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🇨🇷 VOLUNTEER IN COSTA RICA 🇨🇷

Volunteer in Costa Rica with Plan My Gap Year – an award-winning, international volunteer abroad organisation with programs in Costa Rica. PMGY provides safe, trusted and affordable programs, with a range of volunteer projects in Costa Rica, including ChildcareEnglish Teaching & Language Immersion opportunities.

PMGY Costa Rica is located in the local suburb of Coronado, just outside the country’s bustling capital of San Jose. The Costa Rica volunteer programs start on the 1st & 3rd Sunday of every month. Our projects in Costa Rica run throughout the year and participants can join us on the program for 1-12 weeks. Volunteers in Costa Rica are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pick-up, in-country orientation, volunteer accommodation and local support.

KEY FEATURES

PROGRAM FEE FROM 435 USD

PROGRAMS FOR 18+ YEAR OLDS

✓ PRE-DEPARTURE BUDDY LISTS


✓ MEET LIKE-MINDED SOLO TRAVELLERS


✓ VOLUNTEER MON-FRI & TRAVEL SAT-SUN


✓ AVAILABLE TO WORLDWIDE VOLUNTEERS


✓ IDEAL FOR FIRST TIME TRAVELLERS

   

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

LOCATED IN SAN JOSE

1ST & 3RD SUNDAY EVERY MONTH

✓ 24 HOUR AIRPORT PICKUP


✓ ACCOMMODATION & WI-FI


✓ SAFE, SECURE & TRUSTED COUNTRY SETUP


✓ CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION


✓ 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY, UK & US SUPPORT

COSTA RICA CHILDCARE VOLUNTEERS

Whether you wish to volunteer in a day-care centre or in a nursery, get ready to play games and sing songs with children of all ages.

FROM 630 USD

2-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

COSTA RICA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

You don’t have to go far to find children in need of education! The youngsters of Coronado are waiting to learn and play with you in the classroom.

FROM 630 USD

2-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

COSTA RICA LANGUAGE IMMERSION PROGRAM

Learn Spanish using modern methods. The classroom will be a fun environment that provides you with Instituto Cervantes Accredited lessons.

FROM 435 USD

1-6 WEEKS

MORE INFO

REAL SOUTH AMERICA ENCOUNTER – CR, ECUADOR & PERU

Embark on this stunning trip across Costa Rica, Ecuador & Peru where you are guaranteed to experience all aspects of South American lifestyle and culture.

FROM 1,935 USD

6-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

WHY VOLUNTEER IN COSTA RICA WITH PMGY?

Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

COSTA RICA CHILDCARE VOLUNTEERS

As a childcare volunteer in Costa Rica, you will provide additional support to childcare projects within the Coronado community. Not only this, PMGY’s Costa Rica volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Combine your Spanish learning and enthusiasm for childcare projects to make the most out of your volunteer with children in Costa Rica experience!

 

Background to the Childcare Program

 

Compared to other parts of Latin America, Costa Rica benefits from good standards of living and higher levels of education. Yet families from poorer backgrounds and more disadvantaged communities still face times of hardship. More specifically, they rely on the support of the wider community and social initiatives to help them get by.

 

Much of this assistance comes from local organisations or religious associations within the local area. For example, the local church will raise funds and host events to provide activities and support for underprivileged children and communities. Due to the interaction of the church, there is a big Christianity influence. Participants will encounter this on a consistent basis within the local community.

 

In addition to this, many parents that can find work will be working long hours. They will start working early in the morning and work well into the evening. The state and community support with this by providing affordable, subsidised and well-resourced day-care centres. Coronado has a series of nurseries for young children to attend. At these nurseries, children are provided meals, education and a place to rest.

 

The projects in Costa Rica are well resourced and maintained. This is a positive example of money going into the right places for infrastructure and community development. Whilst it may not be so visually evident, many of the children at these projects come from poorer more disadvantaged backgrounds. When these families cannot afford new uniforms for their children the wider community will step in and provide.

 

Therefore, the volunteer need at these projects is different and not as apparent to other projects. Facilities are good and resources are plentiful. In contrast to this, many of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They face much more challenging living standards outside of the project.

