Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer & Gap Year Programs in Costa Rica | IVHQ

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About

Trusted by 113,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the world's most popular volunteer programs in Costa Rica and 50+ other destinations around the world.

If you're after an eco-friendly culture, warm sunshine and friendly locals, then volunteering in Costa Rica is for you. Choose from 15 meaningful projects spanning 1 to 16 weeks, based in San Jose, Manuel Antonio, the Central Highlands and nearby coastal locations.

Your fully-hosted experience includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in either a homestay or dormitory-style lodging with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ offers a multi-layered support network, so even before you depart, you’ll receive outstanding service from your IVHQ Program Manager and gain exclusive access to volunteer training and preparation tools.

Are you ready to immerse yourself in a new culture while making a difference?

Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Costa Rica program is available year-round, starting on the 5th of each month.
  • Fully hosted volunteer experiences starting from only $380 for 1 week - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You'll be joining a global network of 113,000+ volunteers backed by the world’s leading team of volunteer travel experts - IVHQ’s outstanding safety systems and track record set them apart as the world’s safest organization
  • Support impact-driven volunteer projects run by locals within your host community
  • Flexible booking and free changes so you can register with confidence

COVID-19 Update: IVHQ Programs In 30+ Countries Now Open!

IVHQ's world-leading volunteer programs have reopened in more than 30+ countries with additional health and safety measures in place. Thanks to IVHQ's flexible booking policy, it's free to change your dates, volunteer program or destination if your plans change.

Popular Programs

Turtle Conservation Project

Are you a nature lover who thrives in coastal settings? Join IVHQ's Sea Turtle Conservation Project in Costa Rica and work alongside local biologists to help preserve endangered Leatherbacks, Greens, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles. Tasks include assisting with marine conservation activities and supporting sustainable egg protection programs. Spare time can be spent on Costa Rica's white sand beaches and tropical rainforests.

Childcare Volunteering in Costa Rica

Are you an energetic and creative individual with a passion for working with children? Based in either Manual Antonio or San Jose, IVHQ's Childcare volunteers play a key role in supporting staff at after school centers. You'll provide educational and extracurricular activities to local children who are in need of structure and support. Volunteer tasks include organizing games and activities, hygiene education, teaching English, cleaning and assisting the local staff at the project site.

Teaching English in Costa Rica

Do you have an interest in education and teaching English as a foreign language? IVHQ offers two Teaching English Volunteer Projects based in San Jose and Manuel Antonio. As a volunteer, you'll help teach English to individuals in low-income communities who typically don't have access to English tutors. While teaching experience isn't required, you will be running classes independently, so we recommend completing a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course prior to your program.

Healthcare Project

As a volunteer on the Healthcare project in Costa Rica, you may work in a range of community care facilities in San Jose, including clinics for disabled children, nursing homes, HIV/AIDS assisted living homes and ambulance services. The healthcare system in Costa Rica is relatively well developed, however the placements we work with always appreciate the extra assistance that volunteers provide through supporting local nurses, doctors and caregivers.

Costa Rica Construction and Renovation Project

As a Construction and Renovation volunteer in Costa Rica, you'll support underfunded and under-resourced construction projects within San Jose. Your contribution will help breathe new life into communities to benefit local individuals, neighborhoods and economies. You'll work alongside a local construction worker who'll provide you with direction and guidance throughout your project.

Questions & Answers

You can see a lot of reviews here: https://www.volunteerhq.org/volunteer-abroad-reviews/ There are 12 different projects in 50+ locations, so there are lots of options! :)

I'm not sure how big your group is but my sister and I went as a pair and so did some room mates we had at our host families place. Now 3 would probably be reasonable, 4 might be safe but I would say anything above that would be pushing it for sure. The host family we stayed at held 5 of us at one time so I know its possible but it would depend on how many people the host family can hold and how...

You can apply, but you must apply with someone else that is over 18 so that you don't go alone. Hope that helps!

I'm not sure there is an age restriction, but for most of the programs you have to get a background check and in my state you must be 18 to acquire one. I would recommend the program only to people 18+ anyways.

