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 31 - 45 of 119
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Julia
10/10

Increible

Translation:
Very helpful staff always, always willing to help beyond their objections. Celine always helped me with everything I needed. My project was with children of a church and I loved it, they are all very special. My family here also loved it, it could be like in my house in Brazil. I leave Manuel Antonio wanting to return as early as possible. It is an experience that all people should live.

Original:
Personal muy servicial siempre, siempre dispuestos a ayudar más alla de sus oblicaciones. Celine me ayudó siempre con todo que necesité. Mi proyecto fue con niños de una iglesia y me encantó, son todos muy especiales. Mi familia aqui tambien me encantó, pudo estar como en mi casa de Brasil. Salgo de Manuel Antonio con ganas de regresar más temprano posible. Es una experiencia que todas las personas deberian vivir.

How can this program be improved?
Para mi fue perfecto
Yes, I recommend
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Charles
10/10

AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!!!!

This was the first time I had any kind of experience like this. I was looking for an option to both study Spanish and volunteer abroad when I found Maximo Nivel. I was hesitant because I did not know what to expect, especially when arriving in a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone! From start to finish I had an amazing experience. All of the staff from Andy first helping me to understand how the programs worked when I was doing research, to all of the staff in Manuel Antonio who helped me feel at home and were always kind and supportive, particularly Karen, Celine and Mackenzie, and my Spanish teachers Runnia and Patricia. My host family was incredibly kind and hospitable and were always patient and went out of their way to make sure I was safe and comfortable and felt at home. Thank you Maximo Nivel for an experience I will never forget!!!!!!!!

Yes, I recommend
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Anne
10/10

Manuel Antonio Working with Kids

I loved my project. I loved the kids, being in Qrepos, and my host family. i had a lot of fun and felt safe normally. a few girls were mugged which caused a bit of drama but i took precautions and followed the advice given by maximo and i was good. my host family was awesome. they were all so kind, made good food, took care of me and invited me to cultural activites. the kids at the daycare were so fun and i loved having something to do. i learned to have a good attitude and to have a lot of energy. however, when my projcect switched from afternoon to morning, i was very grateful to have something new and do different things with the kids besides play outside for the majority of the time.

How can this program be improved?
maybe only put volunteers in the morning at the daycare in imaculada.
Yes, I recommend
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Marlina
10/10

Casa Nazareth Medical Project Costa Rica

Volunteering with Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica was a once in a lifetime oppurtunity. I was lucky enough to be placed in Casa Nazareth and volunteer with the elderly. This experience was rewarding because you get to build relationships with the residents and staff at the facility. I did a one week project at Casa Nazareth and our duties included, but not limited to, checking vital signs, assisting with wound care, assist with feeds, physical therapy, arts and crafts, having conversations and so much more than that is creating special bonds with each and everyone there! Through Maximo Nivel I got placed in an amazing home stay with a great family, including a dog! The family was so welcoming and made me feel right at home. The staff at Maximo Nivel was there throughout the whole process for any help we needed and even checked in with us the whole week at our project to see if I needed anything or needed help with anything. The general orientation and individual project orientation explained everything in detail and made me feel comfortable in a foreign country. I came to Costa Rica not knowing what to expect from this experience but now I'm leaving sad because I am part of a family with Maximo Nivel, not only with the staff but with the other volunteers, I have built life long relationships with everyone including staff, home stay family, the residents and staff at Casa Nazareth and the other volunteers! Thank you Maximo Nivel! I am highly recommending your organization!

Yes, I recommend
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Lindsay
10/10

Manuel Antonio Working with Kids

Maximo Nivel's program in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica was one of the best experiences I have had. My homestay was fantastic and I truly felt that I became part of the family. The office staff is very helpful and very friendly, and my Spanish classes were fantastic. I worked at a daycare with children ages 0-6, and had a wonderful experience. The children are so sweet and become hard to say goodbye to each day. Also, there are copious activities set up by Maximo Nivel that are a great way to meet other program participants. The only regret I have is not being here long enough - the time went by too quickly!

Yes, I recommend
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Chloe
10/10

Maximo Nivel is worth it!

I spent a total of 6 months with Maximo in San Jose Costa Rica. From the first day I arrived I felt welcomed into the Maximo community. All of the staff members were very friendly and knowledable. Throughout my time here the staff has been nothing but kind and helpful. THey were willing to help me with everything from restaurant recomendaciones to travel tips to doctor appointments. It was great to have the constant support of the Maximo Nivel team during my time here. When they asked me how I was and if I liked my classes and my project, it was evident that they genuinely cared about how I was doing and wanted to ensure my wellbeing and happiness. ALthough one does have to pay for this prpogram, it is much less expensive than some other volunteer programs and I beleive the cost is worth what you get in return. I would recomend Maximo Nivel to anyonr looking to do volunteer work in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru.

Yes, I recommend
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Katheyrn
10/10

12 weeks. 3 projects. A life changing experience!

I have chose to do three projects in Costa Rica through Maximo Nivel. I did construction and renovation in San Jose, eco agriculture in Monteverde and turtle conservation program in Junquillal. The hardest part about writing this review is that i know im about to head home and leave this beautiful country and its people behind. All of the projects were absolutly amazing! from the host families, making new friends with the locals and the volunteers to the very helpful and friendly staff members of Maximo Nivel. If you are looking to volunteer in a safe country, where the people make you feel like you are home and where your time and effort will be truly needed and appreciate it, this is definitely the place and the organization. I will forever be grateful and lucky that I got to experience all these adventures and challenges that were so rewarding!

