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Volunteer Teaching English in Costa Rica

Would you like to volunteer in Costa Rica and make a difference in paradise? Do you have a passion for the English language and love working with kids? Let IFRE plan your ultimate volunteer experience abroad.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country in Central America. Although small in size it holds a wide variety of treasures, and you can find cloud forests, steamy tropical beaches, quaint country towns and cool mountaintops all within its borders. Although tourism brings in over 2 billion dollars a year into Costa Rica,

only about 10% of the population currently speaks the level of English needed to communicate with those tourists. With over a million people living in poverty, this lack of education is preventing hard-working Costa Ricans from improving their financial situation.

IFRE teams up with local schools and underprivileged communities to help provide young Costa Rican students and adults a much-needed English language education. You will be helping the kids and adults learn conversational English, coming up with fun and engaging activities to get your students excited about their studies, and assisting the local teachers.

When you join the English teaching volunteer program in Costa Rica, you will be helping prepare kids and adults for bright futures with successful, well-paying jobs in the lucrative tourism industry. If you are working as, or studying to be, a teacher, this is a fantastic chance to gain practical experience teaching in a classroom while giving back to those in need.

Are you interested in making a difference for children in need while traveling in paradise? Then contact IFRE today to learn more about volunteering to teach English in Costa Rica!

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

Volunteer Responsibilities and Impact:

You will be helping teach conversational English to students and adults in a local school or community center. You will assist local teachers and engage the students in fun and exciting ways to learn English. You may organize extracurricular activities and help out in other ways as needed. Volunteers will work 3-4 hours per day Monday to Friday. Work hours may be in the morning, afternoon or evening depending on the project.

By volunteering in Costa Rica in the teaching English project, you will be paving the way for a bright and successful future for students and adults who do not have financial means to learn English. They will grow up to be able to have more job opportunities, by breaking the cycle of poverty. You can feel amazing knowing you are making a huge positive impact on their lives.

Skills and Qualifications:

You don’t need any prior teaching experience to join the volunteer English teaching program in Costa Rica. However, you will need a firm grasp of the English language and a passion for teaching along with the patience and enthusiasm required to offer a great educational experience for them. A background check is required for volunteers working with children.

Volunteers also need to be at least 16 years or older to join this program on their own. Volunteers below the age of 18 years old will need parental consent, and those below the age of 16 years old need to be accompanied by their parent, guardian or faculty leader if they wish to volunteer.

Though not mandatory, it will be helpful to have basic Spanish skills. 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, so it’s super convenient for you and they will provide you with an opportunity to practice what you learn!

Each and every day spent as an English teacher in San Jose, Costa Rica, will be filled with fun and exciting experiences.

Since you’ll be volunteering in a school, your hours and duties will likely revolve around the school schedule. Costa Rica’s public schools have extremely varied and often perplexing schedules. You’ll need to find the exact details of what hours you’ll be working once you receive your project placement, and they are likely to change on different days of the week.

Often the strange hours come from overcrowding in the schools. They do not have enough classrooms or enough teachers for the number of students who need to attend, so some may come in the mornings, and others of a different age will come to study in that classroom in the afternoon/evening. We encourage our Costa Rica Teaching English volunteers to be flexible and open-minded when it comes to your schedule.

  • First Day : On your first day of volunteering, our helpful in-country coordinator will escort you to the school at which you’ll be volunteering. You’ll meet the teachers you’ll be working with and have the chance to finally meet these amazing kids to whom you’ll be teaching English! We’ll give you an informative orientation session, and you’ll learn all about your project, your daily schedule, safety protocol, and the culture and customs of Costa Rica.
  • Weekdays : Your teaching begins on the second day, but keep in mind that your schedule is going to vary based on your placement. A typical day might look something like this:
  • 7.00 to 7.30 AM : Share a tipico breakfast with your welcoming Costa Rican host family. Usual fare includes gallo pinto, a delicious rice and beans dish, eggs, fresh fruit, and café con leche.
  • 7.45 AM : Head out to the local school where you’ll be volunteering and get ready for an exciting day teaching English to your eager young students! Expect a wide range of possibilities when it comes to the actual hours of the day you’ll be working.
  • 12.00 PM : Take a break for lunch. You can either head back to your host family or take a lunch to-go and bond with your fellow teacher volunteers in Costa Rica and local project staff. Volunteering abroad is a great chance to make friends from around the world!
  • 3.00 PM : When you’re done volunteering for the day, you can do all kinds of fun things while exploring the city of San Jose. Go to museums, browse in local shops, eat at unique restaurants, or check out a play in the beautiful national theater!
  • 6.45 PM : Return to your host family for a traditional Costa Rican dinner. The typical meal is a Casado. It includes rice, beans, some kind of salad, plantains, and a protein. Immerse yourself in the local culture and get a real taste of pura vida.

