Considering a volunteer abroad project in Costa Rica? Maybe you’re a seasoned volunteer vet with experience working in multiple countries. No matter your status there’s always a reason to learn about additional projects you can get involved with.
Volunteer projects in Costa Rica typically include programs like Teaching English, Working with Kids, and Medical programs. But did you know there are endless opportunities that speak to your individual strengths and passions? Continue reading to learn about 5 unique volunteer abroad programs offered in the land of “Pura Vida.”
The Beach Conservation project in Costa Rica is one of the most unique programs in the country. As an environmental world leader, Costa Rica takes action to fight against pollution, unsustainable practices, and improper handling of wildlife. Culturally, the people and government of Costa Rica are on board with the mission, but volunteers are still needed to help execute it.
This volunteer abroad project will take you into a natural reserve managed by Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). This exclusive peek into wildlife and its natural evolution will provide a greater appreciation for protected areas. Activities include beach clean-up to ensure waste is properly disposed of, trail maintenance in areas designated for educational tours and visitors, monitoring species for research purposes, preparing and conducting educational activities for children, and providing information to tourists as needed.
This one-of-a-kind program is perfect for those who want to immerse themselves in a complete wildlife experience. Accommodations are dorm-style where you’ll be sharing rooms with other volunteers and experience what it’s like to live as a park ranger during your volunteer abroad experience. Internet and mobile service can be spotty. Days can be hot and humid, so expect cool showers. If you’re looking for more luxurious accommodations, this may not be the program for you. But if you’re ready to work hard, get dirty, meet like-minded people, explore the natural landscapes of the country, and indulge in a true beach life experience, consider this the volunteer abroad program for you.
Ever wonder what it takes to get that fresh cup of Costa Rican coffee when you’re hundreds of miles away from the farm? Well, you don’t have to. When you enroll in an Eco-Agriculture program, you’ll be hands-on working alongside local farmers learning all there is to know about the coffee production process.
Large corporations have forced small farms to implement industrial farming practices that do damage to the environment. Eco-agriculture projects assist in getting as many hands on deck as possible to maintain sustainable practices that ensure quality, organic products. That’s where volunteers come in.
Volunteers help in all production aspects. From picking to weeding, planting, roasting, and even packaging, volunteers get involved. There are also opportunities to get involved with reforestation efforts to reverse damaging effects on the natural environment. The work can be laborious but is extremely rewarding as you can appreciate all the effort put in by local farmers to ensure you start your day with a cup of quality Costa Rican coffee.
Volunteering abroad in healthcare is different from volunteering in a medical program. Unlike medical programs, volunteers who choose a healthcare project don’t require advanced academic or professional medical credentials. This is a great option for individuals with some experience or just starting their medical careers. The main qualifications to be successful in this role are to express compassion, gratitude, and patience.
You might be placed in an elderly care center where you can practice your Spanish language skills with those who can give you a personal account on the history and development of Costa Rica throughout their lives. Another option is getting involved in a Special Needs project working with individuals who require special services. In either volunteer placement, you’ll help to develop and coordinate activities such as arts & crafts, light exercise routines, or festive events.
Stay with a host family in the capital of Costa Rica to get you accustomed to city life. Your host family provides a clean and safe room (private or shared), 2 meals per day – based on your dietary restrictions – to get you familiar with local dishes, and plenty of opportunities to develop your Spanish language skills.
Turtles are a beloved species by people of all ages. And yet, almost all species of sea turtles are considered to be in danger of extinction. Passionate marine biologists and researchers decided to take action in helping the species to survive, and so came the sea turtle conservation projects.
The leaders work endlessly to ensure the safety and protection of the sea turtles. Volunteers work alongside these dedicated professionals and are assigned various tasks which may include collecting data, establishing hatcheries, conducting beach patrols, beach clean-up and maintenance, and community outreach.
Volunteers will find basic accommodations directly on the beach they’re working on. Dormitory style bunks are assigned, and rooms are shared with other international participants. The dorm-style set up helps to foster strong teamwork and unbreakable bonds between individuals who share the same passions and sense of environmental responsibility. Expect to work hard, play hard, and experience the circle of sea turtle life while volunteering for sea turtle conservation.
Want to contribute something tangible that you’ll be able to come back and feel proud of? Construction projects help to develop underserved communities that do not have the funds to improve or build much needed facilities. Whether you’re working on expanding a clinic, building a classroom in a local church, or renovating a school, your efforts will be a gift that keeps giving.
Work alongside a professional local foreman who will guide you and your volunteer mates through the construction process. Learn (or teach others) how to use traditional and modern building materials, flooring installation, sheetrocking, painting, and much more. Your hard work will contribute to the community for years to come during this volunteer abroad project.
Volunteers can choose to stay with a host family in San Jose. You might have a bed in a shared room with another volunteer, or a private room. Volunteers who choose host family accommodations are granted breakfast and dinner 7 days/week. You’ll have the opportunity to practice your Spanish language skills, learn about the traditional customs, culture, and popular locations around the city, and experience the daily life of a local.