Realize Your Dream to Volunteer in Costa Rica
93% Rating
(24 Reviews)

Realize Your Dream to Volunteer in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise and 25 percent of the land is dedicated to helping preserve the earth's biodiversity. Costa Rica needs international volunteers to continue in its efforts to preserve and conserve its protected areas and species. We work with several partners that specialize in such conservation projects.

The other main area of our voluntary work in Costa Rica is education. Although public schooling is free for any child, some schools lack efficient resources. English language skills are needed to help students with not only the basics but conversational skills as well.

Locations
North America » Costa Rica » San Ramón
North America » Costa Rica
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    94%
  • Support
    94%
  • Fun
    95%
  • Value
    94%
  • Safety
    95%

Program Reviews (24)

Default avatar
Sergio
Male
32 years old
Spain

Pura vida!!

10/10

Agradecido por la suerte que siempre me rodea, empece el 2015 con una de las mejores experiencias que he podido vivir. nunca habia tenido mucha mano con los nunos ya que aun no soy padre y casualmente no los he tenido muy cerca mio.

How can this program be improved?

Necesitaba saber que es eso tan mágico y esa sinceridad incondicional que los niños te ofrecen, y por supuesto trabajar con los más necesitados

Ahí es donde entra la labor del equipo de Nat, Director de una organización sin ánimo de lucro donde su pasión es ayudar allí donde se necesite, es muy satisfactorio formar parte de sus proyectos tan bonitos.

Cambie de año como de país y por la tarde estaba en el pueblo caribeño que ha puesto en gran parte de moda a Costa Rica, de descendientes jamaicanos y ticos y en unas mejores localizaciones de todo el caribe se encuentra Puerto viejo! Gente feliz con mucha paz, no excesivo turismo, allí tuve la suerte de conocer a un español que volvía en el bus y tenía un hotel! Y allí que me quede algunos días, alquilando bicis, running, y viviendo ese ambiente reagee y rollo tranqui que se respiraba fue muy divertido y gracias al el pude conocer a mas españoles viviendo en el paraíso de tranquilidad con su mini negocio bar o tienda de artículos hipiees y como no cervecita esta vez seria "la imperial".

Satisfecho con lo vivido me voy directo a mi cometido del viaje, en las montañas y en centro de costaríca hay un pueblo llamado san Ramón, pueblo de poetas, mucha cultura, música en directo en las calles, el que inició la retirada del ejército, escribir poesía y mil cosas más que notas en la gente de aquí que resulta tan agradable, un acento muuuuy peculiar porque dentro de lo latino tienen el acento como las películas traducidas en castellano de la los vaqueros del viejo oeste...es fantástico escucharlos!! Tb hay que destacar del pueblo que las calles no tienen nombre de calles ni número, lo que lo hace más auténtico si cabe.

El hogar de los voluntarios se respira un ambiente muy agradable, Erik y Gabi, organizadores muestran y te orientan para lo que necesites,
La gente genial, y en la casa muy bien equipada que ofrece muchas posibilidades, como internet, televisión digital, nevera, agua caliente, y muchas cosas más que te invitan a sentirte como en casa
Mi destino para ejercer de voluntario será el cecude un kínder (guardería pública para niños marginales) donde cuidándolos y jugando con ellos te ensenan más a ti, que tú a ellos le puedas ofrecer, y eso que ningún niño supera los 6 años

De todo lo vivido hasta ahora puedo decir que lo gratificante es que 22 niños te canten junto a la cocinera la conserje, directora y la dos educadoras el cumpleaños feliz a lo guardería Costa Riquense, sin querer me salieron dos lagrimas porque ese recibimiento no tiene palabras, otro día más con ellos y ya me estaban llamando profe Sergi!! Son para comérselos,

Recomiendo a todo el mundo que realice algo parecido, es muy gratificante, está claro para ayudar no hace falta recorrerse medio mundo, pero sí que creo que si recorres medio mundo es mejor (desde mi punto actual de vista) que antes de viajar tipo turista , hacer algo que compartas y ayudes a los demás.

No sé el tiempo que me he pasado aquí porque 15 dias es como haber vivido toda una vida, nunca olvidare a San Ramon, el kínder y por supuesto al maravilloso equipo de Avic ,
Puedo decir que me voy con la batería cargada 100%...para reflexionar y valorar lo aquí vivido y no dudo de volver a realizar otro proyecto de la mano de Nat.

Un abrazo fuerte y espero poder haber compartido este viaje contigo a través de este relato.

Sergi

Default avatar
kar_she
Female
24 years old
United Arab Emirates

Costa Rica @ Turtle Conservation Project

9/10

This summer, my friends and I wanted to do something different and at the same time, something that would give back. We researched many websites and found a few good ones. We decided to chose uVolunteeer and came to the Turtle conservation project in Costa Rica.

How can this program be improved?

