About Rustic Volunteers Costarica

Volunteer in Costa Rica

A Life-changing, Rewarding and Affordable Costa Rican Experience!

Volunteer in Costa Rica and take advantage of Rustic Volunteer's affordable, meaningful and exciting programs! Picturesque and vibrant, Costa Rica has something for the adventurer in everyone. While smaller than West Virginia, Costa Rica offers fascinating opportunities and unique culture at every turn. The country is full of exotic nature including Pacific and Atlantic beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, cloud forests and mountains. Whether you're interested in eco-tourism, bird watching, outdoor adventures, rafting, golfing or just relaxing on unspoiled tropical beaches, you'll find thrilling pastimes in this tropical and secure paradise.

We need more volunteers now! Rustic Volunteer's Costa Rica volunteering programs offers unique opportunities to explore this great country while working with children, poor communities, sustainable farms, conservation projects, local organizations and/or women's groups. Rustic Volunteer invites you to join the Costa Rica volunteer program and experience a rich volunteer abroad program.

Write us an email now and begin an exotic and unforgettable experience in Costa Rica! We will send you more information to soon participate in a program you will not regret.

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Fees and Dates

Start Dates:

All volunteer programs start on the first and third Monday of each month.

If you are tired of expensive volunteer programs but want to make a positive contribution in the world, look no further! Rustic is dedicated to offering high quality, well-organized and meaningful programs at the most affordable price in the United States. We work hard to keep costs as low as possible, focusing on the effectiveness of our projects, the safety of our volunteers and the quality of participant experiences. We currently offer the most competitive price possible in today's market including an application fee (of $299) AND a small weekly fee as follows:

  Duration  Children, English Teaching  Physical Therapy & Sport Medicine  Monkey & Wildlife Conservation
  1 Week $325 N/A $175
  2 Weeks $500 N/A $300
  3 Weeks $675 N/A $425
  4 Weeks $850 $875 $550
  5 Weeks $1050 $1050 $675
  6 Weeks $1225 $1225 $800
  7 Weeks $1400 $1400 $925
  8 Weeks $1575 $1600 $1050
  9 Weeks $1775 $1775 $1175
  10 Weeks $1950 $1950 $1300
  11 Weeks $2125 $2125 $1425
  12 Weeks $2300 $2300 $1550
Puntarenas
  • Airport Pickup in Private car from San Jose airport to Puntarenas – 3 hours $110
  • Transportation by bus from airport to Puntarenas $40: volunteer will travel unaccompanied to Puntarens and picked up at the local bus station
  • Spanish Lesson (10hrs per week) $70
Guanacaste/Tamarindo
  • Airport Pickup in Private car from Liberia airport to Guanacaste – 2 hours $80
  • Spanish Lesson (10hrs per week) $70
For all
  • Comprehensive Traveler Insurance $3.49/day (for all locations)
  San Jose
  Duration   Orphanage, Teaching, Conservation   Medical, Construction
  1 Week   $370   $420
  2 Weeks   $680   $780
  3 Weeks   $960   $1,110
  4 Weeks   $1,175   $1,375
  5 Weeks   $1,310   $1,560
  6 Weeks   $1,445   $1,745
  7 Weeks   $1,580   $1,930
  8 Weeks   $1,715   $2,115
  9 Weeks   $1,850   $2,300
  10 Weeks   $1,985   $2,485
  11 Weeks   $2,120   $2,670
  12 Weeks   $2,255   $2,855
San Jose
  • Airport Pickup and Transfer Fee Included for San Jose
  • Spanish Lesson (10hrs per week) $115
  • Fees for San Jose cover 2 meals, breakfast and dinner
  • $50 per week surcharge for medical and construction project
For all
  • Comprehensive Traveler Insurance $3.49/day (for all locations)

Depending up on the accommodation type (Olive Ridley, Black Turtle, Hawkbill, and Leatherback)

