Local Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica

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About

Maximo Nivel provides great volunteer programs Costa Rica—programs are available in the capital city of San Jose and on the beach in Manuel Antonio. Maximo is a locally-based organization and you work directly with local projects, get involved, and make an impact!

University credit is available for our service learning programs from our official School of Record: California State University-Monterey Bay.

Volunteer placements include:

Questions & Answers

From my experience plan 2 months earlier is good for volunteer:)
Yes, at least the basics. Try a few classes on online sites like Duolingo and/or a phrase book. It will make your life much easier and minimal communication is required. Don't expect most of the people we interact with to know English, apart the volunteer organization and travel agencies, or at least it was my experience in Costa Rica. And they will appreciate the effort !

Reviews

96%
based on 119 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.4
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 7
Showing 1 - 15 of 119
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Lindsay
10/10

Turtle Conservation in Parismina

I absolutely loved working in the Parismina village in Costa Rica working with mainly Baula (Leatherback Turtles) during this time of the season and releasing around 50 turtles during my time there. We stayed with a local homestay family, helping give the locals an income in a village that did not have much. It was awesome to be a part of such an impactful project. Every day in Parismina was extrodinary-- from the other volunteers I met from all around the globe, to getting to see a turtle lay it's eggs on the beach, to cleaning the plastic that collected on the beach, everything we did helped in some way. I'd highly recommend the program to anyone who wants to really experience something they can no where else. I even looked into change my flight so I could stay working there!

How can this program be improved?
The conservation project I worked with (ASTOP) needs more money. There is so much more that we could be doing while we are out there, but ASTOP doesn't have the funds. I think wthe volunteers could be doing more while we are there as well, but I feel that's with every volunteer trip. Everyone just needs an attitude of working and helping.
Yes, I recommend
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Rhiannon
10/10

Childcare in San Jose

My experience in the childcare project in San Jose Costa Rica has been nothing short of unforgettable. The kids were so amazing and I loved getting to know them all. My host family were so welcoming and made me feel right at home. These past few months have gone by very fast and it was very hard to say goodbye. I fell in love with the kids and the country, which makes it very hard to leave. I had the best time during my stay in Costa Rica and I would highly recommend this project.

Yes, I recommend
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Noah
9/10

Paramedic Volunteer in Costa Rica

I was placed with the paramedics in San Jose Costa Rica. It was a fun and exciting expierence. Everyday seemed to be a new adventure whether it was trying new food or going into different medical scenarios. Come with an open mind and a will to do as much as you can and you¨will have a good time. My home stay was one of my favorite parts. I met so many different people from all walks of life. Costa rica has a lot to offer and a lot of fuun weekend trips.

Yes, I recommend
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Martina
10/10

Turtle conservation experience in Costa Rica

I have been part of a turtle conservation project in Parismina, Costa Rica. I am been supported by Maximo Nivel, which helped me during my three weeks volunteering to be sure I was safe all of the time. it has been an amazing experince, highly raccomended and life changing. The project is a comunity based one, which git us involved even in helping the reallyhumble and small lovely community of Cota Rica! Best experience of my lif so far!!

Yes, I recommend
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Tait
10/10

An Incredible Adventure

I came into this volunteer project with one thing in mind, to make a change. Not only was I able to make a tangible change but I had an incredible time. Working in construction was a great experience. I met great people and did great work. I truly felt as if I was changing lives directly. Turtle conservation was great as well. Once again I met great people and did great work, but I also got to experience life in a small isolated village. The things I was able to experience these past few weeks were awe inspiring. Never again will I experience something quite like this.

Yes, I recommend
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nicolas
9/10

Childcare in Ositos

The best part of the project is the opportunity to directly impact young children's lives. The staff at both Maximo Nivel and Ositos daycare was amazing. The staff at Maximo Nivel properly assists their volunteers in regards to navigation around San Jose, directions to the project, and prompting the volunteers mentally for their project. The staff at Ositos was extremely nice and more than understanding of volunteers that do not speak Spanish. The children are respectful and full of energy. Being around the children was the highlight of my day.

Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
10/10

Maximo Nivel Ositos working with kids

Overall the experience here in Costa Rica was a great experience! My host mom Maria was great and very helpful. Working with kids here in Costa Rica was also great! The kids and the facility staff our amazing!! Its a great way to give back to amazing kids and to make a different in their lives. This trip is worth it in order to truly impact someones life and make a different in the kids lives!! I recommand this experience to anyone who enjoys working with kids!!

How can this program be improved?
Bringing more activities to your placement from home makes a different. The kids and the staff are amazing and its great to see a smile on their faces!!
Yes, I recommend
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Alli
10/10

Two Weeks Teaching English

My time in Costa Rica has been incredible! The most enriching experiences have been staying with my host family and meeting the english students in Coronado. Staying with a host family allowed me to really experience the Costa Rican culture and "live like a local". I really enjoyed teaching english to adults either seeking jobs that that require advanced english, wanting to speak english when they visit relatives in the US, or just as a hobby that they enjoy. They told me they were most thankful for having native english speakers as teachers so they could learn how to pronounce words correctly and also for understanding native speakers. Exploring the city of San Jose in our free time was also a blast!

Overall, it was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone! You make relationships with Costa Ricans and volunteers both that making leaving the hardest part!

