Realize Your Dream to Volunteer in Costa Rica

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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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Reviews

93%
based on 24 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 24 of 24
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morphr66
9/10

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.

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
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
thaks88
10/10

I couldn't believe my luck!

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
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Eric
9/10

I could not have asked for a better trip.

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
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
David
9/10

and I was looking for something completely new this summer

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
Yes, I recommend
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Brittney
9/10

thanks to uVolunteer for providing such wonderful volunteer opportunities

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
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10

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

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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!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
TiaanA
10/10

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

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!

Yes, I recommend
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Cheerstothe90s
7/10

Built a House

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.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
jebert1
10/10

Teaching PE, English, Community Service in Costa Rica

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.

Yes, I recommend

About uVolunteer

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...