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Internship Costa Rica

Do you want to use your love and passion to make a difference while on a life-changing adventure? Have you been searching for an internship Costa Rica that will provide the ultimate combination of travelling, cultural immersion, and practical experience?

Joining a Costa Rica program will give you real-world learning opportunities and invaluable life experience that will support your future career endeavors in incredible ways. As you step out of our comfort zone and into this culturally immersive internship, you will develop communication skills, learn to become more adaptable, and become more proficient in Spanish. Then, balance your demanding days of humanitarian focus with free time spent lounging on a beach or exploring the jungle’s canopy from a zip-line!

In Costa Rica, we offer affordable, safe, and quality internships that include everything from teaching basic English skills to turtle conservation to supporting specialized medical programs. We understand how significant this abroad experience is and we value your devoted time and energy! No matter what kind of internship experience you want to take part in, we can create a program that will suit your needs.

Fill your horizon with rainforests, national parks, turtles and colorful birds while being part of meaningful projects to make a change in Costa Rica. IFRE invites you to get a head-start on your Costa Rica internship opportunity by taking a few moments to contact us by email for more information, including travel dates, fees and more.

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Popular Internship opportunities in Costa Rica

Experience the ‘puravida’ lifestyle by embarking on one of our Costa Rica opportunities. Read about some of our most popular internship programs below or contact us via email if you have any questions.

The orphanages in Costa Rica aim to offer homes, educations, and hope for orphans. At this particular program, interns primarily help orphans by teaching basic English and organizing creative, extra-curricular activities such as game, singing, music, drawing, etc. This program is the perfect place for interns looking for opportunities to share their love, passion and skills with these very-unfortunate children.

Skills/Qualifications Needed

Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred (but 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 children you are helping.

There are no specific qualifications needed to join IFRE's internship Costa Rica programs. All interns are expected to be flexible and patient, as well as possess a passion and love for children. Experience working with street children is considered a plus.

An Intern's Responsibilities

Orphanage/childcare social work interns in Costa Rica will be assist the staff with the children/adolescent supervision, teaching English, playing games and helping with homework.

Interns may also complete basic daily tasks around the orphanage including cleaning, helping with laundry and maintaining the property. Interns must be willing to assist with a variety of support beyond just working directly with the children.

If you are interested in volunteer programs, we also offer rewarding orphanage volunteer program in Costa Rica.

Medical/healthcare interns are greatly welcomed in these projects to share their time, knowledge, skills and support with the immensely challenged Costa Rica healthcare industry.

Costa Rica’s medical interns can expect to reach beyond the basic knowledge of their medical training and share their proactive attitudes and innate abilities.

Skills/Qualifictaions Needed

Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred (but 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 people you are helping.

Medical internship program in Costa Rica’s applicants interested in joining our health program must possess healthcare certification, such as an ID as a medical student, EMT, paramedic certification, nursing or physician's credentials. We do not permit interns without medical credentials to work in this program due to the potential risk.

The projects require a copy of interns’ resumes, clearly documenting credentials and education, before arrival at the project. Projects will also require an official copy of credentials.

An Intern's Responsibilities

Job responsibilities for internship Costa Rica medical program vary dependent on education, skills, experience and qualifications and on the community’s current needs.

Interns could be delivering babies, suturing wounds or giving vaccinations. Some interns may also be asked to support public health campaigns. As a medical intern in Costa Rica, interns could be placed in a large hospital or small clinic.

Most of the hospitals (regardless of size) have many departments, like western hospitals, so an intern may be placed in any department dependent on skills, qualifications and training.

If you are interested in volunteer programs, we also offer life changing medical volunteer program in Costa Rica.

Rural children are falling behind their wealthier urban counterparts as rural schools continue to be underfunded. They are in bad physical shape and space is limited. There are not enough teachers in general and qualified teachers are even scarcer.

As a result, the gap between rural and urban students is massive and growing. 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 grows immensely 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.

Come to Costa Rica as a teacher intern and teach Art, Physical Education and English in neighborhood kindergartens, elementary schools or high schools. These children need you.

Skills/Qualifictaions Needed

Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred (but not mandatory) for this teaching internship in Costa Rica. 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 children you are helping. There are no specific qualifications needed to join IFRE's internship teaching projects in Costa Rica.

