Most Affordable & Meaningful Volunteer Program in Costa Rica

Video and Photos

Medical Clinic & EMT
Medical Clinic & EMT
Teaching English
Teaching English
Teaching English
Teaching English
Orphanage
Orphanage
Exotic Animal Rescue
Exotic Animal Rescue

About

Hibiscus Travels offers various fields of interest for internships and service learning abroad including: conservation, community service, medical, veterinarian, study abroad, and specialized projects.

Dormitory Accommodations with WiFi or Host Family
Daily Meals: Traditional Breakfast & Dinner
Hibiscus Volunteer Program Activities
Airport Pick-Up

Highlights
  • As low as $48/day with 2 meals, accommodations, in-country staff support, and program coordination
  • Build your resume & gain community service hours with volunteer work or in-field internship experience
  • Conservation, community service, medical, veterinary, study abroad, and specialized projects

Impact

Hibiscus Travels offers various fields of interest for internships and service learning abroad including: conservation, community service, medical, veterinarian, study abroad, and specialized projects.

Hibiscus offers service learning programs which include accommodations and meals, transportation, in-country support, and additional aspects upon request.

Our team is happy to assist in customizing any program to your group's specific wants and needs.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

86%
based on 17 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 8.1
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 17
Default avatar
Carolyn
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Needs More Volunteers!

Completing this service trip was an eye-opening experience to the lack of medical services available to those in need in Ciudad Cortes. I felt empowered to be a part of the small change our group of DPT students engaged in at the government-run nursing home! We had the opportunity to work one on one with patients and practice our PT skills, and we were able to donate four suitcases full of medical supplies to the facility.

I was very happily surprised by the people in this community and their genuineness - it's a wonderful place to immerse yourself! The food is great, and it's such a beautiful place. I hope more people can afford the opportunity to participate in this program, because help is needed and it is so much more rewarding than you can anticipate!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Portion sizes are smaller, things run on 'Tico Time' and the attitude is generally more relaxed than in the USA. Showers are cold water only, the wifi is minimal, and it's very hot and humid during the summer - be prepared!
Default avatar
Arin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nursing Home

This was a very fun trip. We were able to volunteer in the mornings and go on excursions in the afternoon. Costa Rica was a beautiful country to explore! The house was a little tight for the large amount of people in my group (18 plus two others from a different group). The area that the house is in is part of the community. Across the street there is a small bar and a place to pick up dinner. There are small grocery stores and a few places to get food within walking distance, but no place to actually go out for a sit-down meal.

At the nursing home I only wish we could do more. They are severely understaffed and many of the patients just need a little attention and to get out of bed on a daily basis. Even if you are not an expert in the healthcare field, you can make a difference in the lives of these patients. The nurses and physical therapist at the nursing home were more than happy to assist with anything we needed. HOWEVER, I would say that a background in Spanish is necessary. Hibiscus provides you with sheets of commonly used medical terms, but if it was not for my parter and volunteer translators, I would not have been able to effectively communicate/treat.

In all, I think this would be a very valuable experience for anybody in school with an interest in health care or a health care professional just looking to give back and vacation at the same time.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve the communication between hibiscus and the groups prior to the trip. We arrived to many unexpected things. We were unaware that we were sharing the house with other people- not a big deal, but it would've been nice to know in advance. We were also expecting places to go out for dinner every night, but really there was a fried chicken place, and a single woman in a kitchen cooking across the street who was not able to cook for all of us on any given night. There is a kitchen that we could have used but 20 people cooking plus the nutrient barren supermarkets made that difficult.
Default avatar
Caroljna
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nursing home

The trip was fun. I think it was a little disorganized and that they weren’t ready for a group as big as ours (18 people). Meals were small but good so bring lots of snacks.
The best part of the trip was working with the patients at the nursing home, the nurses were very accommodating and helpful. That time was invaluable. Our drivers were very nice. I never felt unsafe at the house or the neighborhood. It is not very close to the city or a lot of stores but there is a bar and a restaurant about a 3 minute walk down the street. The people are very friendly and Estephony was so nice and a great cook ! The country is beautiful and there are a lot of amazing animals. Take advantage of the nature and the biodiversity that Costa Rica has to offer.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The food portion is very small. A typical meal consisted of small portion of rice, beans, salad and even smaller portion of some protein. Bring snacks !
Default avatar
Sadie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing volunteer experience!

