXCA, and look forward to completing more programs in the future!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make the most of it by practicing Spanish as much as you can before arriving, and while here. Download apps, have Spanish-only talks with friends, do whatever it takes. You’ll wind up leaving here a dramatically improved Spanish speaker.
Matty
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

construction and research station

This was an amazing projects I loved everyday. All the workers were friendly and made me laugh. They were great company and were always making jokes. The work was good however there were some times where we were just sitting around and waiting for someone to tells us what to do. Out of the two projects I construction was my favorite because there were other people in my position unlike in the research where it was only me and the two guides. however I know this is not because of the staff. However at the construction on my second week there were four of us which I felt was too many for that project at one time. The problem with research station was that I didn't know what to do when the Guides weren't there. They would leave me to do my own research if I had some but I didn't so I would just have to sit there and wait.

Default avatar
Jefferson
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Some of everything

Initially my program was scheduled for 4 weeks in Villa Blanca and a two week Spanish course. The time I spent there was extremely rewarding because I was given the liberty to modify my work to be done. For example: I built a new pond, conducted research, review footage of trail cameras and gained the knowledge of the guides. These things were curtailed specifically for me. The Spanish classes were fantastic too with an exceptionally good teacher! Thank Tanya!
One thing that would be nice is to diversify the activities for example, in my 6 weeks in country I only visited a single school, a home for the disabled, and a Christian mission. I wished to spend more time in these various locations and perhaps other locations. With that said I understand I don’t not have the qualifications required to fulfill these roles. Thank you so much!

What would you improve about this program?
Diversify the options. Research facility, schools etc
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Ole
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Villa Blanca

The program is very interesting for people into nature and physical work.
The work is normal very diverse, but can become repetitive for volunteers working in the Project eg. 6 months.
The guides and employees of the hotel are all very kind and willing to help.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Climbing trees with the guides and setting up the traps.
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Anouk
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

10 weeks in a wildlife project in Costa Rica

I spent 10 great weeks in Costa Rica to work in a wildlife project with marine turtles. The project was locaded in a very beautiful place in Guanacaste, in the north of Costa Rica.
When I arrived at the first day, I felt a little bit lost because I didn't spoke Spanish that well and the project was remote from bigger cities and had no Wifi. But the people were very friendly and after a few days it felt like we were a big family. That was a thing I enjoyed very much, just like the beautiful beaches and the work with the turtles. I had the possibillity to learn many things about conservation and the nature of Costa Rica. The work showed me how important it is to protect the environment and how interesting biology is.
All in all I had an unforgetable time in Costa Rica and made many new and interesting experiences. Actually it was much more than I expected and I just can recommend this project.

Default avatar
Abbie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Costa Rica

Although I only undertook my placement for two weeks, I feel like I have learnt a lot of things in that time! I have discovered an environment completely different from those which I am used to, and I have been able to understand the importance of conserving that environment. It’s been amazing to see animals that I would never see in England, and to see many different places as well! Not only have I done the placement at Villa Blanca, but I have also had the opportunity to travel around as much as I could in two weeks, to beautiful places such as Puntarenas, La Fortuna and La Isla Tortuga. As well as this, I have met some really nice people who hopefully I will stay in contact with, and I think that my Spanish has improved a lot! I would definitely recommend staying with a host family, since they are so kind and generous, and I will be sad to leave! All in all, coming to Costa Rica has been a great experience, and I would love to come back one day! Also, do not be scared about coming on your own, because the country is very safe and you stay with the host family, so it is not like you have to stay anywhere on your own.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I would probably say is that when I first arrived, I couldn´t start work until the Wednesday because there were issues, so I lost two days of being able to do anything. I think that it should be made sure that the volunteer can start on the Monday, or maybe on the Tuesday because of orientation.
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Louisa
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Mi Experiencia

