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 159 Programs

Costa Rica

Osa Conservation
In 2014 Osa Conservation acquired a 200 hectare parcel of land and dubbed the site Osa Verde. This site had old pastures whic...

Costa Rica

Osa Conservation
The reforestation projects have seasonally based needs due to the sensitivity associated with replicating natural successions...

Costa Rica

Abriendo Mentes
Classroom teaching assistants play an extremely important role at Abriendo Mentes. These volunteers spend 5 days a week worki...

Costa Rica

Default Program Teaser Image
Proyecto Asis
Proyecto Asis is officially recognized by and work in close coordination with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy(MINA...

Costa Rica

South America Inside
Over 25% of Costa Ricas total landmass are protected areas. In one of 26 National Parks you will have the opportunity to expe...


International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
There's no shortage of help needed in IVHQ's Wildlife and Animal care projects, where volunteers have the opportunity to supp...

Costa Rica

Cooperating Volunteers
Volunteers in Costa Rica may participate in any of our projects. Together with our alliance we cooperate with local projects...

Costa Rica

Discover Corps
Dive into Costa Rica's animal kingdom, and get up-close and personal with rare and endangered species including howler monkey...

Costa Rica

Las Olas Travel
Las Olas Travel aims to combine the adventure of travel with the compassion of volunteering. We are starting a movement of co...

Costa Rica

Are you interested in working with turtles and helping to safeguard the future of these beautiful marine animals? Join a loca...

South Africa

WorldTeach Summer programs are perfect for immersing one’s self in teaching and learning in international contexts between sc...

Costa Rica

Students Offering Support
In Pavones, a community located in the province of San Jose, in Costa Rica, SOS volunteers will work with a local organizatio...

Costa Rica

Working Abroad Projects
Volunteer with sea turtles in Costa Rica as one of our marine conservation volunteers, and join this Olive Ridley turtle prog...

Costa Rica

Working Abroad Projects
Volunteer to teach at a small non-profit elementary school located in Puerto Jimenéz, Costa Rica. The main goal of the school...

Costa Rica

The Volunteer Bay
Costa Rica is one of the most valued environmental destinations. More than 5% of the world's biodiversity is found here and n...