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Costa Rica

Discover Costa Rica, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world; ISV volunteer projects demonstrate how people and nature are inextricably linked. One of ISV's Costa Rican Projects was recently awarded "Outstanding Project of the Year" at the World Youth and Student Travel Awards.

Costa Rica

The heart of Central America

Costa Rica is filled with an incredible diversity of exotic animals, white sand beaches, lush rainforests, raging rivers, active volcanoes, and smiling communities. The national motto of Costa Rica is "Pura Vida," meaning Pure Life.

The ISV Costa Rican program emphasizes this sentiment in every way, shape and form. You will be immersed in the Costa Rican culture that embraces life and a sense of community in eye-opening ways that will touch your heart and inspire your mind. You will come away from your ISV experience with a new passion and vitality of life and all it holds - and you will be able to speak a little Spanish and dance some salsa as well.


Volunteer Projects

First 2 weeks
Projects range from endangered species conservation to hands-on community support

Volunteer Projects

  • Protection of animals such as sea turtles and dolphins
  • Children’s programs and education using arts and crafts
  • Wildlife research and monitoring for endangered species
  • Seedling propagation in tropical jungles
  • Sustainable development in rural communities
  • Infrastructure improvements and beautification
  • Environmental education programs
  • Supporting organic agriculture development
  • Community recycling programs

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Adventure Tours

Second 2 weeks
Travel throughout Costa Rica from the jungles of the Caribbean to the beaches of the Pacific coast

Adventure Tours


  • A 3 day white water rafting adventure on the Pacuare River
  • Treks through several ecological reserves
  • Ocean kayaking from Samara Beach to Isla Chora*
  • Horseback riding through an authentic Costa Rican cattle ranch*
  • Zip-lining in La Fortuna
  • Discovering the geothermal wonders of Rincon de la Vieja National Park
  • Tubing adventure on Rio Negro*
  • Personalized surfing instruction in Samara Beach*
  • Exploring the nightlife of Caribbean and Pacific beach towns

*Optional Activity Package (OAP) activities. For a full list of what’s in the OAP visit http://www.isvolunteers.org/destination/costa-rica/optional-activity-package/costa-rica-adventure-tours

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Spanish Language and Culture

Spanish Language and Culture Photo

Live with a host family while taking Spanish language, cooking and dance classes

In every Latin country, ISV offers incredible Spanish language and Latin dance lessons that take place prior to the Volunteer Project. These Spanish lessons are a MUST as they enhance your total ISV experience and enable you to converse with the locals. This is an invaluable opportunity for you to develop and/or improve your Spanish language skills prior to beginning your ISV Volunteer Project. This course includes dance and cooking lessons and is an exciting introduction to your host country's culture. You will arrive in your host country for your Spanish Language Program on a Friday , 7 days before your ISV Program begins. You will be met at the airport by your host family or staff from the Spanish School (varies by country) and taken to your host family home for the weekend to settle in before classes begin on Monday. Orientation will take place on Saturday, followed by an excursion/activity and some time on Sunday to get to know your host family. Please note that exact itineraries vary by country. You will be speaking the basics of Spanish in a matter of 7 days while having great fun practicing with your host family and learning about the Latin American lifestyle.

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ISV Blog

Responsible Tourism Tips for Pre-Departure & During Travel Responsible Tourism Tips for Pre-Departure & During Travel
What is Responsible Travel or Tourism? For ISV, it’s about delivering volunteer and travel programs that provide social, environmental and economic net benefits to our host communities/countries, while educating and inspiring our participants to make travel choices that minimize negative impacts of tourism [...]

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