Duration Osa Turtle Project   Sea Turtle Pacuare
Olive Ridley Black turtle Hawkbill Leatherback
  1 Week $575 $610 $645 $680 $480
  2 Weeks $960 $1,030 $1,100 $1,170 $725
  3 Weeks $1,345 $1,450 $1,555 $1,660 $970
  4 Weeks $1,730 $1,870 $2,010 $2,150 $1,215
  5 Weeks $2,115 $2,290 $2,465 $2,640 $1,460
  6 Weeks $2,500 $2,710 $2,920 $3,130 $1,705
  7 Weeks $2,885 $3,130 $3,375 $3,620 $1,950
  8 Weeks $3,270 $3,550 $3,830 $4,110 $2,195
  9 Weeks $3,655 $3,970 $4,285 $4,600 $2,440
  10 Weeks $4,040 $4,390 $4,740 $5,090 $2,685
  11 Weeks $4,425 $4,810 $5,195 $5,580 $2,930
  12 Weeks $4,810 $5,230 $5,650 $6,070 $3,175
Additional fee
  • Included in all prices are 3 meals per day, plus the volunteer work on the boat ( 2 times per week) , biologist and staff, equipments and materials.
For all
  • Comprehensive Traveler Insurance $3.49/day (for all locations)
  • Program fee covers
    • Accommodation
    • 3 meals a day
    • Donation to project
    • In-country office expenses
    • Field support
    • Project coordination
  • Program fee does not cover
    • International flights
    • Passport and visa fees
    • Immunizations
    • Personal food and beverages
    • Travel costs
    • Entertainment
    • Local transportation
    • Laundry
    • Communication (telephone, internet)
    • Personal items
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Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica

Teaching English in Rural School (San Jose, Puntarenas, Guanacaste)

Volunteer in Costa Rica teaching English to improve educational environments and expand future opportunities for local children! Poor, rural children are falling behind because schools are too small, poorly constructed and there’s a lack of qualified teachers to provide students with well-rounded and high-quality educations. Rustic Volunteer’s volunteer/travel teaching English project in Costa Rica offers volunteers with ample opportunity to explore the daily life of Costa Rica while helping young students improve their English skills. Volunteers working in the English-teaching project can make a meaningful contribution in the lives of rural children, helping them attain a better future as well as compete and participate in the global market.

The project is not available in December and January as school will remain closed in Costa Rica. During the 2 weeks holidays in July, the school will offer extra classes and other activities where our volunteers can participate.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Volunteers teaching English in Costa Rica will be based in San Miguel De Sarapiqu. As a volunteer in the teaching English in Costs Rica project, you will be assisting with classes at the kindergarten, elementary school or high school level. Volunteer duties may vary depending on individual skills and interests. Examples of activities may include:

  • Teaching basic English to the children
  • Teaching other subjects such as math or science
  • Playing with the children
  • Organizing extracurricular activities such as music, dancing, sports, art, games, etc.
  • Teaching life skills such as painting, sewing, cooking, etc
  • Promoting nutrition and health
  • Helping to fundraise for schools
  • Working with local teachers on curriculum development
  • Assisting school administrations with daily tasks
  • Helping with basic maintenance of schools
  • Aiding local school staff in any way possible
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific qualifications needed to volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica. While Spanish is preferred, it is not required. If your Spanish skills are poor, we suggest enrolling in our Spanish Language Program to make your experience more beneficial both for you and for those you help. All volunteers are encouraged to be flexible, patient and adaptive as well as possess a "can-do" attitude.

Work in Orphanage in Costa Rica (San Jose, Puntarenas)

In Costa Rica , poverty is rampant and the Costa Rican government does not have the resources to provide sufficient support to local orphanages. Infants and children are abandoned by parents who cannot properly care for them or government officials have removed neglected children from their homes. Our volunteers work with local orphanages run by nuns to provide food, education and care for these poor children. Working in the orphanage project is a great way to improve the quality of life and give hope to orphans in Costa Rica. You will find the community to be very appreciative of your efforts to bring a better future for these children.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Working in orphanage in Costa Rica volunteers will work with the orphanage staff to give love, food and education to local orphans. Some of the projects there include assisting with supervision of the children, playing games, helping with homework and teaching English. Volunteers may be expected to help with daily chores such as laundry, cleaning and property maintenance. You may also be asked to help the orphanage with administrative duties including fundraising. This is a great project for volunteers who enjoy working with children.