My name is Louisa and I was a volunteer in Costa Rica for 6 month. I had applied for the Wildlife program because I wanted to do something which was unique for Costa Rica and which I couldn’t experience in Germany. I also like animals and enjoy to be in the nature, so this was my decision. I was very excited what my project would be alike and when the information and my project details reached me I couldn’t wait to start.
My project was in an Ecological Park in La Fortuna, which is a nice, little village next to the volcano Arenal. There I lived in two host families. That was because the first family and I had some problems but luckily I could change the family and the new one has always been very lovely. That is the thing with these experiences. It doesn’t always work without obstacles.
I was in my project together with another volunteer. The park is not that big but it’s really beautiful and they have many species of Animals (crocodiles, butterflies, frogs, snakes, caimans, turtles). As a tourist you can book a day tour where you are shown the exhibition part, or a night tour, where you walk around the trails and look for wild animals. And there are so many! Our main job as volunteers was to help the park as tour guides. The cool thing about that was, that we could do the tours in english, spanish and german. What I also really liked was that you get to know so many different, lovely people. And also all the information we had to learn before, we won’t forget so soon, which is amazing too. To learn so much about the different animals. We also had to help the gardener in his tasks. Almost everyday we had to clean the trails, the reception and the toilets. In the end we could help in attending the tourists at the reception. Sometimes we helped in cleaning the butterfly cage, and one time some tourists left the doors of the cage open and we had to catch all the butterflies again. We also found many wild animals in the wilderness, mainly snakes and frogs, and one baby sloth.
In the end I have to say that I changed my project, due to the lack of things volunteers could do there. Also the working climate didn’t work out so well. But all in all was this project a good experience with amazing moments. I had never fed a baby sloth before and will probably never do it again. But those moments were little moments which couldn’t make up for the rest...
My second project then was in an kindergarden in San Ramon. And I really loved to work there. So in the end everything turned out very well for me. As I already said, even though not everything turns out as you expect and wish it to, you can always make your own decisions and create your own, unique experience. And mine was a really great one, which I will never forget!

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Annika
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experiences in Costa Rica

My experience was amazing and also really good to get to know myself better because I had the possibility to get to know a completely different culture and adapt myself. On top of that I had fun in my programs and they were really interesting. I learned a lot helping in the school which has been my first program and every body was so nice and helpful there which is why I will miss them a lot. It was so beautiful to be able to help teaching the kids a little and I had a lot of fun. Furthermore I loved being in the kindergarten and made many experiences with babys, smaller kids and also children that already go to school. Of course I also got to know a lot of the country by travelling at the weekends and by living in a hostfamily and this was amazing.

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Sabine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica intensive

3 months I lived in Costa Rica, 2 ½ months of this time I worked as a volunteer in La Mision Bajo Tejares in San Ramon, a nice town with a pleasant climate northwest of San José. First of all I can say that the stay was an extraordinary and wonderful experience for me.
During the preliminary meeting in Germany, I realized very quickly that as a 62-year-old person I had little chance of meeting aged volunteers during my stay in Costa Rica. I was the only one among (very nice) young adults, most of them had just graduated from high school. I am very glad that this circumstance did not stop me from my intention!
I lived in a Costa Rican family together with another young German volunteer. Despite initial communication problems (my Spanish was still very poor when I left Germany), I felt very well there. The daughter of the house spoke English with me, if there was no other way and the German volunteer was also a great support. I was invited to family activities, but I could also retire, if I felt like it. I especially remember the family trip to the sea over New Year's Eve, to which I was taken along: extended family, big house, relaxed company with a lot of fun, swimming in the warm Pacific, wonderful! I felt well integrated and nearly as a member of the family.
I felt sad when I left.
Voluntary service: Here, too, I have had good experiences. I found the staff to be very nice and very attentive to the children / teenagers and adults. I was allowed to work with the children and adolescents in a reading and calculating program, to prepare for parties, to help with cooking, to write lists, to do handicrafts ... I have received good insights into the lives of the people (Nicaraguan refugees). That was sometimes emotionally disturbing, because the conditions in which they live are quite difficult. At work I sometimes wished that I had started learning Spanish earlier, so I could have made easier contact with the children / young people.
Again, my farewell was not easy.
The support before the trip by Experiment e.V. and in Costa Rica by INLEXCA I found to be very pleasant and supportive. Tanya, our caregiver, lovingly looked after and helped when needed. She even helped me when I was looking for Christmas presents for my host family!
The young volunteers on site were really nice, several times they tried to involve me. I really appreciated that. Especially the contact with the young volunteer in my family was extraordinarily positive for me. Nevertheless it would have been nice, if among the volunteers there would have been some of my age. On the weekends you have time to go on excursions. And the idea of what you want to do differs slightly depending whether you are 20 or 60 years old.
Finally, I can say that this "experiment" has been completely successful. I do not want to miss the experiences I made. Also for people of my age such an intensive getting to know a foreign country is infinitely enriching.

