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Volunteer in Costa Rica

Despite making up only 0.03% of the world’s landmass, Costa Rica is home to nearly 5% of the planet’s biodiversity.

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Home | Raleigh Expeditions | Volunteer in Costa Rica

Why volunteer in Costa Rica?

It is naturally rich in ecosystems and species; however, many environmental NGOs consider the country’s natural environment fragile and vulnerable.

You will work with park rangers to improve access to national parks and volunteer with the innovative young people of Costa Rica to help preserve its natural resources.

In Costa Rica, 2 out of 100 people are indigenous and represent the 2.4% of the population. Indigenous groups in Costa Rica are the most marginalised members of society, largely excluded from the country’s political, social, and economic developments.

Raleigh Expedition connects young people with these communities to work together to tackle their challenges. Through our projects, we aim to increase access to education, raise awareness through campaigns and workshops, and improve access to water and sanitation.

“Raleigh gave me the drive I needed when I was dealing with. Difficult home life and made me determined to raise the money and get on my Expedition.”

Emma | Raleigh Alumni

Projects you can join in Costa Rica

On Expedition, you can participate in up to three project phases. (The 10-week Expedition will include all 3 phases; for the 7-week Expedition, you will take part in the trek and be assigned to either community or environmental.)

For more information please get in touch, and for a full itinerary of what your Costa Rica Expedition could look like, download your guide.

01. Community

Improve access to education in indigenous communities and support young people to develop the tools to prosper in later life.
Children in indigenous communities often face major barriers to accessing education, with illiteracy rates being considerably higher in indigenous areas in comparison to the rest of Costa Rica. You will work to support access to education by constructing educational centres and classrooms in indigenous communities, helping to provide the space for young people to develop the tools to prosper later in life.

02. Environmental

Partner with expert organisations to support biodiversity preservation and development in indigenous territories.
You will work with experts to develop skills and tools to become Active Global Citizens. Become part of a generation of defenders of the natural environment, to protect biodiversity and increase the resilience of disadvantaged rural communities. The climate emergency is one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. But with us you can get support to become leaders in the fight against climate change.

03. Adventure Leadership

Our Adventure Leadership projects take teams on challenging treks through rainforests and up volcanoes on a variety of stunning routes that tourists don’t get access to.
No matter what trekking experience you have, everyone starts and finishes trek together – come rain or shine! Supporting one another, not giving up and sharing your achievements together will be some of the most memorable and defining moments of your Expedition.

What can I expect on my Raleigh Expedition?

Everyone’s Expedition is slightly different – depending on how long you stay when you go and where. This is an outline of what you can expect from a 10-week Expedition. For a more in-depth description of life on a Costa Rica Expedition, including camp life and project info, download your sample itinerary.

Arrive at San José airport
You will be met by the country team

Induction and training (3-4 days)
Get to know your fellow volunteers and prepare for Expedition life. You’ll receive essential training on topics such as health and safety and cultural awareness.

Community Project (19- 21 days)
Volunteers work together on community projects agreed with partners and community leaders. You will be staying in a school classroom which is set up as a bedroom. You will be using all the school facilities (bathrooms, showers, kitchen).

Debrief at base camp (2-3 days)
At the end of each phase, everyone returns to the training centre for a few days before moving on to your next project. You’ll catch up with the rest of the Expedition team and start to prepare for your next project. Project groups will change between each phase, this is an important part of the Expedition experience.

Adventure Leadership Project (19 – 21 days)
On this trek, every day is different, including the weather and the accommodation. Go from camping on top of a mountain and sleeping under the stars to camping in a community centre.

Environmental Project (19 – 21 days)
Volunteers will support the maintenance and conservation of existing ecosystems and assist local communities to preserve such a biodiverse nature.

Final review at base (2 days)
All Expeditions end with everyone coming together for a final few days back at the training centre. Catch up with friends and celebrate all you have achieved together.

Costa Rica has a naturally rich ecosystems but it's fragile and vulnerable.

When can I go and how much?

We run three cycles every year during the following times.

CYCLE 1
FEBRUARY - APRIL
CYCLE 2
JUNE - AUGUST

10 Weeks

28th June – 2nd September 2023
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

A: 28th June – 13th August 2023 or
B:
18th July – 2nd September 2023
£3,570$4,400

4 Weeks

A: 28th June – 26th July 2023 or
B:
29th July – 26th August 2023
£2,350$2,900

Reserve
CYCLE 3
OCTOBER - DECEMBER

10 Weeks

9th October – 14th December 2023
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

A: 9th October –  24th November 2023 or
B:
29th October – 14th December 2023
£3,570$4,400

Reserve
CYCLE 1
FEBRUARY - APRIL

10 Weeks

12th February – 18th April 2024
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