Skills and Qualification

There are no specific qualifications for this volunteer project. While knowing basic Spanish is helpful, it is not required. If you do not speak Spanish, you may enroll in our Spanish language course to make the most of your stay. As a volunteer, you must be flexible, patient and enjoy working with children.

Teaching Math and Science and Physical Education (San Jose, Puntarenas)

Volunteer in Costa Rica and teach a variety of subjects such as math, science and physical education to improve educational opportunities for local children! Volunteers help poor, rural children receive the well-rounded and high quality education they deserve. Many schools lack qualified teachers and educational resources. Rustic Volunteer’s volunteer/travel teaching project in Costa Rica offers volunteers a chance to gain teaching experience, help others and explore the beautiful Costa Rica. As volunteers enhance educational environments and improve the quality of classes, students will have greater opportunities and brighter futures.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Volunteers teaching math, science and physical education in Costa Rica work in San Miguel De Sarapiqu. As a volunteer teaching English in Costs Rica, you will be assisting with classes at the kindergarten, elementary school or high school level. Volunteer duties may vary depending on individual skills and interests. Examples of activities may include:

  • Teaching math, science and physical education
  • Teaching other subjects such as English and health
  • Work with teachers and use creativity to plan educational, interactive activities such as quizzes, experiments, field trips, crafts, etc.
  • Playing with the children
  • Teaching students about teamwork
  • Organizing extracurricular activities such as music, dancing, sports, art, games, etc.
  • Teaching life skills such as painting, sewing, cooking, etc
  • Promoting nutrition and health
  • Helping to fundraise for schools
  • Working with local teachers on curriculum development
  • Assisting school administrations with daily tasks
  • Helping with basic maintenance of schools
  • Aiding local school staff in any way possible
Skills and Qualification

There are no specific qualifications needed to join this volunteer project. While Spanish is preferred, it is not required. If your Spanish skills are poor, we suggest enrolling in our Spanish Language Program to make your experience more beneficial both for you and for those you help. All volunteers are encouraged to be flexible, patient and adaptive as well as possess a "can-do" attitude.

Marine Life Project (Puntarenas)

Despite being a tiny country with only a quarter of a percent of the world's landmass, Costa Rica actually has 5 percent of the world's bio-diversity. Nearly a quarter of that includes protected national parks, so needless to say, Costa Rica is a flora and fauna lover's dream. Our volunteers work with local park authorities to provide care and protection of the valuable marine life in Costa Rica, to keep this Latin American country a center of biological diversity. Working at the Marine Life Project is a great opportunity to help the environment, as well as a chance to interact directly with marine life such as sharks, crocodiles, turtles, pelicans and more.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Marine Life in Costa Rica volunteers will provide care and protection to a wide variety of marine life species. You can choose from several popular tracks within the Marine Life program:

  • Marine Life Education – In this project, volunteers help with educational workshops on sharks and whales, turtles (terrestrial and oceanic), marine food chains, water pollution and waste recycling.
  • Marine Life Maintenance – In this project, volunteers assist capturing animals (selection and transportation), acclimation and quarantine, incubation, breeding, nursery and maintenance.
  • Marine Life Conservation – In this project, volunteers help rehabilitate and rescue marine animals with the goal of a future release back into their natural environment.

This is a great project for volunteers who enjoy being outside and working with animals.

Skills and Qualification

There are no specific qualifications for this volunteer project. While knowing basic Spanish is helpful, it is not required. As a volunteer, you must also be patient, resourceful and always respect the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Construction Project in Costa Rica (San Jose)

European-inspired architecture and beautiful nature reserves are what draw tourists Costa Rica. But these visitors do not see the other side of life there - the poor communities that struggle to make it. People who live in these communities live in rundown shacks that barely offer protection from the elements. Our volunteers work with professional foremen, architects and engineers to give these communities homes, schools and orphanages. Working at the Construction Project is a great way to give back to the Costa Rican people. You will find the local citizens to be very appreciative and thrilled by your positive effect on their lives.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Construction in Costa Rica volunteers will work to build, mix, clean, paint, cut and install to improve homes, schools and orphanages. The people living there are poor and would benefit greatly from having this type of help. You can provide support to the local community in a fun and active way.