Dress code is required in the schools (no shorts or sleeveless shirts) and interns must be physically presentable (no excessive tattoos or piercings). Interns are expected to be reliable, flexible and patient and strive to be good role models for the children.

An Intern's Responsibilities

As an intern in the underfunded rural school projects, 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 intern has training or experience in the subject matter.

If you are interested in volunteer programs, we also offer rewarding teaching English volunteer program in Costa Rica.

Millions of sea turtles return annually Costa Rican beaches to nest. Our internship project sites are chosen due to the influx of turtles to these areas. The nesting season for the different species of sea turtles varies, which is why we offer multiple sites and varying dates.

Internship opportunity in Costa Rica with sea turtle participants patrols of beaches/nesting sites help to protect turtles and eggs from poaching. Interns also gather valuable research information and newly hatched turtles. The turtles are either encouraged to reach the sea safely or they are collected so that they can grow stronger and be released at a later date.

An Intern's Responsibilities

  • Interns need to be in good physical condition and to walk long distances (about 7-15 km per night) and be resistant to the hot and humid climate.
  • No severe eyesight problems (work is at night with no artificial lights).
  • No use of illegal drugs and no consumption of alcohol during working hours.
  • Preferably non-smoking. Those who do smoke should do so only in open areas and never on nightly patrols.
  • Be willing to work under difficult and uncomfortable conditions.
  • Have awareness of mosquito and sand fly bite allergies.
  • Speak fluent English.
  • Must be at least 18 years old or have a parental letter of permission.
  • Personal insurance (provided by IFRE).

Preferred Skill and Experience

Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is appreciated for this Costa Rica internship opportunity. Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred (but 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 children you are helping.

  • Degree in biology, conservation or related subject.
  • First-aid course or experience.
  • Previous experience with sea turtle conservation efforts.

An Intern's Responsibilities

Typical night patrols run between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. even in the rain. An average patrol takes 4 hours, but if interns find turtles, it will take longer. Once a turtle is located, interns measure and tag the turtle.

Eggs are then collected, relocated and the data is recorded. Hatchery shifts take 6 hours. The tasks include relocating the nest, keeping predators at a distance, providing information to tourists, taking nest temperatures, measuring and releasing hatchlings.

Maintenance of trails and beach cleaning are additional Costa Rica intern duties.

Interns may occasionally be asked to work a longer than a normal shift due to extenuating circumstances. Depending upon the time within the nesting season, more time may be spent on one activity versus another.

If you are interested in volunteer programs, we also offer rewarding turtle conservation volunteer program in Costa Rica.

Internship Program Fees & Dates

Internship Costa Rica programs start on the following (first and third Monday of each month)

Since 2003, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected intern abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality intern programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to intern 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 program fee is paid in the host country directly to your service project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

The program fee for internship and volunteering is basically same in Costa Rica. However, unlike volunteers, interns often work closely with guided supervision from a local project director, and a small weekly supervision fee ($25-50/ week) may be incurred in addition to volunteer program fees.

Learn more about our highly affordable volunteer program fees in Costa Rica .

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Internships vs. Volunteers Programs

In general, volunteer programs abroad focus on humanitarian outreach and project support. Volunteering is popular amongst people who want to share their love and passion for underprivileged children, impoverished communities, or conservation efforts in need of resources.

Internship programs focus on creating a real-world learning environment for interns and students so that they practice professional development and obtain new skills. Similar to volunteers, interns may work on a variety of projects (many times alongside volunteers) that benefits local communities, children, wildlife and similar projects. Teaching programs, medical outreach, and children’s support are the most popular internship projects.

Room and Food

teaching child program

Throughout your time in Costa Rica as an intern, you will stay with one of our well-screen host families. Host families are socially respected and well versed in hosting IFRE international volunteers. Their homes are safe and you will have a private room (although occasionally you may share with another intern of the same gender) with shared bathroom facilities. The bathroom facilities have running hot water and a “western style” toilet.

You will receive three local meals per day. Costa Rican cuisine is simple, not sipcy, and generally includes a lot of beans, rice, fresh fruit, and coffee.

Learn more about your accommodation and meal Plans in Costa Rica.

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Field Support and Supervision

Once your Costa Rican internship program begins, our local staff members stay in constant touch with you. However, when interns stay far from our local office, our staff will visit every 2-4 weeks (if possible) and interns are always welcome at the office.

