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Costa Rica Medical Volunteer Opportunities (San Jose, Costa Rica)

Are you a medical professional or 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 paradise?

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 here 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 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 and in how to handle them.

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.

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Volunteer Responsibilities and Impact:

As a medical volunteer in Costa Rica, you will be shadowing and observing doctors and nurses as they treat sick and injured patients. Due to strict regulations, you will not be able to treat patients yourself. You may also help out in important educational campaigns like dengue prevention and recycling efforts. Your duties will vary based on your skills, interests, and placement and you may be at a retirement home, in a hospital or clinic, working with the Red Cross, with a dentist, etc.

The assistance you provide will help Costa Rican doctors and various organizations better serve the needs of underprivileged patients that are seeking care. You will be gaining valuable experience in a medical setting, and this will help prepare you for a future career in the healthcare field.

Skills and Qualifications:

In order to qualify for our Costa Rica medical volunteer project, you will need to have a background in the healthcare field. You will need to furnish a valid medical student id, or certification as a physician, nurse, EMT, etc. from an accredited institution.

Spanish language skills are highly desired, but not required. If you cannot speak Spanish, we highly recommend you enroll in a Spanish language program. We offer them while you volunteer so it’s super convenient for you and will really help enrich your time abroad.

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 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.

Costa Rica Medical Volunteer Opportunities: Dates and Fees

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.

Our Fees

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 in 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.

Duration Medical
  1 Week   $450
  2 Weeks   $830
  3 Weeks   $1,185
  4 Weeks   $1,500
  5 Weeks   $1,760
  6 Weeks   $2,020
  7 Weeks   $2,280
  8 Weeks   $2,540
  9 Weeks   $2,800
  10 Weeks   $3,060
  11 Weeks   $3,320
  12 Weeks   $3,580

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day »

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Housing in shared rooms
  • Breakfast and Dinner (2 Meals) Per day
  • Orientation
  • Project management
  • Weekly salsa lessons
  • Free Tandem Conversation Program.

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

The volunteering overseas in Costa Rica program fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) 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, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.

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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. You’ll share three healthy local meals a day with them, and if you’ll be at your project site for lunch, they can send you off in the morning with a to-go lunch to bring with you.

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

Free Time and Weekends:

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 also the perfect spot 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 you 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.

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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 on arrival visa depending on the nationality. A 90 days visa extension facility is available. Please visit Immigration site of Costa Rica and get more detail 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 Centers 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 steal your breath, while the friendly Tico and Tica people 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 be 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 San Jose, Costa Rica

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

Teach English,

Provide comfort during the holidays, /a>

help with wildlife conservation,

Help build schools,

provide childcare and much more.

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 locate across the globe. Take a look at the list below for some of our most popular medical projects:

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