Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica

Have you ever wanted to explore South America and actively become an important part of the culture and nature of that region? Volunteering in Costa Rica can be a very rewarding and adventurous way to achieve these aims.

With several opportunities to help the people there and aid the natural wildlife as well, you are sure to find a way to help that suits your interests.

There are many programs intended to improve the education of its people in order to make up for major losses it has had in its two main resources; tourism and export trade. Issues such as child labor, elderly abandonment and increasingly widespread unemployment, raise the need for these programs in various parts of the country.

Are There Any Requirements for Volunteers?
Not for most volunteer jobs. As long as you are at least 16 years of age and have a real interest in helping the causes you volunteer for you will be more than welcome if you want to get involved. If you want to help with medical programs however, you will need to be at least a 3rd year medical student and have intermediate Spanish language skills to offer assistance.

What Sort of Volunteer Work is Available?

Saving the Turtles: This is a great opportunity for volunteers inclined towards environmental conservation and animal protection. In this capacity, you will be taking care of the Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles of the region and learning about the delicate eco system there as well. Both species are under threat from various changes in their environment such as overharvesting of the eggs, being hunted for their meat and leather (the leatherback has a “shell” which is actually skin), beach overdevelopment, pollution and fishing operations. This is a very involved and hard working volunteer role; you will be patrolling the beach at night, taking care of nests, noting the number of eggs and the number of turtles which return.

Environmental and Conservation Education: Building and maintaining national park paths; assisting tourists and making sure the information along the trails is accurate and helpful; studying and recording information about plants and teaching local communities about the environment and recycling.

Education and Childcare: This involves helping with education in the region and helping child care facilities with things such as play, games and food. There are also programs that help to teach tourists and locals about the culture and environment of the region.

Healthcare: This involves helping with the disabled, the ill and the elderly with healthcare and doing everyday tasks. The level of involvement you’ll have depends on your medical education level and ability to speak the Spanish language fluently.

Programs for the Younger Volunteer: Younger volunteers can help with schools in San Jose, environmental conservation in the rural areas or working in a bird conservatory.