We recommend that interns stop by the office once a week, if they are staying/working in the local area, to give feedback on their home stay and project. Many minor issues can avoid escalation with a just little extra communication.

Your project will have local staff members in addition to our in-country coordination staff. If your project is located a substantial distance from our offices, then our local staff communicates by either email and/or phone.

We are available for you at the local office via email and phone for your entire trip. It’s our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

Read more about IFRE’s dedication to safety and our in-country support.

Academic Credit

You can earn academic credit for most internship Costa Rica opportunities. The best way to receive academic credit is by pre-arranging the project with your college/university. It is up to an intern to communicate with faculty/academic advisors regarding college credit for internship work PRIOR to applying to IFRE. Your college/university may require additional information prior to approval and may require students to submit pre/post research or other requirements.

Free Time

Interns in Costa Rica have free time for the duration of their internship project and weekends. While IFRE does not arrange activities during this time off, our local staff, members and coordinators can provide priceless assistance in making appropriate arrangements for travel in Costa Rica. It is the time for self-discovery and learning.

It is time to explore Costa Rica – it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world offering numerous opportunities for a truly amazing experience. Our IFRE local coordinators/staff are available to give you free advice, travel tips and helps to book your travel.

Costa Rica interns will through San Jose, Costa Rica which is the capital city located on high plateau in the Central Valley at an elevation of 1200 m (3,700 ft). Lush green mountains and valleys surround the city. While the city’s architectural achievements are not notable, the local mountains provide many free time activities ranging from small treks to overnight treks.

Excursions to butterfly and coffee farms are enjoyable options. Canopy tours are thrilling, as is volcano exploration. There are delicious restaurants and museums as well. San Jose provides a well-balanced travel experience, heavy on excitement and natural adventure!

Learn more about your free time and weekend exploration options in Costa Rica.

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FAQs: internship Costa Rica

Arrival and Departure

You should plan to arrive into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Once you arrive, an IFRE representative will be waiting to pick you up.

Please consult our country coordinator before leaving your home country, and make sure to send us your correct flight information once you have booked your travel. If there are any changes, delays, or if you miss your flight please contact us as soon as possible.

We do not offer airport drop-off service, so you will need to arrange your own departure plans.


You need to secure a tourist visa in order to participate in IFRE Volunteers internship program in Costa Rica.

Depending on your Nationality, a ‘visa on arrival’ may be available in case of emergency. Visa extension is possible if you decide you would like to extend your time in Costa Rica. Visit nearby Costa Rican Embassy for detail information.


For travel to Costa Rica, the CDC recommends vaccinations against: Rabies, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Malaria, Typhoid

How can I apply?

IFRE’s internship Costa Rica applications are straightforward: go online, fill out the program application, and submit it to us. We will follow up with you within 24-hours of your application submittal.

Why go with IFRE Volunteers?

IFRE Volunteers is a global humanitarian non-profit who has partnered with over 22,000 people and hundreds of local organizations since 2006 to facilitate outstandingly significant and incredibly safe volunteer and intern abroad experiences.

We offer the most affordable international Costa Rica internship programs when compared with other organizations. We use the tax-deductible registration fee to support your experience and enhance local projects while the program fee gets paid directly to your service project.

In particular, when you intern in Costa Rica you will to create long lasting connections with your home-away-from-home host family, project coordinators, and fellow interns. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable during your time abroad, our unparalleled support staff will do everything they can to improve your situation and ensure that you have a good experience.

Our Volunteer Abroad Programs

IFRE offers best affordable volunteer opportunities across 20 countries around the world. If you are interested in our highly impactful and rewarding volunteering opportunities in India, Sri Lanka Thailand, China, Nepal, Bali, Ghana , Kenya , South Africa , Tanzania , Uganda , Zimbabwe, Costa Rica , Ecuador , Peru , Guatemala , Argentina , and Brazil

Check out A Complete Volunteer Abroad Guide : Everything You Need To Know to learn more about what is volunteering abroad. If you want to know how to volunteer abroad for free, go through our Volunteer Abroad for Free article. If you are a college student and searching for meaningful summer volunteering programs, check out our popular articles Community Service Trips For College Students and Summer Volunteer Programs For College Students .

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