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 144 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • 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 144
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Miranda
10/10

Childcare in Costa Rica

Volunteering has always been a key part of my life. I came to volunteer in Costa Rica with my sister for something different, and I am so glad that I did. We were based at a facility called Sonrisas and it gave me a new appreciation for the little things in life. The kids were so sweet and so appreciative of everything! They were full of energy and opened my eyes to what is important to live a good, simple life. You definitely need to have a lot of energy and a positive outlook, but it is easy if you want to make the most of this experience. Maximo Nivel helped ensure that everything went smoothly so do not worry about navigating a new place. I definitely recommend branching out and volunteering in Costa Rica. If you think you do not have time, make time. It is worth it! Open your heart and open your eyes. Take everything in.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jillian
10/10

San Jose, Costa Rica Childcare

My sister and I decided to do this program together and we are so happy we did! Our only regret is that we didn't spend longer here. We stayed for one week and volunteered at Sonrisas with kids of all ages. We were able to really immerse ourselves into the culture, and staying with a host family is so special and unique. We were able to learn some Spanish, try traditional foods and learn more about the residential areas rather than just the tourist areas. And I came in not knowing much Spanish, so if that's holding you back, don't let it. We learned our way around very quickly, asked questions (Maximo Nivel is SUPER helpful) and we just made the most of it. The kids are so sweet and excited to see us everyday. And even though we are there to help them, they are the ones that ended up helping us in the long run.... reminded us to just have fun, keep it simple, and that the game of tag never gets old. We hope to do another program again in the future.

No, I don't recommend this program
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anna
10/10

junquillal turtle project

As an 18 year old girl traveling all by herelf i was very nervous, but from the second i got off the plane i was greeted by Maximo Nivel staff and felt safe. the staff here is amazing at making you feel safe and comfortable especially if you are like me and do not speak a lot of spanish. i was in junuillal for the turtles and it was the best time of my life, everyday you were doing something for the community, environment or the turtles and you truly felt like you were making a difference. i made life long friends and memories that i will cherish forever and am truly so grateful for this experience. my best advice if you are looking into traveling here, bring lots of bug spray, and open mind and a big heart, this trip will change your life for the better!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Angelica
10/10

No regrets

If you're thinking about coming to Costa Rica to volunteer, you just have to go for it! It has been a surreal experience so far. I had the privilege of working at a local orphanage that was absolutely phenomnal. Not only are the kids amazing, but they need you. They need you to play with them, care for them, and nurture them as endure the process of being adopted. Maximo is with you every step of the way; they will support you at your project and during your stay in Costa Rica. You will meet incredible people from all over the world! I highly recommend giving yourself some time travel Costa Rica during your stay here, too. Be impulsive, book your trip here! It will change you in so many ways. Pura Vida!

How can this program be improved?
I had a great experience overall!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Zoe
10/10

Childcare in Ositos

My experience in Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel has been amazing, all the staff is amazing and genuinely care about you and your volunteer projects. A lot of the volunteering is independent work, which has helped me to push myself out of my comfort zone and not follow aleader, but be a leader. I had the opportunity to take spanish classes with an amazing teacher who has helped to be confident in a new language. Living with a host family has showed me how Ticos live and the amazing food they eat in Costa Rica, as well as practicing my spanish! Maximo Nivel has been an amazing institute to travel and volunteer abroad and I can't wait to return to Costa Rica with them!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Paulina
10/10

Costa Rica Volunteer

Coming to Costa Rica has been the best experience ever! Maximo Nivel really made this experience the best, all the staff members are really friendly and they all constantly check on how things are going. If you are thinking on volunteering, I totally recommend Costa Rica with Maximo Nivel. I worked in an orphanage for two months, I learned so much from the kids. Working with kids that have been through that much really puts your life into perspective. I personally think that volunteering will help you as much as it will help others. My number one recommendation is to come with an open mind, there is so much you can learn from other people if you allow yourself.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Deborah
10/10

Childcare at Ositos

My whole experience with my host family, the maximi team, and the teachers and children at the Ositos day care has been incredible. Everyone was so nice and so helpful and has helped made this experience easier and enjoyable for me. The kids are so happy and so appreciative to have the volunteers come in and play with them. I definitely want to come back. My only challenge was the language barrier. I could only understand and speak a little bit of spanish so the next time I come back, I’m going to make sure that I am fluent in it. Other than that, I had the best time!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alexandra
10/10

Costa Rica Experience

Volunteerin in Costa Rica with IVHQ and being hosted through Maximo Nivel was an amazing experience ! They are extremely organized and help you prepare everything before you arrive for your project. They work diligently to prepare you for your on site project and their orientations are very helpful and full of information. I would definitely volunteer through this program again in the future. Thank you IVHQ !

