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Costa Rica Medical Volunteer Opportunities

Are you a medical professional or are you pursuing a degree in healthcare and want to help people in need? Would you like to volunteer in Costa Rica and make a difference in the lives of those in need of healthcare?

Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of the top international travel destinations thanks to its pristine beaches, verdant rainforests, beautiful mountains, and friendly people. If you are seeking adventure or a serene return to nature, Costa Rica has something for every traveler.

Although Costa Rica is making great strides in its healthcare system, there are still people who lack access to basic healthcare, or who don’t have the means to seek out the medical assistance they need. Poor people in rural areas, especially, struggle to get into the cities where doctors and hospitals are available to treat them. There is also a lack of public education in terms of sanitation and good health practices.

IFRE teams up with local doctors and nurses to get these underprivileged patients the care they need. When you join a medical volunteer program in Costa Rica, you will shadow local doctors and medical professionals in their treatment of these patients and gain valuable experience observing real-life medical cases.

Do you want to gain immense amounts of hands-on experience in the medical field while having a great time in paradise? Then contact IFRE today to learn more about our Costa Rica medical project.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Volunteer Responsibilities and Impact:

As a Medical volunteer in Costa Rica, you will be shadowing and observing medical professionals as they treat sick and injured patients. You will be working in local clinics, assisted living facilities, HIV centers, rehabilitation centers or in an ambulance project. Volunteers will work 3-4 hours per day Monday to Friday. Work hours may be in the morning or afternoon depending on the project.

You will assist with general check-ups, help with physical therapy, take blood pressure and other vital measurements, organize patient records, and prepare materials and equipment. You may also be a part of medical campaigns and impart healthcare education to underprivileged communities. Your duties will vary depending on your qualifications, skills, education level, the current needs of the project and your Spanish skills.

Your assistance will provide a helping hand to Costa Rican doctors and various organizations and serve the needs of underprivileged patients that are seeking care in a better way. You will be gaining valuable experience in a medical setting, and this will help prepare you for a future career in healthcare. Your work will improve the well-being of those in need and provide them with encouragement and hope.

Skills and Qualifications:

In order to qualify for our Costa Rica Medical volunteer project, you will need to have a medical or educational background in healthcare. You will need to provide a valid medical student ID, or certification as a physician, nurse, EMT or other healthcare background from an accredited institution. You will also need to bring scrubs, a stethoscope and closed-toed shoes.

Volunteers also need to be at least 18 years or older to join this program. You need to be compassionate towards patients and passionate about helping them. You should be flexible, have a positive mindset and be able to connect with patients.

Though not mandatory, it will be helpful to have basic Spanish skills as most patients do not speak English. If you want to learn Spanish or improve your skills, we highly recommend you enroll in our Spanish Immersion classes. We offer them while you volunteer and this skill will surely enrich your medical experience.

Volunteering in this medical project in Costa Rica will be a rewarding experience and your days will be fun and exciting as you learn a great deal from local doctors.

Your hours will vary based on your project placement, so consider this sample schedule just a rough outline to give you an idea of what to expect day to day.

  • First Day : On your first day of volunteering in a medical project in Costa Rica, you will be brought to your project placement by our passionate in-country coordinator. They will introduce you to the local project staff and give you an informative orientation. You’ll learn about your duties, your schedule, safety protocol, and go over the culture and customs of Costa Rica.
  • Weekdays : Your medical work begins on the second day, and your schedule is going to vary based on your placement. A typical day might look something like this:
  • 7.00 to 7.30 AM : Start your day off with a traditional Tico breakfast shared with your host family. You’ll probably have gallo pinto, a national favorite made with rice and beans with signature spices and flavors, some eggs, maybe tortillas, fresh juice, and café con leche.
  • 7.45 AM : Leave your host family and travel to your project site. If you’re traveling by local bus, you can do so cheaply but show up early, but don’t be surprised if it’s late, and be prepared to stand if it gets really crowded. Spend a fantastic day as a medical volunteer in Costa Rica!
  • 12.00 PM : Break for lunch. You might head home to your host family, or they may have sent you with a lunch to-go. If so, spend the time chatting with your fellow volunteers and make friends from around the world!
  • 3.00 PM : After volunteering, you’ll have your evenings free to explore. Relax with your host family or team up with your fellow volunteers and check out the surrounding areas!
  • 6.45 PM : Every evening you will share a traditional dinner with your host family. Immerse yourself in the local culture, practice your Spanish, and make the most of your time in this fascinating country.

Fees & Program Dates

Program Dates

IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.

Volunteers can participate in our program from 1 week up to 3 months.


Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact on the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

Volunteer Program Fees (US$)

Duration San Jose Manuel Antonio
  1 Week   $550   -
  2 Weeks   $955   -
  3 Weeks   $1,360   $1,350
  4 Weeks   $1,725   $1,630
  5 Weeks   $2,005   $1,825
  6 Weeks   $2,285   $2,020
  7 Weeks   $2,565   $2,215
  8 Weeks   $2,845   $2,410
  9 Weeks   $3,125   $2,605
  10 Weeks   $3,405   $2,800
  11 Weeks   $3,685   $2,995
  12 Weeks   $3,965   $3,190

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day ( below 28 years) and $4.49/day ( above 28 years) »

Spanish Immersion Classes
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica - $150/week
San Jose, Costa Rica - $125/week

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Shared Accommodation with host family
  • 2 meals per day (Breakfast & Dinner)
  • Airport Pick up
  • In-country support
  • Program Orientation
  • Project Management
  • Volunteer Certificate
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses such as soft drinks and snacks
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

The volunteering in Costa Rica program fees will cover expenses from the first day of the program to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Accommodation and Meal

Our Medical volunteers in Costa Rica will stay with one of our socially respected and experienced host families. They will offer you a home away from home and a great chance to immerse yourself in the culture. The host families have experience with hosting international volunteers and accommodations are located in safe neighborhoods.

You will be sharing a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Volunteer rooms are basic, clean and comfortable, and you will have access to showers, hygienic toilets and electricity. The volunteer project may be walking distance from the accommodation or require public transportation.

Volunteers will be provided with 2 local meals a day (breakfast and dinner). We accommodate vegetarian needs but not special dietary requirements.

Learn more about IFRE’s accommodations and meals in Costa Rica. .

Free Time and Weekends Exploration:

San Jose, Costa Rica has a lot of cultural offerings like museums, theaters, live music, great restaurants, and a historical downtown shopping area. The city is perfectly located for day and weekend trips to surrounding areas like volcanos, the cloud forest, rainforests, beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and more.

Discover what to do in your free time in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Safety and in Country Support

Your safety is IFRE’s number one priority, and we make sure you have a successful and secure volunteer abroad experience. We make sure you have safe housing and a welcoming host family to help you navigate the local area, work with respected organizations, offer health coverage, and also provide the support of our dedicated in-country team available to you at all times.

Learn more about IFRE’s safety and support in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Costa Rica Medical Volunteer Opportunities: FAQs

IFRE takes care of all those little details needed to plan the perfect Costa Rica volunteer trip. Here are some of the things you should know when traveling abroad with us:

Arrival and departure

You will fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Make sure you have sent us your correct flight details so that we can pick you up without any delay. Our airport representative will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to your placement.

IFRE doesn’t offer departure transport services.


You will need to apply for a tourist visa in advance. Do some research ahead of time and find out the requirements for someone from your home country. Some volunteers are eligible for an on arrival visa depending on the nationality. A 90 days visa extension facility is available. Please visit the Immigration site of Costa Rica and get more detailed information.


The first step for protecting yourself while traveling abroad is getting up to date on your vaccines. Please consult a travel doctor who is knowledgeable about current health issues and epidemics in Costa Rica. You can also find the information on Center for Disease Control and Prevention , Global Health Canada or in Travelers' Health United Kingdom.

We highly recommend that you get all the necessary vaccinations before heading to Costa Rica for volunteering in our program. You should be up to date on your routine vaccines, as well as Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid.

For more readings
Volunteer Health and Safety
Safety tips for your volunteer abroad trip

Why join IFRE’s Costa Rica medical volunteer program?

This medical volunteer program is an excellent opportunity to gain incredibly valuable hands-on experience in the medical field while also travelling in and experiencing an amazing and fascinating part of the world.

Gain valuable experience in the medical field

If you are pursuing a career in the medical field, this is a great chance to see doctors working with patients in a clinical setting, and to gain experience in real-world cases. Participation in this program looks great on your resume and will help you with your future career.

Travel to an exciting country

Costa Rica is a true paradise. The stunning beaches, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and lush jungles will take your breath away, while the friendly Ticos and Ticas will steal your heart.

Make a difference

The support you provide to doctors and nurses will help them better serve patients in need. Your work in educational campaigns will allow local Costa Ricans to manage their own health better in the future, and steer clear of the pitfalls of avoidable and treatable diseases.

Make friends from around the world

One of the best parts about volunteering in Costa Rica is connecting with like-minded volunteers and making friends from around the world. You’ll also meet and connect with local Costa Ricans, making for a truly international experience.

Gain insight into a foreign healthcare system

While you may have or are currently getting quite a bit of experience working in healthcare in your home country, this project will give you a behind the scenes look at how the medical system operates in Costa Rica. Seeing things from a new perspective and exploring alternative modalities will expand your mind and the way you look at things.

Contact IFRE now to learn more about becoming a medical volunteer in Costa Rica!

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Costa Rica

If you lack the medical background for this project, don’t worry, there’s plenty of other ways for you to contribute to this amazing place. You can join our following projects.

Contact IFRE today to learn more!

Other Medical Projects Worldwide

Access to adequate healthcare is sorely lacking in many communities and places around the world, and IFRE aims to make this a thing of the past with our medical projects located across the globe. Take a look at the list below for some of our most popular medical projects:

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