• 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
Apr 25, 2023
Sep 14, 2023
166 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trusted by 125,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the world's #1 rated volunteer programs in Costa Rica and 50+ destinations worldwide.

For the past 5 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

4.92 Rating
based on 74 reviews
  • 5 rating 91.89%
  • 4 rating 8.11%
  • 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 74 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience if you want to get out of your comfort zone

For me it was my first volunteering experience and I am satisfied with the program choice made (animal care in San Josè - Costa Rica). What I found was an environment where you have to work hard, even with menial jobs, but which perfectly reflected the idea I had of what I was going to do. I love animals and for the first time I found the satisfaction of concrete help for animals in shelters, help that goes far beyond simple caresses and cuddles. In my opinion it's a perfect start for someone who wants to work with animals.

  • Immediate effectiveness of your work
  • Excellent working environment
  • Enjoy working with animals outdoors
  • Better to know Spanish because English is not widely spoken
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Living like a Tico

My experience in Costa Rica was amazing and this was possible thanks to IVHQ too. Since the beginning, I felt supported by my project manager who promptly answered to my questions and responded to my needs.
The program guide available on the easy access IVHQ website is a fundamental tool to not get caught unprepared before departure, in fact, this along with the orientation day made me feel ready and safe.
My host family was very accommodating and I will carry everyone in my heart. They made me live like a real Tico!
The local team verified about twice a week that everything was ok on the field while volunteering. On one of these occasions, I was filmed while proposing conscious breathing and mindful eating activities to the children. I did it in accord to the reference teacher. I suggest you release your creativity without fear.
I turned to local team travel agency to organize trips of one or more days. I highly recommend doing the excursions on your free time in order to not miss beauties of this wonderful country.
I really enjoyed the salsa and cooking lessons offered by the local team, another good way to know others people from all over the world!
Pura vida!

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


The growth I experienced at 57 years old was significant! Further, I was as fortunate to spend 4 weeks with my daughter which brought us even closer. The friends and connections we made are invaluable. We made friends with the people of Costa Rica and the people we volunteered with. I joyously expect our friendships to last a lifetime.
The staff of IVHQ as well as the in country organization of Maximo Novel were extremely helpful and understanding.
This adventure was a leap of faith that did not disappoint!

  • People who volunteered
  • People in the country
  • Seeing the fruits of our efforts
  • Late night walks
  • Weather we were not used to
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

IvHQ. Costa Riva

This was a wonderful, unique and blessed experience. You get to meet many people from different parts of the world. The way you meet a learn aboit the xpintry is " hands on". You learn how they live and how they can affort moving from.point a to b. Tje personnel made this experience very easy and they have many activities for volunteers to meet and hace an active social life after volunteering which was what made this a unique experience.If tou want to learn from a country you definetly need to volunteer at IVHQ. The BEST!!

  • Safety
  • Personnel
  • Organization
  • Price maybe
  • Did not have a partner
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Costa Rica

I had an amazing experience teaching English in Costa Rica! The local team was extremely friendly and helpful with anything I needed. My host family was accommodating and always made sure I was taken care of, such as prepping breakfast if I wasn't going to be there in the morning. I highly recommend going on excursions during your free time and make new friends! I felt safe throughout my trip, from the minute I was picked up at the airport, to the minute I was dropped off at the airport.
I can't wait to volunteer with IVHQ on another program!

  • make new friends
  • try local food and experience authenticity
  • have an impact in the local community
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica volunteering

Even though volunteering was an experience I always wanted to be a part of, I didn’t think it was actually possible once I applied. It didn't feel real until I got to the Costa Rica airport and I was alone. The first night was hard, I was a minor in a different country doing and seeing things I was not used to. Being apart from everything I was used to and being away from my parents was hard, but as soon as I saw the face of all the children everything changed. In orientation, I saw how everyone was scared, whether they were volunteering, in Spanish immersion, if they were minors or over 18. At the end of the day, age is just a number and everyone is allowed to be scared of the new environment. It took some days, but Costa Rica slowly became my home. Volunteering in a developing country made me realize various things about my own country, and it made me want to help improve, not only the education, but the country environment. For four weeks, I worked with children so resilient it amazed me. How they needed so little to be happy, seeing their laughing faces while playing soccer with a plastic bottle, dancing, or even learning. I believe we got so used to what we have, we never learned to truly appreciate things we had. The last week of my volunteer program I decided to donate 11 pairs of shoes for the children who I believed needed them most. It was an anonymous donation, because it's for them, to help them, not to get a reward or an appreciation. I believe that was one of the most important lessons I learned there.
The first week I worked with a group of children with hyperactivity and autism from ages 2-4 and they were amazing, seeing how open they were to new people and how they just wanted love and support was heartbreaking. The next few weeks I worked in the same daycare, but with a different group. I was able to use what I learned and teach english. I believe it was the best I could’ve done. My native language is Spanish, which gave me a chance to communicate and connect with them, while teaching them something useful that might help them in the future. I was proud of their motivation and excitement to learn new things, and of how much they learned by the last week. They are amazing, and they have so much love in their hearts, even after everything they go through. I trust I made an impact on them and on their future.
No one could believe I was a 16-year-old volunteering alone in another country, but as I mentioned, age is just a number. There is no difference between being 16, 17, or even 18. Being older doesn't make you wiser or more mature, experience does, personality does. And even though I was not sure at first, volunteering was the best thing I could have done.
I always thought people were just exaggerating when speaking about their volunteer experience. I thought people were lying when they said they had a different perspective to how they see the world. But I now know it's true, my perspective did change. It made me see problems in the world I didn't know were there, and it just made me want to make more of a difference and continue trying to make the world better, one person at a time. The children make me want to change the small things in the world. I want to change how they view the world, instead of something dark and bad, as something full of light and change. Something that can improve, and something they can help improve. I want to show them they have a great future ahead of them, no matter where they come from.
Being a volunteer with Maximo Nivel was amazing, they were all welcoming and supportive. They always helped you with a smile, and answered all questions in a great way. They were there to help and encourage you along the way. This experience wouldn't have been so amazing without Maximo. The staff working there made me feel confident, they inspired and motivated me to do better.
IVHQ gave me all the steps and made the process easier, they made everything accessible for me and helped me be prepared with what to expect on the trip. They followed through my progress and made me feel like I was making a difference. They gave me good and credible information, I would always recommend this organization for volunteers.

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

IVHQ program Costa Rica

IVHQ did an amazing jobs answering all my questions by email before going on the trip. They made me feel secured and confident in volunteering abroad since going in another country can be scary. They even checked up on me once I was volunteering in Costa Rica to make sure everything was alright. I was very surprised by how organized they are! The local organization Maximo Nivel also made us feel safe. It was nice to go to their office before or after volunteering to meet up with other people and make plans for the week together.

  • Meet new people
  • Make a difference
  • Security
  • Expensive
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I wish I was still there! I did this program with my Mum and we both had an amazing time. We met lots of lovely people from all over the world. The social events that were offered during the program made it even more fun, we did a salsa class and made empanadas.
Was very moved by the hard work that the staff did at the animal shelter we volunteered at, felt really rewarding volunteering our time to give them much needed help, I was so happy to be there and the animals loved us too. Costa Rica is beautiful!

  • Meeting like minded people
  • Learning about another country
  • Felt rewarding
  • Not speaking the language well
  • Project was far away
  • Mosquitos
13 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.