Want to Volunteer in Costa Rica? Here’s How

Volunteering in Costa Rica is an incredible opportunity to learn from the global green pioneer of nature. Firstly, Costa Rica is the only country to reverse deforestation. Second, more than 98% of its energy is renewable. Moreover, by 2025, this country will protect and conserve 100% of its coastal wetlands. In short, it is paradise. Here, we cover the best volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations for international volunteers, and for good reason.

Tips for Choosing Your Costa Rica Volunteer Program

Volunteering in Costa Rica is a great way to travel while immersing yourself in new cultures and perspectives. For starters, learn from passionate professionals and gain new skills to boost your career. Above all, gain a global perspective to make a real difference in the world. However, with countless volunteer programs in Costa Rica, picking the right one can be hard.

If you’re scratching your head on where to start, follow these tips:

  1. Consider your passions: conservation, marine protection, community development, or all of the above?
  2. Know your timeline: Are you thinking about a gap year volunteering abroad or a shorter stint away?
  3. Think about what you want to achieve: Want to build an environmental career, meet like-minded people, immerse yourself in a new culture…?
  4. The local organization’s mission statement: do they align with your values?
Want to get into wildlife conservation? Lend a helping hand to local organizations dedicated to protecting Costa Rica's exotic wildlife. Think: spider monkeys, toucans, sloths and sea turtles.

Where Can I Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica?

The best volunteer programs in Costa Rica can be found in the Nicoya Peninsula. Hailed as the most beautiful peninsula in the country (which says a lot), Nicoya is fast gaining traction as a leading wellness hub. Why? Surfing, yoga and embracing the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle, to name but a few.

Volunteer in the Nicoya Peninsula

Our programs take place in Nosara, a small beachside community on the North Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. Hailed as one of the top surf towns in the world by National Geographic, Nosara boasts golden beaches, world-class surf breaks and sea turtle nesting sites. While the official town center lies five miles inland, Nosara stretches to the coastline with five expansive beaches: Playa Nosara, Playa Garza, Playa Guiones, Playa Pelada, and Playa Ostional.

As Nosara continues to grow in popularity, there are various volunteer projects for international students. These projects primarily focus on combating challenges of sustainable development while retaining the region’s environmental integrity.

Volunteer in Nosara, one of the world’s largest nesting sites for the Olive Ridley turtles.

Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica

On our Costa Rica Programs, we partner with change-making grassroots organizations aligned with the UN Sustainable Development priorities. We believe in the power and passion of Canada’s youth to make an impact. Therefore our placements work directly with local organizations, empowering students to make a tangible impact.

Costa Rica, or the ‘rich coast,’ is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, with one-quarter of the country covered in protected jungle, wild beaches and towering volcanoes.

Environmental Protection

Previously cleared for cattle pasture, Nosara is now encapsulated by dense tropical forest thanks to its protected status. However, a growing population and increased construction make the region’s environmental protection paramount. Volunteering in environmental protection will allow you to learn about Costa Rica’s native plant population and ecosystems. Plus, you will get to volunteer in reforestation projects and create environmental education programs.

Nosara is one of the world’s largest nesting sites for the Olive Ridley turtle, with monthly nesting events bringing up to 100,000 turtles onshore.

Marine and Sea Turtle Conservation

If you are looking to volunteer in marine and sea turtle conservation, Costa Rica is just the ticket. Located between the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, Costa Rica hosts four of the world’s six different types of sea turtles. From beach patrols to the turtle hatchery, you will have the opportunity to monitor Nosara’s marine health and contribute to their conservation. Likewise, volunteering in sea turtle conservation will allow you to gain skills in ecological monitoring, marine conservation, environmental education and community tourism.

Named as one of the top surf towns in the world by National Geographic, Nosara is a popular tourist destination for surfers.

Sustainable Tourism

On our sustainable tourism placement, you will have the opportunity to learn and contribute to sustainable tourism strategies; from gaining experience in LEED-certified hotel operations to collaborating with the local guide community. If you are interested in a career in hospitality, this will be a great opportunity to gain international experience for your resume!

Tourism is now the top industry and employer in Nosara, so ensuring sustainable growth is of utmost importance to the community.

Social Media and Marketing

Are you a wizard on social media? Perhaps you’re studying marketing and want to put your skills into practice? Apply your knowledge to worthy NGOs and responsible organizations in Costa Rica looking to drive change. From fundraising to attracting volunteers, put your knowledge into practice by helping to spread their message and gain traction.

Work with an innovative startup dedicated to empowering the local community.

Community Development

For Costa Ricans, a lack of post-secondary training and difficulties accessing traditional financing means growing a business can be a huge challenge. This program offers the chance to make a direct impact on the local community. How? You will work with an innovative startup providing accessible financing to local entrepreneurs, and lend a hand to assist their new business development and education.

Keen to Volunteer in Costa Rica?

Get in touch to learn more about our Costa Rica Programs and how we can help you make a meaningful impact while volunteering in Costa Rica.