Local Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica
95% Rating
(59 Reviews)

Local Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica

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:

Locations
North America » Costa Rica » San José
North America » Costa Rica
Starting Price
$500.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Volunteer Programs Include:

- Airport pick-up
- Personalized volunteer placement based on your skills and interests
- Safe, comfortable housing with breakfast and dinner included Monday - Sunday.
- In-country orientation, safety presentation, and walking tour
- Free access to high-speed internet and modern computers
- Free Office-wide WiFi
- Home-base facilities and multi-lingual team support 7 days/week
- In field support from our professional Field Managers
- Free Salsa lessons
- Free Cooking lessons
- Cultural and social activities
- A toll-free emergency hotline in the U.S.

Questions & Answers

No but it helps. I know minimal Spanish and I had an amazing time. There will always be someone with you who speaks English like a coordinator or someone from IVHQ but you should be fine!

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    91%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    94%
  • Value
    89%
  • Safety
    93%
  • Benefits
    100%
  • Support
    100%
  • Fun
    100%
  • Facilities
    100%
  • Safety
    70%

Program Reviews (59)

Viktoria
Female
22 years old
Hungary
Other

Bebitos (Child Care)

10/10

I had a wonderful time at Bebitos doing childcare project in Costa rica. I had the opportunity to work with kids mainly at the age of 4-6. It was an amazing experience and a very emotional one as well. I had to take care and entertain the chidlren while having support from local staff. Every day we had to do something cretive thus improving the skills of the kids. They gave me a lot of love and even I was working with them for only a week I improved as a person so much. The way how they made me feel cannot be described but it has to be experienced. I stongly recommend to everyone to visit the Bebitos childcare project in San Jose Costa rica! Excellent time of my life!

Mikaela
Female
19 years old
Parismina
Deakin University

My Time in Parismina

10/10

This program was my first experience as a volunteer, as well as my first solo trip overseas. The attention i received from Maximo was above and beyond anything i was expecting. They thoroughly prepared me with two orientations as well as making an effort once i was on my project, to consistantly keep in contact with me, making sure i was enjoying the project. They were only ever a phonecall or email away if i needed help with anything and all of the staff were super friendly.
I loved my project (turtle conservation) located in Parismina, there really is no feeling like the one you get when you release a bunch of baby turtles into the oceanor when you see how much time and effort female turtles display, just to lay their eggs. The only thing i would improve would be for the project itself- I think there needs to be a volunteer coordinator to make sure everything runs smoothly and to provide other options for when there is not much to do.
But overall the project was brilliant and i will definately be coming back!

How can this program be improved?

By having a volunteer coordinator

Guilia
Female

A Life Changing Month

9/10

I spent one month in Costa Rica doing the sea turtle conservation and childcare projects. I met so many incredible, like minded individuals who I volunteered alongside. The staff at Maximo Nivel was incredibly supportive and easy to work with. I decided to change my projects and project start dates multiple times, and they eagerly helped me to do so.
The sea turtle project was in Junquillal. I and eight other volunteers lived in dorm style housing. The accommodations and food were better than expected. We did a lot of work each day, but it was all worthwhile when I got to see 130 baby sea turtles hatch and be released into the ocean. If you choose to do this project... you should come prepared to work hard, but it is a once in a lifetime experience that I would definitely recommend.
After two weeks of the sea turtle project, I did childcare for two weeks. I was placed at a daycare in an impoverished neighborhood of San Jose. The children and staff were incredibly welcoming.Each day, I would prepare one learning activity to do during class time. The rest of my time was spent playing and talking with the kids. Though it was exhausting, I would absolutely do it again. I truly received more from these children then I gave to them.
In summary, though it sounds cliche, this trip was life changing. I cannot recommend it enough.

