Volunteer in Costa Rica

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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.


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 161 Programs


Raleigh International
A Raleigh expedition to Nicaragua and Costa Rica is a unique opportunity to experience incredible cultures and help tackle po...

Costa Rica

World Endeavors
Volunteers in Costa Rica can choose from a variety of unique and meaningful volunteer projects. Our programs are based in the...

Costa Rica

Pod Volunteer
Wildlife Rescue: Join a wildlife rescue team and care for the animals in the sanctuary. Provide food and enrichment for a var...

Costa Rica

Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Schools
Additionally to our Spanish programs we offer unique and well selected volunteer projects around Costa Rica, as a non-profit...


Low income communities have very limited access to good health services, and this is where this project comes in. We partner...


Combine exciting adventure travel with a project placement and experience the best of Central America on an unforgettable adv...

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...

Costa Rica

International Service Learning (ISL)
Costa Rica is a beautiful country filled with tropical jungles and picture perfect beaches. Experience the vivid culture of C...

Costa Rica

ISA Internships & Service-Learning
San José, the capital of Costa Rica, is in the central valley of the Costa Rican rainforest. As the cultural, economic, and p...

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise and 25 percent of the land is dedicated to helping preserve the earth's biodiversity. Costa...

Sri Lanka

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...


Outreach International
Ecuador and Costa Rica provide a wealth of opportunity for volunteers wanting to get involved in conservation of the rainfore...


Carpe Diem Education
This semester intertwines personal growth with adventure, service, and a greater awareness of the global community as you tra...

Costa Rica

Amigos de las Americas
In Perez Zeledón, Costa Rica, participants spend alternating weeks in national parks doing trail maintenance and construction...

Costa Rica

Nestled between its tropical Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most breath-taking countries in the world...