This summer, my friends and I wanted to do something different and at the same time, something that would give back. We researched many websites and found a few good ones, including uVolunteer. Through uVolunteer, we decided on the Turtle Conservation project in Costa Rica.
Upon arriving in San Jose, we were all a little bit nervous. The three of us has flown in together from Atlanta and it was our first time travelling alone, without school or family. Once we had landed and got our bags, we tried to exchange some money into colones. A couple of people from uVolunteer picked us up and we finally got to San Ramon after a few hours, where we stayed one night.
Early the next morning (around 5), we woke up and got ready to go to Samara, where our project was taking place. We had to take a bus, which got us to Samara in 5 hours. The drive was surprisingly pleasant as we saw a lot of Costa Rica's beautiful mountains on the way. When we got there, we were picked up by a taxi that drove us up a dirt path and to a river. At the river, we were told we had to cross, taking our suitcases with us. We waited at the river for a while, where we were met by Roy, the project manager. When we got to the camp, the people were awesome; very friendly and welcoming. The beach in front of the camp was beautiful; the ocean was so blue and the scenery was just amazing. We were introduced to our room downstairs (as the upstairs dorm was full) and we settled in. The room itself was small and dark, but within a few days it felt homely. We were shown around the camp; the hatchery, the kitchen, the eating area, the bathroom, the shower, the compost pit, the campfire area, the clothes line, the bookshelf and the other dorm.
It was very well laid out and it seemed like the camp had been running very efficiently all this time. There was really no need for electricity and it was actually quite nice not having it. Washing clothes by hand was fine, and the toilet felt just like a normal toilet. We also met Veronica, the cook, who made us rice, beans and usually vegetables or eggs for our meals. Sometimes, we would have days with pancakes or pasta.
Being our first time working with turtles, we didn't really know what to do. Adrian, who had been working there for four years, told us about the turtles and the different jobs we would have to do. He explained everything that we had to right down. We had to work usually four hours a day, unless we had other work to do. We had two hatchery shifts, each two hours long, one in the day and one at night, with one other person. My partner was Meredith, who had been there for five weeks already. I felt better with Meredith with me because she knew what she was doing and she also told me about her experience there and her life at home too. On days like Wednesday, we had to clean the camp and were assigned different jobs like cleaning the kitchen or raking.
On other days, we would have to collect fruit and vegetables from the river, either on the left or right side, which could be difficult when the things were heavy. On hatchery shifts, we would check if the turtles in the nests would hatch and if they did, we had to weigh and measure 10 and then release them into the ocean. On nights that we had to patrol, we would walk either with Jimmy, Roy, Aeneis, Adrian or Anni, and we would look for turtles that were going to lay eggs. Twice, I got to collect the eggs from under the turtles, which was such a cool experience. We then had to take down all the measurements, tag the turtle, and then make a nest for the eggs in the hatchery. By the end of the trip, I was able to make a nest by myself.
Also, Thursdays and Sundays were off and on those days, we got to go to town and use the internet, get ice cream and roam the streets of Samara. On one of the Thursdays, we got to go horse riding in the mountains and also down Playa Samara. On our way back, we went through the streets of Samara, and we even crossed the river to the camp on our horses, which was also very cool. Before we crossed, we met our friend Becky, who climbed onto the back of my horse and got a free ride! It was a little scary, but a lot of fun riding with two people. We then trotted to the camp, down Playa Buena Vista. It was a really fun and new experience. On our days off, it was also nice to contact our families and let them now how we were doing.
Usually, we would walk back to camp, instead of taking a taxi. It was a really long walk, but the view on the way is beautiful. While at camp, we would sit around on the beach, swim, play cards and read. It was so cool meeting all the volunteers from different places, all with different stories. After every meal, we would play a card game called Dishes, in which the loser would wash all the dishes. I lost once and it was horrible cleaning all those dishes! Anyway, in our free time, we also asked Roy to teach us how to make bracelets. He taught us a very easy kind and it was a lot of fun. Spending time with Roy was nice because we would eat cookies and joke about other people. Once, his little son (Joey) came to camp and taught us how to make bracelets as well!
Working with the turtles was amazing as we learnt so many new things about the different types and what to do in different situations. I hope our working there helped the organization with their goal in the conservation of turtles. Overall, it was a great experience working with the turtles and meeting all the different people. I wish we stayed there longer, but who knows - we might go back one day!

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Ana
Female
24 years old
Unites States

Positive impact

9/10

I chose volunteer with uVolunteer and went down to Costa Rica. Before arriving I was very nervous and even though I was given a great amount of helpful information I couldnt help but be a little apprehensive.

How can this program be improved?

Before arriving in costa rica I was very nervous and even though I was given a great amount of helpful information I couldn't help but be a little bit apprehensive.

Once I arrived it became clear that I was definitely not alone and help would be there for me all along whenever I needed it. The first weekend I became very familiar with the town and costa ricans themselves and their 'pura vida' lifestyle.

I was lucky enough to go zip lining the second day I arrived and it was an experience I know I will never forget! I was very excited to start working and going to bajo tijares the first day was a bit of a culture shock for me and it really impacted me because I was never familiar with people living like that.

The children were so loving and kind I could tell that they really enjoyed me being there. Over the course of the first week it was tough to connect with a few of the kids.
Some never even connected with me at all, but the ones that did really opened up and were so happy and bright despite their situations.

Some of them reminded me of my own younger cousins and I know I will never forget about them. I'm so thankful that uVolunteer gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the costa rican culture and be able to meet some amazing kids.
I hope that I made a positive impact on them because they definitely had a positive impact on me.

Anita

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Siobhan
Female
24 years old
United Kingdom

Choose uVolunteer!!

9/10

My chosen program was to volunteer at an orphanage in Costa Rica. I chose to stay her for four weeks but at this moment, I would like to stay for another four more weeks because the time goes really quickly.

How can this program be improved?

I first of all just want to start by saying my volunteering experience has been exactly what I wanted and more, and that if you are undecided about what volunteer company to go with, CHOOSE uVolunteer, I couldn't have chosen a better program and organization! They have been so helpful and willing from the first email I sent. The whole application process is so quick and easy too.

When I arrived in San Jose, the lovely staff was waiting for me. We drove to the dorm, which is in San Ramon, approximately 1 hour away from the capital. When I arrived at the dorm our house mum, Dona Isabel (who is the BEST) had dinner ready for everybody. I defiantly timed my arrival perfectly. Within two minutes I already felt at home.
On the first day all the new volunteers are given an orientation about the culture and shown around the small town. This was so much fun. That afternoon, despite my jet lack I went zip lining with a few volunteers. It was so easy to make friends with everyone. All the volunteers were very like minded.

On the Monday, it was my first day at the orphanage. Ligia takes all the volunteers to there projects on the first day, so you don't get lost. The journey was extremely easy. From the dorm I would walk ten minutes to the bus station and then take a 10 minutes bus ride. I was made very welcome by all the Aunties (Tia's) at the orphanage. I was so worried about not being able to speak Spanish but that really hasn't been a problem at all. I am now an expert and charades. The Tia's are so friendly and patient with me. And of course the children are so, so wonderful. There are 13 children at my orphanage, all under the age of 10. They just want to play and receive lots of cuddles. I try and help the tia's out as much as possible. I would clean the floors and windows for them, I would also help feed the children and clean the dishes afterwards. They are so appreciative of any help.
You have to work Monday to Thursday at your chosen project. You then have 3 days at the weekend to go visit all the amazing places in Costa Rica. There really is so much to do. I have had 3 weekends to travel and I have been zip lining, to the beach, seen a volcano and been white water rafting!! The volunteers all go away together, which is so much fun. Ligia and Alicia help recommend hostels and tour companies, as well as explain the easiest way to get there. You really are in good hands here!

