VOLUNTEER WORK COSTA RICA
Sustainability and environmental protection are close to your heart and you would like to bring these topics closer to a community in a tropical paradise in Costa Rica? You are interested in organic farming and would like to learn something in this area? In our Environmental Education Program you can make a big difference as a volunteer! Our partner organization helps families and children in the remote Drake Bay region to shape their lives sustainably by promoting their environmental education.
You and the organization’s team will teach local families how to grow their own local fruits and vegetables in an all-organic way. Beds are built and compost is made. The exciting thing is that you apply your knowledge directly with the families and thus come into close contact with the culture of the country. And along the way you learn a lot of new things about permaculture and sustainable cultivation. For the children of the village there are also the Environmental Groups, where you teach them about nature conservation in a creative and playful way and organize cool workshops.
Type of program
Drake Bay, Costa Rica
approx. 6 hours, 5 days
Every 1st Saturday of the month
Spanish (Good basic knowledge)
Close to nature
In the rainforest, village and beach within walking distance
Shared room with other volunteers
English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Mobile Internet with SIM card from WanderWorld Travel
From 1.480,00 €
Type of program: Environmental Education
Program location: Drake Bay, Costa Rica
Working time: approx. 6 hours, 5 days
Program start: Every 1st Saturday of the month
Duration: 1-6 months
Minimum age: 18 years
Language: Spanish (good basic knowledge)
Requirements: Close to nature
Location: In the rainforest, village and beach within walking distance
Accommodation: Shared room with other volunteers
Support: English-speaking contact person via WhatsApp
Internet: SIM card from WanderWorld and Wlan
Price: from 1.480,00 €
The fascinating region of the Corcovado National Park and the dreamlike beaches attract more and more tourists to the remote places of the Osa Peninsula in the last years. Nevertheless, the region is not widely developed, there are hardly any fixed roads and infrastructure, and besides work in tourism or fishing, there is a lack of prospects for the locals. The people receive little support from the state and are dependent on mutual aid. For this reason, our partner organization was founded 18 years ago, which is committed to many concerns of the local communities. In doing so, it not only supports the locals, but also fights for Costa Rica’s nature conservation in order to preserve the dreamlike and species-rich nature for future generations. To this end, the non-profit organization has launched various projects that harmonize the interaction between people and nature in order to strengthen the region and protect it at the same time.
A matter close to the heart of the project is the environmental education of the community. Due to a lack of school education and few jobs, many families are dependent on providing for themselves without much income. The staff and volunteers help about 30 families to grow their own food in a sustainable and ecological way. They want to provide them with the necessary knowledge about agriculture and especially educate them about cultivation without chemicals and fertilizers. The goal is to convince them with the arguments that organic farming is many times more productive. The volunteers are trained by the staff during the first week of the program and receive lessons on permaculture and organic farming so that they can apply their newly acquired knowledge directly with the families. The exciting thing is to put the theory directly into practice and learn a lot of new things at the same time. The families gratefully accept the help and in this way can grow their own food in the long term.
There are four environmental education groups for the children. Here, the young people are educated in a playful way about the topics of climate change, nature conservation and sustainability, mixed with recreational care and lots of fun. For the groups there are weekly lessons, joint activities and workshops organized by the staff and volunteers. The organization has already allowed more than 500 children to participate in the groups and 2000 students have received environmental education presentations in their schools.
In addition to environmental education, there are also many social community projects. The staff and volunteers help with the development of the deficient infrastructure, maintenance of schools and community centers or beautification of the village around Drake Bay. Collected donations are also used to finance food for needy people and food for street dogs and cats. During the Corona pandemic, donated care packages have already been delivered 7 times to many families and senior citizens.
In addition, environmental protection actions, such as beach clean-ups or festivals, take place regularly. In the remote region, no garbage collection picks up the garbage, so many inhabitants have simply burned their garbage until now. Therefore, the project is very successful in taking care of a nature-friendly waste disposal and recycling. Through the actions and environmental education, 25 small businesses and stores in Drake have already been able to greatly reduce their plastic waste and actively participate in recycling.
As a volunteer, you can also explore the plant and animal life. The Junior Ranger Project takes you out into the rainforest to observe animals and plants, collect paw prints, and set up and evaluate wildlife cameras. Together with children and young people, deforested areas of the rainforest are also replanted and thus returned to nature.
As a volunteer you can make a big difference here and be part of a group of people trying to support each other and make the world a better place.
The organization is extremely diverse and is involved in many areas. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to get involved based on your interests and skills. The following areas need your support:
Permaculture and organic farming.
