Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica from $365

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About

Trusted by 90,000+ volunteers, IVHQ offers the most popular volunteer programs in Costa Rica and 40+ other destinations around the world.

You can choose from 12 volunteer project options in Costa Rica and give back for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Your Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. You’ll be accommodated in a homestay or volunteer house, with other like-minded, impact-focused travelers from around the world.

IVHQ is trusted to support the meaningful adventures of thousands of volunteers every year, so before you even depart for Costa Rica, you’ll receive outstanding personalized service from your expert Volunteer Program Manager and exclusive access to superior pre-departure volunteer training.

With IVHQ, you can expect to establish real connections within the local community while supporting projects that make a genuine difference.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Costa Rica:

  • Teaching English
  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
  • Construction and Renovation
  • Special Needs Care
  • Eco-Agriculture Conservation
Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Costa Rica program is available year-round, offering a start date on every Monday
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $365 - IVHQ provides the most affordable and top-rated programs
  • You’ll be joining between 40 and 80 other IVHQ volunteers who start in Costa Rica each month
  • You’ll be traveling with IVHQ, the volunteer travel experts, and joining a network of 90,000+ volunteers. Our outstanding safety systems and track record set us apart, we are the world’s safest organization
  • Your efforts will have a positive impact because our programs are community-driven with a focus on supporting long-term local needs

Questions & Answers

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

96%
based on 28 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 28
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Madison
10/10

Manuel Antonio

I m so beyond grateful I had the opportunity to go guide those children. Volunteering was amazing yet challenging in many ways. For one the language barrier was a real thing. I am beginner level spanish speaker and the children are beginner level english speakers. You go in thinking that you are going to help them but yet they are the ones that actually help you the most. They taught me more patience than I already thought I had and taught me more spanish then I thought they would. The were all so kind, loving, appreciative and eager to learn which made my heart so incredibly happy. Seeing children want to further their education and knowledge of the world is what drives me to be a better person myself. Future participants should know that at first it may be overwhelming and that it is okay to feel this way. Just always keep an open mind and do not be afraid to ask questions and not know the answer.

How can this program be improved?
The program was awesome in my opinion and does not really need improvements. I would say though we should promote more on fundraising for this project in order to give back and help out with anything these locations may need.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Madison - It sounds like you really connected with the children in Costa Rica! Thank you for spending your time helping them and in-turn learning from them as well. Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Mauro
10/10

Turtle conservation project: amazing experience <3

I think this was one of the most exiting experience in my life.
I am feeling so lucky, I had the unique opportunity to see Lora turtles laying eggs and to get in my hand a baby turtle, I have seen them go to the ocean. This is something I can explains with words, it touch your heart.
If you are looking for a restful holiday you are in the wrong place: but no work could be too hard if this is the reward.
Junquillal will be a piece of my heart forever, and I promise to myself, I will get back there one day.

How can this program be improved?
Please cancel the useless orientation-day in San Jose!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mauro - It's incredible to hear how much you learned while caring for the sea turtles in Costa Rica! Thank you for your hard work! Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager.

Yes, I recommend this program
Mohkam
10/10

IVHQ Partnered W/ Maximo Nivel In Costa Rica

IVHQ gave me all the tools and information necessary to be prepared for my trip abroad. They stayed in touch throughout my preparation process and while in Costa Rica. Their step by step guidance made the process very simple. Their description was what I expected upon my arrival. Overall, the costs they assessed did cover what they said it would. I was unaware of some of the processing fees, outside of their advertised price. Upon further inspection, they were provided (in a smaller sub-text). Regardless, the trip was affordable. I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to more trips with them in the future!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mohkam - I'm glad we were able to assist you with an amazing volunteer experience! We look forward to seeing where you go next.
Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager.

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

A Must!

IVHQ really provided me with an opportunity that really impacted me. I went to Costa Rica to teach English for a week and it was the most life-changing experience of my life. I am definitely going to volunteer abroad more often and for a longer period of time. I got exposed to a real Costa Rican community. I stayed with a wonderful Costa Rican family and ate Costa Rican food everyday. The whole pack was an amazing experience. I taught some wonderful kids and I got attached to them so much. I still think of them every day. I recommend everyone to volunteer abroad at least once. It is really an eyeopening experience.

How can this program be improved?
One thing that can be improved is having a bit more information about our projects and host family. I was scary going to an unknown country with no information whatsoever about our stay and our work. More information would have comforted me more.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kristina - thank you for being an amazing volunteer! We look forward to assisting you with your next volunteer adventure. Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Tim
10/10

Costa Rica - construction project

I volunteered on the construction project in Costa Rica for 4 weeks. It was the most rewarding experience of my life, and I enjoyed every minute of it. This was my first time taking a trip out of the United States, and I was very nervous. However, the staff was incredible and I felt safe the entire time. This trip gave me the opportunity to experience a different culture while doing meaningful work. I also met many amazing people that I still keep in touch with.

