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.


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 159 Programs

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...


Surf For Life
As a Surf For Life volunteer, you will work alongside local community members to build high impact projects, such as schools,...

Costa Rica

Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad has been providing volunteer placements in the developing world since 1992. Our volunteers in Costa Rica dire...

Costa Rica

Wilderness Adventures
Come with us to explore the magic of Costa Rica. Partake in daily Spanish instruction, taught by native Costa Rican professor...

Costa Rica

The Leap
Join a team of Leap volunteers, heading out to Costa Rica, to get stuck into a mix of turtle and forest conservation, whilst...


Dream Volunteers Gap Year Program
WorldStamp is a gap year volunteer-abroad program with opportunities to engage meaningfully in three countries — India, Guate...

Costa Rica

Association of International Volunteers in Costa Rica - AVIC
AVIC is a local Costa Rican Non-Profit Association that is specialized in providing Premium Hosting for International Volunte...

Costa Rica

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Five unique ecosystems, one adventure. Come join us in Costa Rica to volunteer and learn first hand about conservation. GLA o...

Costa Rica

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad
Iko Poran offers a wonderful turtle conservation project in a paradisiac Caribbean community. It is an excellent opportunity...


Proyecto Mosaico e.V.
You can become a part of our work! Share your time, experiences and ideas with our partner projects and their participants. Y...

Costa Rica

Oyster Worldwide
Join Oyster Worldwide on our turtle conservation project in beautiful Costa Rica. Gain the experience of a lifetime whilst ma...

Costa Rica

Tropical Adventures
We are a volunteer service organization based in Costa Rica, offering volunteer tour packages for individual travelers, stude...

Costa Rica

Intercultura Costa Rica Spanish Schools
Live with a local family while you study in our immersion Spanish & Culture programs, travel around Costa Rica and participat...

Costa Rica

Youth Challenge International (YCI)
Join Youth Challenge International in Costa Rica on the Youth Discovery program! For more than 17 years, YCI has been working...

Costa Rica

Sea Turtle Conservancy
Go wild with sea turtles! Experience sustainable travel with a splash of conservation by participating in STC's Eco-Volunteer...