About the Program
The mission of this program is to contribute to the children of Costa Rica, to promote education and to ensure their proper physical, emotional, and social development. The early childhood centres on this program provide care and education for 20 to 40 local children, aged 3 to 6 years old, and provide a place where the children of working-class parents can have a place to be educated, have friends, and to feel comfortable. Some of the children also come from single parent families who would struggle without the help and assistance provided by these day care facilities. The children attending these projects require a lot of care, attention and most importantly, companionship. Volunteers in Costa Rica spend their time caring for the children, helping with their schoolwork, playing games and arranging fun activities during leisure time, like sports or art. Attention and companionship is what the children in these projects need the most, and the attendance of international volunteers is always a highlight for them.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide childcare to vulnerable children in Santa Barbara de Heredia (20min from downtown San Jose)
- Improve the future prospects of the children of Costa Rica
- Allow impoverished families to place their children in childcare programs and allow them to work
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both students and international volunteers alike.
How You Can Help
Volunteers play an essential role in helping families in Costa Rica through this program. Participants will spend their time taking care of children and assist the local staff as needed. Volunteers will work Monday to Friday for at least 4 to 6 hours per day.
Volunteers spend their time assisting the local teacher with daily activities, and will spend time teaching and playing with the children. They will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Helping to teach children
- Attending to and interacting with the children
- Creating activities and entertaining the children with games and songs
- Teaching basic English, hygiene, and spiritual values
- Help with kitchen and other duties where required
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to assist in the ongoing support and development of marginalized and at-risk children of Costa Rica. This highly interactive and varied project does not require participants to have a background in the field of childcare, as there are many ways you can assist. However, volunteers with suitable education, qualifications or experience are highly sought after. Regardless, a volunteer’s individual role can often be tailored to suit their particular skills and interests. Volunteers on this project will need an understanding of Spanish in order to communicate effectively. Importantly, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Our programs in Costa Rica are mainly based in Santa Barbara de Heredia which is approximately 40 minutes outside the centre of San Jose. Santa Bárbara is the name of the fourth canton in the province of Heredia in Costa Rica and is located around four miles northeast of the city of Alajuela and six miles (10 km) northwest of the city of Heredia. Many of the locals make their living from agriculture, including coffee plantations and herb farms. There are also several Spanish language schools in the area. Life here is peaceful, as most tourists tend to flock to the more populous capital of San Jose. However, if you’re looking for a relaxing way to enjoy everything that Costa Rica has to offer, Santa Barbara de Heredia won’t disappoint.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SATURDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in San Jose you will be collected at the airport and taken to your accommodation in Santa Barbara de Heredia, just north of San Jose and within the grounds of the local team’s office. The following day (Sunday), you will be provided a full arrival orientation to help you settle in, find out about your volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet your fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have. On Monday morning, you will be taken to your assigned project site and introduced to the project leader so that you can start volunteering. Easy!
- Program Arrival Day: SATURDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica (Code: SJO)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this amazing program will primarily be accommodated within a dedicated volunteer house, conveniently located on the grounds of the local team’s office in the heart of Santa Barbara de Heredia, just 20 mins north of Costa Rica’s bustling capital city of San Jose.
Rooms are shared between 2 - 6 volunteers, depending on the time of year and the number of volunteers onsite. All standard amenities are available in the volunteer house, including hot showers and modern ‘western’ bathrooms, and there is even free Wi-Fi! This is a perfect home away from home and a wonderful base for your stay in Costa Rica!
Volunteers are provided 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) at the volunteer house throughout the week. Dinner is generally not included and volunteers tend to eat out at one of the local cafes or restaurants where you can try cheap and tasty local food. You are also free to buy bread and other snacks. The meals provided are mostly vegetarian, local cuisine. Conveniently, there is also a fridge and basic cooking facilities if volunteers would occasionally like to prepare their own meals. Easy!
For those who prefer, home-stay options are also available with one of our friendly local host families, where breakfast and dinner are also provided. For more details see Additional Info section below.
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Prefer to stay with a Host Family?
For those volunteers who prefer to be more immersed in the local culture, staying with one of our wonderful local host families in Santa Barbara is an excellent way to 'live like the locals do' and get first hand experience of local culture and customs.
If you would like to upgrade to Host Family accommodation, simply let us know!
Prefer to provide your own accommodation?
Participants can arrange their own accommodation and airport pick-up. The program fee for this options is US$125 for 1 week and US$200 for 2 weeks.
Want to learn Spanish?
Why not use this opportunity to improve your knowledge of Spanish and really get immersed in the local culture during your volunteering placement? We can offer part time Spanish classes at very competitive rates for you, so simply let us know if you are interested!
Part-time Spanish Lessons (taken in conjunction with volunteer work):
- USD$130/week (10 Hours - 2 hours per day Monday to Friday)
Fees for Spanish Classes must be paid directly to your volunteer coordinator on arrival in Costa Rica.