Yes, I recommend this program
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Maria
7/10

Costa Rica Experience

I really enjoyed my experience volunteering with Maximo Nivel. The staff was very helpful but the accomodation was not as good as I would have it to be. I was placed in the Casa Esperanza home, a special needs placement. I loved it but after my roommate left I was the only volunteer so it was kinda tricky. The people that live at the home and the staff members were lovely and so sweet. I am going to miss them so much. I would love to come back eventually to see them. I still had a great time though. I had a terrific time and I can definitely see myself coming back.

How can this program be improved?
Be a little bit more organized. my
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tiffany
10/10

Healthcare volunteer

Great experience, our leader Tati was amazing. We were able to make a huge impact which is what I came here to do. I was able to work with children and do check ups to make sure their overall health was in good shape. We were able to bring them vitamins and other supplies they needed Great experience, our leader Tati was amazing. We were able to make a huge impact which is what I came here to do. I was able to work with children and do check ups to make sure their overall health was in good shape. We were able to bring them vitamins and other supplies they needed Great experience, our leader Tati was amazing. We were able to make a huge impact which is what I came here to do. I was able to work with children and do check ups to make sure their overall health was in good shape. We were able to bring them vitamins and other supplies they needed

How can this program be improved?
Na
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jessica
9/10

Teaching English at Vuelo La Carpio

I had the great pleasure to be placed as an English teaching volunteer with the young learners beginners class at Vuelo-LaCarpio. This is an extremely poor part of San Jose, originally built up by squatters out of the trash. Eventually this became a local community, which is very tight knit, but very excluded and isolated from most of the hustle and bustle of the big city life of San Jose. A local family offers up their home to allow students of all levels, ages, abilities to attend English classes for free. This placement is very rewarding, as those students that attend are eager to learn and happy to have assistance by native speakers. Of all the places I could have spent my first English teaching experience, I am so grateful for this placement!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jonathan
10/10

Construction / Childcare Projects in San Jose

I came to San Jose for 2 weeks, working in both Construction and Childcare. The construction project was really hands on, and I learned how to cut wall structures, use power tools, mix cement and much more. I was able to work closely with other volunteers on the project and through our teamwork and motivation we were able to succesfully complete our project. Our project manager Gonzalo was extremely helpful and very nice.

For Childcare, I worked at a daycare in a very poor neighborhood called Purral. All the children at the daycare had been sponsored by the Goverment due to issues with funding, or parental issues with Domestic violence, drugs, alcohol etc. Despite this, the kids were so warm, friendly, outgoing and happy. I worked with children ages 4-8, and I would spend the shift playing games, playing with toys, teaching them numbers/alphabet, drawing and much more. It was awesome to see how happy the kids were, and I truly felt like I made an impact on them.

Additionally, I met some great volunteers that I got to hang out with a lot, and the Maximo staff were EXTREMELY helpful and accomodating whenever I had any questions/concerns.

Overall one of the coolest and most impactful experiences of my life

Yes, I recommend this program
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Véronique
10/10

Casa Esperanza (Special Needs Project)

I had an amazing experience at casa Esperanza. I could truly see how impactful it was for the residents to have regular interactions with us and be stimulated through games and art. The staff there was sooo wonderful, but had their hands full preparing meals, changing the residents, cleaning, etc. Therefore, having volunteers there that were solely focused on interacting with the residents is so valuable. I do feel I made a small impact in the residents lives but they made a much greater impact on me with their positivity, light, and all of the love that they give unconditionally. This experience has been so meaningful to me ☺

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps some additional materials could be provided (card holders, canvas, etc). Overall, it was really great though and the staff was super quick and responsive when we felt we were missing something (for example markers)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Chanel
10/10

Casa Esperanza

Awesome project! The staff is amazing and really helpful. The people at casa esperanza are so kind and loving, this is truly a great project.
I learned alot about how to interact with special needs individuals, especially individuals with autism. This experience will be very helpful at home for my future work as an occupational therapist!

At the house, they LOVE to draw ! To the future volunteers , make sure to print pretty drawings for them to colour!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ariana
10/10

Healthcare

These past two weeks were some of the best of my life! Maximo is incredibly helpful and prepares all of us really well for the volunteer work we're doing here. I got placed at Trasmedic, a local ambulance company here in San Jose. It was an incredible experience! The paramedics at Trasmedic are really kind and genuinely want us to have the best experience possible. We were able to help them triage and take vitals on the calls. I personally didn't experience any critical cases, but it was still great to see what it's like to work as a paramedic in Costa Rica. I honestly could not recommend this program any more! Thank you to everyone at Maximo and Trasmedic, nos vemos muy pronto=)

Yes, I recommend this program

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...