Experience Costa Rica's incredible biodiversity! Spend the first half of your time abroad getting to know your host family in a rural community surrounded by lush green plants and chatter of tropical birds. You’ll work with Costa Rican students on a service project in your community before heading to one of the country’s stunning national parks for some hands-on volunteering, earning 155 service hours.

Example Itinerary

*This is an example itinerary based on last year’s project. Dates, topics, and activities may be subject to change.

Day 1

Volunteers arrive. Project staff meet them at the airport and the group travels together to the briefing site in southern Costa Rica.

Days 1–4

Briefing. Project staff lead all volunteers in a country-specific orientation to AMIGOS, our local partner agency, and the Pérez Zeledón Project. Meet all other students on your project and spend a few days getting to know each other, learning about Costa Rica, and doing fun activities. After briefing, project staff bring volunteers to their host communities to meet their host families.

Week 1

Week 1 in community. Lead day camps for local youth on topics like sustainable livelihoods and protecting our resources. Begin working on your community service project.

Week 2

Week 2 in community. Lead day camps on topics like biodiversity and grassroots conservation. Collaborate with local residents on your community service project.

Week 3

Head to a national park! You’ll be with a group of other volunteers from the U.S. and from Costa Rica. In the parks, you’ll work together on projects identified by the parks service.

Week 4

Finish up your work in the national park. Have a goodbye party with your fellow volunteers from Costa Rica.

Last few days

Come together for debriefing. This is a chance to process, reflect, and prepare to return home. 

About the Region

Climate

Tropical

Terrain

Mountainous

Slang

pura vida = life is good, cool
tuanis = cool

Food

Pinto (rice and black beans), plantains, tortillas
Great for vegetarians!

AMIGOS History in the Region

AMIGOS has worked in Costa Rica for 35 years. We began working with our local partner agency in 2004.

Past Service Projects

In Host Communities

  • Painting murals in communal spaces
  • Building and painting fences on school yards so children can play safely
  • Communal chicken farms
  • Community gardens

In National Parks

  • Trail maintenance
  • Informational signs about plants and animals
  • Building a footpath
  • Painting park ranger installations
  • Planting trees
San José Province, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Learn Spanish

AMIGOS programs provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture as a local, not a tourist. Volunteers report increased fluency in Spanish after going through our program. Activities go far beyond the classroom — you’ll lead activities in Spanish, learn local slang, and increase your confidence with real-world practice. You will not believe how fast your Spanish improves when you use it in conversation everyday!

Make an Impact

AMIGOS works with trusted local partner organizations to identify communities that are passionate and committed to working with our volunteers on community service projects. It has been our experience that a service project is sustainable only when the community owns it and participates in the effort. You will collaborate on a service project with volunteers your own age as well as community members, earning up to 155 service hours.

Gain a New (Host) Family

You’ll get to do way more than just travel — you’ll live with a host family, sharing in their day-to-day life. Become part of your host community, making friends with and working alongside community members. Share holidays, celebrations, and everyday life in a way you can only experience through authentic cultural immersion. AMIGOS volunteers and their host families build long-lasting relationships and often stay in touch after their project ends. All of our host families are vetted and trained before volunteers arrive.

Have an Adventure

Travel to must-see spots in your host country! You’ll travel as a group to experience unique destinations your host country has to offer, like volcanoes, ancient ruins, national parks, and historical sites. You’ll get to see these places from the distinct perspective of someone who has lived in that country and learned about the culture firsthand. Plus, you’ll bond with their fellow volunteers and have fun!

Travel with Trust

AMIGOS is the industry leader in health and safety management. Our staff is prepared to help you with any situation that may arise. Each volunteer receives a personalized emergency plan, as well as support from local staff teams and a professional 24-hour On-Call Safety Team of travel specialists, doctors, and mental health specialists. AMIGOS also has an established network of vetted medical clinics and hospitals throughout the region.

Training for AMIGOS and Beyond

Prepare for AMIGOS through guided training in topics like: multicultural understanding, health and safety, community development; travel safety, Spanish, leadership, and team building.

Upon arrival in the field, you’ll start country-specific training with your group of fellow volunteers. During your time abroad, you’ll meet regularly with an AMIGOS staff member who serves as your mentor. Finally, at the end of your service, come together again as a group to participate in debriefing — putting what you learned in context, preparing to go home, and going on fun excursions around the country.

Want to volunteer abroad?

Start your application today!

APPLY NOW
Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Local Chapter 4 weeks

Find a chapter near you for a local training calendar!

Session A: June 16–July 14
Session B: July 21–August 16

15–22 December 9, 2019

$4,250 + group fundraising

National Chapter 4 weeks

Group pre-departure training: Session A: June 12–16
Session B: July 17–21

Session A: June 16–July 14
Session B: July 21–August 16

15–22 April 7, 2020

$5,750

  • Local Chapter
  • Length
    4 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Find a chapter near you for a local training calendar!

  • In-Country Dates

    Session A: June 16–July 14
    Session B: July 21–August 16

  • Ages
    15–22
  • Application Deadline
    December 9, 2019
  • Price

    $4,250 + group fundraising

  • National Chapter
  • Length
    4 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Group pre-departure training: Session A: June 12–16
    Session B: July 17–21

  • In-Country Dates

    Session A: June 16–July 14
    Session B: July 21–August 16

  • Ages
    15–22
  • Application Deadline
    April 7, 2020
  • Price

    $5,750

Partner Agencies

“AMIGOS has just been an opportunity for me to grow as a person and become the best version of me possible. That’s pretty much why I came here—just to grow and have a great experience and learn more about myself and other cultures. It’s just been fantastic.

—Lex, Pérez Zeledón Project Volunteer

Program Requirements
  • Meet the health criteria for AMIGOS participation and follow the mental health procedures if necessary.
  • Receive required immunizations and medications
  • Be age 15–22 on the project start date
  • Have taken 2 years of Spanish or the equivalent
APPLY NOW

Read about the Pérez Zeledón Project

Report from Parque Nacional Marino Ballena

Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica


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Volunteer Post: Brooke

Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica


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Session A Debriefing and Despedida

Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica


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