Volunteer in Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel - Best Rated Projects

Video and Photos

Holiday Party
Holiday Party
Face Painting at a Daycare
Face Painting at a Daycare
View from my host family’s house
View from my host family’s house
At the volunteer headquarters
At the volunteer headquarters
Teaching English
Teaching English
Teaching english
Teaching english
Teaching english
Teaching english
Costa Rica
Costa Rica

About

Costa Rica is known for having progressive environmental and social policies, and Costa Rica is widely considered one of the planet’s most sustainable countries. At the same time, Costa Rica is still a developing country with a low national income and a number of socio-economic issues. This means Costa Rica offers a wide variety of ways to get involved in volunteer abroad projects, contribute to sustainable programs, and provide help to vulnerable populations. There is a lot to do in a country like Costa Rica and international volunteers are needed and welcomed!

Maximo Nivel provides volunteer abroad projects at our institutes in San Jose (capital city) and Manuel Antonio (beach). Projects are also available off-site in Guanacaste (beach), Caribbean (beach), and Monteverde (cloud forest), which are rural areas and offer a more “off-the-grid” experience than San Jose or Manuel Antonio.

Travel Grants Available for a Limited Time!

Ready to work as an English teacher abroad? Register today for our award winning TEFL Certification in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru and apply for a special travel grant.

Popular Programs

When you are volunteering with kids in Costa Rica, you are directly impacting the 1 in 5 families that live in poverty. Your day will be focused on helping underprivileged children with homework and fun activities.

When you do this program, you are giving access to a skill that most kids learn in private language centers: speaking English. By volunteering with Maximo Nivel to teach english, you are giving a leg up to under privileged kids.

When you think of Costa Rica, the first thought is usually the incredible beaches, and we are determined to keep it that way. Volunteering in this conservation project helps us keep Costa Rica preserved.

When you volunteer on this project, you will have a high tangible impact on the community by building homes, schools, and community centers. These projects are led by a local foremen and are focused on community development.

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 176 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.4
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 7
Showing 151 - 165 of 176
Default avatar
Thomas
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical volunteering

Overall we had a wonderful experience as reflected by the high score in the review. That said, we had several concerns both in the lead up to the experience and during.

These all centered around a lack of communication regarding our expectations and our qualifications heading into the project. I volunteered with 3 other medical students from Canada and despite frequent detailing our high level of training the IVHQ the main volunteer organizations there was limited in any knowledge of that training upon our arrival to Costa Rica.

That said, the staff here did an awesome job in supporting us. Tati, our main project leader was fun, knowledgeable and very supportive. She ensured our projects were well set up to accomodate us as best as they could. Without her tireless work and creativity our experience would have been disapointing. We also felt that our expectations for work were a little much and therefore we strongly advocated for ourselves to have Friday's off to explore the beautiful country. We offered to work longer days mid-week to accomodate.

My advice would be to make sure to advocate for yourself as you are ultimately the one paying the program fees, make sure you get what you want out of this trip. The team and the people at Maximo are wonderful and supportive and the country is absolutely incredible.

If you want to take Spanish classes all week each afternoon, go for it. If you do not want that then don't be pressured into spending more money and giving up your free time, tell them 'no, I want to use afternoons to explore and experience' and you will be just fine. It may be harder to accompplish this as a group of 1 or 2 but in our 4some we made sure that the trip worked for us as well as the project to which we were assigned. We had tons of meaningful experiences with patients and residents of Costa Rica and the time we alotted was a perfect mix of work and free time.

Overall we were very happy but | would encourage people to make sure to advocate for themselves and get the trip that they want. Make sure to encourage communication in the lead-up to the trip as well!

Thanks!

What would you improve about this program?
more communication, acknowledge participants goals prior to arrival in order to better accomodate.
Default avatar
Bryce
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Medical Volunteering

Overall, I very much enjoyed my time in Costa Rica. Tati was a highlight of our experience, as she did a fantastic job orienting and supporting us throughout the project. She went out of her way to provide accommodations for us when we required them, as well as ensuring we were enjoying ourselves.

Unfortunately, we received no information about our project prior to arriving, which provided challenges and at times frustration. Given our level of medical training, an information package prior to arrival with some instructions or information on what we would be doing or in what ways we could help would have allowed us to be more effective in our role. We also would have had the opportunity to make a greater impact on the communities we worked with, by bringing more supplies and donations for the projects.

What would you improve about this program?
As above, provide information to volunteers earlier regarding their role, greater communication regarding the level of training of the volunteer versus the level of training required to complete the project.
Default avatar
Jade
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE

My boyfriend, Charlee and I spent a week in Costa Rica. We were placed in the child care program at Pollitos. From the first day we arrived until our last day, we felt nothing but respect, love and appreciation. Everyone from the Maximo Team was extremely helpful and kind. Our host family, Yami, was the definition of Costa Rican hospitality. Yami and her husband, Victor went out of their way to accommodate to our needs. The children and the staff at Pollitos will forever be in our hearts. In one short week, Costa Rica became one of my favorite places in the world because of this program. Thank you so so so much for this incredible life changing experience! Pure Vida!

What would you improve about this program?
No suggestions at this time.
Default avatar
Sina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Costa Rica

The past two months I spent volunteering in Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel. I worked in an orphanage and also in a day care center. Those eight weeks have been one of the best weeks in my life. Very nice and helpful staff, amazing kids, the best host family I could have asked for and amazing travel destinations on the weekends. Seeing how one of the little ones was first afraid of water but after our swimlessons became so brave was definitely one of the best experiences. So sad I have to leave, but Ill be back!

Default avatar
Mattias
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pura Vida!

I went into this programme not knowing exactly what to expect, especially as a solo traveller. I quickly got adjusted to the life in San Jose and the team at Maximo Nivel could not have been more accomadating and friendly. Making friends happened naturally and I met loads of great people from all over the world which was fantastic for organizing weekend trips around Costa Rica. The english placement that I worked was an extremely rewarding experience, the students were very eager to learn and really appreciated the time that we as the volunteers put in. Starting the trip off my Spanish was pretty pitiful but after just a short two weeks I had learned a huge amount, especially with the Spanish lessons of offer at Maximo Nivel. I have no regrets doing this programme and I will surely be back.

Default avatar
Carolina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ostional Turtle Project

I enjoyed learning so much about the turtles, their environment and how we can help them i.e. make a difference. Furthermore am looking forward to share my knowledge with others to create awareness.
The local people we worked with where appreciative of our support and effort, they shared a lot of information to make our stay meaningful. Was also interesting to come together other volunteers from different backgrounds with the same interest.
Would definitely recommend to anyone looking to expand and broaden their horizons.

What would you improve about this program?
For those interested in making donations, would be useful if one could be put in contact with the coordinator of the turtle conservation project to provide or bring the right donation e.g. microchip scanner
Default avatar
Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English

I had the wonderful opportunity to teach English in La Carpio (just a bit outside San Jose) for 6 weeks. Going into my trip, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. This is one of those things that you just have to experience to understand. But throughout my 6 weeks, I not only was able to help the local community, I also learned so much about myself and the world. This was my first overseas trip, so travelling by myself in a different country was completely new to me. I was able to see many sides of Costa Rica, and its people by leaving San Jose 5 of my 6 weekends. Also, I made some truly wonderful friends, not only in other volunteers, but also in my students. I will truly cherish these friendships for life, and even though it was so hard to leave, I know that I will be coming back. I highly recommend both travelling to Costa Rica, as well as volunteering through Maximo Nivel! The staff is extremely friendly and supportive, and they seem to really care about you, not just as a client, but as a person.

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

pura vida

First of all, anybody who is about to read that review and is struggling with whether to go on that trip or not... should send the application book those tickets NOW.
Travelling alone will be the scariest, most liberating and most precious experience of your life - and I am so so grateful for having made the decision to live that experience exactly here with exactly this people!
The whole Maximo Nivel team consists of uniquely amazing, supportive and genuinly caring people with the best intentions at heart always making sure you are feeling fine in the new environment. They are gold.
My project itself was the perfect fit! Taking care of children always was my passion, but working and sharing your time with little Ticos who trust a stranger so much and open their heart to you every day a little bit more is such a priceless and precious experience that will leave you with a sparkle in your heart.

So don't overthink it - believe me when I say to simply do it and let it change your perspective.

'Pura Vida' - Life is wonderful.

Luisa

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

amazing program

i volunteered for 6 weeks with the turtle conservation project in junqillal and absolutely loved it. i had no expectations when arriving that i would have any contact with the turtles, but was blown away with how involved our work was with them. if you're looking for a project where you see direct results of all the work you are doing, i would definitley recommend the turtle conservation project. keep in mind not ALL the work is directly involved with the turtles ( i believe this should be stressed more). a lot of it is dirty work like picking up trash, shoveling compost, hauling heavy buckets of sand and water, and walking several kilometers on the beach at night. but everything you do is to ultimately benefit the turtles so it is defintley all worth it! for anyone who loves animals and the environment i would absoluetly recommend this program!

What would you improve about this program?
things on site could be a little more organized in regards to distribution of work, start times of work, and who is working what job.
Default avatar
Corey
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging but Rewarding Experience

I have never traveled abroad before and as one would expect there was some apprehension involved, but that all began to melt away once I met the caring and friendly staff at Maximo Nivel. I arrived by myself but have never once felt alone. They work hard to make sure we feel included and welcomed even in the first few days when you are still trying to make friends and meet the other volunteers. On top of that they ensure we have the supplies and materials we need for our projects.

I participated in the Teaching English program which at times can be trying but overall was very rewarding. Although it was somewhat of a hassle to take the medly of buses to our site every day, the students desire to learn and excitement about the language made it all worth it.

It can be challenging living abroad especially if you're traveling by yourself. But the warm staff, solid programming, and exciting experiences make it all worth it. Living with a brand new family and in a completely foreign city is not for the faint of heart but if you feel you're up to the adventure this wonderful place will provide you with lasting memories for years to come.

What would you improve about this program?
Newer supplies in the staff support closet for projects and activities.
Default avatar
Cecilia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica- Unforgetable Experience!!!

When I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica I was very nervous and excited but did not know what to expect. As soon as I got to the house I felt very loved and welcomed by the family. The first day volunteering was life changing to me. I was teaching adults that were very eager to learn English and friendly with me. They are a part of a small community in Coronado.They are amazing people that do not get the same opportunities a lot of us have, and still they are strong and make time to come with their children to learn English and help each other by sticking together through good and bad.
The adults in this community planned a day to take the volunteers on a trip so that we would get to see all the beautiful places in their community. They all saved money to rent a van, take us sightseeing, and visit their church. After that amazing trip we all had dinner together, in which we all brought something to eat. I will never forget all the love and hard work that was put in to make this happen. They gave me so much love that I could never express with words how happy they made me feel. I will always keep the Coronado people in my heart and be thankful that I had a chance to learn the important things in life from them.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have helped volunteers know in advance that we had to take multiple buses to get to our projects and the cost of transportation.
Default avatar
Alexus
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Special Needs Abroad

My trip to costa rica was very special and fun! I felt like I made a good decision coming here for my first volunteer trip. I reccomend to other volunteers that they learn spanish before or during their expierence and take off more than one week! one week is not enough because this is such a good expierence.

What would you improve about this program?
A little more inclusion for the volunteers.
Default avatar
Toddossa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica- Maximo Nivel

I had such an amazing time volunteering here for the week I stayed in Costa Rica! The staff are so welcoming and are here whenever needed. Not once have I felt out of place nor unsafe. I would highly recommened this to anyone.

Default avatar
Nicholas
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Maximo Nivel, Costa Rica - Childcare

We worked at a daycare for underpriviledged children within San Jose. Our day began in the morning with Spanish lessons, followed by a bus ride to the daycare. At the daycare, the afternoon often started with nap time, followed by an arts and crafts period, possible play time outside at a soccer field or a playground, and ending with free time with the kids inside. The daycare staff and children did not speak any English, but we were able to communicate with them through the Spanish we learned during our lessons.

We were responsible for occupying the kids with activities during arts and crafts and free time. This involved preparing projects for the kids beforehand. The children sincerely appreciated projects such as snowmen crafts, painting, making Christmas cards, and "all about me" booklets. They also loved playing with the gifts we brought such as hoola hoops, bubbles, toy cars, fingerpaint, tattoos, and a soccer ball.

I felt safe throughout the project and Maximo staff were able to help with any questions I had. The homestay was with a very nice family who prepared excellent meals for us. Evening activities organized by Maximo were enjoyable and well-organized.

What would you improve about this program?
More information during orientation such as how to get to laundry and important Spanish phrases relevant to the daycare project.
Default avatar
Kortni
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome Learning Experience

Costa Rica has been a beautiful and friendly place. I learned so much from this experience and am so glad I did it! The in country staff at Maximo Nivel were very helpful and did their best to take care of the volunteers.