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Volunteer Teaching English in Costa Rica (Cortes, Puntarenas)

Do you want to travel the world and make a difference in paradise? Have you thought about teaching English in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a Latin American country with a flavor all its own. Nature is part of everyday life, with spectacular sunsets, stunning beaches, and lush, green rainforests at every turn. Friendly people and fascinating wildlife alike both await you in this amazing country that draws travelers from all over the world.

Only 10% of Costa Ricans speak English, meaning the majority of the population misses

out on jobs in the lucrative tourism industry that might raise them out of poverty. The level of English taught in schools is incredibly basic, and most students will never acquire this valuable skill.

IFRE offers life-changing programs in Costa Rica volunteering teaching English. You can help teach young students at a local school or teach adults who are hoping to improve their financial situation and get higher paying jobs by learning the language.

You will gain valuable experience teaching in a classroom setting, and your students will acquire an extremely profitable skill and the opportunity for a brighter future. Through your love and passion for the English language and helping others, you will inspire and motivate them to greater heights, breaking the cycle of poverty that they are trapped in.

Do you want to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and poor adults alike by providing an escape from poverty? Then contact IFRE today to learn more about volunteering in Cortes, Costa Rica!

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Volunteer Responsibilities & Impact

Your job will be to teach your students basic conversational English. For the kids, you’ll be teaching vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and culture. For the adults, you will focus more on vocabulary needed for the business world and tailor your lessons to their particular needs.

Volunteering to teach English in Costa Rica will have a profound impact on the lives of your students, and yourself. You’ll have an amazing experience abroad, and your students will gain a valuable skill which can help them have successful and productive futures and offer them many more economic opportunities in the future.

Skills and Qualifications:

You don’t need any prior background in teaching to join this program, though if you do, it will be quite helpful to you. You will need to be fluent in English, and native speakers are preferred. You need to be a passionate person with a deep love and desire for helping those in need andmust be able to plan lessons and teach your students in fun and engaging ways.

If you speak Spanish, this will help you a lot as you volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica. If you cannot, we highly recommend you enroll in Spanish language classes, which we conveniently offer during your trip.

Volunteering abroad is an exciting opportunity, and you will have plenty of fun and rewarding new experiences each and every day.

Your actual hours and duties will vary based on your placement. You can expect to work Monday through Friday, for an average of 6 hours per day. Here’s a sample schedule to give you an idea of what to expect.

First Day: On your first day of volunteering English teaching in Costa Rica, you will be brought to your placement by our very helpful in-country coordinator. They will introduce you to the local teachers, and you will get to meet your eager students. An informative orientation will teach you everything you need to know, including your duties, schedule, safety protocol, and the customs and culture of Costa Rica.

Weekdays: Your work begins on the second day. While your schedule will vary, a typical day might look something like this:

7.00 to 7.30 AM: Have a nice traditional breakfast with your host family. This usually includes eggs, rice, beans, fruit, juice, and coffee.

7.45 AM: Head out to your project site. Dive headfirst into an enriching day of giving back and teaching English.

12.00 PM: Lunch break is a good time to connect with others. Chat with your fellow Cortes, Costa Rica volunteers and make friends from around the world.

3.00 PM: After you finish up teaching for the day, you’ll be free to get out and look around. Team up with fellow volunteers and explore Costa Rica!

6.45 PM: Every night will include a dinner with your host family, a great chance to connect with them and learn about daily Costa Rican life.

Volunteer Teaching English in Costa Rica Dates and Fees

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.

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.

Volunteer Program Fees (US$)

  Duration   Teaching Project
  1 Week $260
  2 Weeks $445
  3 Weeks $630
  4 Weeks $815
  5 Weeks $1000
  6 Weeks $1185
  7 Weeks $1370
  8 Weeks $1555
  9 Weeks $1740
  10 Weeks $1925
  11 Weeks $2110
  12 Weeks $2295

+ 10 hours group Spanish is not available in Puntarenas, Orphanage Project

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day »

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (only breakfast and dinnery)
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

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

Airport Pickup /Transfer Packages for Puntarenas and – Ciudad Cortes,

We will manage the following airport transfer services for you:

Option One: If you arrive in international Airport of Juan Santa Maria -SJO, Alajuela early in the morning (before 12 PM), you will be able to come to Ciudad Cortes in the same day by bus. In this case, it is possible to purchase the following pick up service package:

Osa/Pick Up (same day service- for one person): $50

Includes: airport picks up, transfer to the bus station, orientation and assistance and again to the bus station. The last time we recommend leaving from San Jose to Ciudad Cortes is on the bus at 2:30 PM (volunteer should land before 12:00 PM for this option)

Option Two: If you arrive after 12 PM in Alajuela, you will stay one night in Hostel Dorm Room in San Jose, before transferring to Ciudad Cortes the next day.

