Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica

Video and Photos

About

Projects Abroad has been providing volunteer placements in the developing world since 1992. Our volunteers in Costa Rica directly impact local communities through service projects arranged and coordinated by in-country staff.

We offer a wide selection of volunteer opportunities, ranging from child Care and Teaching English or French to coaching Sports to Conservation & Environment. We also have Business, Physical Therapy and Journalism internships. Visit our site for more details.

New Gap Semester Programs!

🌍 Cultural Exchange ⭐ Experiential Learning 📅 6 weeks+

Asia, Africa, and Beyond! Looking for an alternative to virtual learning? Our new Going Beyond gap semester programs are a safe, structured, yet flexible option to see the world while gaining valuable work experience and knowledge abroad. Half semester up to a full year - choose your own path and tasks. Next escape is November 8th!

Discover more & Apply! - Limited spaces available.

Popular Programs

male and female volunteer in a Costa Rica forest

Live in Costa Rica’s dense tropical dry forest and work on the frontlines of conservation.

child on swing in Costa Rica

Live in central America and prepare children for school by teaching important early childhood development skills.

children hugging volunteer in Costa Rica

Improve the English language skills of primary school students and inspire local teachers with new teaching techniques.

volunteer coaching group of children in Costa Rica

Work at a disadvantaged school in Costa Rica to promote health and well-being through sports.

Volcano in Costa Rica

Explore the beauty and nature of Costa Rica on a Discovery Tour with us. You’ll get to see all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures during your trip. You can experience the spectacular forest in various ways; peer over treetop canopies, pause on a hanging bridge or whizz through the air on a zipline. You’ll discover mighty volcanoes and relax in refreshing waterfall pools, hot thermal springs and the Pacific Ocean.

We’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Central America. Are you?

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.33 Rating
based on 27 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 81.48%
  • 7-8 rating 18.52%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.5
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 27
Default avatar
Marie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Conservation Progam in Barra Honda National Park (Costa Rica)

English version : I travel twice with Projects Abroad, frist one in 2012 for two months and a second one in 2018 for three months, in the same place : Barra Honda National Park in Costa Rica . I past the best time of my life, I learn so much about fauna and flora with the staff and rangers of the Park. They have a lot of mission and you are nevers boring. The Staff help us to many suggestions for visite other places : beach, volcanos...
For all I just say many many Time but : THANKS YOU!!! ¡¡¡GRACIAS y PURA VIDA!!!
I come back one day I'm Shure!!!
French version : Je suis partie deux fois avec Projects Abroad, une fois en 2012 pour deux mois et une autre fois en 2018 pour trois mois, au même endroit : Parc National de Barra Honda au Costa Rica.
J'y ai passé les meilleurs moments de ma vie, j'ai appris énormément au côté de l'équipe d'investigation de la faune et la flore sauvage ainsi qu'auprès des rangers du parc. Les missions sont multiples et on ne s'ennuie jamais. L'équipe est présente aussi pour nous suggéré d'autres endroits à visiter : plage, voacans ect...
A tous je leur ai dot mainte et mainte fois mais : MERCI!!! ¡¡¡GRACIAS y PURA VIDA!!!
J'y retournerai ça c'est certain !

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising and wonderful thing it's when you found and saw wild animal near of you (Monckeys, Amardillos, Coyotes, Scarlett Macao, Long tail white nose Coati...)
Response from Projects Abroad

Hello Marie,
It sounds like you’ve had a fantastic time away on our Conservation project in Costa Rica. The effort that you put into the project was admirable; you are truly appreciated by Projects Abroad. We’ll see you soon on another project or Internship!

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

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

Conservation in Barra Honda National Park

I took 8 students to the Barra Honda National Park in July this year. We all had such a great time!
We completed a variety of activities through-out our two weeks volunteering. These included litter picking in the local area, mural painting on the dormitories we were stayingin, trail clearing to help with fire prevention in drier months and tree planting to improve connections between biodiversity hot-spots. We also took part in research work which is contributing to a longer term project on butterflies, monkeys and bats within the national park. These projects involved hiking through the park to record butterfly species, monkey troops and collecting data on bat species that live in the various caves in the park.
The staff who run the conservation project were amazing. Daniel, Oscar, Juan and Andrea were the main people we worked with and they made every activity interesting and relevant to the students. The kitchen staff were also wonderful, they produced excellent food day after day (my particular favourite being anything with plantain in!).
At the weekends we were lucky to be able to explore the local area and take part in a range of activities. These included zip-lining, tubing, whale watching and visiting a local conservation area.
Overall we had the greatest time and I would recommend this trip to anyone thinking about doing conservation based volunteering!!!!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would go for longer! That would ensure that we could take part in as many activities as possible.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Elena,
I'm so glad to hear that you had such a rewarding experience on the Conservation Project in Costa Rica. You made a worthwhile contribution to our ongoing sustainable goals – you were really appreciated by the local community. You are very welcome to volunteer or Intern with Projects Abroad again!