 

Participants are on hand to brighten up the days of these children. The project environment provides a great foundation for participants to facilitate this. As you volunteer with children in Costa Rica, your support from the local staff is much appreciated. This is because the ratio of caregivers to children can stretch up to 1:25 at times. The children are very cute and full of energy so get ready for craft time, meals and lots of singing!

 

To ensure our participants are equipped the childcare program will include 1 week of Spanish language classes to start your project! Thus when you travel to Costa Rica, these lessons that take place during your first week will set you up well for your volunteering experience.

 

Volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer abroad projects in Costa Rica, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare participant in Costa Rica can bring. To work with children in Costa Rica, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

Childcare Volunteer Placement Examples

 

Materno Educativo Los Ninos Primero – Located just outside central Coronado, the project is home to around 40 children each day. As you complete your work in Costa Rica at this project, you will play a key role in supporting the more limited local support team.

 

Ages of the children range from as young as 2 months up to around 6 years old. The project is open from 6am-6pm although the schedule usually runs from around 7:30am-12:30pm. Participants are welcome to stay as long as they wish at the project. Thus, if you wish to continue volunteering in the afternoon, this is more than possible.

 

The morning schedule sees more children in attendance and more activities and class-based learning. In the afternoons when there are lower numbers of children. Thus the daycare centre tends to adopt a more relaxed approach with more play and recreation time.

 

The project itself is very well resourced and maintained. Participants are encouraged to be as creative and proactive as possible to engage with all the children and plan activities. The children are generally from the poorer areas of the local community. Whilst the centre is well resourced, your physical support doing volunteer work at the project can certainly go a long way.

 

Due to the education and support at the project, participants are requested to have intermediate Spanish on this project. The project staff will generally only tend to speak in Spanish adopting very limited English.

 

Gotitas De Sabiduria – Located in the main hub of Coronado, this nursery is about a 30 minute walk from the accommodation. The walk will take you right through the centre of town! The project cares for up to 30 children from 7am-7pm Monday to Friday. Children are provided with meals, music & art activities and basic education in grammar. The mornings are when the project premises is busiest and when support is more appreciated.

 

The project is available for a mix of ages from caring for newborns up to children aged 12 years. There are 6 local staff members based on the project that you will be working alongside. The teachers believe that no two students have exactly the same skill set or learning style. The classrooms are full of activity and learning time to cater to many different children and their learning styles. Participant interaction enhances this opportunity with small group activities or one-on-one learning.

 

Teachers will utilise participants by preparing small lessons in a range of areas. These areas include colours, English alphabet, songs and active learning through games and crafts. Examples of crafts may be ‘Letter of the Week’, finger-painting activities and making paper-puppets. Participants should use their imagination during the day to day aspects of the projects. As preparations for this, participants should utilise their free time to plan activities in advance.

 

If you like working with babies there are 5-10 at the project each day. The caregivers are always in need of assistance in areas such as cleaning, changing, feeding, soothing and playing. These little ones need a lot of love and attention to thrive and grow each day. Participants helping out in this area will be essential. This is because 1 caregiver managing many infants can be very challenging. Thus, the extra pair of arms means one more person to soothe the little ones.

 

Participants will assist the local staff with activities and also at meal and nap times. Participants will also play with the children and get involved with teaching basic English through songs and games. The children will generally only be responsive to instructions in Spanish. However, some of the staff have basic, but limited English to converse in.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Childcare Day

 

Participants will help with daily chores like cleaning and helping to feed the children. Other aspects of being a childcare volunteer in Costa Rica include singing songs, teaching about hygiene and other important skills. Playing games and outdoor activities are also a big part of your volunteer role.

 

The work schedule is flexible and will be set between you, the centre and our coordinator in Coronado. Based on your project assignment, you will typically work either 7:30am-12:30pm or 1pm-5pm on a Monday-Friday basis. Please plan for at least 3-5 hours on the project.

 

If you are up for it, take a 40 minute walk through the heart of Coronado to reach your childcare placement! Alternatively, you can take a 20 minute bus ride to reach your childcare project. The bus stop is located just outside the accommodation and Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your project.