Besides repairing and building new homes and schools for orphaned children or for rural villages, you will participate in other construction projects. Some include digging, removing dirt, carrying bricks, mixing cement, plastering, painting, cleaning and various other needs related to construction. This is a great project for volunteers who enjoy being outside.

Skills and Qualification

There are no specific qualifications for this volunteer project, but the work is very physically demanding. While knowing basic Spanish is helpful, it is not required. As a volunteer, you must also exhibit initiative, be resourceful and always respect the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Medical Project in Costa Rica (Puntarenas, San Jose, Guanacaste)

The city of Puntarenas was hit with a large earthquake recently, and the main hospital there was destroyed. In a country that already had many citizens with no access to healthcare, this is a critical problem. Many Costa Ricans already suffer from both treatable and preventable diseases, so the earthquake was a devastating blow to the community. Our volunteers work with local doctors and healthcare facilities to provide medical treatments to local citizens. Working at the Medical Project in Costa Rica is a great way to give back to the people of Puntarenas and allow them to be healthy enough to rebuild their community. The people there are very appreciative of our volunteers and they will be very warm and welcoming.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Medical in Costa Rica volunteers will assist local doctors and clinics with a wide variety of duties, depending on their own medical backgrounds and experience. Some projects may include working in physical therapy, with the mentally disabled, in laboratories, dental practices, retirement homes, ambulatory services and public daycares. Some volunteers will help the Red Cross, shadow nurses or help ministry health groups with projects like dengue prevention. There are very few available healthcare resources there, and local doctors and nurses cannot handle all the additional work from the earthquake.

You can provide support to the local community in a truly helpful way. If you have basic Spanish skills and a medical background, you may participate in home visits to rural areas or conduct general patient examinations. This is a great project for volunteers with medical backgrounds or interest.

Skills and Qualification

For this project, you must have a healthcare certification, such as a medical student ID, EMT or Paramedic certification, or nursing or physician's credentials. The Costa Rican hospital will require your valid documentation before your arrival to the project. While knowing basic Spanish is helpful, it is not required. As a volunteer, you must also exhibit initiative, be resourceful and always respect the local culture and customs. These are traits of a very good volunteer.

Turtle Conservation Project (Osa Peninsula)

The natural habitat of turtles in Costa Rica is in danger and Rustic Volunteer needs your help to protect it! Urban sprawl and farming is taking over land that used to belong to turtles, leaving the species threatened. Conservation efforts focus on strengthening turtle populations by protecting them, supporting their breeding efforts and conducting research on their health, migration pattern and recording their behavior.

The Sea Turtle Conservation project also aims to protect the nests from human poachers and from threats created by recent beach erosion. Volunteers also might work with the local community associations to implement turtle management strategies imposed by Costa Rica's Environment Ministry. Volunteers will learn about the ecology and conservation of sea turtles. They experience the life of a volunteer field worker, taking an active role in cleaning the beach, helping to collect data, as well as rehabilitating the sick and injured turtles. Located in Osa Peninsula, the project is close to Corcovado National Park, one of the few remaining sizeable areas of lowland rainforest in the world. The Park also has plenty of wild animals.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Volunteers will have 3 types of responsibilities which they will do depending on the time of the day and the season.

Your beach patrol work will include:

  • Working 4 hours shifts to patrol the beach at night in a group
  • Collecting eggs and transfer them to hatchery
  • Taking measurement of turtles while they are laying eggs without disturbing them
  • In the hatchery, volunteers will:
  • Work 6 hours shifts
  • Monitor temperature and rain gauge
  • Help the hatchings without touching them but removing sand
  • Release them into the ocean

Your work in the rescue center will include:

  • Feeding turtles
  • Changing water in the water tank
  • Learn about conducing health assessment of turtles and doing it

Twice a week volunteers will also comb the beach looking for debris dumped from Pacaure River and other garbage left by humans. A clean, pollution free beach will attract lots of turtles to lay eggs on the beach.

