Volunteer in Costa Rica

Browse Programs

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

Holbrook Travel
Holbrook Travel welcomes volunteers from across the globe to come participate in the exciting Turtle Tagging Adventure progra...

Costa Rica

South America Inside
Volunteer in Costa Rica with South America Inside! South America inside offers a variety of volunteer opportunities in beauti...

Costa Rica

CR Volunteer
This project is located in San Ramon, a town an hour northwest of San Jose. Butterflies are an important factor in Costa Rica...

Costa Rica

AMPED Abroad
AMPED's volunteer and internship programs in Atenas, Costa Rica are "Pura Vida"! If you're a novice at traveling abroad, with...

Costa Rica

YearOut International Volunteering - Italy
At YearOut, we focus on sending volunteers to fun, interesting, and quality placements in a variety of countries. Our Costa R...

Costa Rica

RCDP International Volunteer Program
If the thought of aquamarine sea and pristine beaches in the Caribbean Sea, and the one of a kind opportunity to get involved...

Costa Rica

Students seeking adventure and fun, as well as, having a desire to share their time and talents with their host community, ar...

Costa Rica

RCDP International Volunteer Program
If you are a nature lover and have a passion for teaching, teaching English in a local school in in Costa Rica is the right p...

Costa Rica

Bright Light Volunteers
For those who want to experience true sustainability in action, Bright Light Volunteers' "One World, One Sustainable Future"...

Costa Rica

RCDP International Volunteer Program
Do qualities like compassion for the under-privileged children and the urge to help them appeals to you? If you do, volunteer...

Costa Rica

Default Program Teaser Image
RCDP International Volunteer Program
If you find women empowerment and agriculture intriguing, volunteer in the project. You can help the disadvantaged women, sta...


Chill Expeditions
Participants in EarthConnect experience significant growth in a short amount of time. Students become more confident in their...

Costa Rica

Default Program Teaser Image
Gap 360
Looking to do some good and learn a new skill? Volunteer and Learn in Costa Rica lets you experience all the best Costa Rica...

Costa Rica

Kaya Responsible Travel
When you volunteer with Kaya in Costa Rica you will understand how important conserving the environment and protecting the na...

Costa Rica

Tropical Adventures
Established in 2005, the Group Travel experts at the Tropical Adventures Foundation have been dedicated to providing high qua...