 
 

COSTA RICA ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS

As a volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica, you will provide additional support to local teachers across the schools in Coronado. Not only this, PMGY’s Costa Rica volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Combine your Spanish learning and enthusiasm for teaching to make the most out of your teach English in Costa Rica experience!

 

Background to the Teaching Program

 

The beautiful city of Coronado is located in the suburbs of San Jose. Communities are expanding in Coronado and classrooms are becoming increasingly overstretched. Teachers are overseeing classrooms of as many as 30 students, calling out for much-needed assistance.

 

For over a century education has been free for all Costa Rica citizens. The literacy rate of Costa Rica is 95%. Moreover, most students will graduate from secondary school with some form of specialised training. This specialisation will help students stand out when it comes to finding a job in Costa Rica in their free time.

 

The belief behind free education is the empowering future that comes as a result. The government believes that providing a solid education will then provide the country with a more skilled workforce. People that can advance the times and opportunities for Costa Rica.

 

The mission of the Costa Rican school system is, “To create a well-educated populace that will one day improve their national (and even global) lot.” Costa Rica is a community-based society and not based on the individual success of students.

 

In 1869 Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to make education free for all citizens. Primary education is mandatory for children 6 to 13 years old followed by a voluntary secondary education lasting five years. The final two years of secondary education are specialised. This includes subjects such as computer science, media & technology, clinical assistance and childcare training.

 

The public and private school systems are similar in the respect that the curriculum is enforced and determined by the Ministry of Education. The major difference between the two will be that extra classes are offered to prepare students for study abroad. The cost of private education is very high and only those from high-income families are able to receive such programs.

 

Social classes are a major factor in the social system of Costa Rica. Costa Ricans feel that their high education sets them apart from those of less fortune. Due to this, there has been a great focus on the expansion of primary and secondary education.

 

Families with a higher cost of living born into the lower classes will almost always remain in this class. However, in certain cases due to free education and family sacrifice to save money, students can have their prospects enhanced. This may be through being placed into private education or English classes that progress them into further levels of education. This is where free assistance within the public school system can really provide a fighting chance for those of lower classes.

 

PMGY Costa Rica is happy to provide assistance and lessons for the teachers of Coronado. Many teachers have studied with foreign educators but do so at a University level. Consequently, their English was developed at an older level. To ensure our participants are equipped to teach English in Costa Rica, the teaching program will include 1 week of Spanish language classes to start your project! This is to ensure you are able to apply yourself with the children and teachers!

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you teach English in Costa Rica. When working at our volunteer teaching English abroad projects in Costa Rica, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. Many of these students will benefit from having someone who is fluent in the English language teaching them in Costa Rica. As a volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

Teaching Volunteer Placement Examples

 

Patio De Agua – Located in San Rafael de Coronado, Patio de Agua School is 3 kilometres east of the Catholic Church. The school has a population of 70 students, from preschool to sixth grade. Each class has a maximum of 13 students ranging from 8 to 13 years old.

 

The school is located in an easily accessible area. It is surrounded by nature and beautiful landscapes, near the centre of Coronado. in an area that is characterized by being rural and very quiet. The children who attend this school live in the nearby surroundings. Their parents work in the dairy farms and ornamental plant farms that are in the surroundings.

 

Participants will largely work as a teacher’s assistant at the school supporting the day to day lessons. Participants will help with teaching regular subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Spanish and Social Studies. Participants can also collaborate with students who need individual attention to work on a more one to one basis.

 

The School Institute of Integral Education – Instituto de Educación Integral Hogar San Agustín was founded in 1983. The school was established by psychologist and educator Otto Silesky. It was set up as an alternative centre for isolated adolescent students.

 

Since its foundation, the Institute focused on the incorporation of digital technologies. This would be used as a tool to address diversity within an inclusion perspective. Consequently, younger people have better prospects of developing according to their potential.

 

The educational proposal of the Institute of Integral Education is focused on the attention of individuals. More specifically, prioritizing students individual needs, interests and particular characteristics. It not only focuses on content teaching but also on the development of strategies to learn. As a result, making the most of individual capacities and available resources. The school has a program of hydroponics, pastry, cooking class, craft, carpentry and other workshops that complement the education of students.