I participated in a teaching volunteer program- I travelled to many schools in the area to teach nutrition and taught community English classes from the house as well. I love the fact that I feel like I was able to make really meaningful connections with our students and know that I have made great friends with some of the program staff. The planned excursions were so much fun, and I enjoyed that they could be tailored to exactly what we wanted to see in Costa Rica. Hibiscus is definitely one of the more affordable volunteer programs you can find, and allows a lot of opportunity to plan your own adventures as well. Overall, Hibiscus Travels offers an incredible way to become completed immersed in Costa Rican culture while completing meaningful community work and having amazing adventures.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Ask lots of questions beforehand and try to have an exact itinerary planned. Know how the transportation is being taken care of and confirm the types of utilities offered (for example laundry.) This will help make the trip the most relaxing once you're there.
Default avatar
Karen
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Volunteer Opportunity!

After finishing my first year in college, I wanted to spend my summer doing something fulfilling that would also help me build skills that I could apply toward my major (Child and Family Studies). Hibiscus Travels helped me do just that! Not only was I able to give back to the underprivileged youth in the community, but I was also exposed to the rich culture embedded in Costa Rican life! My host family was fantastic and made me feel like I was more of a family member than a temporary traveler. They made an effort to meet all of my needs and constantly provided me with valuable information on the biodiversity and history of Costa Rica. Hibiscus Travels also offers excursions you could go on to further your experiences in this beautiful country!

What would you improve about this program?
Clarity of program scheduling can be improved. It would be best that an itinerary for the amount of days you are staying could be provided.
Default avatar
Annie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience Away

Our host family was super communicative and friendly, which made our stay even more enjoyable. I had a great time helping out at the clinic as the doctors were informative and I learned a lot. We did a tour of Manuel Antonio park which had a variety of biodiversity and wildlife, super beautiful and highly recommended! We also did ATV, ziplining, and horseback riding which were all new experiences that I had a lot of fun doing. There was wifi at the house which was useful for communicating with family, and we also made our way to some public beaches in Manuel Antonio. We also did a catamaran tour, a highlight of our trip, as we saw turtles and dolphins, as well as completing a snorkeling trip. The locals are very friendly and enjoy communicating with tourists. Although we had little knowledge of Spanish, we were still able to make our way through the city speaking English.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make sure that you are well-prepared for your departure!
Default avatar
Tracy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime

This trip was another experience for me. I love that I got to experience life with the locals because I got put with a host family. They were all so sweet and so nice and ready to help us with whatever we needed. Never at any moment did we feel like our safety was threatened. The placement itself was quite interesting. I don't speak any Spanish but that wasn't a problem because the doctor's English was so good! The staff at the clinic were all welcoming and accepting. They made me feel welcomed and I learned so much from the doctor. He explained certain things as he worked with the patients so that was really nice. Hibiscus travels also helped my friend and I plan activities on our days off and I appreciate that so much. I explored the Manuel Antonio National Park with a guide and I would've never noticed certain animals without the help of the guide. Overall, everything was so much fun!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would carefully plan out my time here and ask any questions I have before leaving my home city because I simply winged this trip. It was fun nonetheless.
Default avatar
Gabrielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

This trip was an amazing experience! Becoming immersed in a different culture was so eye opening. I loved interacting with the locals, both children and adults, while teaching. The community was so intrigued in the English language, and were so invested in wanting to learn. Watching and teaching each individual something new was so inspiring, and really showed me how much education is valued. Communication with the staff while on the trip was very clear and concise, as well. They all helped us adjust to the new culture, and showed us great sites around the area we were staying. I think more excursions should have been implemented into the trips schedule, but the ones we had went on were some of the most amazing experiences I have ever been on. I highly recommend this opportunity!

Default avatar
Annie
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What a trip!

This trip was overall great! Safe and fun! We made a profound impact on the communities and in the school as they have also made on us! I would recommend this trip but bring some snacks and be prepared for a long drive to the house! Worth the drive though the area is STUNNING! This trip was super fun and I learned so much from the Spanish lessons from the administrator which greatly helped in our aid in the classroom! I also learned a lot about myself and what i am capable of doing to help in various ways abroad! This program allowed you to have full reins on your lesson plans and games you’ll play in the classroom and it was incredibly fun to be able to put your creative spin on it! We came up with fun musical chairs games for the kids to learn the days of the week and even adapted some of the childlike games to fit the adults! We did also get to visit two different beaches and swim for the day and walk through the rainforest and see animals in real life like toucans and sloths! Great trip!

