• 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 $420 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
Jan 03, 2023
Aug 10, 2022
147 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trusted by 124,000+ 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 culture, then volunteering in Costa Rica is for you. Choose from 16 meaningful projects spanning 1 to 24 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.

Ready to make a difference?

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • IVHQ’s Costa Rica program includes 16 meaningful projects is available year-round, starting every Monday.
  • Fully hosted volunteer experiences starting from only $420 for 1 week - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • Support impact-driven volunteer projects run by locals within your host community
  • Flexible booking and free changes so you can register with confidence
  • Incredible add-ons available, including volcano treks, coffee plantation tours, adventure sports and a popular mini adventure

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

4.90 Rating
based on 62 reviews
  • 5 rating 90.32%
  • 4 rating 9.68%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.8
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.8
  • Value 4.75
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 62 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Decision I Could Have Made for Myself in 2021

IVHQ was the best decision I made in 2021. I just graduated college COVID style and I was feeling a little stuck and conflicted on what my next step would be. I didn’t get to study abroad due to COVID and then I came across IVHQ and I thought this was perfect!

I knew I wanted to travel and volunteer somewhere in Latin America and I knew I’d be doing this trip solo, so I looked at was IVHQ recommended for solo travelers and the Childcare project in Costa Rica instantly got my attention.

I planned my trip only one month in advance. I did my individual research and asked all my questions with my IVHQ advisor and by the week before I left felt pretty prepared on what to expect during my trip.

IVHQ emphasizes their 24/hr and they lived up to it. I felt well supported throughout my time in Costa Rica. The orientation was very thorough with providing us with information about our placements/transportation/ Costa Rica need to knows/ volunteer activities/ etc. We were also able to meet all the volunteers even if we had different projects. I met some of the best people through this experience!

My time at the Daycare/School that I volunteered at was great! The language barrier was tough at times but the in-class teachers always tried to include me in the activities and care for the children. A new face in the classroom is something all the kids appreciated and I felt very welcomed.

Outside of the volunteer work, I was able to spend my free time exploring and appreciating the culture in Costa Rica. I spent my weekends traveling to different parts of Costs Rica with some of the other volunteers. I also liked how our placements and IVHQ headquarters was in the center of the city so it was easy to explore San José.

My program was short because I wanted to try out this program and see if it was trustworthy before I commit to multiple weeks at another destination. After my first experience with IVHQ, I already started saving for my next project with IVHQ! Overall my experience in Costa Rica was humbling yet liberating!

  • Humbling yet liberating experience
  • Volunteer with Purpose
  • Learned more about Costa Ricas culture and people
  • I wish I had another volunteer roommate in my homestay
22 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Experience!

I had an amazing experience doing the childcare program in Costa Rica. Not only were the kids and staff amazing, but I made unforgettable memories with some amazing new friends! I spent two weeks volunteering at a daycare serving underprivileged children. I also had enough free time in the afternoon and at night to explore Costa Rica and all the country had to offer. I felt very safe and welcomed by not only the Maximo Nivel staff but by my host family and the staff at the daycare. Would highly recommend!

  • Made friends
  • Immersed myself in a new culture
  • Had to pay for everything/nothing was covered through the program
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing company, will change your life!

Amazing company, changed my life. Volunteering abroad is such a great experience. I traveled to Costa Rica and am planning a trip to Tanzania!! IVHQ helps you all the way through and provides you with all the help and advice you need. I will be going on MANY more IVHQ trips! This experience is eye opening and helps you make a difference on the world. I worked at a daycare in Jan Jose Costa Rica, each day we put smiles on the children's faces and its so heartwarming. Experiencing another culture and volunteering is an amazing experience and I am forever grateful for IVHQ!

  • Heart warming
  • new cultures
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

costa rica christmas experience 2021!

Enjoyed seeing the gorgeous terrain and meeting very kind people in COSTA RICA while I worked with other Americans and a few Brits to help with the weeklong Christmas experience for local kids and an adult special needs home. Local contacts were very responsive to minor issues as they came up and host family Lopez was so welcoming and relaxing at the end of each day. Seeing the children's museum in san jose...a renovated jail from early 1900s whose doors and windows are gorgeous cast iron was super!

What was your funniest moment?
Getting to ride to work on the back of host family Lopez scooter...with helmet on of course!
43 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!

Last month, I returned from a week-long medical project in San Jose, Costa Rica. To say that it was one of the best experiences I've ever had is not an exaggeration! My program manager and the pre-departure IVHQ team were very kind and attentive to my questions. They provided ample resources to ensure my preparation for the trip, including COVID-19 safety procedures while in-country. Upon arrival to Costa Rica, the in-country team was extremely helpful and present for my every need! My homestay family was kind and clean, and the food was great. I also made some good friends along the way.

My only complaint would be with the medical project itself. Although everyone at the site was very sweet, welcoming, and knowledgeable, they seemed unprepared to take on an IVHQ volunteer. I was left multiple times standing around with nothing to do, even after continuously asking if I could help with or participate in anything. Besides this minor detail, I had an incredible experience and would recommend volunteering with IVHQ to everyone!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open-minded and kind at all times! The Costa Rican people are some of the nicest, most welcoming people I've ever met. Oh, and don't be afraid to practice your Spanish, no matter what level you're at!
58 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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!
64 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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!

63 people found this review helpful.
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Default avatar
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.
63 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story

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.