Hanging high above the lush treetops in Costa Rica’s cloud forest may be your favorite weekend adventure, but it’s rough to choose between that and waterfall hunting by the coastline. Costa Rica may be small and narrow but the entire country is brimming full of jungle adventures and beachy getaways.
Volunteers get to experience all there is to do here, but also get a front row seat to the ways Costa Rica needs help. A semester in this country means providing a free English education to children who wouldn’t be able to afford one: a huge gift in such a tourism driven industry.
EXPLORING CENTRAL AMERICA —
This country may be small, but it’s packed full of adventure after adventure. If you love the outdoors, the best sights are all close by … no matter where you are. Try white water rafting in world renowned national parks, exploring hidden caves or experiencing the dense rain forests by foot (or by zipline!). Try soaking in jungle hot springs, hiking to waterfalls and volcanoes and checking out some of the world’s best snorkeling. Before you leave, you gotta see white sand beaches and bustling markets for yourself. You’ll have lots to do in Costa Rica, that’s for sure.
From national parks to jungles and beaches, experience what Costa Rica has to offer. You can also jump over to neighboring countries like Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico … or maybe even hop a flight to Peru!
Guanacaste Province — The beaches along this northern coast are all so good that we couldn’t pick just one! It’s probably one of the most traveled to destinations in Costa Rica for good reason. Spend a lazy day at the beach, practice your yoga, and sip on fresh fruit smoothies before you head out to explore nearby national parks.
Monteverde — Cloud Forests are iconic in Costa Rica and this is one-top spot for experiencing these dense jungles. Hike across bridges suspended over the treetops and get views of the thick green jungles from the clouds.
Volcano Arenal — There are several incredible volcanoes you’ve got to see here, but this one is a definite favorite. Hike through Arenal’s trails before relaxing in natural hot springs.
Montezuma — This bohemian hippie town is perfect for backpackers who want to get off the beaten path. Relax on the famous white sand coast, hike through the jungle to waterfalls, go snorkeling at nearby islands, and visit a turtle sanctuary.
Pacuare River — Up for some of the best white water rafting in Central America? Head east of San Jose through the jungle to spend the day rafting through thick green canyons. You might be lucky enough to spot some local wildlife, like monkeys, toucans, giant butterflies, and even jaguars.
Granada, Nicaragua — Shop for handmade beaded bags at the markets, wander colorfully painted streets, kayak through a nearby island chain … and don’t forget to meet up with the other ILP volunteers who call this city home!
Ometepe, Nicaragua — Head to this island made up of two volcanoes! Paddle board and dive into crystal clear lagoons surrounded by lush jungles. Explore brightly colored fishing villages nearby.
Bocas del Toro, Panama — Go island hopping, snorkeling, and hammock on the beach in this incredible Panamanian getaway.
Manuel Antonio National Park — Hike through the jungle of this favorite national park. You may even want to hire a guide who can help you spot the wildlife — cross your fingers that you’re lucky enough to see parrots, monkeys, or maybe even a sloth!
Rio Celeste — Hike in the dense jungle for a couple of miles before spotting the turquoise pools of the Rio Celeste waterfall. According to local legend, God used this river to wash the blue paint out of his brushes when he was painting the sky — and yes, the water really is that blue.
Territorio de Zagutes — Anyone up for hiking Costa Rica’s rolling hills with 700+ dogs? Come hang out in this massive dog shelter that lets abandoned pups be cared for, loved and played with before they’re hopefully adopted. It’s truly an adventure you can’t get anywhere else in the world.
PROGRAM DETAILS —
Live in a house with other volunteers! There will be around 6-10 people in your group, so it gives you a chance to get really close. Fill up on fresh local dishes like rice, beans, plantains, eggs, and the juiciest fruits. Don’t forget to practice your Spanish skills with your friendly neighbors you pass by!
Check out what a typical day looks like for an ILP volunteer and can’t miss experiences in Costa Rica here.
Spring Semester: Depart mid January — return home the end of April.
Summer Semester: Depart the end of April or early May — return home the middle of August.
Fall Semester: Depart the end of August — return home the middle of December, just in time for Christmas.
You’ll be making a difference by helping children learn English through our Humanitarian Program up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method.
$3,720 — Includes your roundtrip airfare to Costa Rica, visa, housing, meals, language and culture classes, and training and support throughout the entire experience.
ILP volunteers live in the mountain foothill neighborhood outskirts of the the capital San Jose as well as the western coastal town of Uvita.
The best experience of my life ...
“Spending the past four months teaching these kids english has been the best experience of my life. today was my last day teaching and my heart is so full with love for these kids and love for service.”