Volunteer in Costa Rica: Wildlife Conservation, TEFL, Medical Care
From the the sandy Caribbean and Pacific coasts to the lush interior rainforests, to volcanoes and hot springs, there's a reason why Costa Rica is the tourism capital of Central America. Like other countries throughout the region, Costa Rica is influenced by Spanish culture, and has been since the Spanish colonization of the Americas - although there are parts of the country with strong indigenous and Jamaican cultural influences. And with its fast-growing economy and increasing focus on tourism, the country is a safe, gorgeous place to travel, with incredible culture and opportunity for adventure.
Volunteer in Costa Rica
Although Costa Rica is a popular destination for ecotourists, adventure travelers, and beach bums, there’s still a need for volunteers like you: particularly in wildlife and environmental conservation, and English teaching.
If you're interested in wildlife conservation, consider working with a group that focuses on protecting endangered animals - especially sea turtles like hawksbills, green turtles, and leatherbacks, which migrate to Costa Rica’s coastline to lay eggs every year. For environmental conservation enthusiasts, Costa Rica has a diverse landscape that must be protected to preserve its species' natural habitats. There are many volunteer groups and NGOs working to prevent deforestation - which threatens the country’s biodiversity and ecological landscape. There also are organizations you can check out that promote sustainable eco-tourism: it's critical to keep in mind that well-meaning tourists can damage ecosystems without realizing it, and with expanding tourism, this is becoming more and more important.
If you want to make a difference for children and communities in need, there are lots of opportunities to teach English and other subjects in classrooms, adult learning centers, after-school programs, and more throughout Costa Rica. English language is increasingly vital to the Costa Rican economy - both to support tourists from other countries and to conduct business internationally - and education is an excellent way to promote income generation and poverty alleviation. Help a Costa Rican learn how to speak English and you've opened them up for new employment and earning opportunities.
Volunteer opportunities abound in Costa Rica regardless of your level of experience or your age, and signing up for a meaningful program like the ones on this list will introduce you to people from all over the world, and you'll make friends that will last a lifetime. Read on to start your Costa Rican adventure!
If you’re looking for a fabulous Costa Rican adventure, International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) should definitely be on your radar. This organization partners with NGOs all over the world to place volunteers on meaningful projects spanning from teaching, to environmental conservation, to construction, and much more. And it’s incredibly affordable: depending on where you go, IVHQ’s volunteer programs start from only $180 for your first week overseas.
With eight different project opportunities to choose from in Costa Rica, IVHQ offers year-round availability - and depending on when you travel, you may be working alongside 40 to 80 fellow volunteers.
If you’re wild about animals, then IVHQ’s turtle conservation project is the opportunity for you: as a volunteer, you’ll assist a Costa Rican biologist with sea turtle research and protection, including sustainable egg protection. This project is perfect for volunteers who’d like to work hard and aren’t afraid to get dirty; you’ll work day shifts and night shifts, with duties that can include:
Patrolling the beach
Building hatcheries to protect sea turtle eggs
Helping with beach cleanup
Counting and tagging sea turtles
Locating nesting sea turtles
Collecting eggs and bringing them to the hatchery
You’re asked to stay a minimum of two weeks (costing $610 to start) to gain the most from your experience, and you’ll live on one of IVHQ’s four beach locations in dormitory-style housing with other volunteers.
If you’re more interested in teaching, check out IVHQ’s English teaching program in Costa Rica. As a native English speaker, you’ll give children, teenagers, and young adults the chance to practice their pronunciation and conversation skills - something that can help augment formal English language training, and help build valuable skills in Central America’s tourism capital. During your stay, you may work in local schools, orphanages, or community centers with a variety of tasks such as tutoring students, planning small workshops, assisting local teachers with their daily work, and organizing educational games and activities.
You don’t need teaching background to sign up, and IVHQ’s local team and placement staff will give you educational materials and a crash course to help you get started. However, if you’d like to stay longer in Costa Rica or make the greatest impact during your trip, check out IVHQ’s online TEFL course page to learn how to become internationally accredited to teach English.
