Summer Volunteer Program Costa Rica Detail Itinerary

Upon arrival in Costa Rica, you are greeted by a local IFRE representative at the San Jose airport. After a short orientation, you be transported to your accommodations and settle in with your host family. The second day begins with your “regular” routine including Spanish lessons and your volunteer experience. Over the next three weeks, you will work as a volunteer and acquire a comfortable, useful level of Spanish fluency – enriching your adventure abroad.

Day 1: Orientation
Meet with IFRE local in-country staff. Participate in a general question/answer session and learn about program itinerary, general information about history, culture, tradition and other topics (health, safety). Receive briefing on language program then spend free time in afternoon exploring nearby areas.

Day 2-23: Volunteer Work (22 days)
You will be part of an orientation program. You will learn about what to expect in Costa Rica , how you can greet local people and how is the best way to talk to them. You'll also learn simple greeting words in Costa Rican.

For three weeks, volunteers will assist in teaching in a school to help the local children advance in their studies. Volunteers will be divided in several small groups. IFRE will place 2-5 volunteers in each project depending on the needs of the project and the size of the summer group.

In these underfunded rural schools, English, Art and Physical Education are required subjects, but not available due to lack of funds and teachers. In some schools, these courses are taught but at a very low skill level as the teachers are not qualified to teach these courses. The gap widens as students move to high school where they are expected to already know these subjects. As a result, the dropout rate is very high and very few rural students graduate.

You will assist with classes at a kindergarten, elementary or high school level. Options to teach English, French, Art, Math, Physical Education or other areas of interest can be pursued if the volunteer has training or experience in the subject matter.

Day 24-28: Explore Costa Rica

Day 24: Visit San Jose
It is time to explore. First up is a half-day excursion to view highlights of San Jose : The National Museum, the National Theatre, San Jose 's famous Central Market and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Occasionally, weather will cause a replacement in plans with a cultural evening in Old Town including dinner and traditional Costa Rican dance and folklore shows.

Day 25: Calypso Catamaran Cruise
Volunteers are whisked away by private transport in the early morning to a local marina. Today is a one-day boat tour in the calm waters of the Gulf of Nicoya on the Calypso Catamaran Cruise. Once onboard the 71-foot Catamaran, we will cruise past 23 islands en route to Costa Rica's famous Isla Tortuga. At Isla Tortuga, you can sunbathe, swim, snorkel, play volleyball, kayak, or just relax in a hammock. A wonderful gourmet meal is elegantly served accompanied by wine and live music.

Day 26: Poas Volcano National Park
The full-day land tour begins with a private transport to Poas Volcano National Park and awesome main attraction of Cost Rica. With an enormous volcano in the background, volunteers will enjoy a cup of authentic Costa Rican coffee and a tropical breakfast. A beautiful meal as you enjoy the view of one of the largest volcano craters in the world! After breakfast, we will take a brief hike to the Botos Lagoon – a dormant volcano crater.

Later this day volunteers will venturing into the Caribbean zone with a stop to discover La Paz Waterfall Gardens . A short hike through this nature park to Magia Blanca Falls leaves volunteers prepared to enjoy the world's largest enclosed butterfly observatory. There are two more waterfalls on the agenda after lunch, including the La Paz Waterfall. Private transport delivers volunteers to Puerto Viejo to enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sarapiqui River . The banks are teeming with wildlife including monkeys, crocodiles, and numerous bird species. The return trip to San Jose travels through the rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park – one of Costa Rica 's most important jungle reserves.

Day 27-28 : Punta Leona
Punta Leona entertains volunteers for the final three (3) days and two (2) nights. This unspoiled beach on the Pacific coast is not a regular tourist destination due to its remote location (in comparison to the beaches of Manuel Antonio and Jaco). Punta Leona is known for its nature, wildlife and overall biodiversity, but the beaches are remarkable as well! The local reserve is home to the Scarlet Macaw as well as other birds such as Quail and Toucans. There are three excellent hiking trails, great for bird

Program Fee Covers:

  • Airport pickup
  • Accommodations (shared) in hostel, host family, tourist hotel
  • Local meals three times a day
  • Local transportation (primarily local buses)
  • Entry fees
  • Insurance
  • Service of leader for entire project period

Program Fee Does Not Cover:

  • First night of hotel or hostel stay (participant will pay $20.00 USD directly to the host)
  • Any food or room after the program finishes
  • Water or beverages
  • Personal expenses
  • Airport Drop

This program itinerary is merely a proposed sample and may be altered to meet the needs of the volunteers and changes in field conditions. This proposed itinerary will be finalized during orientation program.

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