I had an amazing time here is Costa Rica. The people are so friendly and welcoming. The way of life is so relaxed here, which suited me perfectly. The landscape is absolutely stunning. I have nothing negative to say about my experience.

Thank you so much the staff. I love you all. You really have made my experience here unforgettable.

Siobhan

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Pezzev
Male
24 years old
Canada

uVolunteer made it simple for me!!

9/10

Applying to the program was a simple step by step process. I planned my month long trip to Costa Rica only two weeks before I boarded the plane. The staff made it simple for me to get organized and told me exactly what I needed to bring. I decided to spend three of my weeks in Costa Rica volunteering and the last week exploring the country on my own.

How can this program be improved?

When I arrived at the airport the Coordinator and some other volunteers that had come in the same day greeted me. After a long day of travelling it was nice to get in the car and not have to worry about finding the volunteer house on my own at night. The coordinator is an incredibly patient, organized and helpful coordinator. On the hour ride to San Ramon, she made me feel welcomed and at home in Costa Rica. Her help was priceless during the time that we were volunteering and even after we had finished with the organization.

Upon arriving at the house I met the other people I would be staying with for the duration of our time there. The dorm was at max capacity filled with people from around the world. They were all really nice and I made some great friends that I ended up travelling with on weekends and spare time. The way the dorm runs, you are very likely to begin your stay with people who have already been there for at least two weeks. This allows you to gain an immense knowledge about the country and the program in a very short period of time.

I had signed up to work as a physical education teacher, however the kids were on holiday during my first week there so I was assigned to the community center. Joining the program there, I felt immediately useful. Without any Spanish I was still able to connect with kids through sports and games. For an hour during the day I helped as a supplementary English teacher where I helped kids work on conversational English. The kids are highly motivated to learn and it is a blast talking to them. In addition to this you can volunteer to work with local adults at night, which I highly recommend. They are incredibly nice and their English is quite impressive. It is mostly just conversing with them, which allows you to really get into the culture and meet locals from the area.

It is worth noting that a Christian mission sponsors the community center. While the program is based on this idea, there is no pressure to conform and everyone working there is very nice. Overlooking everything there is a man named Henry, who is amazing to work with. He is great with the kids and makes you feel very appreciated for the work you are doing. After three weeks I was sad to leave both the kids and staff who I formed great relationships with.

Costa Rica is a great place to travel. Since you are only working four days a week, your weekends are wide open to see and experience the rest of the country. San Ramon is a wonderful and quaint little town. Using it as a base we were able to use our time off to go surfing, white water rafting, bungee jumping, scuba diving, zip lining and more.
My time with uVolunteer was invaluable. I plan to come back to Costa Rica soon to visit and volunteer. Until then I will be thinking about San Ramon often and practicing my Spanish.
Zev

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zzeric22
Male
24 years old
Canada
Canada

Reached and exceeded all my expectations

9/10

My first time travelling outside North America, to Costa Rica, reached and exceeded all my expectations. A friend and I got bored at home and decided to travel, after deciding on Costa Rica and a quick google search, it appeared that the uVolunteer program would be a perfect match for us.

How can this program be improved?

Im very grateful that I was allowed to do this program on such short notice, as many other programs wouldn't have let two guys zip down to costa rica on 10 days notice.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with hugs and smiles at the airport and although it had been 24 hours without sleep, their energy was infectious!! Arriving at the dorms was shocking. I assumed in my head
that we would be living in cabins or tents, but the house is closer to a hotel. Hot water, comfortable beds, wifi, 2 meals a day and laundry have made the time spend here incredible!

On our first day we were given a tour of beautiful San Ramon, perfect weather, even better people, and a tight nit community made us all feel welcome. The fruit market is a must see, with produce I have
never heard of in my life including dragonfruit, and guanabana ( a watermelon looking fruit that it white instead of pink, slightly creamy, and ten times as sweet).

After the tour of the city we were taken to Bajo (the village where most of the children from the community center live), which was easily the most eye opening experience of Costa Rica. There homes were little more that glorified shacks, with a single light bulb and no beds, however I have never met happier people in my life. They were all very welcoming and friendly and wanted to share what little they had with us.

At the community center over the next few weeks were the most enjoyable of my time here. Even though I had gone scuba diving, whitewater rafting, ziplining, snorkeling, and bungee jumping, nothing was as thrilling and rewarding as teaching these kids English and playing our daily Tico vs Gringo basketball games. Each child wanted to learn as much English as possible. Lesson plans were of no use because they told us exactly what they wanted to learn, and even after class kids continued to ask us questions during the activity time.

The children ranged form 2 to 19 and they all loved to play with whatever they had, whether it was making cakes out of mud, playing lamda (tag on the play structure), football, jump rope, or volley ball.
San Ramon and the rest of Costa Rica and Panama have given me memories I will never forget, and friends I will never lose. I plan on coming back to Costa Rica soon to give back even more. I cant believe my time here is over already but I can honestly say that these were the best three weeks of my life!

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pask_jen
Female
24 years old
Unites States

UVolunteer has more than lived up to my expectations

9/10

I chose uVolunteer for several different reasons. The first time I did an internet search and uVolunteer had programs in areas that I wanted to volunteer. It had a price tag that I could afford. All of this was important to me, also one of the reasons I wanted to volunteer in a Latin American country was to practice my Spanish.

How can this program be improved?

The organization seemed be a very ethical one, emphasizing working through organizations in the community. Programs offered were interesting and varied. I had a hard time picking out which one I wanted to do. I chose community center type projects each time because I felt like I was qualified for them and that I could make a difference. Each time that I volunteered I had a person who picked me up at the airport, gave me a detailed orientation, and also gave me a tour of the community. Throughout the program they offered continued support and checked in frequently to see what I was doing.

