Construction Project

School/Orphanage Construction In Costa Rica (San Jose)

Help build a forever home for Costa Ricans
volunteers sanding desks and benches
  • Improve local homes, schools and orphanages
  • Immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Costa Rica
  • Enhance the beauty of a community
  • Volunteer abroad safely & affordably

Project Summary

While the tourist areas and capital city of San Jose are beautiful and up-to-date, the poorer areas are often run down and in shambles. This is especially true at local orphanages and in poor, rural communities, where people do not have the skill sets or money to do basic repairs. In San Jose, IFRE has construction volunteer opportunities in place to improve local homes, schools and orphanages. As an IFRE volunteer, you will work to repair and build homes and schools for poor communities to improve the city and overall morale. In the past, our volunteers have had a positive effect on the community, and the local citizens really appreciate the program.

Another positive side to Construction in Costa Rica with IFRE-Costa Rica is that you can make this small city a more beautiful place even if you’re in San Jose for only a small amount of time. IFRE-Costa Rica can place you in short-term construction projects.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

No specific qualifications are required to join the construction in Costa Rica project, though the work will be physically demanding. While beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred, it is not mandatory. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the community you are helping.

Volunteer Responsibilities

In the construction project, volunteers will participate in various constructions projects. Some of the projects range from repairing and building new homes and schools for orphaned children or for rural villages. Some duties may include digging, removing dirt, carrying bricks, mixing cement, plastering, painting, cleaning and other various needs. The work days are typically Monday through Friday, though the work schedule may vary based on project needs, the construction schedule and weather. All construction projects will be led and managed by professional foremen, architects and engineers.


IFRE arranges room, breakfast and supervision for volunteers for the entire duration of the volunteer in Costa Rica program. In San Jose, you will have the option to stay with a well-screened host family or in an apartment-style room. Our host families are respected members of the community and are well-versed in the art of hosting international volunteers. Host families offer a safe home with private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers), shared bathroom facilities, and a “western” style toilet. You may ask your host family to do laundry for you for a nominal extra fee. You will receive three prepared traditional Costa Rican meals per day. If you will be out of the house during lunch hour, you can request a lunch "to go" that you can take with you or eat out on your own. The capital city of San Jose is located in the Central Valley, and it boasts a wide variety of museums, parks and plazas with recreational areas, countless flora and fauna, lakes and open green areas. San Jose is known for its beautiful European-inspired theatres that feature numerous musical, artistic and cultural activities and shows. San Jose also has a wide variety of annual festivals and parks, along with restaurants that specialize in Costa Rican cuisine.

During the volunteer project, our local staff will stay in contact with you either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. The volunteer coordinator lives just minutes away if you need anything during your stay. Volunteers are always welcome at the local office, as well. We request that you stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how you are doing with your home stay and project. If you any advice or have any issues you need to discuss, you can talk to your coordinator.


  • Please provide a typical day schedule for construction project.

    Working hours vary according to the needs of the project, but you can expect to work 3-4 hours per day, Monday to Friday. Your working hours will either be in the morning or in the afternoon depending on your project, and your native Spanish classes will be scheduled during your off hours.

  • Where do I stay? How far is the project from the accommodation? How do I commute every day?

    You will be staying with a host family in a shared room. Rooms are typically shared with 1-3 other volunteers.

    The majority of our projects are located in and around San Jose. Travel time varies widely from project to project and you should expect to spend 20-90 minutes traveling each way. The city bus system is generally the most effective and cheapest way to get to and from your project, though taxis are widely available and are still an option. Please note that we will be unable to change your project placement based on its distance from our offices.

    Transportation is not always straight-forward in Costa Rica. Depending on your project and housing locations, you may need to take up to 3 buses between your host family and project site, so be prepared to incorporate the commute into your daily schedule.

    For your first visit to the project, you will be taken by a local representative using the local transport and given additional information about how to get to and from your project.

    Local bus rides are very affordable and a one way trip will rarely cost more than ₡350 (about $0.75). Taxis will be much more expensive and the cost will vary.

    IMPORTANT: Volunteers are responsible for their daily transportation to and from their project sites. Please budget up to $5.00 per day.

  • What would I be doing at the project?

    You will be volunteering at a construction project in or around San Jose, Costa Rica. Construction projects include renovation work (painting, plastering and repairs) and full construction (carpentry, masonry, laying tile, mixing cement, welding and plumbing). These projects generally take place at extremely impoverished housing areas or schools. You must be in general good health for this project in order to lift heavy weights and exert yourself.

  • What is the name of the project I would be placed?

    Construction projects are continuously changing as we complete and start each one. Upon arrival you will be given further information on the current construction project underway.

  • Will I be working in the project on my own or will there be someone assisting me while working?

    All construction projects are led by a professional Spanish speaking foreman who is experienced in guiding and training international volunteers.

  • How many hours a day do I get to work?

    Working hours vary according to the needs of the project, but you can expect to work 3-4 hours per day, Monday to Friday.

    Your working hours will either be in the morning or in the afternoon depending on your project, and your native Spanish classes will be scheduled during your off hours.

  • Do I need to bring any special thing for this project?

    You are strongly encouraged to bring work gloves, work boots, safety glasses and clothes that you do not mind getting dirty or even ruining. You will be required to wear closed-toed shoes and long pants at all times. Tank tops are not permitted. Also note that Costa Rica can be rainy, so come prepared to get muddy.

  • Is the construction project available all-round the year?

    Yes, construction projects are available all year with project start dates every Monday.