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

FSF Service Learning and Travel
We are the Health Without Borders Foundation ( Fundacion Salud Sin Fronteras) and we provide accessible healthcare to the poo...

Costa Rica

South America Inside
This program allows volunteers to work with children aged between 0 and 13 years of age who come from very difficult backgrou...

Costa Rica

South America Inside
This project gives the opportunity to live and work in the cloud forests of Costa Rica located around 1,600m above sea level....

Costa Rica

South America Inside
This is a volunteer program that gives you the chance to work in one of Costa Rica's national parks. Costa Rica is very well...

Costa Rica

Volunteering abroad offers a unique opportunity for personal growth while making significant contributions to the local commu...

Costa Rica

Universidad Veritas
This program is designed for students who wish to explore the possibilities of cultural immersion while gaining practical exp...

Costa Rica

Aspect Foundation
Experience the pure life – or Pura Vida – while giving back in an underserved beach community. Escape to Costa Rica’s Pacific...

Costa Rica

Corcovado Foundation
The environmental education and community development volunteer program works with children and people from rural communities...

Costa Rica

Corcovado Foundation
The sea turtle conservation program works in one of the most important nesting areas in Osa Peninsula Costa Rica to protect t...

Costa Rica

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Rancho Delicioso
The volunteer program at Rancho Delicioso is a new program, ripe for individuals with creative minds who are able to find opp...

Costa Rica

Green Life Volunteers
Our Solar Power Workshop is a yearly group project, where we invite foreign and local participants to learn about Solar Energ...

Costa Rica

Volunteer Latin America
This eco-friendly surf camp is always seeking volunteers to help with different tasks such as surf instruction, yoga instruct...

Costa Rica

Proyecto San Gerardo
Proyecto San Gerardo provides skills training to rural Costa Ricans to help them find better jobs. We are located in San Gera...

Costa Rica

Animal Experience International
100% of the eggs laid by these creatures along the beach would be taken by poachers. Volunteers are needed to patrol the beac...

Costa Rica

Asociacion Latin American Sea Turtles
The in-water project is located in Playa Blanca, close to Puerto Jiménez on the Osa Peninsula in the southern pacific provinc...