Vida Medical, Dental & Veterinary Programs in Costa Rica
96% Rating
(37 Reviews)

Vida Medical, Dental & Veterinary Programs in Costa Rica

Join Vida in Costa Rica as a volunteer in their field clinics! Programs in Costa Rica are typically 2-weeks in length.

Volunteers will gain hands on experience in patient care while learning and practicing basic medical examination techniques. Volunteers will work alongside Vida staff and licensed doctors to provide underserved communities with necessary services. Interact with the community and learn more about issues in public health.

There are also opportunities for volunteers interested in dentistry to help facilitate mobile dental clinics. Volunteers will have the opportunity to shadow experienced dentists and oral health professionals. Depending on their level of experience and level of education in dentistry, volunteers may even have the opportunity to perform procedures under the supervision of mentors.

Visit the Vida website to learn more about medical volunteer programs in Costa Rica.

San José
Costa Rica
Project Types
Host Family

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 37 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 31 - 37 of 37
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Powerfully impacting if you allow it to be

This trip is a great opportunity to develop skills as a medical, veterinary, or dental student, as a Spanish speaker, and as a caregiver. The trip is set up to accommodate volunteers very nicely, and has many fun opportunities. I would say that it was easy to focus more on having fun than focusing on the volunteer and service we were actually doing. Because of my previous experiences on service trips, I was able to have more of a servant's mindset and heart, and was therefore able to experience a lot and get much more out of the trip. I met two friends while on the trip who will be my cross-country best friends for the rest of my life. Great time! :)

Yes, I recommend
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The experience of a lifetime!

I attended a 2 weeks veterinary volunteer adventure last summer and am currently coordinating another trip this summer. The was the most rewarding experience in my entire life! It is amazing to be able to travel to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and be immersed into the culture while being able to provide invaluable veterinary, medical, and dental services to the communities that truly need our help. The hands on experience is second to none and is significantly more than I have received working in the veterinary field for 6 years in the states. The staff is amazing and helps you all along the way- I made many friends on my last trip and plan to again this year. It is extremely safe which I was initially worried about - we only go to safe areas and we all travel in a group at all times. There is a perfect balance of work and fun with 5 clinic days and ~7 day adventures including things like ziplining, national forest, shopping, sloth sanctuary, latin dancing, playing soccer, and many amazing restaurants. I researched other volunteer broad groups for months on end before I decided to go with VIDA and I am SO glad I did!

Yes, I recommend
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My second trip

I had been to Costa Rica before on a Spanish language trip in high school so when I saw that my second VIDA trip option was to go to Costa Rica I was pretty excited. It surpassed expectations and although it was difficult work, it was intensely rewarding. The work itself was not the most difficult part though. I am conversational in Spanish but had quite the difficulty conversing with the children of my host family. Though this was a trivial complaint compared to how fun the trip as a whole was.

Yes, I recommend
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Most AMAZING experience of my life

I was a little worried going into the program with such little experience since I thought it wasn't very likely that I could learn enough about medicine to apply it in just 2 weeks; I was definitelly wrong and can't believe how much I've gained! I was able to learn how to interact with patients to help them provide the right information in order to help us make an accurate diagnosis for their symptoms. The clinic days were tiring since we saw hundreds of patients every day, but it was well worth it to see the patients' smiling faces and know that we had made a positive impact on someone else's life.
The work was also perfectly balanced with the fun, and I even feel like they overlapped since the work itself became really fun. I was able to establish great relationships with all of the staff including the group leaders, the interpreters, the doctors and veteranarians, as well as nurses that helped with the vaccinations and pap smears. I felt happy and safe the entire time I was with them and can't wait to go back again for another trip.
My VIDA trip helped strengthen my love of medicine and allowed me to get a real glimpse at the type of work I will be doing in the future and how much I'll love it.

Yes, I recommend
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Literal Trip of a Lifetime

The VIDA Veterinary trip I took to Costa Rica and Panama was one of the most rewarding, eye-opening, and exciting trips I have ever been on. The staff, especially our coordinator, seemed to know everyone everywhere we went which made the culture shock of visiting Central America that much easier. The veterinary trip was one full of challenge and education and will make me a better veterinarian (knock on wood) for having been a participant. To my knowledge, vet schools look very favorably on the VIDA Veterinary volunteers because it shows that we are driven to help animals, and willing to step out of our comfort zones to do so. My VIDA trip was a phenomenal veterinary and cultural experience balled into one, and is a trip that I will never forget! Thanks VIDA!

Yes, I recommend
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VIDA's Trip to Costa Rica is an Incredible Opportunity!

My VIDA experience in Costa Rica was one I will never forget and will think of fondly for years to come. I never realized what an impact such a small group of people could have on a community in just a few short days. During the clinic, I bettered my understanding of basic medical practices and learned about specific diseases found in Central America. I even experienced taking an ultrasound of a 18 week pregnant mother's womb. It was a beautiful experience.
The social aspect of a VIDA adventure was equally enlightening. I made friends that will last a life time and the relationships foraged with the interpreters and doctors was invaluable. Overall VIDA is a fantastic opportunity for pre-health and non-health students alike. It really opens your eyes to the good that can be accomplished when we all work together.

Yes, I recommend
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Wow! I want to come back every year.

This trip was absolutely life-changing, both in my professional and personal life. I learned an incredible amount from the doctors I worked with. They were incredibly patient and truly wanted us to learn everything. The patients we encountered were so sweet and grateful. The social scene was amazing as well. We had plenty of time to ourselves to explore the towns and have fun. The staff joined us in almost everything and I got just as close with some of them as I did with the rest of the volunteers. I still keep in close contact with number of volunteers, doctors, and staff that I met on this trip.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was playing soccer with everybody at a restaurant in Puerto Jimenez. It was the most fun game of soccer I've ever played. I also really enjoyed snorkeling in the islands of Bocas del Toro, Panama. We saw tons of animals including dolphins. I really enjoyed exploring this town and meeting locals.

I loved that VIDA took us to numerous cities throughout Costa Rica and Panama. I experienced the busiest of cities as well as the most rural of towns. The inhabitants were so different yet all so kind.

I would highly recommend VIDA to anyone. I am currently returning this summer for a second trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. It is completely worth it. It opened my eyes to the rest of the world, and it helped me realize that I had chosen the best career for me. Helping people who need so much help is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Yes, I recommend

About Vida Volunteer

Volunteer abroad with Vida in Central America! With Vida, you have the opportunity to gain experience in three main fields: medicine, dental health, and veterinary medicine. As a volunteer with Vida, you will work with local professionals in these...