• 0161 870 6212
  • 1.413.517.0266

Why Volunteer in Costa Rica

An abundance of natural beauty, the famously laid-back Pura Vida lifestyle, and a choice of every adventure activity imaginable are some reasons why traveling to Costa Rica just makes sense. However, some of the best things this country has to offer are the volunteer opportunities.

A volunteer in Costa Rica could combat poverty through education, help sea turtle hatchlings journey to the ocean, study the most biodiverse areas on the planet, or see some of the most successful sustainable development models in the world. Knowing all you could do as a Costa Rica volunteer, you might ask why go to Costa Rica for any other reason.

In this blog, we’ll unpack all the top reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica to give you an idea of what makes Costa Rica such an exciting volunteer destination. We’ll answer questions like how is the volunteer work in Costa Rica, are there benefits for local communities, how it benefits you, and how to volunteer in Costa Rica.

8 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer In Costa Rica

Why volunteer in Costa Rica? For the same reasons you’d volunteer anywhere: to contribute to important projects while experiencing unique travel opportunities to live and work alongside local communities, build deep connections, and immerse yourself in their ways of life.

Why Costa Rica? As a global leader in their commitment to the UN SDGs, Costa Rica holds a wealth of exciting, impactful projects for you to get involved with. A volunteer in Costa Rica gets to join teams of world experts and partake in vital work for meaningful causes like conservation and community development.

Of course, there are incredible things to do in your downtime as a volunteer in Costa Rica too. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica to unpack.

Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

1. Be A Part Of The Green Revolution

One of the best reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica is to learn more about sustainable development. Costa Rica is a global leader in terms of sustainability and environmental conservation. If you’re looking for volunteer programs contributing to the UN SDGs, this country is a fantastic choice of destination.

Volunteering here means engaging in projects that have a lasting impact on preserving the country’s rich biodiversity while supporting the livelihoods of local communities. You might work on reforestation efforts, participate in wildlife conservation programs, or community-based initiatives that promote eco-friendly farming practices.

A Costa Rica volunteer gets to see some of the most effective models for sustainable development at work and become part of a worldwide movement working towards a fairer, greener world.

2. Embrace The “Pura Vida” Lifestyle

The mantra “Pura Vida,” which translates to “pure life,” is part of the famous Costa Rican philosophy that emphasizes gratitude, simplicity, and joy. As a volunteer in Costa Rica, you’ll experience this laid-back way of life firsthand and learn to appreciate life’s simple pleasures.

One of the greatest aspects of volunteering abroad is the way volunteers get to live and work alongside locals and truly integrate with communities. This cultural immersion can lead to lasting changes in how you approach life.

So, how is volunteer work in Costa Rica going to benefit you? You could learn to lead a relaxed pace of daily life, reduce stress, and help you adopt a more balanced and contented outlook.

3. Explore A Natural Paradise

Ask most, ‘Why travel to Costa Rica?’ and they’ll say, for the natural beauty. Costa Rica is a treasure trove for a nature enthusiast. The country’s diverse landscapes include beaches, rainforests, volcanoes, mountain ranges, and more. The country also holds some global hotspots for biodiversity, so you’ll see an incredible cast of creatures as you explore.

Imagine waking up to the sound of howler monkeys in the cloud forests of Monteverde, snorkeling with colorful fish in the clear waters of Cahuita National Park, or witnessing the Arenal Volcano as it looms over the surrounding jungle.

Volunteering here lets you work in some of the most beautiful and ecologically significant places on Earth. Your program might have you studying rainforest ecosystems or helping to save the sea turtles. Not only do you get to experience these natural wonders up close, you can help to preserve them for future generations.

a turtle under the sea

4. Speak Like A Local

Why go to Costa Rica? Immersing yourself in a Spanish-speaking country is one of the best ways to learn the language. Going to volunteer and learn Spanish in Costa Rica will push you to practice the language daily. You’ll see significant improvements in your Spanish skills over the length of your stay.

Many volunteer programs even offer language classes, making it easier to improve your proficiency while making a meaningful contribution — all of Kaya’s Costa Rica programs do. So, whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to refine your skills, this immersive experience will enhance your language abilities significantly.

5. Boost Your Resume With Real-World Experience

Volunteering in Costa Rica isn’t just about what you can give, there’s a lot you stand to gain from the experience too. How is the volunteer work in Costa Rica going to benefit you beyond a laid-back lifestyle? One of the first reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica is for professional and academic development.

Whether you’re looking for your next job or hoping to secure your place at college, volunteering abroad can do a lot to enhance your resume. To an employer, these experiences communicate independence, social conscience, global awareness, and a belief in your ability to make a difference in the world.

Volunteering also develops soft skills like adaptability, problem-solving, and cross-cultural communication. These are highly valued by employers and will be invaluable in both your career and personal endeavors.

6. Make Lifelong Connections

Volunteering abroad is always a great way to build strong connections with the people you meet, both the locals and your fellow volunteers. There’s no reason why Costa Rica would be any different.