IVHQ’s projects in Costa Rica start at $330 for your first week, and includes airport pickup, orientation, homestay, food, and 24/7 in-country support. There are also affordable Spanish lessons if you’d like to get a more immersive experience during your stay. For more information on the Costa Rican programs offered by IVHQ please click here.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM CARTER
My volunteer experience in Costa Rica was the trip of a lifetime. I participated in the construction program in San Jose and worked for 8 weeks building a school. I only worked in the mornings, so I had the afternoons to explore the city. On weekends I explored the various excursions and national treasures Costa Rica has to offer. IVHQ provided a supportive and encouraging environment for me to volunteer. The organization placed me with an amazing house mother. All of my breakfasts and dinner were taken care of; I only bought lunch after work every day. The best part of my experience were the friends I made. I met people from all over the world, and made friends that will last a lifetime. The experience was something I will never forget, and I recommend IVHQ to anyone who is interested in exploring another culture and giving back to the community in which they are staying.
Based in Latin America, Maximo Nivel offers volunteer abroad, intern abroad, study abroad, and teach abroad programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Since 2003, Maximo Nivel has placed more than 25,000 travelers on adventurous and high-quality projects, with university credit available for most of their programs - and for travelers who’d like to learn Spanish, this organization also offers a Spanish immersion opportunity to enhance your language abilities regardless of your skill level. For volunteers and interns: Maximo Nivel partners with local organizations to provide impactful and affordable placements starting from just $595 for your first week onsite.
While visiting Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel, you’ll be able to explore the country’s capital, San Jose, as well as the beach town of Manuel Antonio, where you will immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture, pick up some Spanish, and explore two amazing communities. Depending on which city you’re visiting, you should be prepared for different ways of life: San Jose may be more conservative than your home community, while Manuel Antonio is more of a beach town. Maximo Nivel’s programs in Costa Rica start from $640 for your first week, and include airport pickup, host family housing, breakfast and dinner, orientation, training, and much more.
One of the many ways you can explore Costa Rica is through Maximo Nivel’s English teaching program, where you’ll spend a week or longer educating underprivileged students in public schools, community centers, after-school programs, orphanages, shelters for street children, or through other educational programs. Depending on the needs of your project site, you’ll work three to four hours each day, morning or afternoon, and your tasks can include creating lesson plans, teaching classes, tutoring students one-on-one, and organizing educational games and activities. In addition to that, you’ll help with cleaning setting up classrooms, fundraising, and collecting donations of books and other educational materials. To sign up, you must be 17 years old, a native English speaker (or qualified through Maximo Nivel’s English diagnostic test), able to work independently, and you must be resourceful, flexible, and creative to adapt to the different types of projects you’ll take on throughout your stay. To learn more about teaching English in Costa Rica, click here.
You also may want to check out Maximo Nivel’s medical and healthcare volunteer program in Costa Rica. Through this placement, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a hospital, clinic, assisted living facility, or other location providing healthcare services. Many of these facilities treat low-income families and often are short on funding and staff, which is why assistance from volunteers like you is so important. Depending on your level of training, demonstrated expertise, Spanish language skills, interpersonal skills, and how long you’re staying onsite, there are different levels of involvement in the medical fields that you can participate in, including general care and companionship, distributing medications, conducting workshops, shadowing a doctor or nurse, running medical campaigns, preparing equipment, organizing patient records, and much more. To sign up, you must be 18 or older; provide proof of academics or professional training; bring your own scrubs, stethoscope and closed-toe shoes; and be flexible and willing to take on various tasks based on season and project needs. To learn more about medical and healthcare volunteering in Costa Rica, click here.
If you want to embark on a fun, high-impact trip to Costa Rica, check out Maximo Nivel’s volunteer adventure, which invites you to spend five days on a community service project and six days traveling through Costa Rica. For the volunteer portion of your trip, you can work with kids, teach English, help with a construction project, assist with animal care, and much more. After that, you’ll go on a cultural night or city tour; visit Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall, and take a coffee tour; embark on a catamaran Tortuga Island tour; and spend three days at Manuel Antonio National Park.