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

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

Ecovolunteering in the Barra Honda National Park, Costa Rica

Two years ago I spent six weeks in Costa Rica, volunteering in Barra Honda National Park. I was sleeping at the entry of the national park. Outside there was only nature. In the morning I would come out of the room hearing the sound of birds and howler monkeys, seeing butterflies flying around and enjoying the smell of the forest. After a good breakfast we would usually go hiking for around three hours, doing some kind of survey on monkeys, butterflies or birds. We'd do some camp activities in the afternoon and then go out to do bat surveys sometimes. Being the only volunteer for the first three weeks enable me to get to know the staff better and have a deeper insight in the life of locals. During the weekends I was able to travel a bit. I even did some diving were I saw beautiful fishes, octopus, rays and some sharks. I was feeling connected to nature and myself again.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was there during the finals of the football worldcup. Football is quite a big deal in Latin America so we were watching one of the final match on TV. At some point, the guy on the TV screamed "GOOOAAAAAL", poeple were cheering and then we all heared howlings behind us. We turned our heads and saw a group of howler monleys on the trees behin us. They were watching the match with us, cheering with us. It was such a wonderful moment!
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Barbara,
Thanks for your great review. We strive to meet expectations like yours, we’re happy to hear that we hit the mark for you. Thank you for your contribution towards our ongoing Conservation Project in Costa Rica – your help is really appreciated. We hope to see you again on one of our projects!

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

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

An amazing Experience!

During my time in Costa Rica I had an amazing time volunteering in the local school. I visited Costa Rica during the school holidays which meant I was volunteering on a holiday program for children who's parents were at work during the day and needed help with childcare. This meant that we had a lot of agency to teach what we wanted to in lessons. At the weekends we travelled around different parts of Costa Rica with the other volunteers, getting to know the country and doing as much as possible. Staying with a host family was something I was initially worried about but as soon as I arrived my mind I realised they were so friendly and I loved staying with them and getting to know them. It was an unforgettable experience; the country is beautiful, the children were so sweet and willing to learn and the other volunteers were all very friendly. I would 100% recommend this project to anyone wanting to make a difference and visit an amazing part of the world!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The advice I would give to people is make sure you come prepared and with the best attitude possible. It can sometimes be tiring and you need to make sure you are motivated and dedicate to making a difference.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Georgie,
I’m glad to read about your amazing time on our Teaching Project in Costa Rica. Your hard work is truly appreciated by us and the local community. We hope to welcome you back again on one of our meaningful projects.

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

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

Environmental Conservation Project Costarica

I spent one month in the national park Barra Honda on the west side of Costarica. It has been for sure an memorable experience, I could enjoy that kind of environment 24 hours a day so I saw every face of it. The program is conservation, research and maintenance, the tasks and activities varied every day according to the plan, to the need and to the weather as well since it was the transition phase between rainy and dry season (December). The staff was really prepared and I could learn something new every day. That was important since any task was always supported by reasonable ideas. Being an biologist, it was the perfect spot for a volunteer program, I could give a great help for taking care of the park and at the same time discover the beauties in it. Every moment, day or light, it was time for any new surprise. I was very happy for doing that and I highly recommended the program.

Response from Projects Abroad

Hey Giacomo,
It was amazing to read and learn about your wonderful experience on our Conservation project in Costa Rica. We hope to see you on another one of our projects; you’d be welcome back with open arms.

