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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 136 Programs

Costa Rica
Discover Corps
Discover one of the most biodiverse countries of the world through its people. On this volunteer vacation, you will: *Volunteer alongside local commun...
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Costa Rica
New Hope
Imagine a pristine beach where you are working to save an endangered species. If this thought captivates you, volunteer in the Turtle Conservation Pro...
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Costa Rica
New Hope
Let your passion for taking care of children and your undying love for nature and culture come alive at Costa Rica. Volunteer in an orphanage and at t...
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Costa Rica
CR Volunteer
The sea turtle conservation is situated on the pacific coast in the province of Puntarenas. The main objective of this project is to protect the turtl...
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Costa Rica
CR Volunteer
This project is located in San Ramon, a town an hour northwest of San Jose. Volunteers will be placed in rural areas of San Ramon. By teaching English...
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San Ramón
CR Volunteer
This project is located in San Ramon, a town an hour northwest of San Jose.Volunteering to empower these women will give them skills that will allow t...
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San Ramón
CR Volunteer
Volunteering in fine arts & physical education in San Ramon, Costa Rica allows children who normally do not have the opportunity to develop a talent,...
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Montezuma
Proyecto Montezuma
Proyecto Montezuma has a variety of hands-on volunteer programs providing each of it's volunteers with an enriching volunteer experience. Whether you...
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La Ceiba
COINED International
Volunteer is a latin word - come and find out why! Whether you are passionate about helping others, working alongside a community, educating, construc...
0 reviews
San José
A Broader View Volunteers Corp
Volunteer at a local orphanage in a suburb of San Jose. This residential facility is home to about 25 children who range in age between toddlers to pr...
2 reviews
Puerto Limón
Planet Conservation
The most important requirements for the volunteer program are:hard working skills,ecologically sensitive,willing to learn about new cultures and enthu...
0 reviews
Puerto Jimenez
Osa Conservation
In 1999 the Osa Peninsula was declared one of the ninety Jaguar Conservation Sites of the world and one of the most important places for conservation...
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Costa Rica
Planet Conservation
We are looking for volunteers to give art workshops for children in a hospital in San Isidro.Contributors can be local or foreign;main requirements ar...
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Puerto Jimenez
Osa Conservation
In 2002 Osa Conservation developed and begun it’s Sea Turtle Conservation program in order to protect the four nesting species of sea turtles on the O...
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Puerto Jimenez
Osa Conservation
In 2014 Osa Conservation acquired a 200 hectare parcel of land and dubbed the site Osa Verde. This site had old pastures which are now being dedicated...
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