Volunteer programs in Costa Rica

About Costa Rica

About Costa Rica

Volunteers will be working in a Central American country located between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast. Costa Rica is home to almost 5 million people. The country’s capital city is San José, which is one of its most populated cities. The official language in Costa Rica is Spanish.

Costa Rica has a lot to offer. It is a very safe country with excellent infrastructure, making it easy to get around. It is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have its own army and has more teachers than police. Additionally, it boasts one of the most beautiful natural environments in South America and was ranked fifth in the world’s Environmental Performance Index in 2012.

Climate in Costa Rica

In general, volunteers who come to work in Costa Rica should expect to face a fairly rainy climate. Given its proximity to the Equator, the climate in Costa Rica is usually warm year-round. December to May is the season with the least rain. The wet season begins in May, attracting a greater number of visitors.


Time zone

Costa Rica is in the Central Standard Time Zone (CST), which is UTC-6.


The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colón. 1 colón is approximately equivalent to 0.001 euros.


In Costa Rica, volunteer programs are carried out in several locations: San Ramón, Quepos, Caribe, and Alajuela.


Volunteers can participate in the program for a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 6 months.


Meals provided at the accommodation are included in the project/destination. However, meals are not provided during journeys to the destination or during excursions.

Pick up times

The specified pick-up times in each destination/project must be respected. Volunteers arriving outside the pick-up time/day will be subject to an additional cost depending on the destination.

VOLUNTEER programs

Where are the volunteer programs located?

In Costa Rica, volunteer programs are conducted in various locations: San Ramón, Quepos, Caribe, and Alajuela.

The volunteer programs for Teaching, English Teaching, Construction, Childcare, Women’s Empowerment, and Special Needs Support are located in San Ramón, in the central valley of the province of Alajuela. San Ramón is a medium-sized city, traditionally known for coffee production, and it’s only 45 minutes away from the capital, San José. The city is situated right in the center of Costa Rica.

The turtle conservation programs are located in the Pacific or Caribbean regions.

The Wildlife Rescue program is situated in Alajuela.

For those with a free spirit and a curious mindset, this country holds a special charm due to its biodiversity and the abundance of natural landscapes waiting to be explored.


  • Teaching volunteer program
  • Childcare volunteer program
  • Sports volunteer program
  • Construction volunteer program
  • Special needs support volunteer program
  • Turtles volunteer program
  • Wild animal rescue volunteer program
  • Women’s Empowerment volunteer program


  • Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old at the start of the program.

What is included?


Volunteers are required to arrive at Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela (airport code SJO), where they will be met by the local team and then transferred to their accommodation.

Volunteers participating in the San Ramón programs should arrive every other Friday (see dates in the box) from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm for pick-up, in the case of homestay accommodation.

Volunteers participating in the Turtles programs can arrive any day of the week (Not included in the price).

Volunteers participating in the wild animals rescue programs can arrive any day of the week.


Given the diverse nature of Costa Rica, the volunteer will enjoy a fusion cuisine of indigenous and European culinary traditions. The staple ingredients are corn, beans, potatoes, rice and yucca. The casado is one of the most typical Costa Rican dishes, consisting of boiled rice served with beans, fried banana and meat. Another traditional dish that can be enjoyed by the volunteer during their stay in Costa Rica is the gallo pinto.

Tourist attractions in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is situated in a unique natural location, with a geography that is brimming with protected areas and natural parks. Many of the tourists who come to Costa Rica are attracted by eco-tourism. Nature is the main attraction for tourists visiting Costa Rica. However, many people also visit the country to relax on its several beaches.


The Turtle and Wild Animal Rescue programs start every Monday.

For volunteers who opt for the San Ramón programs, pickup takes place on Fridays from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm. The San Ramón programs will work from Monday to Thursday. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays will be free time for excursions and getting to know the area.

Arrival days San Ramón:

2024 Fridays
January 19
February 02 & 16
March 15 & 29
April 12 & 26
May 10 & 24 & 31
June 14 & 28
July 12 & 26
August 9 & 23
September 6 & 20
October 4 & 18
November 1 & 15 & 29
December 13

Volunteers can participate in the program for a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 6 months.