12th February – 29th March 2024
£3,570$4,400

Reserve
CYCLE 2
JUNE - AUGUST

10 Weeks

27th June – 1st September 2024
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

27th June – 12th August 2024
£3,570$4,400

6 Weeks

27th June – 5th August 2024
£3,250$3,995

4 Weeks

27th June – 25th July 2024
£2,350$2,900

Reserve
CYCLE 3
OCTOBER - DECEMBER

10 Weeks

8th October – 13th December 2024
£3,995$4,900

7 Weeks

8th October –  23rd November 2023
£3,570$4,400

Reserve

What’s included

  • Airport welcome and transfers
  • All food, transport and accommodation 
in Expedition country
  • 24-hour support from Expedition country 
office and UK staff
  • Safety expertise
  • Extensive pre-departure information and support
  • Local orientation, project training & equipment

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal kit
  • Travel insurance

A full breakdown of whats included and not included along with a welcome pack to help you prepare will be provided on application.

How to apply

Volunteer Application

Apply online

Fill in your online application form and tell us why you want to go on Expedition!

Screening

If your application is successful, we send you a booking form and ask for more information and process a deposit of £350$350

Confirmation

You will be assigned a volunteer coordinator who will send you all the information you need about your Raleigh Expedition.

Pre-departure

Get ready for your Expedition – we will support you all the way!

Over 25 and looking for a Volunteer manager role?

Our Volunteer Managers (VM) are the driving force behind the Expedition and are vital to ensuring the programmes run smoothly and effectively. You can apply for these roles on the main application page.

The Raleigh Impact

Over the years Raleigh has made some significant impacts on communities, the environment and people

100

Over 100,000 people now have long-lasting access to safe and accessible hygiene facilities and access to toilets, handwashing and drinking water.

900

Raleigh young people have planted over 900,000 trees to help combat climate change.

65

Volunteers have built or rehabilitated more than 65km of trails and conservation infrastructure

500

Over 500 rural households supported to protect income from environmental challenges.

The on-the-ground team

Here are some of the Raleigh Costa Rica team who will be looking after you

Carlos, Country Director

Carlos leads the development of Raleigh Costa Rica and is responsible for the general management of the organisation. Carlos has extensive experience working in the NGO sector, working in several countries across Latin America before joining Raleigh in 2019. 

Osman, Operations Manager

Osman oversees the day-to-day logistics and health and safety of Raleigh’s Expedition programmes, as well as leading on the development and execution of community resilience and youth leadership projects. Osman studied Rural Development and is a Raleigh alumni!

Génecis, Operations Coordinator

Génecis leads Raleigh’s environmental projects, Latino volunteers’ recruitment, as well as overseeing the day-to-day logistics and health and safety of Raleigh volunteers during Expedition. Génecis is a Venezuelan migrant and geographer.

What makes Raleigh Expedition unique?

Volunteering with Raleigh International is an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience. Described by our volunteers as “absolutely life-changing”, it’s a journey you will never forget. Don’t expect tourist hotspots, five-star hotels and 24/7 wifi (we promise you won’t miss it); instead, expect a memory-making adventure full of fun and rewarding experiences.

Be with people your age

Apart from team leaders and staff, you will be grouped with people aged 17-24. This is unique to Raleigh.

A community environment like no other

Share the experience with the same group for the duration of your trip. Learn to help and support each other and make friends for life.

Varied experiences

You will have the opportunity to take part in up to three phases contributing to community and environmental projects allowing you to gain more skills and experiences.

Diverse and Inclusive

Volunteers join diverse teams of young people from across the globe as well as volunteers from the country you are based in.

Real adventure

Raleigh Expedition is an exciting and fun experience that will push you out of your comfort zone (in a safe environment!).

Future ready

Gain the skills, confidence and perspective to play a leading role in building a better and more sustainable world for everyone.

Need more information about Expedition?

Consultation call

Whether you have a specific question or want to discuss which Expedition is right for you, schedule a call with a member of the team at a time convenient to you. 

Join an info event

On our monthly online info events, we’ll tell you all about Expedition. Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.

Costa Rica national and want to volunteer?

Apply now

FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about Raleigh Expedition in our Costa Rica locations

Whill I need to do any training before I arrive?

All volunteers are invited to attend a Pre-Expedition Training Event to meet other volunteers and here more about Expedition.

We recommend you learn as much Spanish as you can before you come; this will make communicating with members of the community and partner organisations easier. We also recommend practising hiking in preparation for the trek, but this is not necessary.

What sort of food will I be eating?

Raleigh provides dry and fresh food, and volunteers rotate to cook for the group. The staple food in Costa Rica is rice and beans, which can be accompanied by different vegetables and proteins. Tropical fruits are delicious and very sweet, and we eat them frequently.

How far in advance should I book?

We recommend you reserve your place between 5 to 6 months before, although we can accept applications up to three months prior to departure.

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