Guanacaste offers volunteers the opportunity to relax on its glittering beaches, hike its majestic volcanic areas, explore the mysterious cloud forests, and much more. With its stunning landscape, long summery days, and plentiful activities, this province in northwestern Costa Rica along the Pacific Ocean attracts millions of tourists a year. With tourism being its major economic industry, this part of the country needs volunteers like you to help preserve Guanacaste’s environment. Volunteer abroad in Guanacaste to experience unique surroundings, make a difference, and practice español!
Ways to Volunteer in Guanacaste
As a wonderland of biodiversity, the country is committed in sustainable development and is teeming with wildlife. While volunteering in Guanacaste, you can help the locals preserve the wonderful endemic nature that Guanacaste has to offer. Whether you’re interested in helping plants, animals, or people, you’ll find a project that tickles your fancy here.
Popular causes/program types in Guanacaste. The most popular causes in Guanacaste include health care, conservation, and education. If you’re in medical school, then you could volunteer to assist nurses and doctors in rural areas with health awareness and emergency situations. If you can’t get enough of koo-koo-kachooing sea turtles, then you could play a pivotal role in help preserving these endangered creatures. Lastly, with the rise in tourism means the rise in locals needing to speak English, so you could also choose to teach them this common tongue.
Short term volunteer programs in Guanacaste. If you’re just looking just to get your feet wet, you can choose to volunteer abroad in Guanacaste for an alternative spring break, a couple of weeks, or even a full summer. You’ll wish you stayed longer though! Almost all of the programs are available for short-term stints, but to get the most out of your time here, we encourage volunteers to stay as long as possible to maximize impact.
Long term volunteer stints. Some programs for volunteering in Guanacaste are available to volunteers that last for more than three months to a couple of years. These programs are perfect for those who are looking for a good way to spend their gap year, who want a foreign language immersion experience, who want to get the most out of learning in the medical or conservation field, or who are interested in volunteering while studying abroad.
Life in Guanacaste for Volunteers
Life here will likely be an exciting adventure from day one. Ride some horses, try riding the waves on a surfboard, go on a crocodile tour, climb some rocks, trek the areas, and more! The diverse landscapes offer a wide variety of water and land activities that will make you lust for more. When your heart needs a rest from the thrills, be sure to visit locals on a fishing boat, and share a meal with them over gallo pinto (rice and beans dish) and cerveza.
After a long day of hard work and fun while you volunteer in Guanacaste, you’ll relish the fact that most programs offer home-stay accommodations. This is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture, practice your Spanish on a daily basis, eat home-cooked meals, and learn the ins and outs of the area. Not to mention it’s a great way to save money!
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Guanacaste covers a large area and is becoming a popular tourist destination; this means rapid developments, more resorts, and more human threats to wildlife. As a volunteer, you should do your best to interact as much as you can with the locals to learn about the area from their perspective. Ask for their advice for the best things to do and places to eat in their eyes to experience life in Guanacaste not as a tourist, but as a meaningful traveler.
Also, do your best not to fall for tourist traps and local scams. You should always carry your personal belongings close to you, especially when riding the bus, and stick to licensed taxis (numbered yellow triangles on the side). If you’re participating in water activities, be mindful of the currents, as dangerous beaches don’t always have warning signs. Your volunteer program coordinators will have the best advice on how to stay safe, so listen to their advice and heed their warnings as well.
How could anyone resist the opportunity to spot a howler monkey, black iguana, the turquoise-browed motmot, and other unique species?! You can’t! The blue skies, warm weather, tropical rainforests, and beaches are calling your name! After you’ve volunteered in Guanacaste, you’ll feel proud that you made an important contribution to this area that needs people like you to preserve its beauty.
Read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in Costa Rica.