If you want to intern abroad, Maximo Nivel is offering a micro business internship, where you’ll work with a local entrepreneur or business in marketing, client relations, administrative work, accounting, and much more. You’re invited to stay four weeks or longer on this internship, where you’ll learn about and take an active role in business development and management practices. This program is perfect for students pursuing a degree in business or a related field - to apply, you must have intermediate Spanish language ability and be currently enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s program in a related field, or have at least one year of experience or vocational training.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM MORGAN
I recently volunteered with Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica, before even getting to my host family and experiencing for myself all that Maximo had to offer, I was told amazing things by the girl sitting next to me on the plane who had volunteered in Guatemala with Maximo.
They were welcoming and really made you feel safe and secure about the foreign country and circumstances you were involved in. They helped to make sure continuously throughout the program that I was okay and adjusting well. They had an answer to my every question as well as were there to offer guidance about places to go and not to, good places to eat (even accompanying me for a lunch date!!), and things to do on weekends off.
They offer an amazing program to learn Spanish and English and tandem conversations to really put what you had learned into action. They were flexible about the location you lived and worked in and always were ready with a solution to any problem.
I'd recommend Maximo to anyone (in fact my aunt is even interested in joining team Maximo!) love the Maximo team in Costa Rica and I miss them all already.
Since 2004, Global Leadership Adventures has offered programs abroad for teens and high schoolers combining community service with experiential learning and adventure. With an emphasis on safety - outlined in GLA’s five-point safety system - this organization sends thousands of travelers worldwide each year on projects ranging from public health, to community development, and beyond. And as a leader in youth development, Global Leadership Adventures’ co-founder was recognized by President Obama for making a positive impact in Africa. Global Leadership Adventures has several different programs open right now in Costa Rica, including Spanish immersion, environmental conservation, teaching, and more.
One of GLA’s many travel opportunities in Costa Rica that you can sign up for right now invites you to learn about coastal sustainable development, work with an NGO to help with beach cleanup and using GIS technology to map waste management, and educate the community about recycling and pollution. This trip takes you to the Whale Bay marine park, where you’ll connect with community leaders to learn about the park’s history and its work to promote sustainable tourism - and when you’re not volunteering, you’ll have the chance to go zip lining, surfing, hiking, and much more during your stay in Costa Rica. This 14-day program has a tuition of $3,499 and is perfect for a summer break - click here to learn more.
Another impactful program you can sign up for in Costa Rica is GLA’s initiative for children, where you’ll help improve the quality of life for children in some of the country’s poorest communities. As a volunteer, you will help build a playground, refurbish a soccer field, beautify a library, and much more. Through hands-on learning, you’ll visit a recycling center to learn about sustainability, spend time on a family-operated farm, and visit a wildlife sanctuary. And for the adventure side of your trip, you will explore the rainforest, go hiking and horseback riding, and much more. This program lasts two to three weeks, and starts at $3,499 - learn more and sign up here.
Founded in 1998, Global Vision International (GVI) offers a wide variety of meaningful volunteer and intern abroad programs worldwide. More than 24,000 volunteers have traveled with GVI to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and beyond to provide hands-on support for communities in need. By volunteering with GVI, you know you’ll make a difference: this award-winning organization partners with NGOs both large and small to provide local solutions to local needs, with help from volunteers like you.
Right now, GVI is offering several volunteer abroad placements in Costa Rica for travelers of all ages. For some of our younger volunteers, GVI’s Under 18’s Volunteer and Adventure Experience in Costa Rica is a great way for high schoolers to get involved with community service and explore a different culture. This multi-focus program will have you helping out with construction projects in Quepos, embarking on adventure tours and cultural excursions, and living in the beautiful community of Manuel Antonio. In addition to your volunteer experience, you’ll take surfing lessons, hike through a national park, go white water rafting, and much more.
With a strong focus on safety alongside adventure, GVI provides trained, world-class leaders throughout the entire trip. This two- to four-week program starts from $2,990 with other trip add-ons available; your trip fee covers pre-departure support and discounted services, 24-hour emergency phone, airport pickup, long-term experienced staff support, safe and basic accommodations, meals, orientation and training, project equipment and materials, adventure and cultural activities, and more. Click here to learn more about GVI’s teen volunteer adventure in Costa Rica.
