The Medical Program
Costa Rica has reopened to international arrivals. Internships are available with patients suffering from chronic pain and those in recovery. This would suit medical and nursing students, particularly those with an interest in physiotherapy.
This amazing program will be a wonderful experience for volunteers in the medical or health fields. Suitably trained volunteers provide much-needed skills and knowledge to help in the under-resourced and under-funded medical system, providing care to people in need. Students in their third year or further studying or practising as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists or dentists will find their skills greatly appreciated and will be put to good use – skills and qualifications dependent, working side by side with local doctors and nurses. Volunteers need to be ready to think outside of the square as some clinics will have limited resources and equipment and volunteers need to understand that there may be great differences in the resources available.
Goals of this Project:
- Improve the prospects of the people of Costa Rica
- Provide quality medical care to the impoverished people served by this project
- Provide an opportunity for shared learnings
- To create a better cultural understanding between all participants
How You Can Help
Volunteers will find a placement on this program to be an extremely beneficial addition to both their medical careers and their life experience. In addition to volunteering in a hospital, participants will also have the chance to work in rural clinics which will prove to be both eye-opening and extremely satisfying. Volunteers will gain great healthcare experience in central America from their participation in the project and have the opportunity to work within impoverished communities, gaining insight into the medical issues and healthcare needs of this wonderful, yet impoverished nation. They will learn much about the local people and culture – experience that will prove to be invaluable and an important facet of their medical experience.
Volunteers contribute in many ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Assist doctors in the treatment of patients
- Help sort medical supplies
- Help in emergency situations
- Help in health awareness workshops
This program offers an amazing opportunity for suitable applicants who are 18 years and over to work alongside qualified medical professionals and gain first-hand insight into the Costa Rican healthcare system. It is open to those with experience and/or education in the field of medicine, as well as med-school and pre-med students. Volunteers on this project will need at least an intermediate understanding of Spanish in order to communicate effectively with patients and staff. Naturally, all applicants must also 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
This wonderful program is set in the quaint city of San Ramón in the Alajuela Province of Costa Rica. San Ramon is known as the city of ‘Presidents and Poets’ and has also been described as a city of lovers! Lovers of nature, lovers of life, of simplicity, of ‘Pura Vida’ - the greeting and motto of the city that encapsulates living in peace and appreciating a life surrounded by nature, family and friends. This wonderful location is in the Cordillera de Tilarán mountains, at an elevation of 1,057 meters above sea level and only a 50-minute drive from the country’s capital San Jose.
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs typically start every 1st and 3rd SUNDAY of each month. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 4 weeks 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 transported to your designated project location. Once settled in you will receive a full welcome orientation where you will 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. You will then be taken to your assigned project location, where you will be introduced to your project supervisor and the rest of the local project team. Easy!
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport, San Jose, Costa Rica (Code: SJO)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this project are accommodated with one of our friendly local host families, where breakfast and dinner of traditional Costa Rican cuisine are provided daily. Lunches are not provided but can easily be purchased from a local shop near the project site. All home-stay families have been fully vetted by our local team and are located within a short walk from each other, making hanging out with other volunteers easy.
All host families have standard amenities available, including comfortable beds, hot showers and modern bathrooms. Wifi is also available in most homes (additional charges may apply in some cases). All families have experience hosting international volunteers. Depending on the time of year it may be necessary to share a room with other volunteers. Living with a local family truly is the best way to throw oneself into the local culture and to meet people who will become lifelong friends!
For volunteers, living with a local family means they gain something that most travelers miss out on: a ‘live’ and authentic glimpse into family life and the character of the local ‘Tico’ people. By having the opportunity to stay with a host family and by working right alongside the local population volunteers can really experience all that Costa Rica has to offer!
*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.
- Visitors traveling to Costa Rica will need to provide proof of a medical insurance policy to cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment or quarantine lodging while in Costa Rica. In the case of international insurance, tourists must request from their insurer a certification issued in English or Spanish, noting: 1) the validity of the policy during the dates of visit to Costa Rica, 2) guarantee of coverage for medicals expenses in cases of COVID-19 related medical treatment in the amount of 50,000 USD and, 3) minimum coverage of 2,000 USD for extended lodging expenses due to COVID-19 related illness. It is also possible to purchase a Costa Rican medical insurance policy through the National Insurance Institute (INS) or Sagicor of Costa Rica, covering the duration of your stay in Costa Rica.
- All visitors must also complete an online Health Pass (pasa de Salud) 48 hours prior to travel to Costa Rica. The Health Pass can be found at https://salud.go.cr.
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 time in Costa Rica? We can offer full time Spanish classes at very competitive rates for you, so simply let us know if you are interested!
Full-time Spanish Lessons (taken prior to starting your volunteer work):
- USD$299/week (20 Hours - 4 hours per day Monday to Friday)
*Please note that this is in addition to the standard Program Fee as outlined above. (ie. 2 weeks of classes + 4 weeks of volunteering = 6 week program fee)
*Classes are usually provided in small groups of up to three people, or as individual classes. Some programs allow them to be taken alongside the project work if volunteers are only working half days, however it is often best to take full time classes prior to starting at your project, so this should be considered when deciding on the overall duration of your program.