At the community center at Bajo Tejares I played several different roles. The community center was located in a community that one could see really needed such a place to exist. We were given a tour of the neighborhood which was a little shocking. The houses were really tiny and a few of them just had a lot of trash around them. Drug use and teen pregnancy were big problems in the neighborhood, and the community center gave the kids a viable alternative s to this as well as positive attention from adults. The educational component was a big part of what they did. We got to help out with English classes for adults and teenagers in the community. Two other volunteers and I worked with the adult women's class. It was a little challenging, because the women all had different levels and attendance seemed to be directly related to the weather. We had to go really slow, slower than I had thought because pronunciation was really difficult for them and a lot of times they were scared to even talk. One thing was certain though, the classes were always fun! The women made it seem more like a club than a class. The ones that did know more really helped each other out. I really wished we could have made the class a permanent thing, but because of the school schedule starting again, it wasn't possible.

At night I got to help teaching the English class at the college in San Ramon. I had so much fun with them. Getting to work with adults was cool because it made you feel more a part of the community. The learners were all really motivated and seemed to want to be there. Since one of the most important parts of a language is talking ,the classes were conversation based. This made it really fun and I felt like it was a good way for the students to learn.

I would recommend getting involved in this to anyone who does uVolunteer. It feels like you help them so much, and they get to help you as well.

Jennifer

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Clara
Female
24 years old
USA

uVolunteer went beyond my expectations.

9/10

Well hello, my name is Clara, I am from United States of America, last year I went to Costa Rica to do a volunteer program with uVolunteer, this is a brief history of my trip, I hope it helps to future volunteers to realize how good it is.

How can this program be improved?

Adjusting to San Ramon was easier than I expected. The accommodations were luxurious, in comparison to what I thought I would have to live with. The San Ramon volunteer house is a beautiful two-story home that feels like a higher-end hostel. There were about three student volunteers and two family volunteers, with seven of us living in the house. Though there were a lot of us in a lot of different volunteer projects, we all became a tight knit group within the first weekend.
As I mentioned before, my volunteer project was working at an orphanage. I remember the first day I went to the orphanage I was so shy and timid with the kids, but soon I was able to warm up to them and bond with them. Though there were about ten kids, I mainly played with four or five of them ranging from ages four to seven. From Monday to Thursday I would go to the orphanage for four hours and play with coloring books, Play-doh, puzzles, jump rope, and bicycles. The other volunteer and I had to constantly come up with games to keep the kids active. Sometimes the other volunteer would buy toys for the kids such as balloons and a tea set. Though I expected to be teaching the kids English, I realized that these kids just needed someone to play with.
After my volunteer work at the orphanage we had the option to teach English to university students and adults at the University of Costa Rica. Though this was optional volunteer work, it was my favorite part of the week. It was so interesting being on the other side of the language learning experience. Every time I went to teach the students I kept in mind the methods that worked for me when learning Spanish. On top of that, I really enjoyed just talking to the students and learning about their life. After one teaching night another volunteer and I made plans to visit one of the students at her bakery the next day, and when we did the student gave us one of her cakes!
Ultimately, the reason I wanted to do a volunteer program is because I enjoy immersing myself in the culture and befriending locals. Travelling as a tourist you get to see the beautiful and spectacular parts of Costa Rica, but it makes it difficult to really immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture. With uVolunteer I was able to make lifelong friends with local ticos and other volunteering gringos, while stuffing up on Costa Rican food and creating a few touristy memories on the weekends. Basically I was able to have my cake and eat it too thanks to uVolunteer. uVolunteer is tuanis!

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Augie
Male
42 years old
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

Can't wait to see you again

10/10

This has to be the most incredible experience that I have had in years. Everything was executed according the plan. All preparation efforts supported by the uVolunteer staff were flawlessly executed!!

How can this program be improved?

Impossible not to love and cherish the complete experience. One week is certainly not enough!!!!
On our way from the airport we had a great trip to San Ramon, the scenery and the conversation was amazing. I was a bit apprehensive at first, thinking that the volunteer program was something that was not as common or as popular.
I was happy to realize I was wrong!!!! Right there in the bus I met with Kim (France/Miami) and Jenny (Canada). Two wonderful human beings willing and able to help other people while growing in the process themselves.
Getting acquainted with the group and at the dorm was a breeze, we engaged into the cultural, social and volunteer aspects of the trip very fast and with a great flow.
We received the orientation, toured the beautiful town of San Ramon and on that very day we decided to JUMP OFF A BRIDGE!!!! Yes!!, we went bungee jumping in Naranjo, very close to San Ramon. Next day Pacuare river rafting (absolutely beautiful). And that was our magical weekend!!!
The week came and we headed to the Community Education Project in Bajo Tejares and the perspective changed. So much need, so many beautiful children in need of attention. The center provides a great collection of educational activities for underprivileged kids.
Being bilingual helped a lot but having the right attitude to fully engage and connect with everyone is key for a successful experience; for yourself and everyone around you. Long days full of joy!!!! Construction, painting, reading, playing or simply having meaningful conversations. At night, to enhance our volunteer experience, we signed into the English classes provided to adults. What a thrill!!!!!
I love you all!!.

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Kim
Female
24 years old
USA

Best trip!

9/10

LEt me start by saying that up to this day, my trip to Costa Rica with uVolunteer has been my best trip. Long among the Ticos who awaited for friends, family and clients at the airport. When we arrived at the dorm with two other volunteers (who are now family to me). it didnt take long at all to already feel at home.

How can this program be improved?

The orientation the next morning around San Ramon was a great way to see what San Ramon is really like and definitely helped me to get around later by myself. This 12-block city is extremely friendly and contains everything that you could ever need. After bungee jumping and doing white water rafting during my first weekend, I was definitely set to start working on Monday ;)
My project was located at the community center in San Ramon, a community where poverty overtakes most people's life. On our first day, we went around the houses of Bajo to see what people lived in, which were definitely very small houses that could barely fit an entire family. However, this tour was very helpful in understanding the daily lives of the kids we would be working with in the community center.
Lastly, the option of teaching classes of different levels to adults at the university was another wonderful experience. Although it made our days a bit longer, seeing all the students motivated to learn each night made it all worthwhile. Teaching English to young adults and older ones definitely opens many doors for them in their lives and careers. Therefore it was my biggest pleasure to share my knowledge of English with them.
I can't describe enough how wonderful this experience has been and how much I'm grateful for it. I have now made many wonderful relationships with the people of uVolunteer and many other volunteers, which I will be sure to maintain forever. I know that we will all for sure meet again. But for now, I'm not sad because it ended. I'm more than grateful that it happened

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Hanna
Female
24 years old
America
Other

Nice time in Costa Rica

10/10

The arrival here was better than I could have hoped for. The flight was easy and I didn't have any trouble even though it was my first time flying alone and be overseas my country. I really appreciate the staff for all the work they made for me.

How can this program be improved?

The dorm was fantastic. It was very clean and comfortable and it has been really nice to have wifi to stay connected to home. The hammocks outside provided hours of entertainment after a long day and the beds are really comfortable. Unfortunately while I was here there weren't many other volunteers (2 others for one week and one other for another week) but we managed to have fun despite the lack of excitement in the dorm.
Some of my best memories here have been on my weekend trips. My first weekend we went on a day trip to Volcano Arenal and Baldi Hot Springs. If you are short on time, I would recommend skipping Arenal. It was cool but there were definitely more exciting things I would have rather done. But whatever I did, the bus rides to the destinations have been some of my favorite times.
The next weekend I went alone to Monteverde. I highly recommend this if you are traveling alone, as it felt very safe and I met many other travelers from all over the world. I went ziplining, to a butterfly garden, and on a night hike, which were all fantastic.
And the orphanage, the main reason I came! I have to say it was probably one of the most difficult things I've done. I was at a new orphanage that doesn't really have enough caretakers (called Tias) for all of the kids, and it showed. Every day was exhausting as I entertained at least 8 kids at a time for hours or helped the Tias clean and cook.
My Spanish has improved tremendously just speaking with the older kids and with the Tias and I feel like I have made at least a small difference in their lives. While some moments were hard, the way they would run up to me to greet me at the beginning of the day and the way they would laugh when I played ball with them totally made up for the other times.

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bell14tant
Male
24 years old
Florida

I am forever grateful

10/10

It all started with one class. I took Human Geography as a junior High School and what I learned about the world totally transfixed me. I was eager to go out and experience it and live everything that we always pondered in class. I stumbled across uVolunteer, read the program, and was immediately interested in what they had to offer.

How can this program be improved?

I researched it a little bit more and emailed the coordinator to receive more information about this awesome program. Everyone I worked with was kind, friendly, and willing to deal with me and my busy schedule.
In Costa Rica I was met by a Uvolunteer coordinator right at the airport. I never had to wait for any inconvenience at all. What I really love about the Uvolunteer program is that is gives volunteers to network with people from around the world, build friendships and bonds, and volunteer at the same time. I was fortunate to meet people from England, Massachusetts, Texas, California, and Costa Rica.
All the people are great and we still keep in touch all the time through email and Facebook. They are life-long friendships. I, specifically, had the opportunity to enjoy diversity in my volunteer experience here in Costa Rica which I was so grateful for because it allowed me an advantage to work with more volunteers and more people within the community on various projects. I volunteered at the Community, teaching English, writing, and reading, playing organized games of soccer, basketball and baseball, and working with kids of all ages.
The children are so great, despite their living environments at home, they were tolerable toward the volunteers and they were polite and appreciative to all of the volunteers as well. I was also given the opportunity to work in construction and aided in the development of a house for a woman and her daughter, mixing, pouring, and leveling cement and working with the local constructors was amazing. Lastly, I was given the opportunity at night to teach English at the University, which was an immense pleasure because the people and the environment are so great and they are there and willing to learn every lesson that is shared with them.
I enjoyed my experience overall with Uvolunteer and I am already making plans to schedule another trip through them in another part of the world. I am grateful that I had all the opportunity that I did have and I look forward to coming back. Thanks Uvolunteer, for all the amenities, the love, the patience, and the hospitality; you made it a pleasure and I am forever grateful.

Default avatar
gyilka33
Female
42 years old
United Kingdom

Mi casa, su casa anytime!

9/10

Having done some research on volunteer programs, uVolunteer Org seemed to be the most professional of the lot and they offered a Construction Project that enabled me to volunteer for any amount of time.

How can this program be improved?

I decided on committing 2 weeks so packed my bags and started on my adventure.

From the moment I arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica, the coordinator was there waiting for me and was so welcoming it put whatever reservations I still had at ease. We made the short journey from the airport to the dorm in San Ramon which was my home away from home for the next 2 weeks.

Throughout that time, I helped to construct a new home for a well-deserved family - who I was lucky enough to meet. The work was physically hard but it was the exact opposite of sitting in an office and exactly what I was after. It would've been helpful if my Spanish was a little better than it is however the guys on site are so helpful and it wasn't too difficult to pick things up after the first day.

Throughout the 2 weeks, the team also involved me in dance classes, community English classes, the festival of San Ramon and everything else Costa Rican. Amazing! It was also wonderful to wake up every morning to a cooked breakfast and come home to a traditional Costa Rican meal each night, cooked by the lovely Dona Isabel who takes care of all of the volunteers in the dorm. When it arrived at the weekends, it was easy to jump on a bus and check out the other remarkable places in Costa Rica and the team will help you organise it all. Perfect!

At the end of my 2 weeks, I can definitively say now that I'm exhausted and exhilarated and would recommend everyone takes the time out once in a while to do something different, meet new friends, experience a new culture and feel like you're giving something back at the same time.

Thanks for making this a special time in my life that I will treasure forever.

Pura Vida!

Default avatar
khwardk1991
Female
24 years old
USA

I literally had the time of my life!

9/10

I had never been outside ot the United States before and was nervous about being in a foreign country alone. As a volunteer there was the independence of my own but there was still the comfort of knowing I had the coordinators there to help me adjust. During my research for a volunteer program I came across many organizations but I was drawn to uVolunteer.

How can this program be improved?

Rather than a home-stay it provided a dorm for all the volunteers to live in together and their office was down the street so if anything happened they could easily get to you. I know a lot of people who have stayed in a home-stay in foreign countries, and while some people think it makes the experience better there are others who did not feel comfortable with their home-stay families. I personally would have felt uncomfortable in a home-stay situation and uVolunteer seemed to be the only organization that offered an alternate living situation. The range of programs uVolunteer offered also intrigued me. I am studying environmental science but I also enjoy working with children and uVolunteer allowed me to do both.
When I finally decided on uVolunteer it was only 2 months before I wanted to leave. The application process was simple but took some time. The organization was very helpful when I had questions concerning my application and payment and sent me my information in a reasonable time frame. While the information I received prior to arriving in Costa Rica seemed to answer all my questions it still seemed limited. When I arrived I literally had no idea what I was getting myself into. The weekend I arrived in Costa Rica was Independence Day and I was the only volunteer. Fortunately the uVolunteer coordinators, Ligia and Mario, made sure I was not alone in the house. They took me to the parades, neighboring towns and out to coffee. It was a hard adjustment but having them around made it a lot easier.
For my first six weeks I worked on an Environmental Conservation project. I was placed at a nature park in the neighboring town where a handful of other volunteers were working. The other volunteers were from various organizations and countries. My first day I explored to park with Mario and met the other volunteers, for most of the day we didn't really do much. There was no one there to over see the volunteers or tell them what needed to be done so we had to find our own projects. During my time there I helped clear the trails, maintained the main area of the park, worked in the butterfly garden, built a trail in the medical garden and other miscellaneous activities.
The next 6 weeks I spent time working the Hogarcito, children's home. This project was similar to the environmental conservation in the sense that you had to find your own personal project. It was always an option to just play with the kids but if I was going to be there for six weeks I wanted to do something more permanent. After speaking with Ligia and the Tias in the home I decided to build them a garden. I had never built a garden before but after my experience in the medical garden I felt confident I could do it. I researched the most efficient way to make a garden and spent half my time at the home working on it. During my last week I finally completed it with a fence. The other half of my time at the children's home was spent with the kids. We would either play games or run around or I would plan a craft or special activity to do with them. I tired to plan an activity once a week so they would have something new and different to do. I like to think my time spent at the Hogarcita was successful and that I gave the kids some good memories during a hard time in their lives.
Every morning I woke up to the smell of breakfast or the sound of the blender making fresh juice. Dona Isabel is the cook and maintains the volunteer house. She made delicious food and was extremely nice. If we ever wanted something specific to eat for breakfast or dinner, she would make it and just when we were realizing we were a little homesick she would make meals that we were used to from home.
Throughout my stay in Costa Rica I feel like I achieved my personal goals and so much more. My 3 months here were incredible and I literally had the time of my life. I could not have wished for a better experience, and for anyone who is unsure about taking the leap and volunteering in another country all I can say is, do it.

Default avatar
arshtlan19
Male
24 years old
Canada

Pura Vida, life is good!

9/10

I am just finishing my two months in Costa Rica, with the uVolinteer program. This experience really has been amazing for me! Costa Rica is an amazing country with many places to see and explore!!!!!!

How can this program be improved?

I started my volunteering in construction work; it was for 6 hours a day, 4 days a week. At the start I was doing a lot of digging and mixing of cement which was cool to see how they did everything by hand here, and two hands of help is a lot here!, As the two weeks of construction came to the end I was doing more noticeable jobs such as hammering the roof in, hammering through the brick wall for the electricity outlets (hard job haha) and many little jobs that were fun and different. It was really good to experience the construction in Costa Rica and an awesome feeling to know your helping someone in need! This is my biggest goal, to see I'm making a difference and know my time is appreciated!
On my third week I started working at San Miguel Elementary School. This is where I spend 6 weeks and had the most fun! At the school I taught english, cooked lunch every day for the kids, and of course played soccer (football). This was my highlight because I could really see, every day, with every job I was asked that I was really helping. They can't afford to hire people to do these jobs, but yet they are so simple and fun. I painted, I cleaned, I played, colored and much more and the kids were so happy every time I showed up in the morning, they all knew my name, greeted me and asked if I'm going to play football with them haha, it was an experience. The teachers and parent volunteer staff also really appreciated the work I did, in english class we would play games with the kids and the english teacher always said how I have to do that again with them because that's all they talk about and ask. It was what volunteering should be! Fun!
Of course this trip wouldn't be as good if I didn't go travelling! Every weekend I would get almost 2 full days of going to a beach or a tourist area to backpack and travel! My highlight! It surprising how many people are travelling, volunteering and backpacking just like me! I met so many people (more than once) and seen many places! I travelled to La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Puerto Veijo, and other small places around Costa Rica and it really made my trip!
Thanks U Volunteer for the experience of a life time and something I wont ever forget (hence why I got my tattoo) "Pura Vida"- something Costa Ricans live by! It means directly to english "Pure Life", but here they say it to and for everything! Ask how its going? Pura Vida! Ask how your day is, weekend, sleep, anything almost and they say Pura Vida" Even one time I asked a local "what time is it" and luckily he spoke english, because he replied with Pura Vida, and said it doesn't matter man, Life is good, no worries. And that's why I got my tattoo. Something to remember my trip by, and it's like Hakuna Mattata. No worries, life is good! Costa Rican people are so friendly and I really advise a trip here! Volunteering!
Good luck to whoever reads this and always remember "Pura Vida"!!
Adios! Gracias!

Default avatar
morphr66
Male
24 years old
Canada
University of Calgary

San Ramon is a perfect and safe location for volunteering

9/10

The town is small enough that you can walk from one end to the other in around thirty minutes, and buses arrive and depart San Ramon very regularly making it very convenient. We stayed in a volunteer dorm with other volunteer.

How can this program be improved?

I have always wanted to participate in a volunteer type vacation, but I had never had the time or the money to be able to take on a project like this. A year off from school provided me with an excellent opportunity to travel to a foreign country, experience a new culture, and to lend my assistance to people in need.
I chose UVolunteer because they were extremely organized, provided me with the option to participate in a number or different volunteer programs, and to take a Spanish language training program prior to starting my volunteer project. I decided I would volunteer in Costa Rica for eight weeks and was able to get two of my friends from Calgary to join me for six of those weeks.
Application and pre-arrival proceeded very smoothly. I was able to talk directly with a representative from the UVolunteer office when I had questions and was able to receive prompt replies to all my emails. Upon arrival at the San Jose airport on Saturday, we were greeted by our driver holding a sign with my name on it, who took us straight to our homestay family in Curridabat.
I was placed in the intermediate level as I had previously taken two preliminary courses in Spanish in university two years ago. The instruction here was excellent, intensive, and has you prepared for your volunteer program. I highly recommend this program to all volunteers who lack a background or fluency in Spanish prior to starting their programs. We stayed with a homestay family for this portion of our travel.
Overall, my volunteer experience has been very successful. I was able to learn and embrace all that the Costa Rican culture had to offer, provide my assistance to people in need, and become nearly fluent in Spanish. I would like to have stayed here for a month longer to become fully fluent in Spanish; perhaps in the future.
Ryan

Default avatar
thaks88
Female
32 years old
United States of America
Other

I couldn't believe my luck!

10/10

When a college friend approached me about an opportunity to volunteer abroad with uVolunteer in Costa Rica, I couldn't believe my luck!!!

I chose to volunteer for a week in San Ramon, Costa Rica at the local Community Center.

How can this program be improved?

We spent the week volunteering at the Community Center with the children from the area. We had brought lots of things for the kids to do, which they really seemed to love! We made bracelets, magic wands, masks and puppets! The best part was seeing how much the kids loved to make things. They would be waiting for my friend and I at the classroom door in the morning, just to see what we would be doing that day. Being conversational in Spanish was definitely a plus; it definitely made it easier to communicate with the other volunteers and children. But, if all else fails, bring some bouncy balls and some hula hoops!
We did have some downtime, where my friend and I explored the local area by visiting volcanoes, a coffee plantation, white water rafting and the hot springs. I had such an amazing experience and met the most amazing people. I would love to try and return in the future and would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is looking to volunteer abroad, even for just a week!
I wanted to say "Thank You" to Laura at the Center, who does a great job and really cares for the kids. Also, thank you to the staff who helped make the experience a memorable one!
Katharine

Default avatar
Eric
Male
24 years old
Usa
Other

I could not have asked for a better trip.

9/10

As a physical Education teacher from New Jersey, I was always curious to see other physical education programs in other parts of the world. .

How can this program be improved?

That is exactly why I decided to go through uVolunteer; to view another countries perspective of physical education, while also enjoying the beautiful country of Costa Rica.

From the flight to SJO (San Jose Airport), everything worked out very smoothly. Nohelia, another coordinator from uVolunteer, was there on time and ready to pick me up. We were able to meet with all of the volunteers in the bus that picked us up, and drove around 45 minutes to get to San Ramon. The house we stayed in was beautiful and safe. The town was also beautiful and very easy to navigate. There were a million landmarks that someone could remember in case they had lost their way.
Our schedule only had us working 4 days a week, excluding Friday. This gave us ample time to explore Costa Rica. Throughout the weekend, the volunteers and I would go to all parts of Costa Rica on "mini vacations". We were able to sleep in Hostels and everything was safe as long as you stayed together and used your street smarts.

You will learn so much Spanish in the month that you stay in Costa Rica. The locals are happy when you at least try, even though usually we made a lot of mistakes.

All in all, my time in Costa Rica was perfect. There were no Cons that I could describe which brought down the trip. The prices were reasonable for the whole accommodation; my volunteers I stayed with were some of the nicest people that you could ask for. I made more friends in Costa Rica in one month than I could make in 1 year back in the United States.
I could not have asked for a better trip.
Thanks for everything,

Eric

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David
Male
42 years old
USA
Other

and I was looking for something completely new this summer

9/10

I had backpacked through Europe the past two summers, and I was looking for something completely new this summer. I knew that visiting Costa Rica would be much different than visiting Europe.

How can this program be improved?

I worked on two different construction projects during my weeks here. The first week, I helped to build a house, which was about a 30-minute bus ride from the dorm. All the other construction volunteers left at the end of that week, so Ligia was able to reassign me to the community center for my second week, so I didn't have to worry about the bus anymore. At the community center, I worked on various ongoing construction projects. Each job was a good experience in its own way.

One thing that appealed to me about uVolunteer was staying in a dorm with other volunteers, and that was fun. It was nice to have dinner together each night, and there were chances to go out with the others on most nights, if you choose to.

Having a three-day weekend gives you a chance to see some of Costa Rica's tourist sites. I went to Monte Verde for the weekend with two other volunteers, and Ligia helped us set up the trip. By the way, Ligia is really accessible if you need a recommendation or have any kind of problem. She does a good job at helping everyone navigate through a new culture and she makes everyone comfortable while away from home. It feels strange to pay to do volunteer work, but the fee pays for your room and board, and you have total peace of mind, knowing there is a coordinator who will take care of all the details (both little and big) while you're here.

David

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Brittney
Female
24 years old
USA
Other

thanks to uVolunteer for providing such wonderful volunteer opportunities

9/10

The staff is very friendly and always makes you feel welcome and comfortable. I am glad the numbers of volunteers was relatively small. I felt that I was able to get to know everybody very well because of this.

How can this program be improved?

I developed some close relationships in a very short period of time. As a Spanish major, I am very glad that I chose to volunteer abroad instead of study abroad.

I felt that I was able to be immersed in the culture and utilize the language more by working at The Community Center. I learned so much about life from the staff and the children and community members that attend there. Everybody seemed so happy regardless of what their living situation was.

The Costa Rican people seem to enjoy life and appreciate the simple things. All of the people that I met were so genuine and thankful. This was very inspiring to me. I am truly thankful for all of my experiences that I have had and relationships that I have made while in Costa Rica. I will never forget. I want to return in the future. I would recommend uVolunteer to anybody that is interested in helping others and would like to receive a change in perspective. Remember to keep an open mind. There are so many possibilities in life when one keeps an open mind. Thanks again!

Brittney

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Sarah
Female
32 years old
Canada

I always said I was going to do "one day"

10/10

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How can this program be improved?