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 12 weeks.


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   $455   -
  2 Weeks   $765   -
  3 Weeks   $1,075   $1,255
  4 Weeks   $1,345   $1,535
  5 Weeks   $1,530   $1,730
  6 Weeks   $1,715   $1,925
  7 Weeks   $1,900   $2,120
  8 Weeks   $2,085   $2,315
  9 Weeks   $2,270   $2,510
  10 Weeks   $2,455  $2,705
  11 Weeks   $2,640   $2,900
  12 Weeks   $2,825   $3,095

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 that will begin on 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 any additional expenses.

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

Accommodation and Meal

Our English teacher volunteers in Costa Rica will be staying with a welcoming host family. The accommodations are located in safe neighborhoods and all our host families have been carefully selected. With them, you will also get an opportunity for cultural exchange.

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 projects 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:

San Jose is often overlooked by tourists traveling to Costa Rica, but it’s a great place to get a feel for how locals live and this city in the central valley has a lot to offer. The downtown area boasts shopping, restaurants, bars, museums, unique architecture, a stunning national theater, and mountain views. It’s also the hub for all the tour companies and bus lines that will take you to attractions all over the country.

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

Safety and in Country Support

Your safety is our primary concern and we will be there for you every step of the way during your Costa Rica volunteer experience. We go over every aspect of your trip and watch over you while you’re abroad with our awesome in-country staff who you can reach out to at any time.

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.

Volunteer Teaching English in Costa Rica: FAQs

You can relax knowing IFRE takes care of all the details of your trip for you. We guide and support you with our years of experience in the volunteer abroad industry. Here are a few details you should know when you’re planning on travelling with us:

Arrival and departure

You will fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Send us your final flight details before your departure. Our airport representative will pick you up at the airport. They’ll welcome you and take you straight to your accommodations.

IFRE doesn’t offer departure transport services.


Please secure a tourist visa in order to volunteer in the Teaching English project in Costa Rica. You can visit the Immigration site of Costa Rica to learn about the visa procedures. According to the Costa Rican law, on arrival a tourist visa is available. However, it depends on your nationality. We recommend our volunteers secure a tourist visa before departing in order to avoid unnecessary hassles. A 90 days visa extension service is available. You can simply extend your visa by visiting Costa Rican immigration office.


Getting vaccinated is a must before international travel. You want to protect yourself against contracting any communicable diseases, and also protect the kids you are going to be spending so much time around.

Please consult your 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 our volunteers get all the required vaccinations before heading to Costa Rica for volunteering in our Teaching English 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 volunteer teaching English in San Jose, Costa Rica?

Teaching English in Costa Rica lets you make a huge positive impact on the lives of children in need while having an amazing time in an idyllic tropical country.

Travel to a new country and make a difference!

Costa Rica is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world. A world of rainforests, exotic wildlife, rushing waterfalls, towering mountains, and pristine beaches makes this location the ideal spot for your volunteer abroad vacation. While a paradise in some respects, the friendly people who make their home here need your help. Travel abroad and make a difference in their lives!

Gain teaching experience!

Are you a teacher or are you pursuing a degree in education? Perhaps you’d like to teach English and live a life as an expat in exotic locations? The experience you gain volunteering teaching English in Costa Rica will look great on your resume and teach you valuable professional skills in a classroom setting.

Practice your Spanish!

While you will be providing a much-needed skill to these kids by teaching them English, they can teach you too! Practice your Spanish with your students and build your own language skills! It will also allow you to connect on a deeper level with the children you are volunteering with and show them that even teachers have to learn!.

Make friends from around the world!

One of the very best things about volunteering in Costa Rica with Teaching English project is the chance to make friends and meet new people from around the world. You’ll encounter like-minded individuals who share your passions for travel, kids, and teaching. Ask questions and learn about new parts of the world!

Give hope and possibility to young Costa Ricans in need!

A lot of the kids you’ll be teaching come from poor families and haven’t had a lot of opportunities to experience anything different. Your valuable time volunteering will be planting a seed for bright futures with well-paying jobs. A world of opportunity will open up to these disadvantaged Costa Rican kids, all thanks to your help!

Contact IFRE today to learn more about Teach English volunteering in Costa Rica!

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Costa Rica

There are many ways for you to make an impact in Costa Rica. You can also join our following projects.

Contact IFRE today to learn more!

Other Orphanage and Children Projects Worldwide

The inability to care for children due to demanding work hours and lack of resources is sadly a prevalent problem in many countries around the world. To help support these families who only want the best for their children, IFRE arranges childcare projects in many different countries, the most popular of which are listed below:

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