Transport in Costa Rica

The motorways in Costa Rica are relatively congested and not particularly safe. For volunteers, the easiest way to get around is by car. However, it’s important to note that journeys may take longer than expected due to the poor state of the roads. In any case, buses are an alternative for those who prefer not to use a car, but it’s not strongly recommended because there are limited bus lines, and the buses do not run very frequently.

For volunteers participating in the teaching, community education, and disabled children support programs, it’s possible to walk to work from the volunteer house. However, for those involved in the orphanage, construction, and sports volunteer programs, there is a daily commuting cost of approximately €1.

Program goals

The objective of the project is to train young people to become social leaders. Volunteers live in a multicultural environment, working collaboratively as a team to execute tasks or institutional projects. They provide support to beneficiaries in their daily lives or during workshops, and also assist in addressing the needs of centers and homes.

To achieve this, we use three key approaches

Social inclusion

Social Inclusion of children, young people and grandparents in situations of social risk.

Attention to Centers and Homes

Focus is on centers and homes dedicated to protecting and restoring the rights of socially vulnerable children, adolescents, and older adults.

Social action

Volunteers committed to the projects will collaborate with the community, engaging various societal actors to ensure the complete fulfillment of everyone’s rights.

Our programs

Childcare volunteer program – San Ramón, Costa Rica

We collaborate with several daycare centers in San Ramón and its surrounding rural areas. These centers are operated and funded through a partnership between local governments and community resources. The primary aim of these centers is to offer childcare services to working families who are unable to afford private nurseries for their children who are not yet of school age.

These centers provide essential supervision, meals, and a safe environment for children to play during the day. Typically, the nurseries cater to children up to the age of 6. As a volunteer, you will assist the center’s caregivers in delivering their classes, working closely with Costa Rican children during various activities. Your responsibilities will include playing with the children, assisting during meal times (lunch and snacks), helping in the kitchen, and contributing to maintenance tasks. Previous volunteers who participated in this program have contributed to the creation of a garden.

Therefore, by volunteering at our centers, you will play a part in enhancing the facilities for future generations. Please be prepared to share and teach any form of art or handicraft skills that you may have. Your contributions are greatly valued and appreciated.

LOCATION: San Ramón. 

REQUIREMENTS: Program only available for women.  


CLOSED:January and February, Holy Week, July school holidays, and Christmas

English teaching volunteer program – Costa Rica

English is a high national priority in Costa Rica, as is the case for most Central American countries. English forms part of the national curriculum throughout a child’s time at school. However, most of the English teachers are not native speakers, and many students can’t speak English correctly by the time they leave school.

The English teaching program gives the volunteer the opportunity to teach general English classes to Costa Rican students, helping them with conversational English, correct pronunciation, new vocabulary and colloquial phrases.

The students are aged between 7 and 18 years old (primary and secondary education). If the volunteer has knowledge of other languages such as French, German or Mandarin Chinese, they may also teach these languages to the students. The volunteers will be able to organise activities, put forward ideas and teach the students as they deem fit. Besides teaching in the schools, the volunteer is also expected to assist teachers and give their own English classes in schools or clubs for adults (aged 18+).

As a teaching assistant, you will help the children with conversational English, correct pronunciation, new vocabulary and colloquial phrases. Besides helping to improve the level of English in the community, the aim is for the volunteer to gain an insight into the Costa Rican education system and for them to enjoy an enriching cultural experience.

Your role: Schools – Motivate the children to practice their English and use the new words that they are taught. You will be responsible for making the students have faith in their ability to talk English. Your role: Adults Club – You will be responsible for preparing the lessons. You don’t need to be a professional teacher to participate in this volunteer program. English teaching in the adult community is one of our most popular projects, owing to the opportunities for cultural interchange.

LOCATION: San Ramón. 

REQUIREMENTS: intermediate level of English (B1 and above).  


CLOSED: January and February, Holy Week, July school holidays, and Christmas.

Wild Animal Rescue Volunteer Program – Costa Rica

The volunteer programs are vital for the management of the animals, the participants are integrated into a routine that is organised on a daily basis for the execution of the different projects. We have an area for food preparation, a dining room, bathrooms and toilets.

It is a program that requires volunteers of legal age for the conservation and improvement of the centre, therefore collaborating hand in hand with the local staff for all initiatives and improvements that are proposed in the project.


