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Volunteering in Costa Rica | Costa Rica Weather, Seasons, and Travel information

Volunteering in Costa Rica

Posted on 24. Sep, 2011 by in Adventure, Nature Reserves, Tips & Interests

Volunteer in Costa Rica

Volunteer in Costa Rica

Helping wildlife is a common volunteering program in Costa Rica

If you feel as though you’ve tried every adventure Costa Rica has in store, why not try and join a Costa Rica volunteer program in this beautiful country? Costa Rica offers volunteers a vast world of opportunities to grow and learn.

What is ‘volunteering’?

The dictionary places volunteerism as ‘an expression of undertaking of a particular service without compensation’. Simply put, volunteering is giving yourself – time and effort – for the benefit of others.

Such is the noble cause of volunteering. As of today, there are a lot of Costa Rica volunteer programs available for you to choose from. You may extend a helping hand to eco farms or wildlife sanctuaries, Surf Camp, yoga retreat, reforestation,  become a volunteer in Costa Rica teacher in schools around the countryside and an endless list in just about every area possible.

How does it work? costa rica volunteer programs

There are several organizations that you can work with should you want to give volunteering in Costa Rica a try. Remember, in volunteering, you give your services for free but this does not mean that your stay in the country is free as well. Think of it as a holiday where you pay for your lodging but get to immerse in the culture just as if you were a Tico (local) yourself.

There are 3 main types of Costa Rica volunteer programs that you can find.

1. Paid volunteering: This is usually for a cause or non profit,(A word of caution. there are alot of so called Costa Rica volunteer scams

costa rica volunteer programs

Nature is always in need of volunteer help

programs popping up under the disguise of helping, but when you take a closer look they are actually just for profit business trying to play on peoples humanitarian generosity to help. Make sure to do your due diligence before jumping on the bandwagon of any volunteer setup.)  If there is a price tag of $1000-$3000 to volunteer that should be your first red flag.

2. partial paid: This type of Volunteer is usually a small fee just to cover the organizations raw costs for food, electricity and local help.

Try searching online for a reference and compare the things they have to offer but usually the prices range from 200 to 600 usd for a one week stay that may cover one or more of the following:

  • Three meals daily
  • Lodging
  • Airport welcome, airport transfers
  • In country transportation

(and this is why it is important to arrange your volunteer project through an organization)

  • Support from organization’s local coordinator
  • Projects that are studied and researched heavily (these are given to you according to your preference)
  • Safe home placement

3. The last and most desirable but harder to find are the completely free volunteer program. On these programs you show up agree to work so many hours in exchange for room and board.

nature eco volunteer

Planting trees is another common volunteering task in Costa Rica

Of course, the inclusions may vary from organization to organization but these should not change. As a volunteer, you will be living in a volunteer quarters or sometimes with one of the families in Costa Rica and will be treated as part of the household. This is one of the major reasons why it is best to go through a Volunteer Organization rather than plan the trip yourself.

What’s needed? Volunteering in Costa Rica

1.Conversational Spanish

The single most important thing to remember when volunteering in Costa Rica is to at least try and learn a working knowledge of their language. Communication will be highly regarded when you start volunteer work as you will be interacting with Ticos all throughout your stay. There are now several organizations that include this in their package.

2.Be ready for work. Loads of it.

You will need to remind yourself that this is no ordinary vacation. You came to volunteer – which is no easy task. Expect to work daily and be treated just like any other worker. This is what you signed up for.

3.Be open.

The beauty of volunteering is finding out more on a particular culture. Keep your mind open and try new things. Throw yourself into the vibrant Costa Rican culture.

Anyone who defines volunteering is bound to say that this is service without expecting anything in return. But in reality, you don’t really come out of this experience totally without compensation. The friends you make, the lessons you learn, the wisdom you gain is more valuable than any monetary recompense. Volunteering in Costa Rica truly is an adventure of a lifetime.

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