What would you improve about this program?
I would change up what we ate for lunch, our transportation and the communication before the trip
Default avatar
McKenzie
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

Great trip. However, I wish things had been planned out a little better in order to understand what we are doing during the trip. Also, more information needed to be provided before the trip, for safety reasons and for general knowledge. Moreover, I think more communication being exchanged between the volunteers participating in the group hosting the trip. I think the excursions during the trip were wonderful. However, I would add more excursion opportunities to make the trip become more enjoyable to the volunteers for their spring break. Another thing, is that the hosts could provide a mesl plan to prepare the volunteers and let them be aware of the food they will be receiving during the trip. Also, you could tell volunteers to bring items like clothing or toys to donate to the students and families they are teaching. Or instead of only teaching English you could do some physical labor activities like building houses and schools.

Default avatar
Nicole
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good experience!

It is a beautiful area and place to volunteer. The house is nice that we stayed in a pretty spacious for all of us. The staff is welcoming, friendly, and accommodating. We were able to do a few excursions besides volunteering which was very nice althoughwish we could do a few more. We went to Manuel Antonio, waterfall, local stores. Going to the local stores was cery fun and we were able to spend a full day at Manuel Antonio. The work is very rewarding because it is very clear the need that is here for volunteers. The people of the community are also very welcoming and very thankful you are there and are extremely eager to learn. We were able to teach adults and children. It was nice teaching the different age groups as it shows you a very diverse range.

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

Awesome Spring Break

Serving and traveling with Hibiscus was awesome!
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to teach both children and adults English. Due to Costa Rica’s rapidly growing tourism industry, knowing English continues to be a more desired skill. Because of this it felt like my group was really making an impact in the small rural community we were teaching in.
The venture trips were awesome. Our first adventure was on a guided walk of Manuel Antonio National Park and then to a beach and it was absolutely gorgeous. Our second venture trip included a trip to Playa Ventanas and then to the Waterfall of Gochal. We also had the opportunity to try local Costa Rican cuisine which was an awesome addition.
The trip also includes Spanish lessons so if you aren’t fluent in Spanish you are able to communicate simply with the students, both adults and children’s.
The hosts are also incredibly welcoming and hospitablex

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

Wonderful Opportunity!

Volunteering with Hibiscus has given me an opportunity to see a new country and culture in a vastly different way than through a vacation. I am able to share my skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm while immersing myself in someone else’s life, discovering new places, and contributing to the lives of amazing natives. Teaching English to the students and adults has been a wonderful opportunity for me as a personal growth experience. Planning my own lessons for the students and adults has taught me responsibility. I am a future Special Education teacher, so this trip has helped me with ESL training and has influenced me to minor in Spanish and hopefully achieve my licensure to be an ESL teacher or Spanish teacher. If anyone has an interest in teaching ESL, I highly recommend this trip and experiencing this wonderful opportunity.

What would you improve about this program?
More information prior to departure from USA to the trip.
Default avatar
Delaney
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First Mission Trip

I came on my first mission trip with Hibiscus Travels and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Coming into this trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect and was very nervous to be coming abroad. Once I got here, the coordinators and directors were fantastic. We were supported and encouraged throughout the trip. I have been able to interact with and learn from some of the most interesting people this week. We have been able to engage with the community on a personal level, which has been truly eye opening. We have also been exposed to the beauty of the countryside and have been able to visit local beaches, waterfalls, and rainforests. The opportunity for learning and adventure are incredible. I couldn’t ask more from my first mission trip. I would definitely work with Hibiscus again.

What was your funniest moment?
After one of the children’s English classes, I started to juggle a soccer ball around the front area and the kids ran up and were so surprised and excited. Ever since, we have played a game of soccer between our lessons. They were amazed to see American girls playing soccer, futbol, so well.
Default avatar
Judy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Program for those who want to make a difference

I came across their website on Facebook and was pleased to find programs and projects that benefit the community. I really wanted to do something to make a difference before grad school, and this program was the perfect fit. I taught English to the elementary students of the town. In the evenings, Lauren and I held community classes for the adults of the community, and surprising most were so willing to learn and knew so much already. As previous participants have mentioned already, Lauren answered any questions I had before I arrived. The house I slept in was comfortable and included wifi. I included the beach tour with my package and i'm so glad I did. The beaches on the pacific coast are gorgeous! If you are looking for a vacation that will make a different, choose HIbiscus Travels.

About Hibiscus Travels

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Certification, Spanish School, Service Learning Abroad, Internships, Group Travel, Cultural and Adventure Excursions, and Study Abroad Credit-Seeking Programs. Hibiscus Travels offers...