A Projects Abroad volunteer gets shown around a local market after his arrival in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Arrival Procedures

Airport pickup, flights, and visas for your trip to Costa Rica

We have all the information you need to know for your trip, from helping with visa queries to walking you through a placement induction on your first day in Costa Rica. Our hassle-free approach means you can concentrate on what really matters, making a difference at your placement.

Arrival airport and pickup in Costa Rica

Your arrival airport in Costa Rica will be Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). Our in-country staff will be there to greet you at the airport. They’ll be holding a Projects Abroad sign so you can spot them easily.


From the airport, our staff will arrange your transport to your accommodation. If you’re joining a project in Heredia, a staff member will accompany you by taxi and make sure you’re comfortable and settled in when they drop you with your host family. This drive should take around 20 minutes, depending on traffic.


If you’re joining our Conservation Project, you’ll likely spend your first night in a hotel. The following day, local staff will take you to the bus station. From there, you’ll catch a bus to our Conservation placement in Barra Honda National Park. The bus ride will take approximately four hours. Our Conservation staff will be waiting to welcome at the end of your bus journey.


We cover the cost of your transport to and from the airport, giving you one less thing to worry about when you arrive in Costa Rica.

Booking your flights to Costa Rica with us

Projects Abroad has over 20 years of experience arranging flights for thousands of volunteers around the world. Searching for flights online can be a time-consuming, overwhelming, and frustrating process. Let us do the work for you!


We can help you book the best return flights, making sure you have the safest, most convenient, and cost-effective flight options, no matter how complex your travel plans. Find out more about booking your flights through us.

Visas requirements for your volunteer project or internship in Costa Rica

One of the perks of volunteering with us is the visa guidance we give you. We have a dedicated visa team who have up-to-date information on visa requirements for all of our destinations around the world. You can get in touch with us if you have any visa queries, big or small, and we will talk you through the process. Once you apply, you’ll also get a link to your own MyProjectsAbroad webpage, which will include all the necessary visa information.

Your induction and orientation in Costa Rica

On your first full working day in Costa Rica, you’ll have your country induction. Your Projects Abroad Coordinator will pick you up from you host family to show you around the surrounding areas. Your first stop will be the Projects Abroad office. Here, you’ll get to learn more about the different projects we run in Costa Rica.


A staff member will also walk you through your project handbook. You’ll receive an induction pack containing important information that you can refer to throughout your trip. This includes things like a map of the town with important places highlighted and Projects Abroad staff contact information.


Your coordinator will then show you around Heredia. You’ll visit important landmarks and amenities, like internet cafes, the post office, and exchange bureaus.


Navigating public transport in a foreign country can be tricky. Your coordinator will take the time to show you how the bus system works. Many volunteers take the bus to work during the week, so it’s helpful to have your coordinator there to show you which bus to catch.


If you live close enough, you’ll walk to your placement each day. Your coordinator will show you the best route to take, so you can feel confident making your way to your placement each day. Projects Abroad covers all necessary work-related transport costs.

Your first day at your volunteer or internship placement in Costa Rica

We understand that you’ll be nervous on your first day at your placement. It takes time for you to find your feet and figure out exactly how your work fits in. That’s why we set aside your first full day for your project orientation.


You’ll spend your first day meeting local staff and the other volunteers already on the project. You supervisor will explain your role at the placement and give you an idea of what’s expected of you. They’ll also show you around so you know where everything is.


We ensure that you get a proper introduction to your placement before starting your work. This means you’ll feel confident to start making a difference on your second day when your real work begins.

Support, safety, and backup

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.


Find out more about safety and backup.