Build Community Development Projects in Central America

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About

As a Surf For Life volunteer, you will work alongside local community members to build high impact projects, such as schools, community centers, and clean water initiatives in rural coastal towns throughout Central America. While here, you will spend your week with a group of 8-12 other volunteers in clean, safe, beachside accommodations.

Current Projects:

Punta Banco Pre/Primary School Project, Costa Rica
Punta Banco is a lush and tropical coastal community in a nearly untouched region of southwest Costa Rica. Nestled in the rainforest and adjacent to an indigenous tribe, the community is in desperate need of a new preschool and primary school for its 200 inhabitants. In November, Surf For Life volunteers will build a school structure to provide a safe educational space for the students of this surfers' paradise. Local cooking classes, beach soccer games with local youth, and language intercambio sessions are part of the volunteer experience in this beautiful coastal community

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Questions & Answers

Hello Jesse That's fantastic. Do you currently have any projects in Nicaragua so we could join in on a short time basis? My 14 year old son has some experience of helping in an orphanage in Kenya. I have a lot of experience in teaching English as a foreign language and working as a legal and health interpreter but we would be happy to do anything, ideally to help and support children. We would...

Reviews

99%
based on 15 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
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Ann
10/10

Make An Impact With A Great Organization

Surf For Life is a great organization to complete a volunteer trip with. The week-long trip was well planned and executed, but there was enough free time to relax as well. If you want to explore another country but aren't fluent in the language or are nervous about the customs, SFL is a great way to experience the culture while having a support system for any need you might have while there.

How can this program be improved?
Trip listings are not posted far enough in advance for some interested in participating.
Yes, I recommend
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Justin
9/10

Perspective

There's something magical about taking yourself away from the grind, disconnecting and doing meaningful work with extraordinary people and this trip delivers on this reality.

The trip offers everything:
-the opportunity to make a difference to folks who need and value our help
-time to connect with yourself by unplugging with your friends, with the volunteer staff, and on a surf board
-culture, culture, culture
-Fantastic people - the local community is so welcoming and friendly

Yes, I recommend
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Stephen
10/10

Can't wait for trip #2!

Can't say enough good things about my trip with Surf For Life to Guatemala in November 2014!

Here's a brief list of the highlights for me:

- Awesome accommodations in beach-side huts with surfing just steps away
- A meaningful project focused on bringing education to a developing village, with a tangible result for the village's residents
- Hard labor under the sun! Orrrrr the shade if you didn't want to get a good sweat on!!
- Engagement with the youth we were targeting with our project through daily events like painting, soccer and spanish lessons
- Being around such amazing and grateful people, from the Surf For Life staff, to the volunteers I was working with the to village residents

Add on to all this the fact that I got to experience a country that I might not have otherwise got to experience the way that I did and it all equals an experience I won't ever forget.

Thanks for the amazing laughs and memories and I can't wwit for the next adventure I will go on with Surf For Life!!

How can this program be improved?
I think that have more than one surfing lesson would be a great addition for beginners. Other than that, I think the trip was a great success and liked all aspects of it.

Well, to be honest, I wouldn't have minded working more than just 3 hours a day, but I understand why we were limited to that amount.
Yes, I recommend
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Michelle
10/10

Amazing once in a lifetime experience!

Volunteering with Surf for Life in El Paredon, Guatemala was an all around amazing experience. The La Choza Chula crew made us feel right at home and gave us the opportunity to interact closely with the community. Helping to build the school was like nothing I had ever done before. Being able to interact with the children of the community was extremely rewarding. Our hosts integrated fun activities to interact with the kids and with the community. It was the perfect mix of volunteering and cultural immersion. This trip left me with a positive impression of Surf for Life and I would 100% be interested in doing another volunteer trip. I feel so lucky to have chosen this program and would recommend it to anyone!

Yes, I recommend
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Kim
10/10

Didn't want to leave!

I traveled to Guatemala with some fellow coworkers in February and I was extremely impressed with the organization at the worksite and I enjoyed various activities they planned for our group throughout the week. Our group leader did an excellent job providing background and history of the community. Some of my favorite memories of the trip are with the community members of El Paredon and working in the local school. Amazing journey and I had a blast! I would recommend this experience to anyone looking for a volunteer opportunity while being immersed in another culture.

Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
9/10

El Paredon, Guatemala Secondary School Build

I traveled to El Paredon, Guatemala in February of 2015 to help contribute to the construction of a secondary school there, the trip and build both organized through Surf for Life. The experience was amazing, as we were not only able to assist with the project, but were also invited to participate in several programs spending some time with the local children within the community. The trip was both eye-opening and rewarding, and I would definitely consider participating in another Surf for Life project!

How can this program be improved?
I would adjust the fundraising process so that volunteers are better informed and able to let their potential contributors know what percentage of the fundraising goal goes to the project and how much goes to the trip itself.
Yes, I recommend
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Meaghan
10/10

Execution and experience were amazing

The La Choza Chula crew took incredible care of our group, not only from a safety perspective but to also ensure we were having the best time possible while understanding the direct impact we were making on the community.