 

The San Agustín Home works in tandem with the project in giving education, attention and protection to 15 male adolescents. More specifically, 15 male adolescents who are at social risk and without parents. The program is all about learning according to the rhythm of the individual. Furthermore, it is about promoting inclusion and social integration whilst accounting for emotional, social and cognitive aspects.

 

This project environment can be a more challenging environment than others, but equally far more rewarding and involved than other projects. Tasks will include coordinating activities with the teachers, running language classes and supporting with the administration. Participants can also help in different workshops and assist students with their homework.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Teaching Day

 

As a volunteer teaching English abroad in Costa Rica, you will work predominantly as a teaching assistant. Your work in Costa Rica will consist of preparing classes, working alongside the teacher during the class schedule and tutoring the children. Whether it be in a primary or secondary school, the additional support provided at the project will be appreciated. The teaching program generally lasts from 7:30am-1:30pm on a Monday-Friday basis.

 

The main teaching English volunteer placement is located just a short 10 minute walk from the accommodation. Alternatively, other teaching English projects may require a 20 minute bus ride. Should this be applicable, the bus stop is located just outside the accommodation and Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your project.

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. This means that we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. If you would therefore like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

 

For your volunteer trip to Costa Rica, you should book your flights to Juan Santamaria International Airport. The airport code is SJO and it is located in San Jose. Participants travelling to Costa Rica can arrive at any time on their designated Sunday program start date.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. It is therefore mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. Although most of our volunteers experience a smooth ride during their time overseas, occasionally things may go wrong. Having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

Plan My Gap Year Ltd is an appointed representative of Endsleigh Insurance Services Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international participants in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada).

 

If you’d like to purchase PMGY travel insurance, you can add this option on during your online application. You can also add this to any upcoming trips with us by getting in contact via telephone or email.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international volunteers with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide, helping you plan for your volunteer trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future participants. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for participants to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY Vimeo channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time volunteering with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 4pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the volunteer organisation, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

 

Teaching and childcare participants may wish to take their program preparation even further, through a 60 hour online TEFL course. This is the perfect introductory course for working with children and teaching English abroad. Participation in this course enables international volunteers to acquire key skills whilst working towards an internationally accredited certificate.

PROJECT LOCATION AND DURATION

PMGY participants are based in Coronado, a very popular suburb of San Jose and home to nearly 60,000 residents. The city is located 10km from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.

 

It is set at the foot of Braulio Carrillo National Park, virtually untouched and home to over 150-different species of animals. Coronado offers visitors an opportune ability to encounter both the city life and natural wonders of Costa Rica!

 

Volunteers in Costa Rica are situated in a great location to explore local sites. From hip and historic cultural attractions to natural wonders, it is a prime spot for participants seeking a diverse experience. Coronado is famous for its neo-Gothic architecture. Right in the centre of the city lies the most beautiful cathedrals in Costa Rica, San Isidro de Coronado. Outside the city, you can find yourself at a prime location to be at one with nature! From boat tours through the rain forest, to hiking to the Locos Por el Bosque cloud forest reserve, free time never has to be boring! The city’s transportation hub makes it easy to hop-on a cheap bus to many different regions of the country.

 

Our programs in Coronado run from 1-12 weeks, beginning on the first and third Sunday of each month.

PMGY COSTA RICA LOCAL TEAM

PMGY’s volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica program are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams.

 

All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community network provides the structure for your stay with us as a volunteer in Costa Rica. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Whether you are teaching English in schools or working with children, our local team will support you. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy a unique volunteering experience with us in Costa Rica.

ORIENTATION

Your orientation for your volunteer program in Costa Rica will take place on Monday.

 

After a good first night’s rest in Coronado, it’s time to begin your induction into life in Costa Rica. Your day will kick-start with a placement testing that aims to identify your level of Spanish. This test is not to be intimidating, rather to simply ascertain the level of Spanish you are at. This will, in turn, mean that your classes during your first week can be tailored accordingly. There is, therefore, no need to worry or stress on this in advance! After the test, you will learn about the history of the Spanish school and your schedule. During your ‘new student’ introduction, you will meet the team and travel around Coronado.