Rupal
Female
19 years old
san jose
University of California- San Diego

GREAT EXPERIENCE

10/10

Overwhelmed by the great experience offered by Maximo Nivel.
I met a lot of people from different backgrounds and cultures. The experience is definitely very culturally rewarding.
The host family is really warm and takes care of all your needs, demands and dietary requirements like being a vegetarian.
The homestay is very cozy and comfortable.
The program orientation was really comprehensive and detailed which made me feel like home in a little time.
The day care I worked at was amazing. The staff was cooperative and encouraging. The children was very manageable and playful. They are wonderful to work with. Little things like playing with bubbles and coloring minions could keep them entertained for hours. Their smiles can make anyone's day. Thus, I highly recommend Childcare program offered by Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica.

Katherine
Female
18 years old
San Jose, Costa Rica
University of Southern California

Be prepared

8/10

I loved my time in Costa Rica! It was an amazing way to immerse myself in a new culture, while helping others and building friendships. However, I would say the main thing that was a struggle for me was there was a lot I wasn't prepared for. Definitely do your research about the language, transportation, social thing, etc.
But overall, don't be afraid to jump into the deep end. This was one of the best learning experiences of my life! Happy trails :))

How can this program be improved?

More info given at the beginning . For example, you don't have to be completely fluent in Spanish to volunteer for certain programs.

Emily
Female
22 years old
San Jose
University of Redlands

La Carpio Construction

10/10

This program had a huge impact on me personally. From the beginning to the end, I felt very satisfied with the work we were doing and seeing our progress unfold. By the end of my stay, I felt so comfortable working, using the equipment, and making decisions. Our construction foreman, Danilo, was very helpful and knowledgable, as well as very goofy and fun to be around. The commute to La Carpio was a little longer than anticipated, but it was absolutely worth it. It was a joy to see Amparo, Franklin, Andy, and their two dogs, Bakito and Toti, each day. They made us feel so welcomed in their home. During my last few days, I wished I could just stay longer and keep working until the project was completed! I would love to return someday soon.

How can this program be improved?

More volunteers! The work would go much faster and more easily with more hands on deck.

Michelle
Female
29 years old
San Jose, Costa Rica
Pennsylvania State University

Teaching English

10/10

This was an amazing experience. I traveled to Costa Rica on a solo mission for personal growth reasons and am leaving with so much more than that. This was a very humbling experience and you really feel the impact you are making with the families you work with. The support from the staff is also wonderful. I know that my experience here will stay with me for the rest of my life. You see just how much the families appreciate what you do for them. You are teaching them skills for a better life, and that is immeasurable. I loved it!

Diego
Male

Great experience!!

10/10

This experience was unique because not only was the volunteer project a lot of fun, but you immediately get immersed with the culture. The kids we worked with, regardless of the language barrier, were always happy to see the volunteers. Before you know it you become attached. It's something you'll always remember. The staff also does a great job on making sure you adapt well to the culture and how to get around town. They are always more than happy to help.

Bethany
Female
3 days hence
San diego, CA
California State University- San Marcos

Volunteered Teaching English

10/10

The past two weeks I travelled solo to Costa Rica To teach English. Along the way Maximo Nivel was there to make my experience more then perfect. I ended up working with adults (17-40) teaching English. The students were awesome. They were so eager to learn and I could tell I was really making an impact on there life by volunteering a couple hours a day to help them learn English. Maximo was also were helpful along the way in were to go to set up travel plans, recommending great local spots and how to get around the county. I also meet so many new people from all over the world. I ended up becoming friends with some. I give Maximo Nivel a 10 out of 10 if traveling along for first time I would recommend signing up for there volunteer program.

Tiago
Male
27 years old
Portugal
Other

Ostional Turtle Conservation

9/10

The experience was amazing and is perfect for the ones who love nature and also enjoys to have contact with different cultures. The house family was great and i felt like one of the family and they were very collaborative and very fun. The people that were working in the project were great and they helped and teached me a lot. It was great being feel part of the project and they trusted me and let me collaborate a lot. It was an amazing experience to see the turtles in the "Arribada", is like a phenomenon of the nature. I reccomend a lot this experience, because i believe i will remember it forever.

