Costa Rica is an exotic nation in Central America. It’s bordered by both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with only a 50-mile gap between the two at its widest point. And it’s a hotbed for volunteering. If you don’t want to have the conventional surf and yoga holiday and want something a bit different, consider volunteering. There are so many things you can get involved with.
What Can I Do?
Costa Rica is a diverse nation with lots of things to do. This makes it one of the richest places for volunteering. You can join up with a wildlife sanctuary and care for the animals, teach English, or work in a beachfront bar. As long as you can prove you’ll be an asset, there’s no reason why you can’t volunteer to fund your surf vacation.
Here at Shaka Beach resort we offer two choices for volunteers, you can choose to get involved as an adaptive surf camp volunteer, or become a live in assistant. Follow those links for further details.
The first port of call for finding volunteering opportunities is Google. Type in ‘volunteering Costa Rica’ and you’ll soon find hundreds of organisations offering some sort of volunteering role. Generally, it’s best to stick with the larger companies for your own safety. Costa Rica is one of the safest holiday destinations in the world, but this is no excuse for letting your guard down, especially if travelling alone.
The Central Valley
The Central Valley provides an ideal place to volunteer. You’re never far from the beaches and you can feel good about bringing real positive change. The San Ramon-based Community Action Alliance runs things here. It’s a joint venture between Costa Ricans and foreigners, so expect lots of form filling and waivers.
Participants teach English, host job fairs, promote economic development, and run little sales to raise money for local charities and for the poorest in the community. In short, you could be doing something entirely different each day. It depends on what tasks are available at the time.
If you can’t afford to stay in a gorgeous surf retreat on the southern Caribbean coast, all is not lost. On this coast there are two main animal rescue centres in desperate need of volunteers. The Sloth Sanctuary protects injured two and three-toed sloths, whereas the Jaguar Rescue Center protects animals ranging from big cats to howler monkeys and parrots.
The Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula is on the southern Pacific coast and organisations here protect the endangered marine life of Costa Rica. The Osa Conservation Group is one of the key organisations actively defending Pacific Green and Olive Ridley turtles from harm. You don’t necessarily have to be a strong swimmer to volunteer here.
How Much Does it Cost?
Fees vary depending on where you’re volunteering. Some will ask you pay for everything from accommodation to food and travel. Others will supply you with basic accommodation and some foods. If you’re lucky enough, you might even nab one of those volunteer roles where the organisation pays for everything apart from your flights.
Most volunteer roles last anywhere from a few days to a few months. If you want to stay for longer, you should set up multiple volunteer positions before you go. You’ll struggle if you just intend to show up hoping they’ll accept you.