Are you interested in food cultivation? Then this is the right place for you! At the beginning of the program you will receive a detailed introduction to permaculture and organic food cultivation and learn a lot of new things about it. You will then pass on your knowledge directly to the families of the communities and put it into practice. Your main task will be to accompany several families and help them build beds, greenhouses and plants. Get your hands dirty planting, sowing, weeding and harvesting beans, peppers, potatoes, corn, cilantro, chilies, tropical fruits and vegetables and experience what a difference you can make in a short time. To avoid using chemical fertilizers, you’ll help produce natural compost. Of course, you won’t be alone in this. A family is always supported by a whole team of project workers and volunteers. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the daily life of a Costa Rican family and get close to the culture.
Environmental Education for Children.
Children in the community need your support too! Get involved in the kids’ after-school program, where there are few recreational activities for young people. In the weekly environmental groups, you will supervise the children and young people and educate them creatively and playfully about important topics such as climate change and environmental protection. You can plan and accompany activities together with the staff, such as camping in nature, hiking, sports and games. Every week there will also be a workshop for the children, depending on your own skills you can for example teach English, do yoga, dance or handicrafts. There are no limits to your creativity.
Support for environmental projects.
Do you have great organizational skills and a passion for nature conservation? Then get involved in organizing beach clean-ups, festivals and other activities. You are welcome to bring in new ideas and help with the organization. Also, be involved in reforestation of deforested areas – here you can plant trees and get to know the tropical rainforest.
Social Community Projects.
Help the team maintain and beautify the village. In the past, walls have been colorfully decorated, park benches have been built, and the soccer field has been redesigned. You can take donated food to elderly people’s homes, visit nursing homes or feed the street dogs and cats.
Observe animals in the rainforest. With the Junior Ragners Group, you can explore the breathtaking nature of Corcovado Park. For example, help set up and evaluate wildlife cameras and identify the species of animals in the jungle.
Drake Bay is located deep in the wild south of Costa Rica on the west side of the Osa Peninsula. Drake is the starting point for explorations of Corcovado National Park and attracts adventurers and nature lovers from all over the world, who find breathtaking landscapes, deep jungle, secluded beaches and the greatest biodiversity in the country. The park is home to many endangered plant and animal species that are already extinct in other parts of the country, such as the tapir. Drake is still considered a real insider tip, which is probably due to the great distance from the capital and the difficult accessibility, but more and more travelers come to paradise every year. Accordingly, there are several hostels and hotels, as well as restaurants, bars and small supermarkets. You won’t get bored there for sure, in the tropical nature you can do many activities in the sea as well as out of the water, like surfing, diving, swimming, kayaking, hiking, watching animals or exploring waterfalls. Or just spend your free time relaxing under palm trees on the numerous dream beaches.
The bay owes its name to Sir Francis Drake, who used it as a starting point for his raids on the Spanish fleet in the 16th century. Legend has it that one of the British pirate’s legendary hidden treasures can still be found here today.
You do not need any special prerequisites for this project. You should be interested in environmental protection and sustainability and enjoy working with people. You should also be motivated to learn many new things and to get involved in the various tasks. Reliability, the ability to work in a team and openness towards a new culture and other people from all over the world are very important for participation.
The national language in Costa Rica is Spanish. You will be dealing with many locals who have little to no knowledge of English. A good basic knowledge of the Spanish language is therefore essential. You are welcome to take part in a language course organized by us on site and also take lessons with a private teacher during the project.
The project runs its own small hostel where volunteers from all over the world live together. You will share a shared room and bathroom with your colleagues and guests of the hostel. For an extra charge, accommodation in a single room with shared bathroom is also possible. The hostel is very cozy and furnished with attention to detail. It is also very quiet and close to nature, you have the rainforest virtually on your doorstep. The warm owner of the hostel takes care of everything and cooks delicious Costa Rican food three times a day. The meals are included in the price, if you have time and want, you can help her cooking and learn traditional recipes. Vegetarian or vegan meals are also available upon request. There are also washing machines available at the hostel so you can do your laundry on site. The hostel has many common areas, such as a large dining area with tables, chairs and hammocks, as well as a bar and a yoga deck. Nearby there is a river for swimming and cooling off. In your free time you will definitely not be bored, the hostel and the international volunteers organize many joint activities, such as salsa dancing, cooking classes, night hikes, tours or even a talent show. There are also two small supermarkets near the accommodation.
YOUR CONTACT PERSON IN COSTA RICA
Lisa is German and emigrated to Costa Rica with her Costa Rican husband. Before that, she has visited the country a few times and therefore already knows very well about the culture, traditions and local conditions. After falling in love with the country and its people, she decided to live where others vacation. She speaks fluent Spanish as well as German and English. Lisa will be happy to welcome you in San José with her warm and funny nature and is eager to introduce you to her beautiful adopted country. As your local contact person, she will answer all your questions and you can always approach her if you need help. Lisa will take care of you during the introductory meeting in San José. For questions of any kind during your stay in Latin America, an English-speaking contact person is available via WhatsApp in the same time zone.
“At first I wondered about the saying ‘pura vida,’ but I’ve since come to understand that it’s a way of life. It’s the attitude with which you get up in the morning, with which you greet strangers in your country and take life as it comes.”