Field report


For me, it feels like my second family and I am very grateful for the way I have been welcomed here. I have made so many new friends who have made Tamarindo a second home for me.

December 2022 - March 2023
Our participant Liane

Liane spent three unforgettable months at the surf camp in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Once she had settled in and got to know everything, she didn't want to leave the place. Above all, the people she got to know made her time so special. That's why she decided to stay in Tamarindo even longer and also travel to Nicaragua and Panama.


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My preparation time

I always wanted to get to know the culture and people as well as the diverse nature of Latin America. I booked my trip about 9 months in advance. The most exciting part of my preparation time was both the moment I booked my trip and the online preparation seminar with WanderWorld. In this online seminar, I had the chance to get to know other participants and clarify any remaining questions. From then on, the anticipation was huge! WanderWorld gave me great support in organizing my trip. If I had any questions about flights, travel, etc., I always got a quick, helpful answer.
Of course, I was really excited before my trip. But when the day of departure came, I was a little overcome with emotion. Was it really the right decision to go away alone? Will I like it? Will I be too homesick? So many questions and doubts went through my head. But again, I think that's more than normal. (Spoiler: none of these doubts were confirmed in the end). When I sat next to a very friendly local from San José on the plane to Costa Rica, who raved about his country and gave me tips for my trip, the anticipation and excitement returned.

The first days

The first few days of my arrival were very exciting for me and full of new impressions, but also exhausting. Jet lag, only unknown people around me, sleeping in a shared room with strangers for the first time, a foreign city, etc.. But I really enjoyed the introductory day. Lisa gave us a city tour including local food and tips for the rest of our trip. Getting to know the other volunteers was also a really nice experience. We all got on really well and had a great first few days.
The next day, me and another participant took the bus for almost 8 hours to Tamarindo to our project. We got on very well straight away, which made the long bus journey bearable.
Up to that point, I had never been outside Europe and I could never imagine the word "culture shock". Now I do. By the time I had fully settled in, half of my project was already over. From then on, however, things only went upwards. I learned a lot about myself during this acclimatization period and grew a lot personally. My tip at this point: don't stress, everything will be fine. Be open to new things and try to get to know new people as quickly as possible 🙂

A day at the surf camp project

My work in the project consisted of looking after the guests in the hotel on the one hand and working in the associated surf store on the other. Here we were responsible for renting out surfboards, booking surf lessons and keeping the store clean and tidy at all times. We also helped out as instructors in the surf lessons as required. As I already had experience of working in a surf school, the work itself wasn't really new to me. What I did learn, however, was that the working methods in Germany and other countries are very different. But you also have to keep an open mind and try to learn as much as you can.

My experience with culture

It was definitely the people who made my stay in Latin America so special. I learned from the local people how to deal with stressful situations in a more relaxed way, how to stay positive and how to make do with less than you are used to from the luxuries at home.
For most people here, life is not always as easy and luxurious as it is for us in Germany. Nevertheless, they all love their country, nature and culture. Because I spent a very long time in the same place, I was able to get to know the people well and understand their mentality. "Pura Vida" is Costa Rica's motto and this is also lived here. However, Pura Vida is not the same as "high-life". In my experience, pura vida is much more about enjoying and appreciating every moment, as you never know what tomorrow will bring.
I always felt very safe overall and think that the many negative things that are said about Latin America in terms of security, conflicts, poverty, drugs, etc. are just prejudices. But life here is different from my small village back home in Germany and people have different problems that are solved differently than I am used to.

My favorite place

My trip to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica financed me a lot, as I was able to see a lot of the country's beautiful nature.
From Tamarindo, it is not far to Nicaragua, where I stayed for almost a month after the project. There, too, I was able to get to know many people whose attitude to life inspired and fascinated me.
When my project at the surf school had already ended two months ago, I still stayed in Tamarindo and work as a surf instructor and live with local friends in the neighboring village. For me, it feels like my second family and I am very grateful for the way I was welcomed here. I have made so many new friends who have made Tamarindo a second home for me.

My accommodation

During my work in the project, I lived in the dorm of the associated hotel. The dorm is very luxurious and offers space for a total of 8 people. Even though sleeping in a shared room is perhaps not always as relaxing as at home in your own bed, I felt very comfortable there overall. The hotel also had a very well-equipped kitchen and a chill-out area. We enjoyed cooking, talking and laughing together there.

Why I love Latin America

I love Latin America for its nature and culture. In general, I have the feeling that culture is lived much more here than in Germany. The people here are proud to come from Costa Rica, for example, love their country and appreciate its nature.

How the trip changed me

The trip definitely broadened my horizons. I was able to look at my life at home from a different perspective and also get to know other ways of life. As a result, I was able to determine which things I would like to keep at home and also what I no longer want to do. I had the chance to question things. Above all, the people here have taught me to question whether I really need what I have at home or whether I could be happier with less.
I have the feeling that I have been able to strengthen my views and my character much more as a result of my trip. I'm no longer unsettled by new situations, I've become more self-confident and, above all, I've been able to develop in my dealings with other people. I'm proud of that 🙂

My tips for future participants

You should definitely be interested in surfing. I could surf before, but Tamarindo is a perfect spot to learn. It's important to be open, listen to people and respect them for who they are, even if a lot of things are simply different to what you're used to. It's also important not to be too shy. Say what you think, what you like or don't like and above all: approach people on your own and talk to them. That's how you get to know lots of interesting people 🙂
Knowledge of Spanish is not necessary, but definitely helpful. The locals on site will definitely appreciate it if you try to speak at least a little Spanish and will be happy to help you learn.
Conclusion: It is normal to have positive and negative experiences. I would recommend traveling to Latin America to anyone. I've only been to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama myself, but these three countries impressed me so much that I definitely want to visit more. I would like to travel to South America (Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, etc.) in the future.

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Sophia, founder of Wanderworld Travel

Lisa, Coordinator & Participant Support 

Amanda, Support and advice before departure


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