Yes, I recommend
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Rubylea
10/10

Can't wait to come back again!

Costa Rica is such a beautiful place with such kind, welcoming people. Volunteering through Maximo Nivel immediately eased all my worries about travelling solo! The team at the San Pedro headquarters provided a comprehensive orientation of all the do's and don'ts while here and provided all the support you need. Emmy is super knowledgable and helped me settle in immediately! Going through Maximo was a great way to meet people with their social events while contributing to the community and having an authentic Costa Rican experience. Special shout out to Steve and Andres, they were always so acommodating and happy to help with any issues i had. I could not recommend Maximo enough! I can't wait to visit again.

Yes, I recommend
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Erica
10/10

Rewarding & Impactful Experience in Costa Rica - Maximo Nivel

My time in Costa Rica has been one, if not the most, life-changing and impactful experiences of my life. The program sets to up to challenge yourself in a new community with interesting people from all over the world. Each day you have enough structure and freedom to have a fulfilling experience. Living with a host family provided such valuable insight into the culture here in San Jose, Costa Rica. At the home you are able to practice Spanish, learn the family values and cultural norms as well as get an authentic look at the community and day to day life. I would do this program again without question and recommend it to anyone. While I was here as a volunteer, I feel like I was the one who gained the most value. Everyone has been so welcoming and I could not have imagined a better time. If you are looking for a new opportunity to grow as a person, come to Costa Rica. You will not regret it.

Yes, I recommend
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Anita
10/10

Unforgettable Experience Teaching English

I spent 2 weeks teaching English with the project Vuela. It was one of the most rewarding and eye opening experiences of my life so far. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but I wouldn´t have had it any other way! The staff at Maximo were unbelievably helpful and made sure we were always supported in every way. They would greet us everyday with a smile on their faces which made our experience so welcoming. By the end of the 2 weeks, we felt like locals. Teaching the kids was an honour and when they remembered the things you taught them, it brings you so much joy! You create such a strong bond with the kids and the staff that you will never forget!

Yes, I recommend
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Janki
9/10

Teaching English in San Jose

I was very nervous about embarking on this journey, visiting a new non english speaking country and being thrown into an environment out of my comfort zone. I am so pleased with the experience I have had. My home stay family was lovely and welcoming and I always felt very much at home.
Teaching the children English was challenging but very rewarding and I feel as though I have gained so much confidence from the experience. The children are so lovely and it was so difficult to say goodbye.

How can this program be improved?
I feel it would be helpful for new volunteers to have more information about what to expect and what is expeced of them coming into the program.
Yes, I recommend
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Katrina
10/10

2 Weeks as a nurse in San Jose

It was such an incredible experience! I took part in the Healthcare project and absolutely loved it. I came to Costa Rica only having studied my first year of nursing and yet was able to partake in everything. The experience is without a doubt worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
As for Maximo Nivel, the assistance all the students received was outstanding. They help you with every aspect of your travels and hold 'event nights' wher eyou can practise salsa and learn to cook typical Costa Rican dishes. Definitely well worth it and I would recommend it to anybody who is ready for a lifechanging experience.

How can this program be improved?
More classes!! The salsa and cooking class were amazing, having more events or social nights would top it off even more.
Yes, I recommend
Kai
10/10

Incredible Program

I volunteered in Costa Rica and had a wonderful time sightseeing the country and working with kids, would definitely recommend to anyone looking for volunteer abroad opportunities. I didn't speak any spanish but the volunteerHQ staff were super helpful in getting me around and I was still able to help out a lot at the daycare I was volunteering at. I also got to spend the weekend traveling to Manuel Antonio and the beach was beautiful.

Yes, I recommend
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Nela
10/10

Childcare in Sonrisas

Such a life-changing experience! I loved going to my project and spending time with the cute children, it always made my day and I feel like that with time it got better so I would definitely recommend coming for longer than two weeks (I did it for 8 weeks). My homestay was amazing, they made me feel like a part of their family and I already miss them.
This experience allows you not only to see a new culture but to live it. I cannot stress how much I’d recommend everyone to do this at least once in their life. I feel like I’ve learned so much and feel more grateful for what I have now. I got out of my comfort zone a lot and learned a new language- the more Spanish you know the more you’ll benefit from your experience.
Also, Maximo Nivel was great, I felt supported all the time.

Yes, I recommend
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David
9/10

Holiday Experience

Having only a week to volunteer before my second semester started back up, I chose to do the holiday experience. We participated in beautification projects in some of the most underprivileged areas, worked and played with children in different orphanages and day cares, and visited a home for the elderly. It was a great way to get a taste of some of the programs that maximo provides. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on projects, and although my Spanish is limited, I feel that I really connected with some of the kids. It is quite humbling to see the real side of the country, and even more uplifting to get involved, experience it, and help first hand. I wish I had another week or two to spend with Maximo in Costa Rica. I developed friendships with other volunteers, was able to go on excursions and out at night, and developed a love for the country as well. Maximo Nivel was extremely accommodating, my homestay was very pleasant, and I felt safe yet able to explore the entire time. The staff at Maximo were incredibly enthusiastic (a quality that radiated to other volunteers) and made me look forward to getting started on my project every day.

How can this program be improved?
I feel as if the time spent volunteering each day could be lengthened, possibly by working on multiple projects in one day or coming back to the same one after a lunch break. 3-4 hours a Day was a good amount, but I would have been pleased with a few more hours of volunteering.
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...