One recommendation I have for future participants is to stay a few extra days after your project concludes to explore other parts of the country.

How can this program be improved?
While it was great to have free time in the afternoon and evenings, it would be great if the working hours were extended. We worked each day from 9-12. On some days, right when we were getting into a good work flow, it was time to clean up and leave. Just by extending the work day an extra hour would be very beneficial.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tim - thank you for spending a month in Costa Rica contributing to the community in San Jose. We hope to have you on another IVHQ volunteer experience soon! Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager

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

Childcare in Costa Rica

Volunteering in Costa Rica was fantastic. IVHQ definitely prepared me well for my trip and continued to check in throughout my duration there. The local team was outstanding, I always knew I could go in and there would be people there happy to help. I loved my project, and learned so much from the kids. The other volunteers were kind and motivated. Overall, I would recommend this trip to any and everyone!

How can this program be improved?
The only suggestion I would make is it would be very beneficial to know some Spanish prior to going.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sadie - Thank you for your amazing work with the children in Costa Rica! We look forward to having you back again soon :) Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Elizabeth
10/10

Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica!

I was fortunate enough to volunteer in Costa Rica this Spring, and believe that every person with the means to do so should absolutely volunteer abroad!

I was placed in Junquillal, CR in a camp that was a short walk from the beach. Every day we woke up and went to the beach before we started a hard day's work. We'd spend a few hours every day working outside either in the camp, on the beach, or doing work for the community. We patrolled the beach on different shifts looking for sea turtle nests, and if you were lucky enough to be on the late night shift, you'd likely walk out to see the milky way reflecting on the waves.

Everyone I met during my trip -- the IVHQ team, the local organizations, and other volunteers -- made the adventure so easy and warm. I'm actually already planning on another trip with IVHQ!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Elizabeth - thank you for all of your hard work in Costa Rica! You were an incredible volunteer and it's great to hear you are already planning your next volunteer adventure! Rachel - IVHQ Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
Jessi
8/10

Costa Rica

Costa Ricas amazing! The nature, the people and the wildlife. The best part by far was my amazing host family!! Teaching English was challenging but fun! I've learned a lot! I also got a chance to learn a bit of Spanish. The community I lived in was welcoming and after four short weeks felt like home. I got out of my comfort zone and was able to do some amazing things. I would recommend IVHQ to anyone and would love to travel through them again. I will keep these memories of Costa Rica forever and can't wait to come back.

How can this program be improved?
A better description of the program.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Jessi - it's great to hear about your connection with the host family and all you gained from volunteering abroad. Thank you for choosing IVHQ and we hope to have you join us again soon! ^Rachel - IVHQ Costa Rica Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nathaniel
8/10

Manuel Antonio English Teaching

I would only reccomend this program for people who are very patient and very open minded. I did the best I could to be open for new experiences and even I was given quite the challenge. This is not meant to scare you away though, the best way to learn in your life is through challenging experiences in a place you have never been before. I have literally zero regrets about this program and it helped me become a bigger person. Best part I would say outside of my program was travelling to new places every weekend and my host family. Having a host family is the only way in my opinion.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nathaniel - it sounds like you embraced the project and had an amazing time! Thank you for volunteering with IVHQ and we hope to have you join us again in the future. ^Rachel - IVHQ Costa Rica Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Savannah
10/10

IVHQ Costa Rica

I loved everything about my program through IVHQ. Though IVHQ is really a middleman, they take care of everything before you reach your volunteer program and really help prepare you for the place you are traveling to. Costa Rica was the first stop on my 6 month volunteering journey and I found the 6 week period to be perfect in terms of effectiveness and impact on both myself and my English students. The company that worked with IVHQ, Maximo Nivel, was also fantastic and I think IVHQ does an amazing job of pairing with organizations and executing the plans. I was very impressed.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

It's awesome to hear that you had such a positive experience the whole way through your pre-departure planning and time in country volunteering. Your time has been much appreciated and we would love to have you join IVHQ another time in the future. ^Lachlan - IVHQ Costa Rica Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Luca
10/10

Amazing staff

The staff at Maximo Nivel was incredibly welcoming and supportive during my entire trip. They made me feel at home. Working with the childcare program was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had the pleasure of having. I will miss this country for it's culture, food, and abundance of beauty. Thank you IVHQ for helping me rediscover my love of travel. PS Andres is the best. Thanks for keeping the mood fun!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Luca, We are stoked to hear that you had a rewarding volunteer experience and felt welcomed and supported during your program in Costa Rica! Thanks for sharing and we hope to welcome you again in the future!
Lachlan – IVHQ Costa Rica Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
Grace
10/10

Childcare and Turtles in Costa Rica!