 

The local team will teach you about life in Costa Rica, the ‘dos and don’ts’, culture and religion. They will spend time talking through the transport system, weekend opportunities, safety advice and all the projects we support within the community. There are lots of cultural activities arranged by the local team that you can get involved in at a low cost. From salsa to cooking classes and visits to nearby waterfalls, there’s something for everyone. If these sound like activities of interest, you can speak to the team about getting these arranged.

 

For the final part of the day, your coordinators will take you to see some important spots in Coronado. Our team will help you locate every essential you may need during your time, such as the ATM and bus-stop! They’ll also be sure to show you the gym and restaurants. If you need to exchange money, there will be a chance for you to do this too. In short, your orientation as a volunteer in Costa Rica will consist of a written and oral Spanish test, a presentation from the local team, your first Spanish lesson and a walking tour of the local area.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO) on Sunday.

 

Your first week as a participant in Costa Rica will see you partake in our learn Spanish in Costa Rica program. During this week no work takes place. As a result, participants begin project work in their second week on day-9 of the volunteer in Costa Rica experience.

 

Should you only join us for a short time in Costa Rica, you may be able to combine volunteering with your learn Spanish in Costa Rica program during your first-week schedule. If this is something of interest, it should be highlighted on your online application. In addition, you will need to discuss this with the local team during your orientation day. Please note this combination is never guaranteed. However, our local team will do their best to accommodate this where possible.

 

Day 1 (Sunday) Arrival

 

Pura Vida and welcome to Costa Rica! You will be met at San Jose airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Participants are advised to note the local team does not work on Sunday. Moreover, the accommodation is more designed for independent living. Should participants need any food or supplies for the rest of the arrival day they will need to plan ahead. Therefore, international participants are advised to withdraw or change a small amount of money at the airport. Finally, you should ask the pickup driver to stop at the supermarket on the drive back to the accommodation.

 

Day 2 (Monday) Orientation

 

Your orientation as a volunteer in Costa Rica will take place on Monday.

 

After a good first night’s rest in Coronado, it’s time to begin your induction into life in Costa Rica. Your day will kick-start with a placement testing that aims to identify your level of Spanish. This test is not to be intimidating, rather to simply ascertain the level of Spanish you are at. This will, in turn, mean that your classes during your first week can be tailored accordingly. There is, therefore, no need to worry or stress on this in advance! After the test, you will learn about the history of the Spanish school and your schedule. During your ‘new student’ introduction, you will meet the team and travel around Coronado.

 

The local team will teach you about life in Costa Rica, the ‘dos and don’ts’, culture and religion. They will spend time talking through the transport system, weekend opportunities, safety advice and all the projects we support within the community. There are lots of cultural activities arranged by the local team that you can get involved in at a low cost. From salsa to cooking classes and visits to nearby waterfalls, there’s something for everyone. If these sound like activities of interest, you can speak to the team about getting these arranged.

 

For the final part of the day, your coordinators will take you to see some important spots in Coronado. Our team will help you locate every essential you may need during your time, such as the ATM and bus-stop! They’ll also be sure to show you the gym and restaurants. If you need to exchange money, there will be a chance for you to do this too. In short, your orientation as a volunteer in Costa Rica will consist of a written and oral Spanish test, a presentation from the local team, your first Spanish lesson and a walking tour of the local area.

 

Days 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) Learn Spanish in Costa Rica Week

 

The time in class will be around 4 hours each morning. In addition to this, there are also cultural activities to get involved in during the afternoon. Activities include salsa classes, Costa Rican fruit tasting and visits to museums. More adventurous activities extend to hiking in the Coronado cloud forest, trips to volcanoes and coffee tasting!

 

Such activities usually run a couple of times each week and change on a weekly basis to keep the variety. Some of the activities may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials. In addition, the activities usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your peers and other Spanish speaking locals. Such an experience allows participants to learn Spanish and the culture of this beautiful country.

 

Days 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!

 

After a week of learning Spanish, it is your time to explore the wonders of Costa Rica. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend surfing by the beach, getting involved in sea turtle conservation, a mesmerizing visit to the cloud forest, some adventure activities in the jungles of Monteverde or Arenal volcano or a more cultural experience locally – Costa Rica has it all! As a volunteer in Costa Rica, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips.