In this centre in Alajuela, you will find another great option for an Animal Volunteer Program!

The project is carried out from Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 17:30 pm, the volunteers have a break between shifts. Work is carried out every day with a reduced intensity at the weekend. You can also decide on the days you would like to take off from the project with prior permission.

In this program you will live in a volunteer house with 4 bunk beds and meals are included (vegetarian menu is possible).

Within the project you will also be recommended many tourist sites in Costa Rica.

It is important to remember that excursions are not part of the cost of volunteering and the volunteer can at all times choose with whom and where to go.


  • Daily feeding of animals
  • Cleaning of trails
  • Green Area Cleanup
  • Environmental Enrichment Projects
  • Tree Planting
  • Enclosure Cleaning
  • Crop Production and Composting
  • Construction of Natural Structures for the animals
  • Assisting the animals with the veterinarian requires prior training, this will depend on the profile of the volunteer and the indications of the local staff.
  • Collaboration as Guides in the program of Ecotourism requires prior training.
  • Maintenance of the Sanctuary


  • Minimum stay of 2 weeks
  • Good physical condition
  • Experience with animals
  • 3 meals a day are included
  • The volunteer will work from Monday to Sunder, the indicated schedules are approximate and can have a free day.

Special needs support volunteer program – Costa Rica

The special needs volunteer program is conducted at two different centers within the city. In one of these centers, volunteers will engage with individuals aged 21 years and younger, while in the other, they will assist adults.

These centers support people with various disabilities, such as blindness, deafness, autism, Asperger syndrome, and Down syndrome. The goal is to enable volunteers to provide specialized support, improving patients’ quality of life.

For adults, the focus is on teaching professional skills for a more independent life in Costa Rica. Services include physiotherapy, speech therapy, emotional and behavioral support, art therapy, and music classes. Volunteers assist teachers, enhancing the educational experience by allowing for more personalized attention. Participation in therapy sessions and outdoor activities is encouraged.

No specific skills or prior experience are needed. Volunteers are valued for their empathy, willingness to help, and compassionate presence, making a significant impact on the individuals’ well-being.

LOCATION: San Ramón 


CLOSED: January and February, Holy Week, July school holidays, and Christmas

Construction volunteer program – Costa Rica

Working alongside local construction workers and other volunteers, you’ll have the chance to work on excavation tasks, roof constructions, restorations of old buildings and residences and the building of retaining walls.

Please come prepared for hard work, expecting to get your hands dirty. By helping to build these buildings and residences, you’ll be of huge assistance for the family members and the local construction workers. It requires enthusiasm, a good sense of humour and a willingness to help your colleagues.

The extent of your participation in the construction tasks will depend on your level of knowledge and experience. During the wet season, your working week may be affected. 



Volunteers will work on the care and prevention of turtles and the environment on the Pacific coast, tackling 2 beaches according to need.

Activities to be performed during the turtle volunteer program:

Monitoring and patrols will be carried out during the night and before dawn, always accompanied by your assigned work group, led by the local manager or coordinator responsible for handling the species.


Example of an ordinary day on the turtle volunteer program:

  • 7:00 – 8:00 AM breakfast  
  • 9:00 – 11:00 AM various tasks in the camp  
  • 1:00 PM lunch  
  • 3:00 – 5:00 PM various tasks in the camp  
  • 7:00 PM dinner  
  • Night patrol

The coordinator or biologist in charge will also decide on the activities in accordance with existing needs and priorities, such as:

The turtles program in the Pacific will be located in Quepos.

The turtles program in the Caribbean will be located in Batán.

Turtle arrival activities during high season in the Pacific (31st June to 30th January)

Turtle arrival activities during high season in the Caribbean (31st March to 30th June)

Daytime schedules depend on night-time wear and tear and nesting (if they work several hours at night they can rest in the morning or afternoon depending on needs).

Activities to carry out:

  • Beach surveillance
  • Protection of nesting turtles (depending on season)
  • Assistin with registration of nesting female turtles
  • Relocation of nests to the hatchery
  • Release of hatchlings (depending on season) and data collection
  • Beach cleaning activities
  • Presentations on environmental education and outreach when support is required
  • Construction of natural structures for the animals
  • Recycling of plastics
  • Care of livestock and plants within the camp


  • Minimum stay of 2 weeks
  • Good physical condition
  • 3 meals a day are included
  • The volunteer will work from Monday to Sunday, the indicated schedules are approximate and can opt for a free day
  • Everyday is arrival day
  • The cost to get to the beach on your own will be around 70 Euros to 150 Euros.


