Local Volunteer Projects in Costa Rica

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About

Maximo Nivel provides great volunteer programs Costa Rica—programs are available in the capital city of San Jose and on the beach in Manuel Antonio. Maximo is a locally-based organization and you work directly with local projects, get involved, and make an impact!

University credit is available for our service learning programs from our official School of Record: California State University-Monterey Bay.

Volunteer placements include:

  • ...and more!

Questions & Answers

From my experience plan 2 months earlier is good for volunteer:)
Yes, at least the basics. Try a few classes on online sites like Duolingo and/or a phrase book. It will make your life much easier and minimal communication is required. Don't expect most of the people we interact with to know English, apart the volunteer organization and travel agencies, or at least it was my experience in Costa Rica. And they will appreciate the effort !

Reviews

96%
based on 96 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
  • Benefits 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Facilities 10
  • Safety 7
Showing 1 - 15 of 96
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Brandon
10/10

Great service, great fun!

Our staff from Maximo Nivel was great! They were available every step of the way to provide assurance, support, and direction without being overbearing. Our host families were a joy to be around, and our accommodations were pleasant. The project was educational and it felt like we made an impact by the end of our week there. In our free time, Monteverde had a lot of exciting activities to offer.

Yes, I recommend
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Tori
10/10

Childcare Project

I first committed to staying in Costa Rica for 8 weeks, but I soon realized that wasn't nearly enough time, and I decided to commit for another 3 weeks. However, my time here is now coming to a close, and I still wish I could stay longer. I came to Costa Rica in order to force myself out of my comfort zone, challenge my beliefs and expectations, and grow as a person; I believe I have acieved every single one of those goals. I have made forever friends and had unforgettable experiences- while travelling, with my host family, and in my project.
My experience at the school (my childcare project) was particularly one I will never forget. I cannot thank them enough for all they have taught me about myself and what I want from my future. Each and every child in the school has touched my heart in their own unique and special way, and I can only hope I have somehow touched there's in return.

Yes, I recommend
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Chantal
10/10

Working with Children at Hogar Maria Infantil

I had an unforgetable experience working with the children at Hogar Maria Infantil for the months I came to Costa Rica. All of the staff at Maimo Nivel were super supportive and helpful every step of the way. I learnt so much during my time here. Travelling and volunteering is an experience nobody can take away from you, and I am so glad I chose Costa Rica to kick off my travel bug. Many thanks to everyone who made this experience possible.

Yes, I recommend
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Becky
8/10

Maximo Nivel Nursing Home Volunteer Project

I spent my time volunteering in Costa Rica at Casa Nazereth and had a great experience! The staff at Maximo Nivel made sure I was prepared once I arrived in Costa Rica, a country I had never visited before to make sure I was comfortable for my week here. They were always very accesible, welcoming, and friendly, I am so thankful I discovered this wonderful organization! The staff at Casa Nazereth were wonderfully welcoming and guided me in helping me to assist the residents with their daily cares and medical needs.

Yes, I recommend
Emily
10/10

Maximo Nivel Nursing Home Volunteer Project

I had a great experience with Maximo Nivel working at Casa Nazareth nursing home in San Jose! Maximo Nivel is very organized and all of their staff are extremely supportive. At Casa Nazareth, I got to work with all of the senior citizens that live there. Even though I really enjoyed helping the nurse and doctor with the residents, the best part for me was getting to know each of the residents and their life story!

Yes, I recommend
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Caye
9/10

Impacting the Lives of Students

I volunteered in Manuel Antonio as an English teacher for elementary students and adults. I found it to be a great experience, one that positively touched the lives of young people and encouraged their growth and success. I found the staff of Maximo Nivel to be kind, helpful, and supportive. I enjoyed living with my host family, and the students were absolutely wonderful! I would recommend this program to people who are flexible, creative, down-to-earth, and concerned about others. Bring some school supplies with you ... some patience, and some love... and you will make a lasting difference in the lives of others. And they, in turn, will make a positive difference in your life too!

Yes, I recommend
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maria
10/10

Everyone needs to experience!!

This program was great. I have never volunteered in another country before and I was very nervous but Maximo made it so easy. When I got here i felt very welcome by all the staff and going to the sea turtle conservation was an experience I will never forgot. We learned so many things about conservation and maintaning the beaches of Costa Rica. I will definitely go back and do this same project again or even branch out and do others. I had a blast with everyone including the staff at the project as well. Everything went above and beyond my expectations.

Yes, I recommend
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Julia
10/10

Increible

Translation:
Very helpful staff always, always willing to help beyond their objections. Celine always helped me with everything I needed. My project was with children of a church and I loved it, they are all very special. My family here also loved it, it could be like in my house in Brazil. I leave Manuel Antonio wanting to return as early as possible. It is an experience that all people should live.

Original:
Personal muy servicial siempre, siempre dispuestos a ayudar más alla de sus oblicaciones. Celine me ayudó siempre con todo que necesité. Mi proyecto fue con niños de una iglesia y me encantó, son todos muy especiales. Mi familia aqui tambien me encantó, pudo estar como en mi casa de Brasil. Salgo de Manuel Antonio con ganas de regresar más temprano posible. Es una experiencia que todas las personas deberian vivir.

How can this program be improved?
Para mi fue perfecto
Yes, I recommend
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Charles
10/10

AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!!!!