Reviews

9.56 Rating
based on 55 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 89.09%
  • 7-8 rating 10.91%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 55
Default avatar
Paulina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica San Jose

I really loved everything about this experience in Costa Rica. I stayed in San Jose with Doña Flora and I had a really great time during my stay. Even though it was during Covid times, I met new people and had lots of fun with all of the sanitary measurements. I went to Manuel Antonio and it was soooo fun. The national park was amazing and also the boat tour named Ocean King. I definitely recommend those two. I also visited the Irazu volcano and the hotsprings. I went to see the waterfalls La Paz that were really pretty as well. I recommend to ask Maximo Nivel for their tours, since they helped me a lot and had lots of things to do.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Manuel Antonio's National Park was the best thing I saw!
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Childcare in San Jose, Costa Rica

It's so rare that you spontaneously decide to do a trip like volunteering abroad with IVHQ, and all of your expectations are not only met, but wildly exceeded. From the moment I signed up for my trip to Costa Rica, I experienced timely communication from my Program Manager, who often responded to all of my emails with questions and concerns within 24 hours. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, I was met by a representative of the local team who drove me from the airport to my homestay (also, my host family was incredible, friendly, helpful, and served incredible food). During orientation, I learned everything I needed to know, including safety and culture. On the first day of my project, a local team member rode the bus with me to my project to make sure I knew the way and introduce me to the project staff, whom were very friendly and appreciative of the support. I am so impressed by my whole experience. My only regret is I wish that I had volunteered longer! My trip went by way too quickly, and I can't express how grateful I am for this experience and the people I met. Doing a trip with IVHQ is something you won't regret!

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Tia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Holiday Experience- Costa Rica 2020

I recently completed a trip to Costa Rica and it was such a special way to spend the holidays! Costa Rica is an amazing country, with amazing people. As the holiday program covers multiple projects, we got to meet many amazing people and help with such different things. We got to paint a mural and playground at two schools and hand out christmas gifts to many children. We got to work on the construction program on such a meaningful project, apartments for single mothers, which was completely funded through donations! I look forward to returning and getting to take part on more projects

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take full advantage of everyday you spend in Costa Rica! there is so much to see and do. The projects are amazing and you will feel so at home as everyone in Costa Rica is so friendly.
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Default avatar
Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

This is an amazing one of a kind experience. The staff is amazing and passionate about conservation and do a wonderful job of educating volunteers on there purpose and issues with marine life and corals. They are inspiring and empowering, I would definitely go back. Being a party of there crew was just amazing. You will feel like a family at day 1. The food was great, the staff was very knowledgeable on corals and the issues at hand when it comes to saving the reef. Glad I could be a part of a bigger cause.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing (unless you can find a way to control the weather ;) ) they were just perfect.
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Michael
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

I have completed two IVHQ programs, one in Kenya and one in South America. Both programs were well orchestrated and ended up being amazing experiences. IVHQ is affordable and worth every penny. I had never traveled before when I did my first volunteer and program, and it was a fantastic first experience overseas. The local employees help you settle in and I never felt unsafe. I would recommend this program to anyone wanting to travel and help out while you do. It's great for solo travelers as well as friends.

What was your funniest moment?
Meeting people from all over the world was probably the greatest part of my experience. I now have friendships with people from all over the globe.
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Thouriya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My amazing experience in Costa Rica

I had an amazing time here in Costa Rica and mostly thanks to the local staff that helps us in any situation.
I managed to achieve my goals here: To spend time with kids and learn a lot from them
My stay with the host family was also very nice, the host-mom treated us like her own kids and cooked very good food for us while telling us a lot of interesting stories (which helped us to improve our spanish!
People in Costa Rica are incredible and had a big impact on my experience here
Finally, the are so many beautiful places to visit: La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano, Poas Volcano, Isla Tortuguero, National Park of Manuel Antonio ...

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe that a bunch of organized activities during the afternoons (in addition to the pre-existent) would be amazing for all those who stay in the city during the free time
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marissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Program

the most amazing group of kids! never felt so much love and excitement walking through the door. truly a life changing expierence. the staff at the program was so great an helpful with the volunteers and the kids. The host mom was so accomadating and always prepared meals she knew i would eat since i am such a picky eater. The country was amazing with so many helpful and nice people. There was so much to see and do, there was never a dull moment. my favorite part was playing with the kids each day and watching the smiles light up on their face with how much fun they were having.

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Nathaniel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Campaign

This experience was astonishingly impacting to my overall goals in life and where my journey can go from here. One of my favorite moments from the entire trip was the level of enjoyment that was seen from every child that we came into contact with. At every day care we went to, children came up to us and did not worry about the language barrier because it seemingly didn't matter. Our trip organizer, Makayla, was a tremendous help in anything that we needed whether it be a translator, an instructor, or even just a friend.

What was your funniest moment?
I became a human jungle gym for the children of one of the daycares.
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