Gabriela
Female
22 years old
Ostional Turtle Conservation
University of California- Santa Barbara

Ostional Turtle Conservation

10/10

This was such an amazing experience. I stayed with a host family and at first I was a little nervous that it might be awkward at all but they are the most accomodating, warm and loving family that made me feel right at home. My spanish is not very good but I got very close to the family and consider them my 2nd family. We even went to Arenal together on my last weekend. The staff at the turtle reservation is awesome as well and made the experience super fun- it didn't even feel like work. Working with the turtles is an amazing experience and it makes the hours fly by. I highly recommend this project and each hand is necessary for it's success! It is a life-changing experience and one I will remember forever

Jamie
Female
1 month old
San Jose
San Jose State University

Divino Nino(Child Care)

10/10

This was honestly one of my most enjoyable travel experiences, especially as a solo traveler. The orientation and the guidance from the Maximo Nivel Staff was very helpful and informative. They make sure you know exactly where to go and what to do for your project and stop by onsite sometimes to check how things are going. Buses are very affordable and the staff will show you exactly which ones to take, as well as provide you with a sheet that guides you step by step to the location. It's also easy to meet up with your project group beforehand to commute together. All of the Maximo Nivel staff are very friendly. As for the project itself, everything was very organized and enjoyable. The kids and the staff onsite are very friendly. They welcome you with open arms and are very happy to see visitors coming to help out. Come with an open heart and mind to the Costa Rican people and culture to make your impact and experience as rewarding as possible.

Anthonia
Female
48 years old
USA
San Diego State University

My Experience as a Volunteer with Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica

10/10

Traveling to another country can be challenging especially when you don't speak a foreign language, but Maximo Nivel made that fear go away.

The program is well organized and from my first day to my departure, I felt at home. Volunteering is so rewarding and fulfilling.

When next you feel like helping mankind or make a difference, just contact Maximo Nivel and you won't regret it.

Thanks team!

How can this program be improved?

The program is well organized, and cheap, I don't have any recommendations rather they should keep up the good work, and publicize the program more on social media.

Tessa
Female
19 years old
Indiana
Indiana University- Southeast

Amazing Experience!

10/10

I had the opportunity to teach English during my two week stay in Costa Rica and it was amazing. The staff at Maximo are all hardworking and caring (and even make an effort to get to know everyone personally). Any time I needed assistance or had a question, the Maximo team was there to assist me. The experience that I had at Maximo was unlike any other and I encourage anyone who wants to teach or travel abroad to go through Maximo Nivel. It was an experience of a lifetime and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

How can this program be improved?

I cannot think of any improvements. If you go into the program with a positive attitude and an open mind, you will have the time of your life!

Yonnie
Female
16 years old
US
Other

Teaching English in La Carpio

9/10

I am 16 years old and was able to volunteer with my older sister in La Carpio, Costa Rica for a week. Together alongside a couple other volunteers, my sister and I taught English in a familys home. This family opens up their home to the local children and adults who want to learn English from the Maximo Volunteers for as long as 4 hours every week day. I have never met a more welcoming group of people during this trip. The family and children in La Carpio were so kind, and even though they deal with new volunteers almost every week, they show up everyday dedicated to learning. The Maximo staff were all extremely helpful, and kept things entertaining with salsa class and Spanish lessons. And lastly, all the other volunteers who came from different parts of the world were all so friendly, and i'm happy to have met them. Costa Rica itself was so beautiful and the weather was always perfect - rain for 2 hours and sunshine a breezy the rest of the day. I do believe that only being there a week was not long enough, however any kind of contribution is helpful. My sister and I are planning to organize a fundraiser within our school to help the families in La Carpio because we would like to do more. If you are debating on volunteering in CR or not, I say do it. Even if its for a short time, and you might think you wont impact these families lives, they will for sure impact yours.

