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

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...

Costa Rica

Planet Costa Rica
Our farm is located in Costa Rica's central valley, just south of Volcan Turrialba. We are a sanctuary for abandoned animals,...

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Frika
Meaningful immersion experiences. This is not some feel good experience designed to look good on your resume, but rather is d...

Costa Rica

Academia Tica Spanish School
Academia Tica is a Costa-Rican, family-owned, social enterprise founded in 1986. All our programs has been long recognized wi...


Kaya Responsible Travel
Kaya Responsible Travel offer a wide range of ethical and sustainable volunteer placements abroad in Africa, Asia and Latin A...

Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio Spanish School
Volunteer in Manuel Antonio with local projects run by non-profit organizations. Contribute your time and skills while practi...

Costa Rica

GoBeyond Student Travel
Sandwiched between the Pacific and the Caribbean, Costa Rica knows a thing or two about pressure. From the city to the countr...

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

Discover Corps
Renowned for its world class abundance of wildlife and being the "happiest country on earth", Costa Rica is unrivaled in it's...

Costa Rica

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Global Crossroad
With Global Crossroad's Volunteer in Costa Rica program, you can follow your interests, from bird-watching to exotic rafting...

Costa Rica

Woza Soccer
We offer high school soccer players a unique opportunity in Costa Rica. Join our international service trip and experience cr...

Costa Rica

Teach & Learn Costa Rica
Join us in 2017 on our volunteer program based in the beautiful town of Grecia, situated in the heart of Costa Rica. Voluntee...

Costa Rica

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IFRE Volunteers Abroad
Do you want to make a difference in the world by joining a volunteer abroad program? Since 2006, IFRE has been one of the the...

Costa Rica

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IFRE Volunteers Abroad
Do you want to explore a magical country while helping to improve life there for the locals? Costa Rica is a tropical delight...