2020 Summer Program suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Read an open letter from our President & CEO here.

It's the best of both worlds! Become part of a new community and live with a host family in Costa Rica. On weekends, travel around the region to meet up with other volunteers and Costa Rican students for fun, interactive workshops! Work with local youth in your community to design and carry out a project that meets community needs (and earning 215 service hours) while learning the meaning of "pura vida" with your new tico friends. In addition to leading day camps and working on your service project, you may spend your days leading English conversation circles, hiking around your town, exploring a coffee farm, learning to make tortillas, playing soccer, spending time with your host family, and becoming part of a new community.

Example Itinerary

*This is an example itinerary based on last year’s project. Dates, topics, and activities may be subject to change.

Day 1

Volunteers arrive. Project staff meet them at the airport and the group travels together to the briefing site.

Days 1–4

Briefing. Project staff lead all volunteers in a country-specific orientation to AMIGOS, our local partner agency, and the Palmares Project. Meet all other students on your project and spend a few days getting to know each other, learning about Costa Rica, and doing fun activities. On the last day of briefing, we will have a bienvenida, where host families and local youth will pick you up and take you to your host community.

Week 1

Week 1 in community. Lead day camps for local youth on topics like identifying local resources and mapping your community. Begin brainstorming and laying the groundwork for your community service project.

Week 2

Week 2 in community. Lead day camps on topics like biodiversity. Plan out your community service project and work alongside local students to carry it out.

Campamentos – Travel to a nearby town and meet up with other volunteers and Costa Rican students for a weekend workshop and day-long service project.

Week 3

Week 3 in community. Lead day camps on topics like clean energy and resource conservation. Continue working on your community service project.

Week 4

Week 4 in community. Lead day camps on topics like recycling and (non)renewable resources. Continue working on your service project.

Campamentos – Travel to a nearby town and meet up with other volunteers and Costa Rican students for a weekend workshop and day-long service project.

Week 5

Week 5 in community. Lead day camps on topics like leadership, volunteering, and civic engagement. Finish up your service project or prepare to transfer its management to members of your host community.

Last few days

Despedida – goodbye party in your host community. Leave your community and come together with the rest of the volunteers on your project for debriefing. This is a chance to process, reflect, and prepare to return home. 

Length Training
Ages Application
Local Chapter 6 weeks

Find a chapter near you for a local training calendar!

2020 Program suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read an open letter from our President & CEO.

15–22 -

$4,250 + group fundraising

National Chapter 6 weeks

2020 Program suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Read an open letter from our President & CEO.

15–22 -


About the Region






pura vida = life is good, cool
sendero = trail


Pinto (rice and black beans), plantains, tortillas

Example Service Projects
  • Fixing up a school playground
  • Founding a community library
  • Working with health professionals to plan a conference on community health.
Weekend Workshops

The Palmares Project is unique in that you’ll get to know different communities in your area through weekend workshops for AMIGOS students from the U.S. and Costa Rica. You’ll get to travel around the region as you plan and lead these events with your fellow volunteers.

Palmares, Pérez Zeledón, San José Province, Costa Rica

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Learn Spanish

AMIGOS programs provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture as a local, not a tourist. Volunteers report increased fluency in Spanish after going through our program. Activities go far beyond the classroom — you’ll lead activities in Spanish, learn local slang, and increase your confidence with real-world practice. You will not believe how fast your Spanish improves when you use it in conversation everyday!

Make an Impact

AMIGOS works with trusted local partner organizations to identify communities that are passionate and committed to working with our volunteers on community service projects. It has been our experience that a service project is sustainable only when the community owns it and participates in the effort. You will collaborate on a service project with volunteers your own age as well as community members, earning up to 270 service hours.

Gain a New (Host) Family

You’ll get to do way more than just travel — you’ll live with a host family, sharing in their day-to-day life. Become part of your host community, making friends with and working alongside community members. Share holidays, celebrations, and everyday life in a way you can only experience through authentic cultural immersion. AMIGOS volunteers and their host families build long-lasting relationships and often stay in touch after their project ends. All of our host families are vetted and trained before volunteers arrive.

Have an Adventure

Travel to must-see spots in your host country! You’ll travel as a group to experience unique destinations your host country has to offer, like volcanoes, ancient ruins, national parks, and historical sites. You’ll get to see these places from the distinct perspective of someone who has lived in that country and learned about the culture firsthand. Plus, you’ll bond with their fellow volunteers and have fun!

Travel with Trust

AMIGOS is the industry leader in health and safety management. Our staff is prepared to help you with any situation that may arise. Each volunteer receives a personalized emergency plan, as well as 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.

Training for AMIGOS and Beyond

Prepare for AMIGOS through guided training in topics like: multicultural understanding, health and safety, community development; travel safety, Spanish, leadership, and team building.

Upon arrival in the field, you’ll start country-specific training with your group of fellow volunteers. During your time abroad, you’ll meet regularly with an AMIGOS staff member who serves as your mentor. Finally, at the end of your service, come together again as a group to participate in debriefing — putting what you learned in context, preparing to go home, and going on fun excursions around the country.

Want to volunteer abroad?

Start your application today!


Partner Agency

Project Director: Abby Qualliotine

Abby is from Fairfax, VA and graduated from Virginia Tech, where she studied Political Science and Spanish. She studied abroad at the University of San Francisco in Quito, Ecuador. She loved living with a host family and making friends in a completely different country. Abby is very passionate about service. She served as a Team Leader with AmeriCorps NCCC and a Leader with AmeriCorps VISTA. She also spent time in Nicaragua and Tanzania on service learning trips! Abby loves to travel and learn new things. Her goal is to travel to every continent and state in the United States. She loves spending time in nature and with her friends and family! She is so excited to combine her passion for service and traveling with AMIGOS this summer, and to learn and work with you!

My favorite part of the experience was becoming a part of my community. Halfway through my time in Costa Rica, I stopped feeling like a visitor and started feeling like a true member of the community. It felt as if I had always lived there, talking to people I knew in the street and learning all the ins and outs of life there. It was so rewarding to experience life in a different way so fully.

—Sofia, Palmares Project Volunteer, 2018

Program Requirements
  • Meet the health criteria for AMIGOS participation and follow the mental health procedures if necessary.
  • Receive required immunizations and medications
  • Be age 15–22 on the project start date
  • Have taken 2 years of Spanish or the equivalent

Read about the Palmares Project

Last Week in Community

Palmares, Costa Rica

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Updates from Emma’s Route

Palmares, Costa Rica

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First Campamento

Palmares, Costa Rica

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Wish you were still in Latin America with AMIGOS? Now’s your chance to sign up for a second summer!

But don’t wait too long… Our projects are already filling up!
The priority deadline is November 4th so make sure you’ve saved your spot by applying today at apply.amigosinternational.org
Summer is waiting. We’ll see you there 😎

¡Hoy tuvimos la increíble oportunidad para conocer al presidente de Costa Rica! Felicidades @casadelajuventudcr 🇨🇷❤️

Today we had the amazing opportunity of meeting the president of Costa Rica! Congratulations @casadelajuventudcr 🇨🇷❤️

Still deciding?

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