Osa/Overnight Hostel Dorm Room with Transfer (for one person): $70

Includes: Transfer to a hostel from the airport, where you will spend the night. Dinner will be provided. Overnight stay will be in 10 people mixed gender hostel dorm room, and transfer to a bus station in the morning. The orientation and assistance will be at the bus station.

Option Three: If you arrive after 12 PM in Alajuela, you will stay one night in the family home (private room) in San Jose before transferring to Ciudad Cortes the next day.

Osa/Overnight Family Home with Transfer (for one person): $90

Includes: Picks up from the airport and transfer to a private family home to spend the night. Dinner will be provided. Transfer to the bus station in the morning, and orientation and assistance at the bus station.

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

While volunteering teaching English in Costa Rica, you will have the chance to stay with a welcoming host family. They are socially respected and very experienced in hosting international volunteers. Their safe and comfortable house will be your home away from home, and the family will also prepare you three local meals a day you will share with them.

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

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

You’ll be happy to know you will have plenty of free time during the evenings and weekends to make the most of your time in Costa Rica! You’ll find no shortage of activities, with nature, adventure, and cultural opportunities available at every turn.

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

Safety and in Country Support

IFRE has your safety in mind at all times. We make sure you are headed to a safe destination, work with trusted local partners, and offer comprehensive health insurance. We also offer the guidance and support of our passionate in-country team that will be available to you at all times, day and night, during your project.

Learn more about IFRE’s safety and support while volunteering in Cortes, Costa Rica.

Volunteer Teaching English in Costa Rica: FAQs

A lot of little details go into planning the perfect volunteer abroad trip, and you can rest easy knowing IFRE takes care of all this for you. Here are a few details you should know when joining our programs:

Arrival and departure

You will fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. As part of your volunteer fee, we will have someone waiting there when you land to pick you up and deliver you safely to your accommodations.

IFRE doesn’t offer departure transport services.


A lot of volunteers will be eligible to simply ask for a visa stamp after your arrival at the airport in San Jose as you pass through immigration. However, we suggest you to secure visa before departing to Costa Rica to avoid unwanted troubles. Most will be eligible for a 90-day tourist visa butyou should know you will need to provide proof of onward travel. If you have a round trip ticket, this will serve as all the proof you need.

You should also know that it is not possible to extend your Costa Rican tourist visa beyond 90 days. Should you desire to stay in the country longer, you will need to pass over the border to a neighboring country and re-enter.

Research the visa requirements at the official Immigration site of Costa Rica.


You’ll want to meet with your doctor to discuss your upcoming trip and get up to date on all your vaccinations. This will help protect you while volunteeringabroad.

You should be up to date on your routine vaccines, as well as Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid. Please consult a travel doctor who is knowledgeable about current health issues and epidemics in Costa Rica about your trip and what vaccines you need. You can also find information on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Health Canada or in Travelers' Health United Kingdom.

Why volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica?

Volunteering as an English teacher in Costa Rica is a greatly rewarding experience that will allow you to make a huge difference in the lives of poor Costa Ricans while immersing yourself in their culture and daily life.

Gain valuable professional experience

If you are pursuing a career in teaching or already working in the field, teaching to a classroom of international students is an amazing professional experience and will look great on your resume.

Start an exciting new career

Perhaps you aren’t already on the teacher track but would love to have an exciting career where you can travel and live abroad. Teaching English is a career unto itself, and jobs are available worldwide, as well as remotely, which will give you the freedom to become a digital nomad!

Open up a world of possibility to people in need

Volunteering teaching English in Costa Rica helps people in need. Not only will your students have exciting career prospects open to them after you volunteer teaching them English, they will also have a rich world of books, tv shows, movies, and new friends they can connect with and experience with the gift of language you are giving them.

Travel to an exciting new place

Costa Rica is an exciting destination with a lot to offer. Nature and ecology opportunities abound, as do adventure sports, beaches, jungles, mountains, and unique spiritual and healing retreats galore. Get out there and experience it!

Share your passion

If you’re passionate about the English language and helping others, this is the project for you! When you are involved in things you are passionate about, your life is deeply enriched, and you will feel fulfilled and satisfied in meaningful ways.

Contact IFRE today to learn how you can volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica!

Other Volunteering Opportunities in Cortes, Costa Rica

If you don’t want to be a teacher, but still want to volunteer in Cortes, don’t worry, as there are many other ways for you to make a difference with IFRE. You can

help provide childcare,

work in the medical field,

assist veterinarians,

work on a coffee farm with sustainable agriculture,

help support an indigenous community and much more!

Other English Teaching Volunteer Opportunities Worldwide

English is a much-needed skill all over the world, and local schools are often unable to provide a level of fluency needed to ensure opportunities in fields like tourism and hospitality. To help solve this problem, IFRE arranges teaching programs in many different countries, the most popular of which are listed below:

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