• Costa Rica
    • San José
1 to 24 weeks

Program Details

Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Host Family
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30) Large Group (31+)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
Fully hosted experience from only $445 for 1 week - this includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
May 01, 2024
Mar 22, 2024
186 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trusted by 136,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the world's #1 rated volunteer programs in Costa Rica and 50+ destinations worldwide.

For the past 6 years, we've won the "Top Volunteer Abroad Provider Award" from GoOverseas, so you can trust that you're in the safest hands with IVHQ in Costa Rica.

Our affordable projects start from $32/day for your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, project placement and local support. Projects run year-round, with durations from 1-24 weeks. Choose from 16 projects, ranging from Animal Care or Medical in the modern, metropolitan, cultural hub of San Jose to Teaching English in the nature-lover’s paradise of Manuel Antonio. You'll be staying with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world (private room options available).

With IVHQ’s superior pre-departure support services, you’ll gain exclusive access to your own Volunteer Travel Specialist, comprehensive preparation tools and volunteer training before you leave home.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Cheapest volunteer programs from $32/day for your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, project placement & local support.
  • Volunteer for 1-24 weeks, year round start dates most Mondays
  • 15+ years experience & only B Corp certified volunteer travel organization
  • Get free changes up to 14 days before you start with our flexible booking policy
  • Affordable way to earn college credit - gain 5 credits for only US$500!

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.

Program Reviews

4.93 Rating
based on 85 reviews
  • 5 rating 92.94%
  • 4 rating 7.06%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.8
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.8
  • Value 4.75
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 85 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

IVHQ in Costa Rica

I had an incredible time in costa rica! The people were so nice and friendly and I really enjoyed my volunteering placement there. I was working at an equine therapy barn. It was a lot of manual labour, a lot more than I thought, but it was really rewarding.

My suggestion for future volunteers would be to go with an open mind and not a have a certain task in mind of what you’re going to be doing. Whatever you’re doing it will be helpful and good but maybe not necessarily what you thought what you’re doing. Just remember that you’re making an impact and you’re doing some good.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica turtle conservation

I thought I might be to old for this (I am 65). I was wrong. I was the oldest on our team and it was so much fun interacting with the younger people, it gave my new perspective on a lot of things going on in the world. Witnessing the turtles lay eggs was amazing. This program survives with the volunteer program due to lack of funding. The support team was awesome and I felt safe the entire time I was there. I got the international plan with my phone and it worked great everywhere I went. If you are thinking about going, do it now - life is short.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Turtle laying eggs
  • Meeting new people
  • Helping wildlife
  • Experiencing new culture
  • Language, I need to work on my Spanish
  • Plane flight
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best week of my life!!

I could not recommend volunteering abroad enough. It was such a great experience and truly has changed my view on the world. It is such an eye opening experience that pushes you outside of your comfort zone in all the best ways. It allows you to branch out from what you are used to and gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and learn more about yourself while getting the chance to meet so many amazing people. I felt so included everywhere I went and have gained so much confidence from this trip. I hope everyone gets the chance to be involved in an experience like this because it truly is life changing and will give you such a greater appreciation for life itself.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice for future travelers is to go with an open mind. The first day or two took some adjusting to get used to the culture and language barrier. But after I got adjusted and comfortable it was an unreal experience. It is difficult at times and is scary but that is all apart of the process and makes it that much more rewarding because after a week, I was crying tears of joy leaving my homestay.
  • the school was so welcoming and was such a great opportunity to learn about a different school system.
  • I met some of the coolest people and felt so included with everyone I met there
  • the local organization was very supportive and helpful with any questions I had
  • the area was hard to get around with the buses, they were pretty confusing
  • the language barrier is difficult
  • the area is not safe at night to walk around in
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


IVHQ is transparent online and gives a great overview of programs. They were quick and eager to respond regardless of time differences and answered thoroughly and wholeheartedly. I really appreciated their willingness to change my program from teaching english to childcare, it reduced a lot of stress. I felt so safe and cared for especially as a first time solo female traveller at 18! The program had so much support and choose a wonderful company, Maximo Nivel, to oversee everything. Having in country support was vital to feeling comfortable for me! Thank you!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was so surprised how much of an impact a month makes on kids lives. I wasn’t expecting to impact anyone but i left truly feeling accomplished and struggling to leave!
  • Safety
  • Fun
  • Great friends and travel buddies
  • The meal repetition
  • Shared accomodation
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

What an Amazing Adventure!

The information that IVHQ provided allowed me to make informed decisions. The organization that they used in Costa Rica was our on the ground connection. Everything went very smoothly. From arrival to departure, I felt comfortable.