Yes, I recommend
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Carly
10/10

One Week in Costa Rica

Who knew that you would be able to attain so much knowledge and apprication for a country in just one short week. After arriving on Saturday, I went to the volcano on Sunday and learned about the history of the country. I soon learned that the people of Costa Rica are kind and patient, and it was a very nice break from the fly fast style of the United States. Our host mom Vicky is one of the kindest people I have ever met. She opened her home to us and made us meals and took care of us as if we were her own.

At my project, I taught English to adults. It was so refreshing to see how engaged they were, and how much they wanted to learn. Ticos share their life with you after a small amount of time, so learning about the reasons of why the study, you truly feel like you are making a difference. Be careful though, because you will soon find that while you are helping them with their English, they are also slowly changing your view on life, and making you learn to enjoy the simple moments in life. At the end of our week, my class had "Cafecita" for us, and everyone brought something to share. One student brought me a mug that was customized with my name on it, and coffee from Los Santos. The entire class worked together and bought us necklaces as well. To think that people from very modest means would invest so much in a stranger that they have only known for one week is humbling, and makes you realize that these moments come few and far between, and need to be cherished.

I am forever grateful to the people at Maximo Nivel for setting this incredible experiance up. They were there for every step of the way, from pick up to drop of. Without them, this trip would not have been possbile. I leave Costa Rica with a deep appreication for the Tico culture. Pura Vida!

How can this program be improved?
Nope
Yes, I recommend
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Madison
9/10

Casa Nazareth Healthcare Project Costa Rica

My time spent volunteering in Costa Rica was incredible, and definitely one of the best decisions I have made! I worked with the nurses in Casa Nazareth for 22 weeks, and so I had a lot of time to get to know the people, city, and country in general. The staff was super helpful and willing to teach. I would suggest to other volunteers to do a longer length program if possible, not necesarily 5 months, but more than a week or two to get the most out of it. Dont come into the project with too many specific expectations and you will adjust much better. It is important to be patient with the healthcare projects, as everything might not be done exactly as youre accustomed to. Spending time simply getting to know the residents of the home will greatly improve your experience. Taking spanish lessons helps a ton! I took 10 weeks of classes and can now communicate decently well, coming to Costa Rica with barely any spanish knowledge. San Jose is a city full of culture, lots to do, and easy travel access, so give it a consideraton when choosing your location.

Yes, I recommend
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Jennifer
10/10

Working with Kids in Costa Rica

My daughter and I volunteered for one week in Costa Rica through Maximo Nivel. We were very lucky to be placed at Maria Aux with some of the sweetest kids. We both wish we could've stayed longer. This staff at both Maria Aux and Maximo were very helpful and of course, the kids were the best part. If you're looking for a way to give back, I highly recommend doing it through this company. This was a truly unforgettable experience and we hope to do it again soon!

Yes, I recommend
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Tuhina
9/10

A life-changing two weeks

My time in Costa Rica with IVHQ and Maximo Nivel was incredible.

From the staff at the Maximo office to students and staff and my fellow volunteers, everyone was opening and welcome and ready to help make this experience one for the books. Everything was easy from pre-departure info to everything I needed on the ground here in Costa Rica. I had ample time to explore San Jose as a city, discover more of myself with the help of others, and see more of this beautiful country. Thanks to everyone involved for an unforgettable time, hope to be back again soon!

Yes, I recommend
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Alain
10/10

Maximo Nivel Hogar Crea

My experience as a volunteer at Maximo Nivel has far exceeded any expectation that I had prior to volunteering in Costa Rica. This volunteer trip has been my first experience traveling alone and I am so grateful that I was courageous enough to take the step. Maximo Nivel helped me transition into living in Costa Rica without any problems. The support staff is great at communicating, being available, and generally being friendly people. Every time I walked into the Maximo Nivel program center, I was greeted with a smile. That small thing means a lot to someone who is new to the country and traveling alone. Moreover, my experience at Hogar Crea has also been great. I have been lucky enough to teach English to students who are excited to learn. The energy that they exhibit everyday during class is exciting and refreshing to have on a daily basis. It saddens me that I have to leave my students and return home, however I am hopeful that someone will be lucky enough to work with these students in their endeavor to learn English!

How can this program be improved?
The program itself is great. My only critique would be that Maximo Nivel could be advertised more. I was lucky enough to stumble upon Maximo Nivel.
Yes, I recommend
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Mauranda
9/10

HACMU in San Jose

I was able to volunteer there for a week and reported directly to the awesome nurse M, who was super helpful and let me interact with the residents as much as possible despite her own amazingly busy schedule. In this week, I took some vitals, spoke to some of the residents, and got really good at shaving wrinkled faces. I was so flattered that some of the residents thought I was Costa Rican; evidently my conversational lags were lost in their slower pace of conversation. Maximo Nivel was really helpful and the coordinators all do as much as they can to help with whatever's going on. The travel service next door, M&J, is also a great place to book excursions. I had some apprehensions at first about safety as an Asian girl traveling alone, but I always felt safe with the drivers and the host family. Next time, I'm definitely staying for more than a week!!

Yes, I recommend
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Teagan
9/10

Teaching English in San Jose

Wow, 2 weeks already!! The time has flown by. I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work in such a supportive environment. Coronado was such a great expirience for me, and I would definetly do it again. I was able to benifit from a variety of people and make a small impact on them all. I also gained a new apprieciation for all that I have in life. The positive energy and expirience that I encountered was amazing. The kids WANTED to learn and were always very respectful. This program went beyond my expectations, and the impact that my students had on my outlook of life will forever affect me.

Yes, I recommend

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About Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America

Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross...