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 135 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.4
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 7
Showing 31 - 45 of 135
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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 this program
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Chaeeun
10/10

Angeles of La Carpio

I was able to work with children from La Carpio and I honestly have to say that this was an amazing experience. The reason why I say this is because I learned so much from the kids. I was able to have confidence when speaking Spanish with them. also I learned how smallest events can bring a smile on my face. There was this girl who would always give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She told me that she had fun today, becuase we were able to play hide and seek. I don't remember when was the last time I actually played for my enjoyment.
This program helped me to mature and helped me understand that smallest things can go a long way. I learned that as long as I put my effort into things I did, other will understand and be there to give me a hand when I need it!
Some tips I want to give for future volunteers in Child Care!! It would be great if you memorize a song called, "Soy una Serpiente". The kids are going to LOVE YOU! Also children love playing "Duck, Duck, Goose". Toys or any everyday materials you can find at home (toilet paper, kitchen towel, cups, etc) would be AMAZING!. I can guarantee you that you have a PURPOSE and FULLFILLMENT when working for this project!

How can this program be improved?
I thinking for Child care, it would be great if you mention them to bring anything that can be helpful for the kids. Clothes, toys, first-aid kit, medicine, paper, coloring books, ANYTHING. Also extra money to buy them healthy fruits! Send them separate email mentioning how bringing these things can go a loooong way!!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tian'Yi
10/10

Great experience

My first day to La Carpio was somewhat intimidating. Due to the inaurguration all the buses had been moved. The confidence and flexibility of the project staff helped me relax. I had a lot of fun with the kids. They are simply amazing. At first, they seem a little shy. However, after a while they began to warm up to you. Before I left both the kids and the project staff hugged me.
The staffs in maximo are amazing. I got lost once at night, and one of the staff asked to talk to the bus driver. I end up going home safe with the bus driver pointing to where I was staying. Shout out to my host mom. Her cooking is to die for.

How can this program be improved?
Prior information about the project would help with the nervousness a lot.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Liam
10/10

Manuel Antonio Working Healthcare

Experience was overall great, would do it again. I highly recommend this program in Manuel Antonio. The staff for the project are excellent and so are the workers at the project site.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kiana
10/10

Teaching English in Costa Rica

I volunteered for Maximo Nivel for 4 weeks and I taught English to teenage girls. I have to say that at first I was scared to do this. Living in another country for 4 weeks, knowing little of their language and their culture and having no one there, all seemed scary to me at first. But then you get here and you meet the staff at Maximo Nivel. They are all so friendly and supportive. You meet these people and realize how much support you have here and then all your fears go away. It's not only for your project that they support you, they help you for a lot of other things too. They teach you how to use the bus, where to eat that has good quality and reasonable price, where to explore and how to take the tours to both save money and have fun and all the other things. I mean, I'm a student and I want to have fun but not spend that much money either and Andres, one of the staff, helped me so much to plan trips and trours for very cheap, I'm really grateful for that. I just knew that if anything happens I can count on them. Actually one day I was a little sick and they all helped me so much. Andres would come and check on me every 15 minutes to make sure that I was ok. It was just great to see that I have all this support here.
They also support you so much to make sure that you feel comfortable teaching and you don't have any problems with your project. Steve, Emmy and Daniel always help me on the site so I can make the most out of my teaching experience. Marta always help me and encourage me to make worksheets for my students. You think teaching English is difficult and you cannot do it? Well, yes it is a little challenging, but with all the help you have from these awesome people you can definitely do it. I don't have that much experience teaching English myself but Maximo Nivel made it totally possible for me.
And then you go to the class and you see all these students, so eager to learn and so grateful that you teach them, and your know at that moment that all the time and money you have spent are worth it. You see them learning English and becoming more and more excited and comfortable about English and all of these are so heartwarming. Their enthusiasm is adorable and they are such amazing and kind girls.
I'm truly happy that I decided to do this project with Maximo Nivel and I highly recommend it.

How can this program be improved?
Before I come to Costa Rica they would not give me that much information about my project and the place I would live in, which made me a little worried because I didn't know what to expect. So I suggest that before the arrival of volunteers give them more details about their stay in Costa Rica so they know what to expect and feel supported from the beginning.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ahmad
8/10

The Facts about Medical volunteering in San Jose

I volunteered in the medical project with Maximo Nivel in San Jose for 2 weeks. Maximo Nivel is a fantastic organization to work with. The staff are great and friendly. The services the agency offers are very helpful and they provide you with all the information and help you could need during your stay in San Jose. Two of the staff members working in Maximo were especially amazing. Marta, who was always super friendly with volunteers and always smiling and socializing with them, and Andres, who was amazing with volunteers. He always tried to help when he could and treated them more like friends than formally as volunteers, which made everyone much more comfortable.
As for the medical project, do not expect to get a lot of hands on work. The amount of practical skills you apply in the project are very limited and not much of a medically learning experience. It is still a learning experience because it is nevertheless a new experience. You´re putting yourself out of your comfort zone and going somewhere new and interacting with new people. However the project itself gets very repetitive because the work is limited and pretty much the same every day. I started to get bored after the first week.
But other than that, the city is greatñ definitely go exploring because that´s where the actual experiences are.
If you stay with a host family, like i did, they are absolutely fantastic. Extremely friendly.
Also, if you can brush up and learn some Spanish before you arrive, it would definitely be worth while so you´re not clueless in public. But they offer spanish courses at Maximo which are also great.

How can this program be improved?
The medical volunteering project needs to allow volunteers to participate more and actually apply their skills in the area. As a volunteer I did not feel relevant or needed in the project. the project staff should encourage volunteers to do more and allow it and trust in the skills of experienced volunteers. In addition, they should also interact more with the volunteers.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Madan
10/10

Unforgettable Experience: Monteverde Organic Farming Coffee Project

I spent 2.5 weeks volunteering on a local organic coffee plantation in Monteverde. From farm maintenance to planting, roasting and packaging coffee, this programme really makes you understand and appreciate every cup of coffee that we drink each morning! What an amazing and rewarding experience! A new level of appreciation for the local farmers, their families and coffee!

The team at Maximo Nivel, made transitioning from traveller to volunteer a quick and easy process. They were extremely helpful with the comprehensive induction, and were always ready to provide support if/when required throughout the volunteering programme. The organic coffee project is set up with a lot of thought invested into it. The Maximo team and the local farming family, really make you feel immersed in what the local culture has to offer, without making you feel uncomfortable in the new environment.

At the end 2.5 weeks, you are left extremely satisfied with the new set of skills, knowledge, hard work and an appreciation for what local communities endure on a daily basis.

If you love getting your hands dirty and want to explore a new country full of wonderful people and culture, I highly recommend the organic farming programme offered by Maximo Nivel, Costa Rica.

Yes, I recommend this program
Marta
10/10

Paramedic Volunteer in Costa Rica

It was an amazing experience to have the opportunity to volunteer on the ambulance in Costa Rica. The ambulance in Costa Rica provides a very high level of service to their community. It was amazing to be able to assist the paramedics with calls and learn more about their medical service here. I highly suggest learning as much spanish as you can before you can volunteer for the most efficient communication, but some things are universal like smiles and laughs!

Yes, I recommend this program
Marta
10/10

Teaching English in San Jose

I had a great experience during my time here in San Jose completing the Teaching English project in Coronado. The students were very willing to learn and eager. The support from the Maximo staff was excellent and I felt confident that they could help me whenever I had a question. My house mom made me feel so welome and was super friendly and warm. It was overall wondrful experience! I had a great experience during my time here in San Jose completing the Teaching English project in Coronado. The students were very willing to learn and eager. The support from the Maximo staff was excellent and I felt confident that they could help me whenever I had a question. My house mom made me feel so welome and was super friendly and warm. It was overall wondrful experience!

How can this program be improved?
Promote the teaching english program so that the students have a sense of consistency.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Brandon
10/10

Great service, great fun!

Our staff from Maximo Nivel was great! They were available every step of the way to provide assurance, support, and direction without being overbearing. Our host families were a joy to be around, and our accommodations were pleasant. The project was educational and it felt like we made an impact by the end of our week there. In our free time, Monteverde had a lot of exciting activities to offer.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Tori
10/10

Childcare Project

I first committed to staying in Costa Rica for 8 weeks, but I soon realized that wasn't nearly enough time, and I decided to commit for another 3 weeks. However, my time here is now coming to a close, and I still wish I could stay longer. I came to Costa Rica in order to force myself out of my comfort zone, challenge my beliefs and expectations, and grow as a person; I believe I have acieved every single one of those goals. I have made forever friends and had unforgettable experiences- while travelling, with my host family, and in my project.
My experience at the school (my childcare project) was particularly one I will never forget. I cannot thank them enough for all they have taught me about myself and what I want from my future. Each and every child in the school has touched my heart in their own unique and special way, and I can only hope I have somehow touched there's in return.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Chantal
10/10

Working with Children at Hogar Maria Infantil

I had an unforgetable experience working with the children at Hogar Maria Infantil for the months I came to Costa Rica. All of the staff at Maimo Nivel were super supportive and helpful every step of the way. I learnt so much during my time here. Travelling and volunteering is an experience nobody can take away from you, and I am so glad I chose Costa Rica to kick off my travel bug. Many thanks to everyone who made this experience possible.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Becky
8/10

Maximo Nivel Nursing Home Volunteer Project

I spent my time volunteering in Costa Rica at Casa Nazereth and had a great experience! The staff at Maximo Nivel made sure I was prepared once I arrived in Costa Rica, a country I had never visited before to make sure I was comfortable for my week here. They were always very accesible, welcoming, and friendly, I am so thankful I discovered this wonderful organization! The staff at Casa Nazereth were wonderfully welcoming and guided me in helping me to assist the residents with their daily cares and medical needs.

Yes, I recommend this program
Emily
10/10

Maximo Nivel Nursing Home Volunteer Project

I had a great experience with Maximo Nivel working at Casa Nazareth nursing home in San Jose! Maximo Nivel is very organized and all of their staff are extremely supportive. At Casa Nazareth, I got to work with all of the senior citizens that live there. Even though I really enjoyed helping the nurse and doctor with the residents, the best part for me was getting to know each of the residents and their life story!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Caye
9/10

Impacting the Lives of Students

I volunteered in Manuel Antonio as an English teacher for elementary students and adults. I found it to be a great experience, one that positively touched the lives of young people and encouraged their growth and success. I found the staff of Maximo Nivel to be kind, helpful, and supportive. I enjoyed living with my host family, and the students were absolutely wonderful! I would recommend this program to people who are flexible, creative, down-to-earth, and concerned about others. Bring some school supplies with you ... some patience, and some love... and you will make a lasting difference in the lives of others. And they, in turn, will make a positive difference in your life too!

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...