debra
Female
56 years old
costa rica project vuela
Other

costa rica vuela la carpios

9/10

I did not know what to expect when I signed up to volunteer to teach english in costa rica. I did know that Maximo Nivel/ IVHQ was a reputable organization since my daughter used them to spend a month in S. Africa,Capetown. The program where i worked was extremely needy. The students and adults are motivated and eager to learn English. The conditions are challenging but work to improve the program is constant and I was able to witness electricity being installed in our upstairs "classroom" which was AMAZING! >The children are wonderful and bright and loving. Despite many obstacles and significant poverty this group has so much hope for a better future. I would especially encourage RETIRED TEACHERS to travel to Costa Rica and teach English at the project Vuela! It was not the easiest thing I have ever done, but it was certainly one of the most rewardling experiences of my life! Take a chance like I did. You can make a difference. You will be so glad you did! PURA VIDA

How can this program be improved?

This program is a work in progress and improvements are happening daily!

Amanda
Female

From USA to CR for 3 AMAZING weeks

10/10

Volunteering in a foreign country in any capacity is extremely rewarding, but my experience in Costa Rica has been beyond that. My 3- week stay here was tremendous. I worked as an English teacher and that experience helped me grow as a professional and it opened my eyes to the lives and cultures of those living in this unique country. None of this would have been possible without the incredible staff at Maximo Nivel. From day one the entire team was supportive and helpful and they made the headquarters a home away from home. I felt like I had everything I needed at all times and I have made friendships that I know will last a lifetime. I cannot imagine a more gratifying experience, nor a better organization to experience it with. Muchas gracias, Maximo!

How can this program be improved?

I cannot suggest any improvements to the organization at this time, but based on the interactions with other volunteers that I have had, I must recommend that volunteers keep their minds open and be ready to live the Pura Vida life when they are here. The only negative experiences I have witnessed have resulted from volunteers having unrealistic expectations and not keeping an open mind.

Adam
Male
21 years old
Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Teaching English for 6 weeks

9/10

The program I was assigned was the farthest away from Máximo's location. However, the trip was worth it. Everyday, I spent 2 hours teaching English to a bunch of adults. These adults will go on and eventually apply for jobs that were originally out of reach. This will greatly help them while living in La Carpio. I also took Spanish classes that greatly improved speaking ability. This experience was life-changing for me and especially my students.

Maxine
Female

Pura Vida

10/10

I have recently returned from a month in Costa Rica, and I did a split volunteer project: two weeks in Coronado, teaching English and two weeks in Junquillal with the Verdiazul turtle conservation project. The projects could not have been more different, and they could not have been more wonderful. Working with students in San Jose allowed me to live like a local and get a taste of "normal" life. From living in the homestay to getting the bus to the placement, I felt part of the city, and this all added to the adventure. The students and volunteers I met where incredible, and I made friends with whom I still keep in touch. Stage two of my trip was a stark contrast, as I moved from the bustle of city to the tranquility of uncommercial beach life and the work was physical and fun, plus I learned plenty about turtles. Again, I was welcomed by a special group of people who truly care about conservation and preservation. In both places, I felt valued and appreciated. The smoothness of my experience was made possible through the professionalism of the Maximo Nivel team. I felt 100% supported by them. It is an incredible organization of people who work hard to make sure that the volunteers have an amazing experience, through the quality of the projects, home-stays, and social activities they provide. If you are sitting on the fence and wondering if to jump in and volunteer, I say leap: You won't look back :)

How can this program be improved?

I really don't see much. The orientations help a great deal and the support is excellent.

Kiana

Thank You Maximo Nivel!

10/10

Maximo Nivel provided me with such an amazing experience! I took spanish classes and volunteered with children at a local preschool, both were great! I came here speaking very little spanish and the classes were very helpful. I had the opportunity to stay with one of the most AMAZING host families. As soon as I got to Costa Rica my host mom made me feel at home. She took amazing care of all of us that stayed with her. Costa Rica is such a beautiful place with such great people and I would highly recommend choosing this program!

About The Provider

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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-cultural experiences. Our programs include: Volunteer Abroad, International Internships, TEFL Certification, and Spanish Language

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