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Volunteer in Costa Rica

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Traces of the Zika virus have been found in Costa Rica. To learn more about Zika and how to avoid getting infected, read the Washington Post's article on Zika precautions.

Costa Rica is a wonderful destination for both first-time and seasoned travelers. It's home to beautiful beaches, tropical rainforests, and some of the friendliest people on earth, while also being incredibly safe.

But for those who want to see another side of Costa Rica, volunteering in education, animal rescue, or sea turtle conservancy could be just the way to see Costa Rica from outside the tourist lens. Volunteering in this tropical country offers the experience of a lifetime by immersing you in local culture and customs and learning the true meaning of Pura Vida.

Photo Credit: Gabi Schiller

Costa Rica offers an excellent introduction to Latin America while also providing a diversity of places to visit for a nature lover with a strong democratic tradition. After Costa Rica's civil war, the army was abolished by the president in 1948. While Costa Rica is often considered one of the wealthier countries in the region, there are still numerous development problems such as deforestation, economic and gender inequalities and youth development issues as increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants from Nicaragua and other neighboring countries now call Costa Rica home.

Environmental Conservation & Working with Wildlife

While Costa Rica is famous for conserving vast parts of the country as national parks, there is a constant need for volunteers to get involved in their wildlife and conservation efforts. The most popular project in this field is working with the numerous sea turtle conservancy projects on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Volunteers work to protect sea turtle eggs from poachers and environmental threats.

Other projects involve preserving and researching other areas of Costa Rica's wildlife -- especially in Costa Rica's rainforests.

Youth Development

Volunteer with youth development in Costa Rica -- both in San Jose and smaller cities -- by assisting with after-school programs, community centers, and sports coaching. Most projects will require you have a functional level of Spanish in this area.

Gender Equality

Unknown to many, sex trade has dramatically increased in Costa Rica. Victims need your help in recovering their lives.

Teaching English

Costa Ricans value English as a second language and native teachers are in high demand. Teaching positions vary and no experience is necessary, but previous experience and qualifications are always helpful.

Health and Safety in Costa Rica

No immunizations are required to go to Costa Rica. It is also safe to drink the water, one of the few Latin American countries where this is the case. Costa Rica is known to be one of the safer countries in Central America but you should never let your guard down, always secure your belongings and be aware of surroundings, especially in bus stations and in markets. Remember, as a foreigner you always stand out.

Visas

Costa Rican tourist visas are not required for citizens of the United States for a stay of up to 90 days. For more information visit Visa HQ. All travelers to Costa Rica will have to pay a fee upon exiting.

Contributed by Eliza Wethey

Showing 142 Programs

Costa Rica
United Planet
Try a Quest that takes you to one of the most relaxed, welcoming and magnificently beautiful countries on the planet. Costa R...
0 reviews
Costa Rica
Cross-Cultural Solutions
Costa Rica is a worldwide leader in ecotourism, recognized for its rich biodiversity—but it’s also well known for its warm an...
27 reviews
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San José
International Service Learning (ISL)
Costa Rica is a beautiful country filled with tropical jungles and picture perfect beaches. Experience the vivid culture of C...
6 reviews
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San José
ISA Internships & Service-Learning
ISA Service-Learning provides students and recent grads the opportunity to learn about social issues that communities around...
1 reviews
San Ramón
uVolunteer - Making your Dream to Volunteer Abroad a Reality
Costa Rica is a tropical paradise and 25 percent of the land is dedicated to helping preserve the earth's biodiversity. Costa...
24 reviews
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Galle
Outreach International
Schools around the world come in many shapes and sizes, from a small grass-roots school in Kenya with some 50 children learni...
0 reviews
Ecuador
Outreach International
Ecuador and Costa Rica provide a wealth of opportunity for volunteers wanting to get involved in conservation of the rainfore...
1 reviews
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Nicaragua
Carpe Diem Education
This semester intertwines personal growth with adventure, service, and a greater awareness of the global community as you tra...
8 reviews
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Santa Ana
Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC)
FIMRC's Project Alajuelita, located approximately 30 minutes from the capital of San Jose, brings medical care to rural areas...
10 reviews
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Costa Rica
Amigos de las Americas
In Perez Zeledón, Costa Rica, participants spend alternating weeks in national parks doing trail maintenance and construction...
13 reviews
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Puerto Jimenez
Frontier
Nestled between its tropical Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most breath-taking countries in the world...
1 reviews
Costa Rica
Villas Alturas Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Program
The Alturas Wildlife Animal Sanctuary is a non profit organization and a new facility dedicated to animal care, rehabilitatio...
7 reviews
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Costa Rica
GoEco
Experience Costa Rica while helping local projects! Volunteers will be placed all around Costa Rica and work on projects of t...
4 reviews
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Panama
Surf For Life
As a Surf For Life volunteer, you will work alongside local community members to build high impact projects, such as schools,...
15 reviews
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Costa Rica
A Broader View Volunteers Corp
Caribbean This park is the most important area in the entire west half of the Caribbean for the nesting of the green turtle....
6 reviews
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