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

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

PURA VIDA! - my guiding mantra from Costa Rica

I took part in this project through Girl Guiding international trip. It took me out of my confort zone and into a rainforrest filled with bugs and insects but i didnt mind. Mainly because I had the most amazing experience on that I will never forget. On my trip I conqured so many fears and was put in situatiuons which I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams but I wouldnt have changed it for the world best 3 weeks of my life Ive spent. The projescts abroad staff were so accomodating, I personally didnt have any experience with speaking spanish, let alone Costa Rican spanish! So i felt very very out of my depth in that regard. But the staff knew a lot of english and were alble to teach me a few words and phrases. My favourite of all id 'Pura Vida' or pure life, a manta that Costa Rican Ticos live by.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was having a shower and a trantula came out of nowhere! I was terrified and almost ran out naked but all was good he scuttled away and i continued to shower. Not something im likely to want to repeat.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Helen,
I'm so glad to hear you had a rewarding experience on our Project in Costa Rica. Your effort towards the project is greatly appreciated. We can't wait to have you back again with Projects Abroad.

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

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

Barra Honda National park

English version : I travel two time with Projects Abroad, frist one in 2012 for two months and a second one in 2018, in the same place : Barra Honda Nacional Park in Costa Rica . I past the best time of my life, I learn so much about fauna and flora with the staff and rangers of the Park. They have a lot of mission and you are nevers boring. The Staff help us to many suggestions for visite other places : beach, volcanos...
For all I just say many many Time but : THANKS YOU!!! ¡¡¡GRACIAS y PURA VIDA!!!
I come back one day I Shure!!!
French version : Je suis partie deux fois avec Projects Abroad, une fois en 2012 pour deux mois et une autre fois en 2018 pour trois mois, au même endroit : Parc National de Barra Honda au Costa Rica.
J'y ai passé les meilleurs moments de ma vie, j'ai appris énormément au côté de l'équipe d'investigation de la faune et la flore sauvage ainsi qu'auprès des rangers du parc. Les missions sont multiples et on ne s'ennuie jamais. L'équipe est présente aussi pour nous suggéré d'autres endroits à visiter : plage, voacans ect...
A tous je leur dirais jamais assez mais : MERCI!!! ¡¡¡GRACIAS y PURA VIDA!!!
J'y retournerai ça c'est certain !

Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Marie,
I’m glad to read about your amazing time on our Conservation project in Costa Rica. Your hard work is truly appreciated by us and the local community. We hope to welcome you back again on one of our meaningful projects.

Luis Eduardo Arguedas, Country Director for Costa Rica

Dilia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Most Fulfilling Experience

I did the Business Program

Going to Costa Rica for 4 weeks through Projects Abroad was without a doubt the best decision I have made thus far. I'm currently 21, still in college, and it was my first time traveling out of the country (and alone). As the day was approaching to leave home I was honestly getting really nervous. But the second I stepped into my home-stay and my house mom approached me I felt instantly at home. Costa Rica is in general a really relaxed and friendly country (the rumors are true), so everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand to foreigners; the Projects Abroad team is no exception. They really went above and beyond to make every volunteer feel comfortable and right at home. They would even put you at ease if you felt home sick or worried. From taking you out to breakfast on your first day, to giving you a map of the city, hosting volunteer events so everyone could get to know each other, and helping you plan out fun weekend trips. Within a week I genuinely felt like I had been friends with them for years. My only regret was not saving enough money to stay longer.

The families you stay with are complete angels. My house mom felt like a second mom considering how caring and generous she was. She introduced me to neighboring families and volunteers who I stay friends with till this day. She was also extremely accommodating to any volunteers she had who didn't speak spanish. She would talk really slow and make sure you learned spanish at a speed that was comfortable for you. I met a girl from Ohio who would only communicate through writing on a phone app, yet by her lat week she was speaking full sentences.

When working I helped out 2 local businesses in Heredia; a cool burger shack that doubled as an art gallery, and a man who was trying to kick-start his Jade jewelry business ( if you end up going the restaurant is called La Galleria and their burgers are to kill for). The work I did for both businesses was really interactive and not at all boring. I was helping them solve real life problems. I put all that I learned in my marketing classes to use and had a great time doing it. The businesses also really want for volunteers to help them grow and reach as many people. They want a different perspective so they graciously welcome opinions, advice, and all sorts of unique ideas.

I could honestly go on for hours on why Projects Abroad is so ideal and worthwhile. But long story short If you're looking for an affordable immersive volunteer program, with staff/families willing to support you 24/7, and the perk of meeting amazing young people from all over the world--- then this is your program.

What would you improve about this program?
can't think of anything