You’ll work alongside locals, sharing their daily routines and traditions, and gaining a deep appreciation for their culture. Similarly, as you experience the highs and lows of being a volunteer in Costa Rica, you and other international volunteers will forge strong bonds.

This cultural exchange is enriching and provides a deeper, more authentic travel experience than typical tourism and offers the best experience of the vibrant culture and warm-hearted spirit of Costa Rica.

7. Thrill-Seeker’s Dream

For the thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, Costa Rica offers a wealth of activities to keep your heart pumping. When you’re not volunteering, there’s no shortage of opportunities to do things.

From zip-lining through the jungle canopy in Monteverde to surfing world-class waves in Tamarindo, white-water rafting down the Pacuare River, and hiking through the rugged terrain of Corcovado National Park, the country offers endless possibilities for outdoor enthusiasts. This combination of meaningful work and exhilarating fun makes for an unforgettable volunteer experience.

a woman cliff jumping in Costa Rica

8. Learn and Grow

Above all else, one of the best reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica is for personal growth and self-discovery. The people you meet, the things you learn, and the challenges you face will help you develop resilience, confidence, and a broader worldview.

Immersing yourself in any new culture and environment pushes you out of your comfort zone, and Costa Rica is the perfect place to do just that. The skills and perspectives you acquire will shape you into a more adaptable, empathetic, and resourceful individual, enriching your life long after your volunteer experience ends.

How To Volunteer In Costa Rica

1. Plan

Think about what you’re passionate about and what you hope to achieve by volunteering. Look into various programs that offer opportunities in conservation, education, and community work. It’s important to critically assess the programs and organizations you intend to volunteer with. Ask questions like:

  • What are the goals of this organization and how is their progress measured?
  • How efforts are made to engage with local communities and how do locals feel their presence?
  • How does the organization support its volunteers in their practice of ethically responsible travel?

2. Pick

Select a program that provides you with the volunteer opportunities you’re interested in. If you need help deciding between programs, consider consulting friends and family (or get in touch with us for some expert advice). You’ll want to be certain of your decision, so look at reviews and feedback from past interns to get the full picture of what to expect.

3. Prepare

Book your flights, pack for the tropical weather, and get ready for an adventure. Since a big reason for going to Costa Rica for a lot of people is to volunteer and learn Spanish in Costa Rica, it’s a great idea to brush up on some basic Spanish. This will also help you connect with locals. Finally, take some time to reflect inwardly and prepare your expectations. You’ll face many challenges along your trip and maintaining your positivity will be essential.

Embrace The Pura Vida Lifestyle And Start Your Journey Today!

Why volunteer in Costa Rica? The reasons to volunteer in Costa Rica include a unique blend of meaningful work, cultural immersion, and a real sense of adventure. It’s an opportunity to make a difference while experiencing one of the world’s most beautiful and biodiverse countries and exploring truly stunning natural settings.
Whether you’re passionate about sustainability, eager to learn Spanish, or simply looking for a new adventure, Costa Rica has something to offer every volunteer. Get an idea of what’s available and look through our volunteer programs in Costa Rica.

Browse All Of Our Volunteer Opportunities In Costa Rica

This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge

Hope you found this blog interesting. To hear more about the projects that we offer please connect with one of our advisors using the chat now button, or feel free to request a brochure using the button opposite.


8 Best Places to Volunteer Abroad This Year

To volunteer abroad is an enriching experience that goes beyond just travel. It provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in new cultures, gain unique perspectives, and contribute to communities in need. Whether you're looking to enhance your personal growth,...

5 Benefits Of Internships For College Students

For college students, looking to further their careers, internships are crucial because of the many benefits they provide outside of the traditional academic setting. But is doing an internship worth it, considering the time and energy it requires? Yes! Programs like...

Celebrating Pride Month

With human rights at the heart of our mission, the Kaya team is proud to support our LGBTQI+ community in a celebration of Pride Month, this June. LGBTQI+ Pride Month is celebrated every June in the United States and across many other countries. Pride month is in...

Internship Awareness Month Special Offer – Claim $150 off ANY Kaya Placement before April 30th

In celebration of Internship Awareness Month, now through April 30th we're offering $150 off all placements 6 weeks or longer in 2024.How to claim your discount It's SUPER easy. All you have to do is find one of our internship or volunteer placements that matches up...

Featured Participant Story: Namibia

Elephant & Community Water Access Volunteering in Namibia In 2021, I was fortunate enough to participate on a program with Kaya Responsible Travel, working with a nonprofit that tracks elephant activity along the Ugab River in Namibia, Africa. Since I was young, I...

Kaya Intern, Emma, Featured in Popular Vietnamese Podcast

This past summer, one of our NGO marketing interns in Vietnam was featured on a popular Vietnamese podcast discussing her internship and time abroad!Emma Discusses Mental Health, Marketing Internship, and Her Time in Vietnam One of Kaya’s Interns recently had the...