This was the first time I had any kind of experience like this. I was looking for an option to both study Spanish and volunteer abroad when I found Maximo Nivel. I was hesitant because I did not know what to expect, especially when arriving in a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone! From start to finish I had an amazing experience. All of the staff from Andy first helping me to understand how the programs worked when I was doing research, to all of the staff in Manuel Antonio who helped me feel at home and were always kind and supportive, particularly Karen, Celine and Mackenzie, and my Spanish teachers Runnia and Patricia. My host family was incredibly kind and hospitable and were always patient and went out of their way to make sure I was safe and comfortable and felt at home. Thank you Maximo Nivel for an experience I will never forget!!!!!!!!

Yes, I recommend
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Anne
10/10

Manuel Antonio Working with Kids

I loved my project. I loved the kids, being in Qrepos, and my host family. i had a lot of fun and felt safe normally. a few girls were mugged which caused a bit of drama but i took precautions and followed the advice given by maximo and i was good. my host family was awesome. they were all so kind, made good food, took care of me and invited me to cultural activites. the kids at the daycare were so fun and i loved having something to do. i learned to have a good attitude and to have a lot of energy. however, when my projcect switched from afternoon to morning, i was very grateful to have something new and do different things with the kids besides play outside for the majority of the time.

How can this program be improved?
maybe only put volunteers in the morning at the daycare in imaculada.
Yes, I recommend
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Marlina
10/10

Casa Nazareth Medical Project Costa Rica

Volunteering with Maximo Nivel in Costa Rica was a once in a lifetime oppurtunity. I was lucky enough to be placed in Casa Nazareth and volunteer with the elderly. This experience was rewarding because you get to build relationships with the residents and staff at the facility. I did a one week project at Casa Nazareth and our duties included, but not limited to, checking vital signs, assisting with wound care, assist with feeds, physical therapy, arts and crafts, having conversations and so much more than that is creating special bonds with each and everyone there! Through Maximo Nivel I got placed in an amazing home stay with a great family, including a dog! The family was so welcoming and made me feel right at home. The staff at Maximo Nivel was there throughout the whole process for any help we needed and even checked in with us the whole week at our project to see if I needed anything or needed help with anything. The general orientation and individual project orientation explained everything in detail and made me feel comfortable in a foreign country. I came to Costa Rica not knowing what to expect from this experience but now I'm leaving sad because I am part of a family with Maximo Nivel, not only with the staff but with the other volunteers, I have built life long relationships with everyone including staff, home stay family, the residents and staff at Casa Nazareth and the other volunteers! Thank you Maximo Nivel! I am highly recommending your organization!

Yes, I recommend
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Lindsay
10/10

Manuel Antonio Working with Kids

Maximo Nivel's program in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica was one of the best experiences I have had. My homestay was fantastic and I truly felt that I became part of the family. The office staff is very helpful and very friendly, and my Spanish classes were fantastic. I worked at a daycare with children ages 0-6, and had a wonderful experience. The children are so sweet and become hard to say goodbye to each day. Also, there are copious activities set up by Maximo Nivel that are a great way to meet other program participants. The only regret I have is not being here long enough - the time went by too quickly!

Yes, I recommend
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Chloe
10/10

Maximo Nivel is worth it!

I spent a total of 6 months with Maximo in San Jose Costa Rica. From the first day I arrived I felt welcomed into the Maximo community. All of the staff members were very friendly and knowledable. Throughout my time here the staff has been nothing but kind and helpful. THey were willing to help me with everything from restaurant recomendaciones to travel tips to doctor appointments. It was great to have the constant support of the Maximo Nivel team during my time here. When they asked me how I was and if I liked my classes and my project, it was evident that they genuinely cared about how I was doing and wanted to ensure my wellbeing and happiness. ALthough one does have to pay for this prpogram, it is much less expensive than some other volunteer programs and I beleive the cost is worth what you get in return. I would recomend Maximo Nivel to anyonr looking to do volunteer work in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru.

Yes, I recommend
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Katheyrn
10/10

12 weeks. 3 projects. A life changing experience!

I have chose to do three projects in Costa Rica through Maximo Nivel. I did construction and renovation in San Jose, eco agriculture in Monteverde and turtle conservation program in Junquillal. The hardest part about writing this review is that i know im about to head home and leave this beautiful country and its people behind. All of the projects were absolutly amazing! from the host families, making new friends with the locals and the volunteers to the very helpful and friendly staff members of Maximo Nivel. If you are looking to volunteer in a safe country, where the people make you feel like you are home and where your time and effort will be truly needed and appreciate it, this is definitely the place and the organization. I will forever be grateful and lucky that I got to experience all these adventures and challenges that were so rewarding!

Yes, I recommend
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Rubylea
10/10

Can't wait to come back again!

Costa Rica is such a beautiful place with such kind, welcoming people. Volunteering through Maximo Nivel immediately eased all my worries about travelling solo! The team at the San Pedro headquarters provided a comprehensive orientation of all the do's and don'ts while here and provided all the support you need. Emmy is super knowledgable and helped me settle in immediately! Going through Maximo was a great way to meet people with their social events while contributing to the community and having an authentic Costa Rican experience. Special shout out to Steve and Andres, they were always so acommodating and happy to help with any issues i had. I could not recommend Maximo enough! I can't wait to visit again.

Yes, I recommend

Interviews

About Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America

Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross...