Realize Your Dream to Volunteer in Costa Rica

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Children Home
Children Home
Volcanoe
Volcanoe
Teaching English
Teaching English
Sports Education
Sports Education
Community Education
Community Education

About

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.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 24 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 9 - 16 of 24
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Augie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Can't wait to see you again

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!!

What would you improve about this program?
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!!.
Default avatar
Kim
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best trip!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nice time in Costa Rica

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
bell14tant
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am forever grateful

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Mi casa, su casa anytime!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I literally had the time of my life!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pura Vida, life is good!

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!!!!!!

What would you improve about this program?
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
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

San Ramon is a perfect and safe location for volunteering

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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