Updated September 14, 2021 –
Volunteering opportunities are abundant in Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s location in Central America is just a short plane ride from the U.S., and the country is an incredible destination to visit—full of cultura, comida, and café!
Students from the U.S., as well as locally in Costa Rica, are able to participate in AMIGOS programs in Costa Rica! We currently have several summer programs in Costa Rica, as well as a gap semester or year for students!
There’s also no shortage of different ways to volunteer in Costa Rica. The country’s incredible biodiversity and commitment to environmental sustainability mean there are ample opportunities for volunteer work related to the environment.
Pura vida and gallo pinto are two staples of Costa Rican lifestyle and culture. Pura vida, meaning pure life or simple life, is a phrase you’ll hear nonstop in Costa Rica. More than a phrase, it’s an attitude and spirit that flows throughout the country. It reflects happiness, gratitude, and an appreciation for the beauty of life. Volunteering in Costa Rica will give you the opportunity to meet and connect with local Ticos (Costa Ricans), and learn about the pura vida lifestyle.
Another incredible opportunity awaits you in the kitchen. Gallo pinto is a traditional dish that consists of a base of rice and beans—with as many variations and recipes as you can dream up! Toppings of queso frito (fried white cheese), sour cream, tomatoes, onions, or fried plantains are just some of the combinations which can be enjoyed.
Not to mention the rambutans, guanábanas, and maracuya—oh my! The incredible tropical fruits local to the region will blow your taste buds away and have you planning your next visit to Costa Rica.
Now, onto the most important information—where and how can you actually volunteer in Costa Rica?
The country’s rich and diverse landscapes, from beautiful white sand beaches to volcanoes to cloud forests, vary from region to region, and so do the volunteer opportunities!
On our Los Santos, Costa Rica Project, you’ll explore different farming practices in the Brunca region of Costa Rica from the mountains to the coast! Surrounded by Chirripo National Park, the Brunca Region is well-known for its coffee quality. Conservation initiatives, community-led development, and coffee production go hand in hand. As a volunteer, you will explore food justice with the coffee sector, including the production and processing of coffee, gender inequality within the industry, how coffee farms rely on ecotourism, and the contribution of coffee farms to environmental protection.
On our Montañas y Mar, Costa Rica Project, you will travel to the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest to explore how climate change is affecting local communities. Spend time on the Caribbean coast volunteering with a wildlife and ecological conservation initiative—(hint: it involves sea turtles!)
On our Cartago y Caribe, Costa Rica Project, you will explore from the mangroves of the Caribbean coast to the cloud forests of Monteverde, and examine local conservation initiatives that have persisted despite challenges due to a changing climate. Most importantly there is no Spanish requirement, but you’ll get to use introductory Spanish on this program!
In short, there’s a volunteer program for everyone in Costa Rica, and we’re always here to help you find the right fit for you!
Costa Rica is an international leader in policies to protect the environment and the biodiversity that their country holds. This means that you can explore environmental sustainability while volunteering in Costa Rica!
AMIGOS believes in the power of all people to be lifelong leaders, and we know that young people today will be the leaders tackling climate change (and many already are!) If you’re interested in learning about the interconnectedness of the global factors contributing to climate change, and how local efforts to combat climate change are being put into place, Costa Rica is the destination for you.
And there are even several environmental volunteer topics to choose from—from sustainable agricultural production to forest conservation to wildlife preservation.
The all-important question: is it safe? Yes! Volunteering in Costa Rica, with a trusted and experienced volunteer program like AMIGOS, is safe.
With over 55 years of experience working in Latin America, our health and safety protocols—including a personalized emergency plan, support from local staff teams, and a professional 24-hour On-Call Safety Team of travel specialists, doctors, and mental health specialists. AMIGOS also has an established network of vetted medical clinics and hospitals throughout the region.
Find out more about health and safety at AMIGOS here.