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.

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 144 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 7
Showing 16 - 30 of 144
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India
10/10

Construction Project in Costa Rica

For 3 weeks in San Jose, I took part in a construction project at a daycare centre in Purral and managed to see the project from start to finish. At the daycare centre we were renovating different areas, for example reflooring classrooms, building new walls and ceilings. Although this was a construction project we also got to interact with the kids at the centre which was really fun! The project was so great becaue you could see the impact you were having at the centre and the benefit it would bring to the kids as well as working with other volunteers from around the world!
I would definitely recommend construction as a program to join, it was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Hannah
10/10

Teaching English in Coronado

This was my second time traveling to Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel, and I could not have asked for a better experience! All of the staff have been extremely friendly and supportive throughout my time here, as well as the managers at my project site. During my time, I was able to plan lessons and fun activities for both children and adult basic classes. While Maximo has guidelines for the curriculum, it was my responsibility to create the lesson plans and what students would learn each week. While it was challenging, it definitely allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I would highly recommend it for someone looking for a challenging and personally rewarding experience but also wanting a strong support system.

How can this program be improved?
I think it would be awesome if our travel expenses were included in the initial program cost, although I understand that would raise the program cost.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Curtis
9/10

Monteverde Coffee Farm

I had a great experience working at Cafe La Bella Tica. Ersi is a great cook, and the work we did every day with Oldemar felt important and impactful. Overall I would definitely recommend this program to anyone interested in coffee and community service, as long as they speak a little spanish. . I had a lot of opportunities to practice spanish as well, in addition to exploring the area and playing soccer with a local team.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Gus
9/10

Monteverde Coffee Farm Volunteer Project

I was a volunteer at a coffee farm in monteverde through the organizations IVHQ and then Maximo Nivel. This is a great way to experience the farm life of a Costa Rica while also getting to be a tourist in a wonderful part of Costa Rica. The accommodations are wonderful and provide an excellent all around experience. I would highly recommend this trip as a way to serve the community and experience Costa Rica for a smaller cost.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jemilla
10/10

Coffee farm Costa rica

The overall experience was pretty incredible because Monteverde is beautiful and there is so much to do up there. Also because you are with a smaller group it makes a very close environment so travelling on your own works very well. If you want to get your hands slightly dirty in a completely immersive volunteer environment this is the project for you. One thing is that you need to be prepared to travel to get to the coffee farm and so bring travel sickness pills

How can this program be improved?
Make it easier to travel to the place. Can be very complicated
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria Claudia
9/10

Ostional Turtle Conservation

The Ostional Turtle Conservation project was a fulfilling experience that reached all my expectations and more. I had a great time, met incredible people, made some good friendships and learned a lot about turtles. Yami is an amazing cook and person, Jairo a great leader; funny and energetic. For sure this was a life changing experience that strengthen old skills and give me new skills that will be useful for my future.

How can this program be improved?
More daily activities that are not work and better integration between old and new volunteers.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria
10/10

Ostional Turtle Conservation

Everything about this program was incredible. I loved everything in this experience, from the people to the turtles. I would really recomend this program for anyone who is willing to learn a lot and meet friends for life. Working on the turtles made me be more concious about the environment and how to take care of it. The staff was so kind and we learned a lot from them. It was a life changing and unforgettable experience.

How can this program be improved?
Walkie Talkies and a place to lounge at the station.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Brandi
10/10

Second Time with Maximo Nivel

My first volunteer trip as with Maximo to Guatemala alone and had a wonderful experience. So much so that I wanted to share a new adventure like this with my husband. I knew I wanted to travel again with Maximo because I am comfortable with the organization and felt very safe with them.

Our entire trip was wonderful, mainly because of our host family. Our host mother, father, and sister were very welcoming and treated us as members of the family. I will miss them all dearly.

Our placement as a day care was hectic but fun! The children are very sweet and loved to play ~ especially with my husband. Not many men participate in the childcare program so the little boys gravitated to him!!!

Long story short, we had an amazing time in a beautiful country with very nice people!

How can this program be improved?
I do wish we had more information relating to the homestay (at least the general area) so better planning could happen in advance. Other than that, it was wonderful.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniella
9/10

Costa Rica Experience

Excellent Program, great staff! If you want to meet various people from different parts of the world , learn a new language, helping others, then Maximo Nivel is the place to go! You will have a great time and ample opportunity to help with children , animals and others. The food is great and lots of activities and interesting sites to visit. I greatly recommeng this program. You will not regret it. I had an amazing experience learning about Costa Rica and interacting with differnt people , but mostly working with the children was the best!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Madison
10/10

Teaching English in San Jose

As cliche as it sounds: Come volunteer in Costa Rica with an open mind and get ready to have your world turned upside down.
I was placed in an incredible project in San Jose where I was teaching English classes to adolescent girls ages 12-17 in a rehabilitation center. I'm a college student studying to become an English teacher, so my project was extremely useful and helped me discover my passion for teaching. I had no idea I would be planning lessons from scratch and given a whole class to teach by myself, and it was a bit daunting at first, but it was the most rewarding experience of my life. It wasn't just my project, however, it was also Maximo Nivel's staff and resources.
Everyone at Maximo Nivel is incredibly personable. They truly care about you and your well-being, and genuinely go above and beyond to make sure you are prepared and confident in your project and your new life here in Costa Rica. There is also a strong community within Maximo as well, you can take Spanish lessons, dancing classes, cooking classes, etc, that really bring the community together.
My host family was amazing, the resources for outside travel were also extremely helpful as well. The people I've met through Maximo Nivel are now my lifelong friends, and I could 100% genuinely could not have asked for anything more.

I've cried like 9 times already because I have to leave. If that's not an example of how amazing this experience was, I don't know what is. :)

Yes, I recommend this program
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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 this program
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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 this program
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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 this program
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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 this program
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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 this program

Interviews

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...