The Construction Project was very labor intensive, but also very rewarding. There were no power tools on site and daily jobs usually consisted of painting, digging, hauling raw materials and mixing cement

For me, this trip was something I always said I was going to do "one day". So as a gift for myself on my 30th birthday, I decided "one day" had finally arrived. After extensive online research, I decided that the Construction Project in Costa Rica with uVolunteer had everything I was looking for. Since I had never travelled to Central America before and also have a very structured routine of shift work back in Canada, I knew adapting to the Tico lifestyle was going to be a challenge.

Upon my arrival in Costa Rica I was greeted at the airport by Nohelia, one of the uVolunteer staffers. In true Tica fashion, Nohelia greeted me excitedly with a big hug as if we were already old friends, and treated me that way for the duration of my stay. As I had chosen to travel during a very low season, my original choice of staying at the uVolunteer Dorm was not an option and I was instead placed in a home stay (a first, I am told). Although I was a little thrown by the change of plans, I decided to embrace the laid back attitude of my new home and accept the circumstance as a new opportunity. I am certainly glad I did. I was placed in the home of Dona Isabel, the dorm house mother, who has been housing volunteers for many years. Dona Isabel was very kind and welcoming, as were the many family members I met during my month long stay. She was also extremely patient with my (very poor) Spanish and always respectful of my personal space.

The Construction Project was very labour intensive, but also very rewarding. There were no power tools on site and daily jobs usually consisted of painting, digging, hauling raw materials and mixing cement. Although some days were exhausting, it is definitely within the scope of nearly anyone's physical abilities. The local workers on site are very kind and grateful for any help you are able to give. It was amazing to watch our little house grow before our very eyes! Ligia, my program co-ordinator, worked very closely with me while I was in Costa Rica. She would usually come one day a week to my work location to take pictures and help out with building. During our weekly meeting, she would always inquire about my project, my housing and how I was getting along with other volunteers. Also she would help me set up any travel plans I had for the weekend; suggesting accommodations, calling tour companies and often getting me a better price on excursions. The amount of help Ligia will extend to you is limited only by what you will ask of her. It was with this help that I was able to fill this adventure with lifelong memories.

Overall, this trip ended up looking completely different then my overly rigid personality tried to make it. Ultimately, it was exactly what I needed it to be and I can not imagine having done anything differently. And though Ticos are a notoriously kind people, Ligia, Nohelia and Dona Isabel still manage to stand out among them. I truly felt like a member of a family while I was here and I will miss this beautiful country and its beautiful people.

Pura Vida!

Default avatar
TiaanA
Female
24 years old
USA

Thanks uVolunteer for the experience of a life time and something I wont ever forget (hence why I got my tattoo) "Pura Vida"

10/10

I am just finishing my 2 months in Costa Rica, with the U Volunteer program. This experience really has been amazing for me! Costa Rica is an amazing country with many places to see and explore! From the beaches to the volcano's to the beautiful backpackers it has been a wonderful trip!

I am just finishing my 2 months in Costa Rica, with the U Volunteer program. This experience really has been amazing for me! Costa Rica is an amazing country with many places to see and explore! From the beaches to the volcano's to the beautiful backpackers it has been a wonderful trip!

I started my volunteering in construction work; it was for 6 hours a day, 4 days a week. At the start I was doing a lot of digging and mixing of cement which was cool to see how they did everything by hand here, and two hands of help is a lot here!, As the two weeks of construction came to the end I was doing more noticeable jobs such as hammering the roof in, hammering through the brick wall for the electricity outlets (hard job haha) and many little jobs that were fun and different. It was really good to experience the construction in Costa Rica and an awesome feeling to know your helping someone in need! This is my biggest goal, to see I'm making a difference and know my time is appreciated!

On my third week I started working at San Miguel Elementary School. This is where I spend 6 weeks and had the most fun! At the school I taught english, cooked lunch every day for the kids, and of course played soccer (football). This was my highlight because I could really see, every day, with every job I was asked that I was really helping. They can't afford to hire people to do these jobs, but yet they are so simple and fun. I painted, I cleaned, I played, colored and much more and the kids were so happy every time I showed up in the morning, they all knew my name, greeted me and asked if I'm going to play football with them haha, it was an experience. The teachers and parent volunteer staff also really appreciated the work I did, in english class we would play games with the kids and the english teacher always said how I have to do that again with them because that's all they talk about and ask. It was what volunteering should be! Fun!

Of course this trip wouldn't be as good if I didn't go travelling! Every weekend I would get almost 2 full days of going to a beach or a tourist area to backpack and travel! My highlight! It surprising how many people are travelling, volunteering and backpacking just like me! I met so many people (more than once) and seen many places! I travelled to La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, Puerto Veijo, and other small places around Costa Rica and it really made my trip!

Default avatar
Cheerstothe90s
Male
32 years old
KC, MO

Built a House

7/10

I helped build a home near San Ramon. The scenery was great, the location is in the valley referred to as the land of eternal Spring. The local staff weren't all great with English, so there was a language barrier for me, however one of my goals there was to learn more Spanish. The organization seemed a bit lacking sometimes which could be frustrating, but it all worked out. As far as formal volunteer organizations go, it was a lot cheaper than most others, and I had a great host for my homestay. You have weekends to travel around the country, which is cheap by bus. I felt safe the whole time on the project.

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jebert1
Female
24 years old
Martinez, Ca
Persian

Teaching PE, English, Community Service in Costa Rica

10/10

uVolunteer program provided the most value for the cost. Their phone, email, and in country support was amazing. The staff cares so much about their projects, and their volunteers, I instantly felt like family. The dorms are incredible, and food was delicious. My program was very welcoming to me, and I even explored other programs while I was there. This is an organization founded by travelers, for travelers, and for those who love to help. I had am amazing time.

About The Provider

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uVolunteer specializes in providing volunteer work placements in Costa Rica, Ghana and Thailand. Our service learning projects include Teaching, Care & Community, Construction, Environment and Animal Conservation.

Our program promotes change and provides direction and purpose for our participants. Additional benefits are cultural insight, adventure

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