Skills and Qualification

You must be 18 or above and must understand basic Spanish to volunteer. The project accepts underage volunteers if you produce written permission from your parents. You must also have insurance.

The project is outdoors and located in a rural area. Volunteers must be in physically fit, must tolerate heat and wet weather and must not mind mosquitoes and other creatures. The project won’t tolerate any consumption of illegal drugs or alcohol. We prefer non-smokers but you can volunteer if you promise to smoke only in open areas and not while working.

Turtle Conservation Project (Caribbean Coast)

The natural habitat of turtles in Pacaure beach face constant threats of all kinds that can easily prevent them from coming offshore to lay eggs. Urban sprawl and farming is taking over land that used to belong to turtles, while the remaining beaches face soil erosion, flooding and poaching of turtle eggs. The conservation efforts here focus on strengthening turtle populations by protecting them, supporting their breeding efforts and keeping the beaches clean and pollution free.

The Sea Turtle Conservation project also aims to protect the nests from human poachers and from threats created by recent beach erosion. Volunteers also might work with the local community associations to implement turtle management strategies imposed by Costa Rica's Environment Ministry. Volunteers will learn about the ecology and conservation of sea turtles. They experience the life of a volunteer field worker, taking an active role in cleaning the beach, helping to collect data, as well as rehabilitating the sick and injured turtles. Located in Pacuare, in the strip of beach between the town of Limon and Tortuguero National Park, it is one of the few remaining sizeable areas of lowland rainforest in the world.

Project/Volunteer's Life

Volunteers will have 3 types of responsibilities which they will do depending on the time of the day and the season.

The first work is research. Volunteers will be in Gulf of Dulce to catch sea turtles. Once they are caught you will weigh them, measure their size and take blood, mucus and tissue samples. Before releasing them, you will tag the turtles and note down all the details. Volunteers will also clean the beach and help in mangrove reforestation program. It is very important to keep the area where turtles come to hatch eggs clean. You will travel on foot and in boat to clean the beach. You will take away debris washed by the river and garbage dumped by humans. You will also work in a nursery to grow samplings that are later transferred to nearby mangrove forest.

Volunteers will also in a rescue center to take care of turtles that are brought there. These turtles are often sick or injured. You will learn about their behavior, what they eat, and feed them as well as clean their enclosure.

Skills and Qualification

You must be 18 or above and must understand basic Spanish. The project accepts underage volunteers if you produce written permission from your parents. You must also have insurance.

The project is outdoors and located in a rural area. Volunteers must be in physically fit, must tolerate heat and wet weather and must not mind mosquito and other creatures. The project won’t tolerate any consumption of illegal drugs or alcohol. We prefer non-smokers but you can volunteer if you promise to smoke only in open areas and not while working.

Meals/Accommodations

Rustic Volunteer arranges volunteer meals, accommodations and strong field support for the duration of projects and optional travel packages. In Costa Rica, volunteers generally stay with host families and accommodations are in simple and clean homes in safe neighborhoods. Volunteers usually have a private bedroom, but occasionally rooms will be shared with a same-gender volunteer. Our host families are well screened and are respected members of their communities who live in affluent neighborhoods. Most of our host families have experience with hosting international volunteers. A host family stay is a great way for volunteers to improve their Spanish skills. The experience provides a unique chance for cultural immersion and exchange.

Volunteers receive three local meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We can provide vegetarian meal options, but needs must be detailed in the volunteer's application. Snacks and beverages outside of mealtimes are not provided; however, there are local restaurants and grocery stores near the residences in which we place volunteers.

Rustic offers unparalleled field support to volunteers to ensure a safe and rewarding experience. Once in Costa Rica, there are many layers of support for volunteers. The most important support comes from our country coordinator/field staff. The secondary support comes from the host project staff and members of host families. Volunteers will have access to our country coordinator's mobile number and they are available 24/7. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. Our field staff will visit regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to make sure things are going well and as planned. However, if placement is far from our local offices, staff members will stay in touch via email/ phone. Volunteers are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time.

Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.

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Major FAQs - Costa Rica

  • Application process
  • Please read Rustic Volunteer's 5-step application

    • There are two options for applying to volunteer in Brazil through our program. You can apply online or you can download an application, fill it out and mail it in to us. You will need to submit your application with a $200 application fee. This fee is required to make an application valid.
    • Once we get your application, we will immediately send it to Brazil for processing. They go over your application carefully and find the best project possible for you. The decisions for room and food are made at this time. Arrangement for room and food depends on the location of the project. The vast majority of our volunteers stay in full immersion home stays, though some orphanage projects are residential.
    • Once we get the details of your placements, we pass it on to you with a final invoice. Your final payment is due six weeks before your start date and in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details have local contact information to use for contacts on your visa application or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.
    • Preparation for trips should include reading about Brazil, immunization, travel visa (entry permit) and booking airfare. If you face any problems, our Program Manager is always available for assistance.
    • Once you purchase your ticket, send your flight information to our US office by fax or by email. Your flight information will be forwarded to the Brazil staff who will arrange an airport pickup.
  • Arrival Information
  • Arrival Point:

    Juan Santa Maria International Airport , San Jose

    Airport Pick-up

    Upon receipt of your flight information, our in-country coordinator or other project staff will greet the volunteers in the airport and take you to your project site. The address and telephone number of the local contact hotel will be given before departure in case volunteers miss our representative in the airport. Please make sure to e-mail your flight information to both the USA office and the local in-country coordinator's office.

    Departure Point:

    Juan Santa Maria International Airport , San Jose

    Airport Drop:

    Available upon request. Most are very familiar and comfortable with their stay and have great ease taking their own taxi or bus back to the airport.

    Internal Transportation:

    RRustic Volunteer manages one-way transportation to project. Volunteers will be responsible for their own personal and return travel. We do not cover daily transportation from host family/hotel to the project. Our program is designed to save you as a volunteer as much as possible.

    Start Dates:

    1st and 3rd Monday of each month

    Arrival Before Start Date:

    Rustic Volunteers/Travelers coming to Costa Rica are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. If you arrive more than one day early or stay after the program, you will be responsible for your room and food expenses.

    Working Hours:

    30- 40 hours per week

  • Visa
  • Rustic strongly suggest that all volunteers apply for a tourist visa in a timely manner before departing for Costa Rica. Please call our office or contact the local Costa Rica embassy to learn more about visa, visa fees and visa extensions. Getting your tourist visa is your responsibility.

  • Health & Safety
  • Being informed is your first defense against disease and safety risks. We recommend visiting some of the following websites for health and safety information:

    WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int/csr/ihr/en/ )

    General Health Tips to volunteer in Costa Rica

    • Water is very safe in most of Costa Rica. When traveling to the beaches or very rural areas, drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes should not be considered safe at the beaches. If this is not possible, make water safer by both filtering through an "absolute 1 micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1 micron filters" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
    • Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against upset stomachs. Make sure that the seal of the bottle is intact as it is not uncommon for local street merchants to sell tap water in resealed bottles.
    • The most common health complaint in any developing nation is upset stomach/diarrhea/vomiting. In many cases the illness may be attributed merely to a change in diet, but occasional cases of food poisoning can occur, whereby the symptoms occur very quickly, severely and explosively. These are seldom serious or extended illnesses, but medical treatment should be sought if it occurs.
    • Avoid eating food from road side stalls. Don't eat unpeeled fruits or fruits that have already been cut by unknown handlers on the street. If you are forced to eat food at some place that you have doubts about, make sure the food is served hot.
    • If you require any prescription drugs bring enough for the duration of the trip. They will need to be carried in their original prescription bottle and the prescription must be in your name. It is advisable that you carry a small health kit, which should include a remedy for upset stomachs, some antiseptic cream, hydration powder, deet mosquito repellant, sun block, band aids, etc.
  • Vaccination
  • We recommend all volunteer/participants visit the Center for Disease Control's website (www.cdc.gov ) for traveler's health recommendations. Your travel doctor will be knowledgeable about current epidemics and should be consulted.

    Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications

    The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Brazil. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with a health-care provider to determine which vaccines you will need.

    • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
    • Hepatitis B , especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
    • Malaria: if you are traveling to a malaria-risk area in this region, see your health care provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications, see Malaria Information for Travelers to South America and Mexico.
    • Rabies if you experience extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking, or bicycling, or engaging in certain occupational activities.
    • Typhoid  vaccine. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors
    • Yellow fever: for travelers to endemic areas in Brazil
    • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria  and measles.
    • Precaution again Malaria
    • Required Vaccinations
    • None

    The best prevention of mosquito born diseases is long-sleeves and pants (especially in the early evening), in addition to using insect repellants. This area of Costa Rica has no malaria, but there are other mosquito-carried/transmitted diseases, such as dengue, that are just as bad and there is no vaccine, just prevention through clothing and repellent.

  • Money Matter
  • What is the exchange rate? Where should I change my dollars? Can I use a debit card or credit card? Should I bring travelers checks?

    Dollars can be changed at the exchange houses in the airport. Many businesses accept dollars at the current exchange rate. ATM machines are widely available and they usually offer the option of dispensing dollars or colones.

    Do not come without any cash as ATM machines can be down or not accept your card. It is wise to check with your bank ahead of time to confirm that your card will work overseas. Debit cards and credit cards are becoming more acceptable at major stores; however, they are still not accepted as widely as in the States. Credit card fraud is a big issue in Costa Rica. Do not use your cards at any smaller or non-reputable locations. Travelers' checks will have to be exchanged in the banks as most locations will not accept them directly. Debit card is the best way of getting money. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some of the large stores and hotels in larger cities, but may not be widely accepted in smaller cities and not at all in the villages.

    Find the Exchange Rate for Costa Rican Colones (CRC) at http://www.xe.com/ucc/

    How much money you bring depends on your personal spending habits. Thrifty people can get by on less than $10/day. Your budget should also include money to explore Costa Rica in free time as well as for your personal use.

  • Field Support and Supervision
  • How does Rustic Volunteer help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Does Rustic Volunteer visit volunteers?

    Once the volunteer program starts, our local staff members stay in touch with volunteers. We visit our volunteers every 2 weeks (if possible) and you are always welcome at the office. We recommend that the volunteers stop by the office once a week if they are in the local area just to let us know how they are doing with their home stay and project. Many minor issues can be overcome through a little communication long before they become major issues - ensuring that your trip is exactly what you had hoped for. Your project will have local staff members as well, though not our own. If your project is very far, then our local staff maintains communication by either email and/or phone. We are available to you at the office, by email, and by phone for your entire trip. It is our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

  • Communication
  • How do I communicate with my family? Rustic Volunteer staff? Is there internet?

    There are many internet cafes in town which run around $1/hour. There are also international phone cards available to make international calls. Also, please use local phone cards for local calls, as every minute of local or international use is billed to the families. If you need to contact the Rustic Volunteer staff locally, the families will generally allow you to use the phone for short periods.

  • Climate
  • Tropical and subtropical; dry season (December to April); rainy season (May to November); cooler in highlands.

  • Gift for Host Family and Project
  • What gifts should I bring for my project and/or host family?

    It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for the staff that will be hosting you. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring something it can be pretty simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown/country logo, or pictures of your family and local post cards.

    If you want to bring gifts for your project and if you are working for an orphanage or a school, please bring pencils, pens and paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper pads, as well as games for the children to enjoy. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring enough for a number of children.

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Rustic Volunteers Trip

Turtle Conservations Costa Rica

Help save endangered sea turtles

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Teaching English Nepal

Teach conversational English to children

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Medical/Health Peru

Get involved as a medical volunteer

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Orphanage Project Kenya

Mentor the orphans of Kenya

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Elephant Conservation Sri Lanka

Volunteer with your own Elephant

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Help young Monks learn English

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