If you’re passionate about wildlife and environmental protection, GVI offers a Wildlife Expedition where you can gain hands-on experience in marine and rainforest conservation in Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. Through this program, you’ll work alongside researchers and fellow volunteers on the long-term management and conservation of Costa Rica’s rainforest. During your stay, you’ll research native species such as jaguars, aquatic birds, and sea turtles, and you’ll learn about the country’s ecosystem while gaining practical skills and knowledge about environmental conservation through guided field experience. A few skills you’ll pick up include survey techniques, setting up and checking camera traps, and tracking animals. This is an excellent opportunity for volunteers interested in pursuing a career in marine biology, conservation, or related fields - you’re invited to stay four to 24 weeks to gain the most from your experience and to make the greatest impact: volunteers like you have provided key data to the Costa Rican government to make important conservation decisions and ensure the biodiversity of the rainforest. Placement starts from $2,920 for your first four weeks in Costa Rica, and you’ll be housed on the research base with your expedition team. To learn more about GVI’s wildlife expedition, click here.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY
I volunteered with GVI on the Costa Rica Wildlife Expedition back in 2011 and the experience was completely life-changing. I will never forget the first time I was able to watch a turtle lay her eggs on the beach and watch hatchling making their way back into the ocean! I was so impressed by the support GVI gave from the moment I got off the plane until the end of my program and the level of training they provide all volunteers. I would highly recommend this program to anyone (I was on a career break!), just be prepared for rustic living conditions as the base is literally in the middle of the jungle.
Another excellent organization you should consider if you want to visit Costa Rica is Volunteering Solutions, or VolSol. With volunteer programs in 25 countries, and with project focuses ranging from childcare, to wildlife conservation, to teaching, and much more, VolSol has no shortage of opportunities for travelers who want to make a difference overseas. Since 2006, more than 10,000 volunteers have completed impactful projects globally with VolSol - and it’s one of the most affordable organizations you can find, with placements starting from only $200, depending on the project location.
Right now, Volunteering Solutions has six different opportunities to choose from in Costa Rica, including wildlife rescue center volunteering, turtle conservation, English teaching, medical care, childcare, and a language immersion program. Depending on your placement, you’ll volunteer in Heredia, Santa Barbara, or Alajuela - all areas close to San Jose, the country’s capital. VolSol’s Costa Rica volunteer projects start from one week at $620, and include 24-hour support, pre-departure information, airport pickup and transfer, orientation, housing and meals, and internet access.
If you want to gain experience in your field abroad, Volunteering Solutions has the perfect opportunity. Through their medical and healthcare program in Costa Rica, you’re invited to volunteer alongside local professionals either in a long-term program or for a shorter stint in a clinic or hospital, or performing community outreach campaigns.
If you’re a third or fourth year medical student, or a professional nurse or doctor, you’re welcome to assist with patient evaluations and checkups, taking care of minor emergencies, and educating patients about common healthcare issues and disease prevention. Other tasks you can take on include shadowing a nurse, taking vitals, accompanying staff on community campaigns, performing home visits with a nurse, and helping with general office tasks. To learn more about medical volunteering in Costa Rica, click here.
If wildlife and conservation is more your speed, than volunteering with sea turtles is a great opportunity for you to learn about these animals while providing hands-on conservation support. During your stay, you’ll volunteer either on the Pacific or Caribbean coast, assisting with projects that help prevent turtle nests from being destroyed by poachers, manage sustainable egg-harvesting programs, and support hatcheries. Some of the work you’ll take on can include:
Collecting eggs and bringing them to the hatchery, a safer place than their nest on the beach
Helping with beach cleanup, and separating trash from recyclables
Patrolling the beach at night for nesting sea turtles
Counting turtles and assisting with research
Helping with general infrastructure maintenance
Based in the U.S., A Broader View is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing top-notch volunteer assistance to local organizations and communities in need worldwide. With more than 240 placements in 25 countries, you can choose from a great number of volunteer and intern abroad programs: from childcare, to community building, to teaching, and much more
In Costa Rica, A Broader View invites you to help out with a teaching program, special needs center, senior care center, museum support, paramedical/rescue program, women’s support program, and so much more. Depending on the project you sign up for, your program fee starts from $910 for your first week in Costa Rica, and includes host family or dormitory accommodation, three meals per day, airport pickup, orientation, pre-trip and in-country support, and departure.
