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 161 Programs

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...

Costa Rica

Global Volunteers
Join Global Volunteers for one to two weeks in a variety of projects in Costa Rica! Couples, families and groups of students,...

Costa Rica

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

Costa Rica

SEE Turtles
Join SEE Turtles for a volunteer vacation in Costa Rica! Spend your vacation working to protect critically endangered giant l...

Costa Rica

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ASVO Volunteers
We propose an environmental volunteer program with social commitment, regardless age, gender and profession. All our programs...

Costa Rica

Cloud Forest School - Centro de Educación Creativa
Interested in working alongside experienced land stewards, while learning about the environment, gardening, trail maintenance...

Costa Rica

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Animales de Asis
We welcome volunteers from all backgrounds that would like to take part in our program to help stray and abandoned dogs in Co...

Costa Rica

Holbrook Travel
Come volunteer your time to valuable conservation projects with Holbrook Travel this year in the tropical rainforests of Cost...

Costa Rica

A Broader View Volunteers Corp
This is a tiny school located in the mountains of Escazu. It is an elementary school, which means that the children's ages ra...

Costa Rica

La Tortuga Feliz
La Tortuga Feliz is a non-profit organization and can only stay successful if volunteers participate in the project. With you...

Costa Rica

Volunteer Trip
Volunteer in the mountainous terrain of Turrialba, Costa Rica! You will enjoy the eco-adventure of mountain-biking, kayaking,...

Costa Rica

ISA Internships & Service-Learning
Heredia is a relaxed Costa Rican city filled with enjoyable parks, lively plazas, and friendly locals. Lying approximately 10...

Costa Rica

In a children's hospital in Costa Rica, kids stay often for extensive periods of time. You can help make that stay much bette...

Costa Rica

Holbrook Travel
Come join Holbrook Travel's Researching Neotropical Birds of Tortuguero program in Costa Rica this year! The program runs for...

Costa Rica

BikeHike Adventures
Spend 9 days exploring much of beautiful Costa Rica! Arrive in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, where your first nig...