Most Affordable & Trusted Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica from $355

Video and Photos

Tortuga Island, Costa Rica
Making Father's Day gifts with my students
Affordable Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica with IVHQ
Affordable Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica with IVHQ
La Paz Waterfall

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.

Highlights
  • IVHQ’s Costa Rica program is available year-round, offering a start date on every Monday
  • Highly affordable program fees starting from $355 - 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

Popular Programs

Childcare Project

As a Childcare volunteer in Costa Rica, you will be supporting a project where the focus is on improving outcomes for children from difficult backgrounds in San Jose. You will be working alongside local staff and playing a hands-on role in providing much-needed support within local community centers, daycares, schools, soup kitchens and kindergartens.

Working with Children

The aim of the Working with Children project in Manuel Antonio is to provide additional care, attention and most importantly, companionship to children within local childcare facilities. This project is well suited to energetic and creative volunteers who are passionate about working with children. You will be encouraged to use your creativity, be open-minded and ready to pitch in and help out wherever possible.

Turtle Conservation Project

When volunteering in Costa Rica on the Sea Turtle Conservation project, you will work alongside a local biologist to assist with sea turtle studies, focus on marine-conservation volunteer activities and support sustainable egg protection programs. There are four sea turtle species in Costa Rica - Leatherbacks, Greens, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill. This project is well suited to hard-working individuals who love nature, the marine environment and being part of rewarding volunteer work within a coastal setting.

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.

Construction and Renovation Project

As a Construction and Renovation volunteer in Costa Rica, you will be working to support underfunded projects in San Jose that are rundown and in need of a refresh. Your support will help to breathe new life into communities and enable initiatives to carry out their work in healthy, vibrant spaces. You will take the lead from a local construction worker, who will provide you with direction and guidance throughout your project.

Spanish Service Learning Course

Students from around the world have an opportunity to gain university credit while volunteering on any of our Costa Rica projects through the Spanish Service Learning Course (SPAN203SL). This is accredited by California State University, Monterey Bay. The purpose of the Spanish Service Learning Course is to foster a sense of civic responsibility and community, to expose students to local culture and language, and to create an opportunity for students to broaden their global perspective and identity.

Questions & Answers

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.

Reviews

95%
based on 35 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 31 - 35 of 35
Default avatar
Haley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.

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

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.

Default avatar
R.
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Conditions at the site are quite basic - a slightly updated common area for "downtime," perhaps?
Default avatar
melindahine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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.

Location

Location:
San José
Currency:
Costa Rican Colón
Weather:
Jan-Mar
79 F / 57 F
Apr-Jun
81 F / 63 F
Jul-Sep
88 F / 73 F
Oct-Dec
86 F / 73 F

Costa Rica is known for its Pura Vida lifestyle and San José is a great place to get familiar with the lifestyle. One of the best ways to discover San José is through the arts; whether you like theatre, dance, or music, this is the quickest way to the heart of Costa Rica.

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

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 100,000 travelers have volunteered abroad with IVHQ over the...