If you want to improve futures for women and girls in need, you should definitely check out A Broader View’s women’s support and empowerment program in Heredia. Many women in developing countries - including Costa Rica - suffer from discrimination, subservience, and lack of education, and your support will help better their lives. Day-to-day activities on this program vary depending on needs, but you’ll generally focus on education, self-esteem building, and vocational training to improve women’s economic and social conditions, both for themselves and for their families. If you have experience in the area, you’re welcome to teach math, bookkeeping and accounting; give social media and basic computer lessons; help write resumes; provide vocational training with weaving, embroidery, handcrafts, and baking; and assist with hygiene and family health issues.
This program lasts from one to six weeks, and you’ll work Monday through Friday each week for a minimum of five hours a day. You must be at least 18 years of age to travel alone (or between the ages of 12 and 17 to travel with parents or guardians) and know basic/intermediate Spanish - plus lessons are available through A Broader View to help you out. To learn more and to sign up, click here.
Another option to volunteer in Costa Rica with A Broader View is to work in the elderly care center in San Jose. Unfortunately, the Elder Center Home operates on an extremely tight budget and needs extra assistance and donations constantly. The residents you will be working with are 65 and older and come from all walks of life. It is tradition in Costa Rica for senior citizens to be taken care of by their families, but as economic and social changes develop, the tradition has become difficult to uphold, and many elderly men and women have been placed into assisted-living facilities.
Your responsibilities as a volunteer will vary depending on the center’s needs, but common tasks include playing games, sharing stories, practicing English with the residents, assisting nursing staff with distributing medicine, seeing to the needs of the residents, and day-to-day maintenance of the facility.
You must be at least 18 years old to travel alone and have a basic understanding of Spanish to apply for this program - click here to learn more and to sign up.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM MELANIE
This experience In Costa Rica was one that I will never forget. Meeting children that have been abandoned by their parents and being able to put a smile on their faces and bond with them is a great feeling. Many days my heart was broken because all you want is for them to have great futures and unfortunately you do not know whether or not they will have great futures. This experience has opened my eyes to the problems that our world faces with the orphans. I do not want my work with them to stop here, I would love to keep in communication with the Costa Rican orphanage. My host mom and house were great, I was able to sleep in a comfortable bed in a room that was always at a good temperature. The meals were delicious, and I have had my fill of Costa Rican food. Security was great. We were at a wonderful residence where all the neighbors were friendly. The friendliness here is amazing. People are always saying Good Morning or How are You Doing when you walk past them. The quality of service here is very good. I love San Jose because it reminds me a lot of USA and it makes me feel at home.
As one of the world’s largest volunteer organizations, Projects Abroad places more than 10,000 volunteers on high-quality, worthwhile programs overseas every year. Placement starts from $1,720 for your first week, depending on the program, and you’re encouraged to stay as long as you’d like. Programs range from teaching, to construction, to medical care, to microfinance, and so much more.
Projects Abroad offers a wide range of opportunities in Costa Rica: whether you’re looking for a career break, gap year, or alternative spring break, or if you’re looking for a general volunteer program or one that will further your career, Projects Abroad has trips for volunteers of all ages in multiple areas. During your stay in Costa Rica, you’ll live with a host family, and depending on your program, you’ll live in Heredia, San Jose, or Barra Honda National Park. Projects Abroad’s Costa Rica volunteer placements start from $2,695 for your first week, and include housing and food, airport pickup and drop-off, project transportation, travel and medical insurance, in-country support, pre-departure support, and much more.
If you’re looking for a unique way to make a difference during your trip to Costa Rica, take a look at this physical education program through Projects Abroad, where you’ll work with classes of 15 to 35 students, aged 6 to 13, in Heredia and San Jose. For four weeks or longer, you’ll encourage children to live a healthy lifestyle, and while you’ll be paired with another, full-time teacher, you may be able to teach small groups independently or with a fellow volunteer. Throughout the program, you’ll organize recreational activities such as dodgeball, hide and seek, dancing, volleyball, track and field, and football. By volunteering with this program, you will be providing children with an opportunity to have fun, get fit, and develop a lasting habit to stay active for the rest of their lives. Click here to learn more and to sign up.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to expand your education and build your career, Projects Abroad is offering a journalism internship in Costa Rica, where you’ll work with journalists at the National University’s Communications Office and get an inside look at how the office is run. You will focus on two main projects: the free newspaper that’s delivered to university campuses all over Costa Rica each month, as well as the audiovisual and multimedia department to produce a weekly television program, online news bulletins, and a radio program. A few tasks you’ll take on during this internship include:
Accompanying journalists to local press conferences
Helping cover stories at the university
Transcribing and editing texts
Assisting the film crew, television producer, and radio editor
Learning about the recording, editing, and production process
Taking photographs for the newspaper and website
To apply for this internship, you must have at least one year of journalism experience along with excellent written and spoken Spanish language skills - you also must be able to stay at least 12 weeks in Costa Rica to gain the most from your internship. To learn more and to apply, click here.