I was met at the airport by a huge, yellow smiley face. From there I was taken to my host house. The owner of my host house was so gracious, kind, funny, and what a great cook! She made the best meals for breakfast and dinner. She was so accommodating. There were about 8 other people staying during my stay and our host coordinated everyone's meals, making sure everyone was well fed. Her home was very comfortable. The home was across the street from the last stop for the bus, and the bus stop to get to town was about 1/2 block away. Uber was always available as well. The only thing I'll say about the host house is this: we were in close quarters with others and we shared a bathroom. With different schedules sometimes people would be up earlier or later chatting or playing music. I would prefer something a little more private and my own bathroom. Also, this is the second country that I've visited where you throw your toilet paper in the trash. I would be ok with that if I wasn't sharing a bathroom with others. At least, I would be more ok with it, never totally ok with it.

My host, took my co-volunteer and I to our first day of service. We took a bus which was about 1/2 hour. There we were met by our guide, who took us to our first day at the childcare. The childcare location was about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes away. (The remainder of the we took an Uber to and from the childcare.) At this childcare location we volunteered from 8-12. It was non-stop. The children would begin the day with formal lessons followed by movement, lunch, and lastly free playtime. One day we walked to a park. The children were a lot of fun. It was less difficult than I thought it would be considering I did not speak a lot of spanish. We were able to communicate with the children and the staff well enough to make a contribution and be of help. Two days into the childcare I developed a terrible cough and lost my voice. I decided it would be best if I wasn't around the children, so I switched to the construction program. Everyone was so helpful. I must have bugged the front desk at least once a day. Everyone, was very helpful and always made things work out.

The ground connection was great. They have a building with a small snack stand, a computer room, a meeting room and meeting space, a travel agent to assist with all of your travel/transportation/activity planning. You can go to the front desk and get all of your questions answered there. I also took Spanish lessions there (which I think is their main business). One night a week they had salsa dance lessons and one night they had cooking class. I attended both cooking classes. The chef was a man of many hats, tour guide, driver, and much more I'm sure. The only thing I would like to have seen is a way to reach the company after hours. They had an emergency number, but I did not have my service. Whatsapp would have been nice. Luckily, I did not need after hours service, but a couple other people did and the response was a little slow. During the day it was great!

So I switched to the construction program. I cannot say enough about this place. The property sits on 2 1/2 acres and provides housing, medical care, child care, education, and much more to single mothers. You can google search to find out more.
My partner and I were given the assignment of painting the laundry room the first day. My partner supplied the music. We were accompanied to the project the first couple days, but then we took an uber. I think I could be a painter. This is the first time since my husband died in March of 2021 that I have been able to quiet my mind and really reflect on this burning questions of "who am I now?" We painted, scraped paint off the floor, and did a fine job. Wish I could attach a before and after photo. We were part of a group of 6 or so. The men were moving huge bricks and working on a two story building that was under construction. On the last two days we painted a cement mixer (to keep it from rusting). The laundry room painting was my favorite. There was a nice breeze and we were out of the sun, but even painting the mixer we were somewhat shielded from the sun.

My host friend invited me out to dinner on my last night there. She and her family took me to a restaurant, not sure where. Then they drove me to a surprise. The overpass overlooked the town of San Jose! Simply breathtaking!!

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment was when I hired a little boy that was hanging around the construction site to teach me spanish. We talked about the pay. I asked him how much, he shrugged his shoulders. I told him 1 colones and he vigourously shook his head no (that's 20 cents US). We worked out the pay. He was so funny. He started quizzing me like a teacher I had in high school. I told him despacio. He started to move in slow motion instead of slowing down. He was such a cutie. Unfortunately, no pics of the little ones. I wanted to take him home. I also commissioned him to make thank you cards for me, which were also pretty amazing. I'm attaching one to this review.
  • The IVHQ staff and the on the grounds Costa Rica people) were amazing!
  • My host house and hostess and her family were amazing!
  • The scenery is breathtaking!
  • Close quarters with others on different schedules.
  • Shared bathroom where toilet paper is thrown in the trash.
  • Inability to contact ground team after hours if you don't have cellular service (whatsapp would have been helpful)
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience

My experience was amazing because of the people around me! Don't be shy to get out of your comfort zone.

25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Helping with best

Our group is a group of physician assistant that just finished our didactic phase of school. We came prepared to work and help. The staff was amazing. They were efficient, helpful, and put us all at ease. I would recommend them 10 out of 10 for booking a medical mission trip. I can't wait to work with them again in the future. Our cohort learned valuable skills while working on our medical spanish. I would definitely suggest brushing up on your spanish skills if you are not fluent to make things easier for you.

What was your funniest moment?
While in the patient education station, me and my partner were struggling to speak in spanish because we both have southern accents. The patient was laughing at us and patient. Thank GOD! LOL
  • location
  • staff was helpful
  • working with patients
  • food
  • housing
  • no a/c
23 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


IVHQ is an excellent program for groups, would highly recommend. We took a group of 14 students on this trip. Booking the trip was simple, easy, and low stress. All employees that we worked with were very helpful and provided all of the information we needed to complete the trip safely. Upon arrival, we were offered an educational session on how the week was going to be organized. They then provided transportation to our housing where our groups would stay for the week. I would highly recommend this company to colleges.

  • Professional
  • Organized
  • Impactful
  • Busy
  • Transportation costs after hours
36 people found this review helpful.

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.