The Community Development Program
Costa Rica has reopened to international arrivals. See the additional info. section for procedures in place.
Want to make a hands-on difference in a real Costa Rican community? This project is for you!
Set in stunning Osa this program works within local communities to improve living standards for some of the country's poorest residents. Volunteers make a real difference in the lives of local communities by providing much needed assistance and a willing labour force on critical projects.
Participants will spend their time working on essential projects, as determined by the community themselves, to create a better environment and facilities for local communities. Work will be varied and range from renovation and construction projects through to working to preserve the cultural heritage of indigenous tribes. Perfect for those wishing to be hands-on in Costa Rica!
Goals of this Project:
- Provide free volunteer labor in under-resourced communities in Costa Rica
- Improve the safety and morale of the local people through better infrastructure
- Expose locals to new and innovative ideas and a different way of doing things
- Enable inter-cultural exchange which benefits both students and international volunteers alike.
How You Can Help
Without adequate facilities, a community is unable to reach its full potential. It is as simple as that. This program enables communities to support the educational and care needs of its people through the provision of much-needed assistance in providing safe facilities. Volunteers play a major role in ensuring homes, schools, community areas and public buildings are safe and well maintained. Those volunteering on this program will see first-hand what a difference this help has made and the positive impacts on the local community.
Volunteers will need to be physically fit and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Building maintenance: painting, plastering, cleaning etc
- Construction: mixing cement, carrying bricks etc
- Landscaping: digging and moving dirt, planting etc
- Conservation: beach clean-ups, preventing river erosion and replanting cortes and almond trees for scarlet macaws
- Community and after school classes
- Indigenous tribe cultural preservation activities
- Networking with local program staff and other volunteers
Love Volunteers welcomes all those 18 years (17 with parental consent) and over who wish to have a tangible and lasting impact on the lives of families and communities living in poverty in Costa Rica. This 'hands-on' project is ideally suited to those volunteers with some knowledge and experience in construction or any of the building trades, however the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by your local project leader.
Spanish is preferred but not mandatory and lessons can be arranged in conjunction with the placement (see the Additional Info section).
Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, be fit and active, 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
This project is based on stunning Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica's South Pacific coast. Off the beaten tourist track, Osa is a veritable paradise and Costa Rica at its very best!
The Peninsula is dominated by the Corcovado National Park with its vast array of native wildlife including endangered species and Costa Rica's big cats. Guided jungle adventures can be arranged from Puerto Jiménez. Marine enthusiasts and beach lovers will enjoy the attractions of Drake Bay, Caño Island marine reserve and the surf beaches of Cabo Matapalo and Carate.
Puerto Jiménez is the peninsula's largest town and provides a great base for exploring the region, providing easy access to both the vast expanse of the Parque Nacional Corcovado for hiking and wildlife and the emerald waters of the Golfo Dulce for beaches and surf.
Immersing volunteers into its unspoilt natural beauty and providing a genuine insight into the 'Tico' way of life; Osa peninsula is the genuine article!
See the Additional Info. section for examples of optional weekend excursions.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round with arrivals every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 8 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Our local team will meet with volunteers in San Jose and arrange transport to Puerto Jiménez by public bus.
The bus departs San Jose at 10am so volunteers must either fly in prior to 10am Sunday or arrange accommodation in San Jose Saturday night from where they will be collected on Sunday.
Volunteers are met off the bus in Puerto Jiménez and taken to the accommodation to settle in. On Monday a full orientation session is provided to cover all aspects of the local area and placement. This is a great opportunity to meet the program coordinators and other volunteers and ask any last minute questions.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY prior to 10am
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- International Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose (code: SJO)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this program are accommodated in Volunteer House accommodation a short journey from the beach. Two houses are available and split by gender. Rooms are dormitory in style and shared by up to 4 volunteers.
All of the basic amenities are provided including western bathroom facilities with cold water showers, electricity, ceiling fans and free wifi. Bedding is provided so volunteers need only bring toiletries and towels.
Volunteers are provided 2 meals per day (breakfast and lunch) throughout the placement. Dinner is not included but can be arranged with the hosts, prepared yourself or eaten out at one of the local cafes or restaurants where you can try cheap and tasty local food. The meals provided are local cuisine and predominantly vegetarian.
*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.
Costa Rica entry requirements:
- All visitors must complete an Online Health Pass (pasa de Salud) 48 hours prior to travel to Costa Rica.
- All visitors must provide proof of travel insurance and include the details on their Health Pass. The insurer must provide certification issued in English or Spanish, noting the following:
1. Validity of the effective policy for the duration of the stay in Costa Rica.
2. Guaranteed coverage for medical expenses in cases of COVID 19 of at least US$50,000.
3. At least US$2,000 coverage for lodging expenses due to pandemic illness or trip interruption/cancellation due to illness.
Approved insurers are:
- Visitors do not need a negative COVID test or COVID vaccination and are not required to quarantine or self-isolate on arrival.
The following are available for booking directly with our local team.
4 DAY CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK GUIDED TRIP ADD-ON
Corcovado National Park is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, boasting 2.5% of the earth’s animal species. It is home to at least 367 species of birds, 140 mammals, 71 reptiles, 46 amphibians and 40 freshwater fish. This list includes four types of venomous snake, all four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, an enormous concentration of scarlet macaws (relative to other places in Central America), four species of turtle, peccaries, red-eyed tree frogs, harpy eagles, and a very small number of jaguars.
Tapirs – rare animals that look like a cross between a horse and an elephant – are fairly common here, as well as sloths, toucans and pumas.
There are many primary jungles (environments that have not been altered by humans) in and around the Drake Bay area. The Floating Tour adventure begins with a relatively short taxi ride to one of the best primary jungles located outside of Corcovado National Park.
RIO CLARO WATERFALLS TOUR
After about an hour and a half of trekking with your informative guide, the group will arrive at the best of 6 waterfalls in the area. After hiking through the jungle and experiencing the awesome bio-diversity, swimming in the cool water here is simply perfect- deep pools carved out over millions of years, surrounded by jungle and volcanic rock jumps. Understanding that few tourists go beyond “Sirena Ranger Station, Cano Island, and Day at the Beach”, you can probably paint your own picture of how unspoilt this spot is. The sounds of water crashing and jungle living from all directions is a truly meditative experience.
After the swim, a snack is offered and the group will take another 5 minute walk to where the stream joins the infamous Rio Claro (Clear River). Zip-up life jackets are provided and worn upside down with legs protruding through the arm holes. Picture the jacket’s head hole located between your legs and you’ve got the idea! This fashion statement has 2 functions: a floatation device; and protection for your bum and torso. It is always encouraged to go feet first but the life jacket’s protection is convenient in cases where you find yourself mesmerized by the passing jungle canopy above. Eventually the ocean is upon you and you’ll find yourself on a spectacular surfing beach. After enjoying this scenic piece of paradise, the group walks the beach trail alongside approximately 10 other beautiful beaches.
Keen 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 affordable rates.
Want to get certified to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages? Just let us know and the local team will arrange for you to complete the qualification in conjunction with your volunteering placement.
Learn to Surf and Yoga classes are also available.