The women’s empowerment volunteer program supports women in their quest for healthy and sustainable livelihoods. The women’s groups offer a discussion of issues such as family health, women’s rights, access to resources, income generation and other challenges women face in their daily lives.

Volunteers have the opportunity to exchange ideas and collaborate with ongoing projects. They can also provide support in many other ways, depending on their skills and interests and the needs of the local community.



accommodation and meals

Accommodation in San Ramón

The houses are located in a quiet and safe neighbourhood of San Ramon. Each family hosts 1 volunteer. Meals are enjoyed together with the family and are prepared with local and international ingredients.

Volunteers can do their own laundry, or they can use the laundry service provided by local services (at a cost of approximately 5 dollars).

Volunteers will have two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) included in the San Ramon programs.

There are several restaurants in the city where the volunteer can buy lunch (value approximately 5-6$). At the destination the local coordination team will show the volunteer the different options according to their program.

Accommodation in the wild animal rescue program.


Volunteers will enjoy a fully inclusive experience by staying with local families. The host families involved in the project will provide delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners featuring typical Costa Rican menus.

Accommodation consists of rooms for one or two volunteers, each with a private bathroom for exclusive use.

Wifi is available, and accommodations are typically located close to the project, reachable within 10 minutes by bus (bus fare not included).

Accommodation in the ecological planting and turtles volunteer program.

IMPORTANT: Drinks are not included in the program cost.

Volunteers will share a bedroom with other volunteers in the volunteer house. Access to all common areas and the communal kitchen is provided. Since this turtle nesting area is remote and separated from urban centers, Wi-Fi connection is not available. However, on the beach, you can use 3G data for continuous communication with family and friends. Participants in this volunteer program are provided with three meals a day.

  • Breakfast: buffet, from 7:00 to 10:00 AM. There will be coffee and tea, fruit, crepes  and/or a traditional breakfast.
  • Lunch and dinner will be served in the volunteer house,  based on local ingredients such as rice, beans, salads, meat, pasta, vegetables and fish. (We also have vegan-friendly volunteer programs).
  • Coffee and tea in the afternoons and during patrols.

program costs

The total cost of volunteering is divided into two parts: the registration fee paid to book your placement, which is 210€ and the program cost, which is paid afterward.

Volunteer Programs in San Ramón

635€ 2 weeks
235€ Additional week 

Ecological Planting and Turtles Program

615€ 2 weeks
225€ Additional week

Wild Animal Rescue Program

615€ 2 weeks
225€ Additional week

If your currency is not specified in the list you can convert the costs here.

What is included in the fee that I am paying?

What additional costs will volunteers incur?

Visa, flights, travel insurance (compulsory), vaccinations, transfer back to the airport, lunch costs, other expenses.
(*** volunteers in Costa Rica usually find that 40 € (US$ 50, approx) is enough for basic weekly expenses) Weekends usually have about 170 € (US$ 200, approx) of expenses due to extra tourist activities.


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Our volunteers will be able to validate university credits with the aim of traveling in a more responsible and economical way.

What does volunteering focused on university practices involve?

At Cooperating Volunteers, we make agreements with different universities to validate university credits with the aim of traveling in a more responsible and economical way.

The specialties we work with are extensive: medical volunteering, nursing, education, social work, psychology, physiotherapy, engineering, architecture…

The practices can be carried out in our designated destinations for this purpose, as well as in Spain.

If you choose an international destination, it’s a unique way to live an unforgettable and enriching experience, as you will have the opportunity to continue your education in another country, with a completely different culture.

Stepping out of our comfort zone and being part of the various projects at the destination will allow us to grow both personally and professionally, creating a more extensive curriculum.

And we are fully convinced that this experience will accompany you throughout your life.

You will be able to visit hospitals, schools, centers, orphanages, and participate directly and actively in the daily lives of all those people at the destination, always accompanied by other professionals willing to collaborate hand in hand with you and guide you in daily tasks.