 

Day 9 (Monday) Volunteering Begins

 

You will start volunteer work on Monday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team is only a phone call away. You will see Costa Rica coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School. This is located adjacent to the Volunteer House. The team is always happy to help and hear how your volunteer work in Costa Rica is progressing.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday-Friday. Weekends will be free to travel. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last Day (Saturday)

 

Saturday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many conservation volunteers (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, participants have various layers of support available to them:

 

• Volunteer in Costa Rica Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge participants’ experiences. With the help of feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and volunteer opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international volunteers for their time in Costa Rica. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

WEATHER

Like most tropical destinations, Costa Rica has a dry season and a wet season. Since there are a host of different climates across this small country, the seasons will affect each region differently. The coastal regions typically experience long rainy periods, with high humidity and very hot weather year-round. The highlands are generally much colder and have a mist that forms a cloud-like appearance much of the year. Mid-elevations like San José and Coronado (Central Valley of Costa Rica) are in general cooler than the coast.

 

Visitors typically find Costa Rica to be a warm country, with beautiful weather across the year. The weather in Coronado can be expected to be quite humid, with sunny days and cooler nights. Depending on the region, the weather across the country between May-November can be found to be quite unpredictable. The type of rainfall experienced can vary from heavy and short to lighter and longer. July and August tend to be drier due to the “Veranillo de San Juan” phenomenon. However, during this time, it’s still possible to experience some rain. December-April is the summer season with mostly dry weather. But at the end of the day, it’s the tropics! You should, therefore, ensure that you have brought clothes appropriate for all occasions!

ACCOMMODATION & MEALS

ACCOMMODATION

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the Costa Rica volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in Coronado, a suburb of San Jose. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other participants from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

The accommodation is comfortable and comes with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Participants are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared but have a hot shower and western-style toilet.

 

The house has a communal area for international volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in Costa Rica. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks to store any valuables in your own bags. However, there is a safe in each room for shared storage should you wish to use this. In addition, there will be fridge space available for participants to store any chilled items. The Volunteer House has a laundry room on-site. Consequently, you can do all your own washing equipped with washers and dryers!

 

Participants are a short walk from the centre of Coronado. As a result, many restaurants, supermarkets and volunteer projects are nearby! The residence accommodation is in a compound that comes with 24 hour security. Moreover, there is a digital keypad to open and close the front gates. This is to ensure that participants are safe. There are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. To sum up, the accommodation setup offers participants a unique experience. That is, you get the opportunity to live with other participants as well as an independent living environment.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) on the volunteer in Costa Rica program, you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

During your volunteer trip to Costa Rica, meals are not included. However, there is a food truck that comes to the residence Monday-Friday. Moreover, the truck is packed with sandwiches, local meals, Caribbean dishes and yummy desserts.

 

The food truck ensures that even if you aren’t quite the chef your fellow participants may be, you can still eat well. As a result, you will feel full whether you are learning the Spanish language or making a positive impact on the volunteer project! In addition, if you like something specific you can even ask for them to bring it the next day.

 

From time to time, the Spanish school will host a cuisine night to teach you how to make Costa Rican dishes. These are free to join. Your dinner will be some of the best-prepared food. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can try your very own Latin American cuisine!

 

Local supermarkets are within walking distance of the accommodation. On the weekends, there is a local farmers market that participants love to visit. This is located just a few blocks from the Volunteer House.

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Transport to and from your volunteer project is not included in your Program Fee. As a volunteer in Costa Rica, transport to your project will be by local bus routes or walking. The bus stop is located just outside the accommodation and Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

VOLUNTEER IN COSTA RICA REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome participants of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. All participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. We recommend that volunteers in Costa Rica speak a basic to intermediate level of Spanish. Participants engaging in volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica are only required to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level will greatly enhance your overall experience. English is generally not widely. Consequently, if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish, you may find it difficult to communicate. This may make your experience on the volunteer programs in Costa Rica frustrating.

 

All participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation!

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join our volunteer projects overseas.