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Volunteer in Costa Rica 🇨🇷
Volunteer in Costa Rica 🇨🇷

With its national parks and ecotourism opportunities, Costa Rica is perfect for travelers who want to volunteer for a good cause.

Sophie Laurent avatar
Written by Sophie Laurent
Updated over a week ago

1. Volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica

We are so happy to hear you are interested in doing some volunteer work abroad in Costa Rica 🇨🇷 This beautiful country is full of interesting opportunities, as it is one of the most sustainable countries in the world! ♻️ If you are looking for a way to give back and explore a wonderful country, this could be the perfect destination for you.

Do you already know what you would like to do? Here are some of the most popular project focuses that have been highly successful in Costa Rica:

It is the perfect destination for Wildlife conservation, especially for sea turtles conservation 🐢 and sloths conservation 🦥 😴.

Nonetheless, you'll find a lot of opportunities to volunteer in Environmental protection 🌿 and Marine conservation 🌊

Did you find the program you're looking for? If so, please remember to start your application on time! 🚀

We understand that this process may seem overwhelming, so we recommend you look into the different programs and options available to you and contact us if you have any questions.

We look forward to having you join the volunteerism movement, and to having you be part of our over 3 million travelers from all over the world who have been and are doing amazing work abroad.

2. Tips around volunteering in Costa Rica

Going abroad always requires some precautions, even in a popular tourist destination and at volunteer programs in Costa Rica. Also doing some research on the culture of your travel destination, you can avoid common problems and misunderstandings. These are a few cultural tips that are good to take into account during your volunteer work in Costa Rica:

  • Costa Ricans are also known as Ticos. It’s how they call themselves.

  • It’s common for Ticos to kiss each other on the cheek when greeting.

  • It’s important to dress appropriately when going to the city. Keep flip-flops and shorts for the beach.

  • Pointing is considered rude as is putting your feet up on furniture.

  • Although Ticos aren’t the most punctual, most business meetings will start on time.

2.1. The best time to volunteer in Costa Rica

In general, the best time to volunteer in Costa Rica maybe during the dry season, which typically runs from December to April. This is a popular time for tourists to visit the country, so there may be more opportunities for volunteers during this time. Additionally, the weather is typically more pleasant during the dry season, which can make it a more enjoyable time to volunteer.

It's important to note that certain volunteer opportunities may only be available during certain times of the year. For example, if you're interested in helping with turtle nesting conservation efforts, you should check to see if they occur during the dry season, as that's when turtles typically lay their eggs on Costa Rican beaches. That being said, there are many volunteer opportunities available year-round, so it's always possible to find something.

2.2. Is it safe to volunteer in Costa Rica?

Even though Costa Rica is a relatively safe country compared to other countries in Latin America, you cannot compare it to the safety standards in Western countries. Here are a few tips for you to travel safely as a volunteer in Costa Rica:

Keeping these tips in mind will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable time while volunteering in Costa Rica:

  • Pay extra attention when bringing along valuables. Leave them at your accommodation.

  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you, take only what you need for the day.

  • Pay attention to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you don’t know.

  • Whether you walk or drive a car, always pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas. The number of car accidents, especially in the cities, is very high.

2.3. Health advises

Volunteering abroad is an incredible opportunity for personal growth and learning. It can be physically and emotionally demanding, however, and being prepared is the key to having a safe and rewarding experience. Going to Costa Rica? If so, read on to learn the best ways to stay healthy in the tropics.

Stay Hydrated

Spending time in the hot and humid climates of Costa Rica can quickly sap the energy out of a person. To prevent dehydration and the illness it can bring, be sure to take special care to hydrate throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle fill it up frequently, and consider adding electrolytes in salty snacks to help replenish the minerals in your body.

Insect Protection

Insect borne illnesses are relatively uncommon in Costa Rica, but that doesn't change the fact that the bug populations are plentiful! Bug repellent can help you avoid unpleasant bites and potential disease, but wearing protective clothing is also wise. Long sleeves and trousers are the best when you're outdoors.


Travelers should always consult with a doctor before a trip to get the most up-to-date health advice and any necessary vaccines. In Costa Rica, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, and Typhoid are recommended for all travelers. If you plan to hike in more remote places, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends vaccinations against Rabies, Tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B as well. Taking these precautions will help ensure you have the best volunteer experience.

Follow these health tips before and during your time in Costa Rica and you’ll be well on your way to a successful and pleasant volunteer experience!

2.4. Packing Tips

Depending on the season you’ll be in Costa Rica, there are some essentials you should pack. These are some of the things we recommend you bring to Costa Rica:

  • A light jacket and rainproof clothes, especially during the green season (May-December).

  • A flashlight, binoculars, and good hiking/walking shoes for outdoor adventures.

  • Copies of all your important documents.

  • A basic first-aid kit and insect repellent.

2.5. Budget to volunteer in Costa Rica

The suggested daily budget for living abroad as a volunteer in Costa Rica is between US$ 25 and US$ 77. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the goods and services you may need. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can prepare and save the money necessary for your volunteer program in Costa Rica.

Additional costs you should consider as a volunteer in Costa Rica:

2.6. Visa best practice

There are some general requirements you need to fulfill prior to traveling to Costa Rica:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your expected return date.

  • Make sure your passport has at least two blank visa pages. Costa Rica requires you to have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.

  • You need to have a valid return ticket to exit Costa Rica.

  • Check if a transit visa is required for any connections. Especially for flights via the USA you have to consider the entry and transit regulations.

Check out the following sections below to find more details on travel and visa regulations for Costa Rica:

👉 Short-Term stay

If you are a resident in Australia, Switzerland, the USA or EU (including the UK), you can work as a volunteer on a tourist visa for up to 90 days. This tourist visa can be obtained at the airport upon arrival. To receive the stamp, you can select tourism as your reason for traveling, and immigration will stamp your passport.

👉 Long-Term stay

If you are planning to volunteer in Costa Rica for more than 90 days, you should apply for a provisional visa.

To make this step as easy as possible, you can find the application form here. Make sure to submit the application form to the closest Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate. They will provide you with all further information and give you a checklist of documents that need to be submitted.

Disclaimer: There are no liability claims against Volunteer World if entry is not possible due to individual visa requirements.

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