Yes, I recommend
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Abbe
10/10

Can't wait to do another trip with Surf for Life

I visited Guatemala with Surf for Life and it was one of the most amazing trips I've been on. I've never before been able to really get a sense of a community I would never otherwise encounter, see the benefit our time and donations are having, and interact directly with the people who are directly impacted. Everything was perfectly organized and executed. A perfect balance of work, aid, and fun in a beautiful location,

How can this program be improved?
The name is a little bit of a misnomer - you do not need to be a surfer to enjoy their programs!
Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
10/10

Once in a Lifetime

Surf For Life is a very popular organization to volunteer with at my place of work, but even still I was nervous about going to Guatemala and a remote village. I am so very happy that I did!

Why was it so great?

1) Staff
-My colleague and I missed our connecting flight to Guatemala (our fault) and arrived late at night to the city, which was concerning. All through it both Surf for Life and the members of La Choza Chula were with us on the phone and booking us accommodations/drivers to keep us safe and happy
-On the trip, you could tell how much everyone cared about the volunteers and the community they served

2) Location/Experience
-Sleeping in a beach hut at our surf camp was one of the coolest things I have ever done. Great food (I am a picky vegetarian), beautiful place and amazing experience. I would love to go back

3) Community/Impact
-Not only were we volunteering to help build a school that will change the community forever, but we also got to interact with community leaders and all of the children daily. I have done volunteer trips before but never felt the same connection to the community we served.

I want to go again and keep recommending it to everyone I speak with. WAY BETTER than any all inclusive beach vacation and so much more valuable. DO THIS INSTEAD!

Yes, I recommend
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Randy
10/10

Already looking forward to my next trip...

I can't say enough good things here about Surf for Life. Went to El Paredon, Guatemala to help build a school. The trip was well coordinated and activities well thought out. Our leader, Seth, was the absolute best!

If you're looking for an experience that will immerse you in the culture, this is it. You can travel to all sorts of places and see all sorts of sights, but you really can't experience the culture until you live and work with the people of the community.

To say how good this program is, I had a number of delays in my domestic flights. This resulted arriving in Guatemala Cit incredibly late and missing the shuttle to El Paredon. Surf for Life was in constant communication with me and assisted in finding a suitable hotel for the night and alternate transportation in the morning.

How can this program be improved?
Being my first time taking a trip such as this, it's hard to say what could be better. It was actually a great trip. While it's true that no program is perfect, Surf for Life is constantly improving the program. Given that, even if there was something that I could list, I have no doubt that it would be quickly addressed.
Yes, I recommend
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David
10/10

amazing program!

I was so happy with Surf for life last year), that I came back this year, and again, I had so much fun.

what I really love about the program is the great balance between hard construction work, working with kids, and fun in the sun.

would definitely come back!

Yes, I recommend
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Erica
10/10

Helped Build Secondary School in Guatemala

I was in El Paredon, Guatemala. SFL has an excellent plan for sustainability, and a large amount of community involvement. I donated ukuleles to the community, too. SFL and the partner organization that was in El Paredon were both welcome to me teaching the students how to play the ukulele, too. I felt safe, and had fun!

How can this program be improved?
It would be great to have a few more ideas for how to raise funds. It all worked out, but I was nervous about it all coming together.
Yes, I recommend
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Shannon
10/10

El Paredon, Guatemala - SURF FOR LIFE

I spent a week El Paredon, Guatemala in December 2014 and had a beyond amazing experience. We assisted in building a primary/secondary school for half our day and also spent time with the local community doing cultural exchange activities. Cultural exchange activities were with the primary and secondary students who would be using the school. For example, reading time, scavenger hunts, soccer games, etc. We also took a cooking class to learn how to make a local food favorite. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and helpful throughout the trip. Their guidance helped with becoming more familiar with the community and their culture.

Accommodations were amazing, right on the beach and the food was 5 star!

I would love to go back to El Paredon for another project to help the community!

Yes, I recommend
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Jessica
10/10

Life Changing Experience

My Surf for Life trip to Guatemala was truly a life changing experience. I had no idea how influential this project would be for the community of El Paredon, but even more so for ME. The early portion of our days were spent assisting in building a school, while the later potions of our days were spent on immersion activities within the local community. The trip wouldn't have been the same without the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the community. Getting to know the kids who would eventually attend the school we were building made the work so much more rewarding. It really is incredible how just a week of volunteer work can help shape a community and oneself so drastically. This will definitely not be my last Surf for Life Trip.

Yes, I recommend
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Jesse
10/10

SURF FOR LIFE - ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

I spent a week with Surf For Life in Guatemala in October of 2015, and can truly say it was a life altering experience. The community development project was building a secondary school for the local youth, but the experience was so much more than just this specific effort. The trip allowed us to spend a significant amount of time with the local youth as well as the entire community and form relationships with the people that the project is helping. This really hit home to build such strong relationships with the people you are helping.

The accommodations were fabulous - comfortable, clean, and right on the beach! Food was also excellent.

Long story short - I HIGHLY recommend you join a Surf For Life trip, and I can promise you once you go once, you will be continuing to join them for years to come as the experiences are truly wonderful.

Yes, I recommend

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About Surf For Life

Surf For Life is a CROWD IMPACT focused organization - connecting passionate volunteers to sustainable construction projects identified and driven by local communities. Each 1-week trip is part of a larger multi-week initiative to construct projects...