Michaela McGee Go Overseas Heashot
Michaela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I Wish I Could Do This Program Again

I work with Go Overseas and had the opportunity to participate in a INLEXCA's volunteer project in Costa Rica this past month -- I cannot rave more about my experience! I highly recommend this organization to anyone who is looking to volunteer abroad in Central America.

INLEXCA was highly organized start to finish. I was connected with my project coordinator (Tanya) pre-departure and felt fully supported of before leaving the United States. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, Tanya and Carlos (INLEXCA's Co-Founder) were at my gate right on time with big smiles on their faces. I came to Costa Rica knowing little-to-no Spanish, so the smooth pickup was extremely comforting!

I was impressed that Tanya and Carlos went the extra mile to personally drop each volunteer off at their homestay and spend time at the house while the volunteers (myself included) got adjusted. Tanya even had each volunteer's contact on Whatsapp and remained connected throughout my stay. I already miss her daily check-ins!

My host family was more than I could have asked for. I spent the week with the kindest, most caring couple and their family. While they spoke no English, and I barely spoke Spanish, so we found ways to communicated through food and dance. Every night I came home from my project and my host family would give me amazing food, turn on music, and we would enjoy each other's company. It was very clear that they viewed me as a part of the family. All of my meals were home cooked (I felt so spoiled!) and I found that I needed to learn how to say "gracias, estoy lleno" very quickly.

The project itself was also great. I chose a childcare project in San Ramon, at Guarderia Creciendo con Amor. I spent my days busy playing with children from infancy - 12 years old. Even after only a week, I felt that I was able to provide concrete assistance to the teachers and form strong connections with the children. They were lively, sweet, and eager to learn. It's amazing how much care the staff at Guarderia Creciendo con Amor put into their work and I'm proud to have been a part of the impact these experiences will have on the kids.

One thing I will say is that there is a solid amount of free time when you are not working on your volunteer project, and it is up to the volunteers to make the most of it! Carlos and Tanya provided us with every single outlet we needed to make the most of our stay and encourage the volunteers to meet up with each other and get out of the house. Many of my nights were spent at a cafe or restaurant after my project getting the know my fellow volunteer which really made my experience the most memorable. I'm thankful for the strong connections I was able to make in such a short amount of time.

Again, I can't recommend this program enough. If you're an experienced Spanish speaker, or know no Spanish at all, INLEXCA will have a project fit for you. Take advantage of the staff's amazing support and guidance, and make a big impact on the community!

Marii
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience i

I had an amazing experience with my host family & with the program. The coordinator Tanya is amazing, she is always there when you need her. I worked at a church with several kids but the church needed a bit more organization & to distribute work for all volunteers. Overreal amazing experience & I would definitely do it again. The children made a huge impact in me & it felt amazing to help them as well. This experience really helped me understand the lifestyle & culture in Costa Rica

What would you improve about this program?
Talk to la misión
Nikki
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Conservation

The conservation internship was great because I was always outside and able to be active, which I was hoping to be able to do during my time abroad. I also got first-hand experience with the widlife of the Costa Rican cloud forest, a truly surreal privilege to have experienced. I think future interns should know that you will always be moving and will always be kept busy in a fun and intellectually enhancing way. I left the program with knowledge pertinent to several academic fields and memories of the amazing biodiversity unique to the cloud forest.

What would you improve about this program?
WiFi in housing please!

FAQ

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