Travel to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast to join this community project to help disadvantaged children. Volunteers will live in Manuel Antonio, home to the famous Manuel Antonio National Park and beach, and work in the nearby town of Quepos. Focusing on lending assistance to the local school district to make up for a shortage of teachers, volunteers will plan and assist in general education lessons and help organize art workshops and games.
While living in Quepos, volunteers will experience an intimate and unfiltered look into the Costa Rican “pura vida” culture while learning Spanish, meeting new people and improving the education available to local children. This is a change to experience a unique Latin American culture while making a true impact in the the community.
Volunteers should be prepared to participate with other activities such as arts & crafts projects, sports, environmental education or English lessons, giving them a fully-rounded immersion experience.
Where you’ll stay
During your time in Costa Rica, your accommodation and food are included in the project cost. The research station is located in Quepos. Facilities will be basic, so volunteers will need to travel with an open mind and a willingness to adapt to local conditions in South America.
Accommodation is in shared (mixed sex) dorms (4 or 10 beds) with shared bathroom facilities. There is running water available for washing and cooking, with suitable water for drinking and brushing teeth. Flush toilet facilities are available. There is a laundromat, restaurants and a grocery store a short stroll from the base.
Participants share responsibility for base duties, including cooking, cleaning, and other chores. Food is basic and mostly vegetarian, with meat rarely available. Breakfast could be porridge or occasionally pancakes, typical lunches and evening meals may include lentils, chickpeas, pasta, beans, or rice, with vegetables. Fresh fruit is provided.
The accommodation does have wifi and volunteers can purchase a local sim card.
Activities & Training
Things to do
Volunteers are welcome to organize side trips for their free time or pre or post their project experience. All associated costs and travel expenses are not included in the project fee and need to be factored into the volunteer’s own budget. On weekends and downtime, the region around Manuel Antonio plays host to pristine beach’s and hiking trails in the National Park. Volunteers can go on a canopy and zip-lining tour through the treetops of the rainforest; visit the small souvenir shops at the beachfront or cafes along the way and watch the world go by; take surf lessons or surf some of the neighboring breaks in this famous surf destination.
Further afield volunteers can visit the Volcan Arenal and relax in the natural hot springs near by or explore the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park. For the advanced surfer, aim for Pavones, the second longest left break in the world; spot migratory raptor birds in the Talamanca Mountains and visit indigenous villages; go deep sea fishing in the Pacific Ocean; canoe or kayak along the waterways in the local area on organised river tours; visit the Caribbean coast, snorkel and go wildlife watching in Cahuita National Park; go white water rafting on the world famous Pacuare river – rapids classed III to IV; climb Volcan Irazu and visit coffee farms on the way back to San Jose; back in the capital, visit the Gold Museum or the Jade Museum, attend a play in one of the numerous theaters or take in the Latin American vibe with its lively nightlife.
Orientation and Training
Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.
Good to Know
Application requirements and preparation
Volunteers need not have any specific skills just an enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the project and the local partner objectives. Volunteers need to be physically fit and healthy as they will be hiking long distances daily. As a result of the basic living conditions volunteers need to be flexible and able to work well in teams and people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
Volunteers will need to be fluent in English. Spanish is beneficial but not essential. Volunteers not fluent in Spanish will be required to participate in a minimum of 20 hours of Spanish once in the field. This is an additional cost.
All volunteers are encouraged to learn more about local history, culture and customs before travelling. All training will be taught in the field.
Volunteers need to submit a criminal check not older than a year by the time of the project start date.
Health and safety
A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness. There are medical facilities in Quepos, with English speaking doctors available for emergencies. We have emergency procedures, first aid trained staff, and safety briefing on arrival. The project location is fully equipped with a comprehensive medical first aid kit. Please note that we cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information. Volunteers need to be forthcoming about any health issues before joining the project. Failure to do so may have serious consequences for the volunteer, the staff and other participants, and may include removal from the project or possible serious injury or infections.
It is recommended that volunteers take a credit card to ensure immediate treatment in the event of a medical emergency (if suitable insurance is held, you will be reimbursed by your insurance company).
All the most relevant and up to date information can be found in our field manual
Volunteers meet at Casa Colon in San José, Costa Rica at 07:30am on the project start date. Volunteers arriving between 6pm and 10pm the evening before the start date will be transferred to their accommodation. Those arriving outside of this time, or arriving to San Jose by other means, will be responsible their own transport to Casa Colon.
We can recommend the following accommodation:
Hostel Casa Colon
Located on Paseo Colon, Calle 24, en frente de la Torre Mercedes
Centrally located and only a 10 minute walk from Gaudy’s
Tel: 011 (506) 2256-0276
At the end of your project you will be transferred back to San Jose. Volunteers must only book onward travel from the following day onwards
Field staff advise volunteers enter the country using a tourist visa. Requirements are dependent on citizenship. For most nationalities this does not need to be arranged in advance. Check with the immigration authorities or see www.cibt.com.
Volunteers need to ensure they comply with their airline’s requirements regarding visa and entry requirements for Costa Rica and that their visa covers the duration of their stay. Field staff advise volunteers to enter the country using a tourist visa. Requirements are dependent on citizenship. For most nationalities this does not need to be arranged in advance. Check with the immigration authorities or see www.cibt.com.