WHAT VOLUNTEERS SAY: REVIEW FROM CHRISTINE
I really enjoyed volunteering through Projects Abroad. From the very start, I was given very specific and clear instructions on how to prepare for my trip. I was confident that I could always get in touch with a staff member and receive the proper assistance. Once I actually arrived in Costa Rica, I had a great time. I enjoyed having the opportunity to live with a host family, which came with many benefits, such as learning about Costa Rican culture, as well as being able to participate in the activities they enjoy, such as taking a Zumba class. Furthermore, I was able to live and volunteer with another volunteer, so it was nice having another person there while I was trying to figure out how to get to and from my volunteer location. As for the volunteering itself, I loved it! I worked with a classroom full of hyper 3-year-olds, and while it was exhausting, it was well worth it. Initially, I was concerned that my inability to speak Spanish might be an issue, but I quickly learned other ways to communicate, such as through gestures and body language. There seemed to be a good balance between volunteering and free time. Most of the time, I was free by 4pm, giving me the chance to explore a little and/or rest early, to combat the exhaustion. My general tips for people are to be prepared for how different the climate it: I got dehydrated easily, and really had to drink a lot of water to combat that! All in all, I had a wonderful experience, and I would recommend this program.
With placements in more than 30 countries worldwide, Love Volunteers places thousands of travelers on life-changing and impactful programs every year for short- and long-term stays. And the organization is growing: since their founding, Love Volunteers has sent more than 20,000 travelers abroad, and expects to have 4,000 placed in this year alone. There’s truly no shortage of meaningful projects to take on with Love Volunteers: from medical care, to special needs care, to construction, environmental conservation, and much more, you’re bound to find the perfect opportunity to make a difference for a community in need.
Right now, Love Volunteers is offering eight different volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica, including agro-ecology, teaching, school renovation, turtle conservation, environmental protection, wildlife rescue center assistance, and caring for children in need. For one week or longer, you’ll volunteer in San Jose, Motezuma, Beunavista, or Matapalo, and immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture through your volunteer activities, homestay, and exploring your host community. And depending on the project you sign up for, your first week starts at only $225, which includes housing, food, orientation, support, and more.
One of the conservation projects that you can take on with Love Volunteers invites you to Montezuma Beach, Buenavista Beach, or Matapalo Beach, where you will work to protect and nurture sea turtle eggs, count turtles, measure nests, collect scientific information, patrol beaches at night, assist on egg-harvesting programs, and help release hatchlings to the sea, depending on the time of year that you’re traveling.
If you volunteer outside of sea turtle breeding season, you’ll still be able to assist with other conservation projects, such as developing advanced infrastructure on the beaches - this includes building and lighthouse projects to help reduce vehicle and human traffic on turtle nesting grounds. Throughout your stay, you’ll work six days per week, generally late nights and early mornings, so this program is a great option for volunteers who are physically fit and willing to work hard. To learn more about volunteering for wildlife conservation in Costa Rica, click here.
Love Volunteers also has an opportunity for you to teach in a rural school at Montezuma Beach. Through this program, you’ll work alongside a teacher to instruct students in English and other subjects both in the classroom and outside of school. You’ll teach Monday through Friday until 1:00pm each week, and outside of that, you may assist with Love Volunteers’ sea turtle conservation project: the school grounds are only 20 meters away from the turtle project base, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet other volunteers and learn about their work. The communal volunteer house where you’ll stay is located only a few meters from the beach, and is surrounded by tropical forest filled with exotic animals: a perfect placement for travelers who want to do good and explore a totally different part of the world. For more information and to apply, click here.
