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Volunteer and Intern in Costa Rica

Map of volunteer placements in Heredia, Costa Rica with Projects Abroad
Volunteer Costa Rica Rainbow-billed Toucan at at a bird sanctuary near Heredia, Costa Rica Projects Abroad volunteer reads fairytales with a child while on a care project in Costa Rica Care volunteer plays with child while working on a project in Costa Rica Conservation volunteers and staff carry saplings in Barra Honda
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  • Location: Heredia, Barra Honda National Park
  • Accommodation: Host families
  • Local languages: Spanish
Country Info

While Costa Rica is the most stable and well-developed country in Central America, it is still very much a developing country, especially when you travel inland, away from tourist areas. Joining a Projects Abroad volunteer project or internship will give you the chance to make a difference in developing communities. Whether you on a gap year, a summer abroad, or a career break, you will have a crucial role to play in the lives of the needy.

Costa Ricans – commonly called Ticos – are well known for their friendly hospitality. For over 60 years Costa Rica has been without an army and, unlike many neighboring countries, peace and stability has lasted. Costa Rica has a strong tourist industry based on eco-tourism and water sports, and time and effort has been dedicated to sustaining the wildlife and improving the standards of living.

While Costa Rica now leads the way in terms of ecotourism, many Costa Ricans still live in very basic conditions. The growth of tourism in the country has led to an increased demand for English speakers. Volunteers can have a meaningful impact in Costa Rica, whether you are helping youth have a brighter future though Care or Teaching Projects, or preserving the environment for future generation by working at a national park.

Staff Profile Luis Arguedas, Country Director
Luis Arguedas
Country Director
“Working for Projects Abroad is a chance for me to relate with people of different cultures and ideas and to be able to show the natural beauty of my country. I hope that you choose Costa Rica as your destination. Although tourism plays a huge role in Costa Rica’s economy, few visitors get to experience Costa Rica the way our volunteers do. We are very proud to be one of, if not the, leading organization that works with national parks in Costa Rica, in addition to our other work throughout the country. I am sure that in addition to your work you will have a great time enjoying the warm weather, great scenery, and sandy beaches that this country has to offer.”

Where You Will Live in Costa Rica with Projects Abroad

Costa Rican students with a Projects Abroad volunteer.

Projects Abroad in Costa Rica offers opportunities to volunteer and intern in a variety of fields. These projects are based in or around the lively university city of Heredia, where the Projects Abroad office is based. We also have a Conservation & Environment Project where volunteers are based in Barra Honda National Park, about four hours from Costa Rica's capital, San Jose.

In Heredia, you’ll live with a local host family who will make sure you have a great experience in their hometown. Most host families and staff you will be working with at your work placement will not speak much English, making Costa Rica the ideal destination to improve your Spanish skills, or start learning the language. Of course, English-speaking Projects Abroad staff will always be available to help with any communication issues you might have along the way.

Did you know? Costa Ricans say hello & goodbye by telling each other ‘Pura Vida’, which means ‘Pure Life’.

At the Conservation & Environment Project, volunteers are involved in a wide variety of work including studies of mammals and butterflies within the park, trail maintenance, and maintaining the numerous caves for which the park is famous.

The international volunteer projects we offer in Costa Rica allow you to experience the true essence of this beautiful country and give you a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in Costa Rican community life.

Travel and Sightseeing Opportunities in Costa Rica

Mountain in the middle of the jungle in Costa Rica, Central America

Volunteers and interns living in Heredia are situated in the heart of Costa Rica’s coffee-growing country, the Central Valley. With its large student population and close proximity to the exciting capital city of San Jose, Heredia has an active cultural and social scene and has plenty to offer to keep you entertained. Its central location means that Heredia is perfectly placed for exploring the rest of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a rugged and mountainous place with numerous national parks, tropical rainforests, waterfalls, sandy beaches, and volcanoes. From Heredia you can easily take day trips to the impressive Poas and Irazu volcanoes. Numerous other popular tourist destinations, such as Arenal volcano and Monteverde cloud forest, are only a few hours bus ride away.

But you’re never too far from the coast in Costa Rica. You’ll be spoiled with choices for the number of idyllic beaches to go to and will have plenty of chances for water based activities like surfing, swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving in your time off on both the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines.

Projects for All Ages in Costa Rica

High School Specials for Teens in Costa Rica

Alternative Spring Break Trips for University Students in Costa Rica

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