If your university is not part of the agreement with Cooperating Volunteers, you can contact cristina@cooperatingvolunteers.com so that we can get in touch and make this experience a reality. 


Corporate volunteering consists of tailored programs for your company, designed to develop teamwork skills.

It is proven that teamwork directly impacts productivity. 

Collective effort surpasses individual capabilities, promotes diversity of skills, stimulates creativity, and facilitates problem-solving in the face of various challenges.

Therefore, it not only maximizes efficiency but also enriches the work environment.

We conduct corporate volunteering programs that consist of customized programs for your company, designed to develop teamwork skills, improve performance, and foster unity among employees.

We tailor projects to the corporate identity and size of the company, and we can adjust them to any destination and time of the year.

The advantages of corporate volunteering include:

  • Improving communication.
  • Group unity.
  • Cultural integration in different situations.
  • Employee training.
  • Increased Corporate Social Responsibility.

The future is aligned with a more responsible society, and participating in social projects positions our company among the list of revolutionary businesses that want to be part of the change.

If you resonate with this message, corporate volunteering is a unique experience both individually and collectively, and at Cooperating Volunteers, we accompany you throughout the process to make it a unique journey.


Quality time spent with family strengthens emotional bonds, promotes communication, and contributes to the emotional well-being of its members. 

Spending quality time with family and being able to disconnect from our hectic routines is not only enriching but also necessary.

Sometimes we forget to communicate, connect, and dedicate time to each other. Each one of us lives focused on our jobs, schools… And it’s necessary to find the opportunity to pause and take care of ourselves.

Quality time spent with family strengthens emotional bonds, promotes communication, and contributes to the emotional well-being of its members. And of course, it creates lifelong positive memories.

At Cooperating Volunteers, we suggest moving away from those ‘more superficial’ trips (which can also be fantastic), but we invite you to live this experience to bring out our most empathetic and humanitarian side.

Family volunteering gives us the opportunity to be part of a positive impact, promoting values of solidarity and social responsibility.

There are many families who choose to experience these trips focused on cooperation and direct involvement with different communities around the world, where living conditions are very different and sometimes entirely precarious.

Projects are tailored to different ages, allowing us to work together.

An incredible way to fill our suitcase with memories, learning, and knowledge.

And although stepping out of our comfort zone often feels daunting, we assure you firsthand that it’s worth it.

At Cooperating Volunteers, we accompany you throughout the entire experience, from start to finish, to make it unforgettable.


At Cooperating Volunteers, we believe it’s never too late for anything, especially for volunteering and living a unique and unforgettable experience.

There are many people, increasingly so, who opt for responsible travel that involves social work.

Accustomed to organized and mostly touristic trips, at Cooperating Volunteers, we want to advocate for a more enriching experience, one that transforms us from within and allows us to be part of the change the world needs to see.

We can adapt both the destination and the duration of our projects to fit your needs.

It’s an opportunity full of emotions that allows us to significantly contribute to different communities and their evolution. And you can participate in different areas such as education, social support, or assistance in different centers.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Sense of purpose: Provides a sense of purpose by contributing your skills and experiences to meaningful causes.
  • Emotional well-being: Reduces feelings of isolation and establishes social connections.
  • Personal development: It’s continuous learning, skill development, and discovering new activities while keeping the mind-body active.
  • Physical health: Keeping active.
  • Stress reduction: The act of helping others reduces stress and contributes to mental health.

Living this experience will undoubtedly be a before and after. 


A volunteering initiative with leadership and impact through the educational action program.

When we talk about social volunteering, we refer to all those actions and activities carried out altruistically, selflessly, and with the aim of addressing multiple problems and needs of different communities, always focused on education and self-sufficiency.

Education is essential because it provides the tools and knowledge necessary for personal, social, and economic development.

Our goal is to create self-sufficient communities and provide opportunities for the future personal development of each member. The message is not to ‘give’, but to accompany in the process of training for self-managed provision.

At Cooperating Volunteers, many of our destinations and projects embrace this type of volunteering. Some of our projects include: community programs, education, women’s empowerment…

And although they are completely different from each other, they share a single objective: progress towards a society that can embrace us all in the same way.

If you are someone who is restless, who needs to see a change in the future, volunteering is an experience tailor-made for you.