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

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Volunteer in Costa Rica with IVHQ! Every year, hundreds of volunteers join IVHQ's highly affordable volunteer projects across Costa Rica. Here volunteers assist on a range of community-driven projects in San Jose, in the central highlands and coastal locations. Volunteers can choose to participate on projects for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks are accommodated in volunteer houses alongside other international volunteers. While Spanish is not required in order to participate on the program, volunteers can enjoy taking discounted Spanish lessons during their time on the program.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Costa Rica:

  • Teaching English
  • Healthcare
  • Childcare
  • Construction and Renovation
  • Special Needs Care
  • Eco-Agriculture Conservation


  • Programs available year-round, starting on the 1st and 15th of each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $345 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Between 40 and 80 IVHQ volunteers start in Costa Rica each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Costa Rica with fellow volunteers - explore Monteverde, Manuel Antonio and more!

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.


based on 21 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 16 - 21 of 21
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Trip of a life time

I volunteered to teach English and had requested to teach to younger children when I applied for the program. However, this did not seem to be taken into account, as I was placed in a program with teenagers in their last year of high school. Although I was disappointed by this at first, as this had not been what I had been expecting, and I had brought material specifically for younger children, I absolutely loved this project. I loved being able to get to know the students and being able to talk to them and learn about San José and Costa Rica, through conversations with them. My second project did not live up to my expectations whatsoever, and this was partly my own fault, as I insisted on having a morning project, which meant I would be working in a proper school. In the school I worked as a teacher's assistant, which was not what I wanted to do. But Maximo Nivel (the organisation that runs the program in Costa Rica) was extremely helpful, and as soon as they found out I was dissatisfied, they tried to come up with different solutions and eventually they moved me to a different project. At my third project, I got to work with younger children. I absolutely loved this project, because I had a lot of independence and I got to run the class room, how I wanted to. I must say though, I think I preferred working with the high schools students, because it was easier to teach them, than it was to teach children. As children need to be constantly entertained and therefore there is a need for a lot of energy in the class room.
I loved my host family as well, we got on extremely well and would sit and talk for hours. This was great practice for my Spanish. The food was also amazing.

How can this program be improved?
The placements are often quite far away from Maximo and the host families and therefore a lot of time is wasted on transport. It would be great if this could be changed to make it easier for the volunteers.
I would also make the Spanish lessons cheaper! The volunteers should be encouraged to learn the local language, but when the lessons are 97 dollars for a week, most will probably be discouraged and decide to save money instead.
Yes, I recommend
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IVHQ Costa Rica

I worked on the Childcare project in San Jose, Costa Rica through IVHQ and had a great experience. The in country support through Maximo Nivel (organization that runs the programs in Costa Rica) was incredible. Everyone there was so helpful, whether I needed to find a restaurant to eat at or a bus ticket across the country, they were enthusiastic about helping out. On the first day of the project, the staff took myself and other volunteers to the place and gave us an orientation. At my placement, I worked with kids ages 2-10 years old for 4 hours a day. I had the option to work underneath a supervising teacher at the daycare if I wanted a more structured experience or to run my own activities with the older kids. The other volunteers and I prepared crafts and games to play with the kids and we had a lot of freedom to decide what to do with them. I had a great time and will definitely be volunteering with IVHQ again!

How can this program be improved?
My project was a little far away from where I was staying. That was the only downside.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Haley, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on volunteering in Costa Rica with IVHQ. Our partner organisation works hard to make every volunteer’s experience in country a memorable one, so we are glad you agree. We look forward to having you on another of our programs soon.

Yes, I recommend
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Costa Rica sea turtle conservation

So the first two days I was placed in San Jose at a host family that did not speak any English so it was very hard to understand some of the thing she was saying. Lucky enough I had eight other volunteers with me in the house so even though host family could not speak English all the other volunteers did, so it felt like home. Then twe got picked up about 530 in the morning and got taxis to the bus station and where on are way to junquallial. It was about 4 hours away from San Jose. I love every minute of the program 1st you get up and eat breakfast and relax until lunch then after lunch you can either relax some more or go for a swim. Around 2:30 you start working it could be planting trees, working in a garden, or working in the hatchery to dig out the nets. You work for about 3 hours and then you have a out hour before dinner which you could got down to the beach and watch the sunset. Then you eat dinner and probably go to bed because you go on night patrol the time always changes because of the tides. We had ones at 8pm and some late ones at 2am. It is amazing to get to see the turtles lay their eggs. I am sad to say I did not get to experiences this, so I would say if you volunteer with sea turtles stay for a longer period. I did get to release baby turtles back into the sea. Over all the program was a great experience.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I would say is that they need more hammocks outside to relax in and more fan in the rooms.
Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tyler,
Thank you for sharing your experience from volunteering in Costa Rica on our Turtle Conservation project. It sounds like you had a idyllic volunteer abroad experience. We hope to have you volunteer with us again in the future.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Experience!

Had a great time at the Turtle Conservation Project in Ostional. Incredible opportunity to work with a very unique and fascinating species. Also, the homestay was wonderful as well - a great chance to really see how the locals live. The Maximo Nivel staff are very helpful and enthusiastic. Would recommend this experience for anyone looking for an "off-the-beaten-track," experience.

How can this program be improved?
Conditions at the site are quite basic - a slightly updated common area for "downtime," perhaps?
Yes, I recommend
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Great Staff

The staff have been very helpful in all the planning aspects of my volunteering with IVHQ. When I had to delay my trip, they were very helpful in letting me know that I could use my deposit towards another trip in the next two years. I look forward to being able to volunteer with IVHQ and I will continue to stay in touch with them as they introduce new programs and spread their generosity around the world.

Yes, I recommend
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Most incredible spring break ever

IVHQ set me up in Costa Rica with the Maximo Nivel center. The staff there was amazing and energetic. They knew me by name from the get-go and were able to help me with any problem that I had. The process of getting to and from the airport or the project site was confusing at first, but the program eased me into it at just the right pace.

Yes, I recommend


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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...