Founded in 2009, Global Nomadic’s vision is to help young professionals and career-changers gain experience in their field through carefully-selected, high-quality volunteer programs and internships. With placements in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific, Global Nomadic partners with NGOs in each of its communities to ensure you gain the most from your experience while making a positive impact in your destination country.
Right now, Global Nomadic is offering several programs in Costa Rica, including an in-water sea turtle conservation internship, primate and sloth reintroduction project, TEFL training and teaching, and a sea turtle conservation (beach) internship. Costs vary depending on the program you sign up for: for example, the in-water sea turtle conservation internship includes a $530 placement fee plus $10 per day project fee, while the primate and sloth reintroduction project costs $850 for your first month. Your fees cover project expenses, orientation and training, in-country support, and much more.
If you want to gain hands-on experience in wildlife conservation and research, look no further than Global Nomadic’s primate and sloth reintroduction project in Costa Rica. Through this program, you’ll conduct research and carry out environmental education and community development projects at a center that has rehabilitated more than 400 animals since opening in 2008. Animals you may find there include sloths, monkeys, wild cats and coatis, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, and you’ll play a part in protecting their habitat all while living in Costa Rica’s beautiful jungle.
To sign up, you must be at least 18 years old, have basic Spanish language skills, and be passionate about animals and conservation. While you don’t need previous experience, it is appreciated - you also may need certain vaccinations to work with monkeys. To learn more and to sign up, click here.
Global Nomadic also offers a TEFL Training and Teaching Program in Costa Rica, where you’ll earn an accredited TEFL certificate, then have the opportunity for paid teaching placement in a Costa Rican school or another school in Latin America. Your placement will depend on the needs of the school and your skills, but you can expect to teach 20 hours per week in schools with anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 students, and up to 50 students per classroom. Throughout your training and placement, you’ll help students with their English speaking skills and assist teachers in other areas as needed.
This program requires an eight-week minimum commitment for training (unless you have previously received TEFL certification) and has only a couple of start dates left in 2016 - plus several open for 2017. Although there is an initial cost of $3,200 for your training and placement, you can earn between $800 and $1,000 per month teaching abroad depending on your experience level. You need to be at least 18 years of age and be a native English speaker, or have equivalent ability. To learn more and to get started with your teach abroad journey, click here.
Founded in 1984, Global Volunteers invites travelers to embark on internships, volunteer vacations, gap years, TEFL, and teach abroad placements in 34 countries worldwide. As one of the world’s oldest and most respected volunteer travel programs, Global Volunteers strives to make a positive impact in all communities where they work: in 1999, they were granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations, and in 2008 formalized a relationship with UNICEF.
Global Volunteers also emphasizes safety on all of their projects, with CPR and first aid certification provided to team leaders, emergency medical evacuation insurance provided for volunteers serving outside of the US, and emergency contact available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Global Volunteers offers several projects for travelers who want to visit Costa Rica, including school renovations, tutoring, classroom painting, and eco-tourism. Based in Monteverde, Global Volunteers’ Costa Rica placements last one to two weeks, and invite you to combine impactful community service with exploration of this beautiful area. A few projects you can take on include:
- Painting and repairing classrooms and school buildings
- Helping with environmental preservation and encouraging sustainable lifestyles by recycling plant materials alongside Costa Rican students
- Supporting English teachers in a classroom by tutoring students and leading activities in English
- Landscaping and clearing trails in the Santa Elena cloud forest region
During your free time, you’ll also have the chance to take basic Spanish lessons, learn about Costa Rican traditions and history, and even enjoy outdoor activities like horseback riding, volcano hikes, and much more. To learn more about volunteering in Costa Rica with Global Volunteers, please click here.
READY TO TRAVEL?
Whatever your reasons for visiting Costa Rica - whether you want to explore a new place, pair a volunteer project with adventure, continue your education, or make a positive, lasting impact on others’ lives - you’re sure to have an amazing time and meet wonderful people.
If you’re ready to start planning your Costa Rican journey, click here to learn about the many volunteer abroad organizations right here on Volunteer Forever - and click here to learn about internships abroad, and check out this page to learn about teaching abroad.
Happy travels, and pura vida!