I had the absolute best time in Costa Rica volunteering with IVHQ. The support before hand had me and my parents feeling ready, as it was my first time travelling by myself! The local team IVHQ works with went above and beyond to make sure I was okay during my trip. They were so friendly, were glad to see me everyday, and were there to help with any problems or travel questions. I was fortunate enough to basically do everything this trip! I took two weeks of Spanish lessons, which were so useful and affordable!! My first two weeks I volunteered in San Jose with the childcare project. You feel so welcomed by the children and the staff. You're in such high demand for attention and make such sincere bonds with the children. They were also great to practice my Spanish with! I also was able to spend two weeks at the turtle conservation project in Ostional, which was amazing!! The locals there are so welcoming, just like anyone I met in this beautiful country!! You learn so much about the types of turtles and because we lived in dorms I made such strong friendships with the other volunteers. It was a great mix of rural and city life I experienced! I felt safe my whole trip, especially following IVHQ's tips!! Costa Rica is so beautiful and it's so easy to travel around and see the country! Get used to using and loving buses!! I would go back to Costa Rica in a heartbeat. I could've spent months extra instead of my four weeks there, especially in part to IVHQ's support be affordable fees! I can't wait to go on my next volunteer trip with IVHQ, I'm already planning my next trip!

How can this program be improved?
I would not change a thing!
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Grace, Thanks for sharing. It is awesome to hear that you had the best time volunteering in Costa Rica and “would not change a thing”. We are so happy to have helped facilitate this trip for you and it certainly sounds like you made the most of your time on the program by joining the Childcare and Turtle conservation projects and beginning your time in Costa Rica with the very helpful Spanish lessons. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we can’t wait to see where you travel to next!
Lachlan – IVHQ Costa Rica Program Manager

Yes, I recommend this program
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Nell
10/10

My Experience with IVHQ

I visited Costa Rica this past June (11-28, 2016) and chose to do the childcare program. Immediately upon arrival I was in awe of the bustling city of San José! I was picked up and taken to Máximo Nivel (IVHQ's partner) by a staff member and met the very friendly staff and crew who welcomed me to the new country and program. They gave me a tour of the building and then I was taken to my new host family. My family was incredibly sweet, caring, and kind and I will always have a connection with them. They kept the house clean, cooked delicious food, and gave me plenty of space to do what I pleased. They were very supportive and always liked to hear about my day. On a typical day, I woke up for breakfast around 7:45, left the house by 8:30, and made it to my daycare by 9. I got to play with the sweetest kids for 4 hours and then caught the bus to head back to either Máximo Nivel or home. I had the rest of the afternoon and weekends to myself and I could explore San José or travel outside the city. This program allowed me so much freedom while also allowing me to feel like I was helping the community. Volunteering was hands down the best thing I have ever done and is hopefully just the beginning. I would love to do this at least once a year and I most certainly plan to do it though IVHQ! Thank you for all that you have given me and taught me, IVHQ! Thank you for helping me grow as a person and begin a new chapter in my life. I hope there are many more trips to come!! With love, Nell

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Nell, thanks for being an IVHQer! We are so glad that you had such a positive experience in Costa Rica and it is great to hear that the local team were friendly and supportive. We look forward to welcoming you on another IVHQ program in the future!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rita
10/10

Costa Rica Summer 2016 with IVHQ

This past month I got to spend an amazing and eye-opening week in the beautiful and lively country of Costa Rica. It was my family and I's first volunteer trip together and we couldn't have imagined it going any better. We took part in the childcare program at a government-funded daycare in an impoverished and drug-ridden area, and we met so many great people. It was a great experience to be able to spend time with the kind and happy children- every morning they would run up to us with big grins on their faces and scream "Hola!". It is surely something that will remain in our memories for a lifetime. I can't wait to return for a longer time in the near future.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Rita, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad that you had a great time in Costa Rica and it is awesome that you were able to share the experience with your family. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to welcoming you on another IVHQ program in the future.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ashley
10/10

First time traveler in Costa Rica

Prior to arriving in Costa Rica, I never had the opportunity to travel abroad (or even go on a plane!) so I was definitely nervous to spend one week out of the country by myself. But as soon as I arrived in San Jose, my nerves calmed down and I became so excited for the meaningful work I was about to do at a local childcare center. My one week in Costa Rica was unforgettable- even though I know minimal Spanish, I felt as though I still made an impact on the kids I worked with, had a lot of fun interacting with the locals, and I was able to navigate through San Jose just fine. Because my placement was located pretty far from my accommodation, I had to take a couple busses to get there. But on my way to the second bus stop, I got to walk through downtown San Jose everyday, and see the hundreds of shops, restaurants, street vendors, live performers, etc., and it was quite the memorable experience. If I could go back in time, I would've definitely signed up for an extra week or two. I'd highly recommend traveling to Costa Rica to anyone who wants to travel, regardless of travel experience!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe work to find volunteer placements that are closer to volunteers' accommodations. Sometimes it felt like I was rushing and stressing out to get from point A to B, especially in the mornings on my way to my placement.
Yes, I recommend this program

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About International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

IVHQ is the world’s most trusted and affordable volunteer abroad organization, offering the largest range of safe and impactful volunteer programs in 40+ destinations around the world.

Over 80,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the...