Work on a Biological Reserve: Volunteer + Adventure

Experience Costa Rican culture in a truly unique way! Volunteer on a biological reserve, working with the locals and their community to ensure they conserve their valuable resources.

International Student Volunteers (a non-profit organization) offers you the chance to immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture by staying with host families while helping educate, preserve and sustain their community. After giving back, you will then reward yourself by participating in an incredible two week adventure tour, where you will go whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, zip-lining and rappelling in La Fortuna and so much more!

Twenty years ago, a group of concerned community members convened to discuss the increasing contamination of their river. They decided to form a foundation and establish a biological reserve to address this problem through education, preservation and sustainable development. The semi-rural community where this project takes place prides itself on the beauty and cleanliness of its natural setting. It is merely a one-road town situated along the Quebradas River, but provides drinking water for the district of San Isidro (population 90,000).

The community boasts a wealth of local development organizations, including a women’s group that runs the reserve’s albergue and volunteer exchange program, an ecological artisan association, a micro-credit organization, and a boy and girl scouts troop for youth. Volunteers will be working on projects with these and other local organizations to promote the ultimate goal of a clean and environmentally conscious community. With the increasing reality of global warming and preoccupation for the well-being of future generations, the community believes that important changes must be made on the individual level.

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

Volunteer Project:
Upon arrival, volunteers will receive an orientation where specific work plans for your group will be outlined. Plans for the past season included designing, constructing and installing recycling bins and environmental signs and assisting with biological reserve maintenance. Work may be strenuous at times as activities can include moving raw materials or construction equipment, however, all the necessary tools will be provided. Additionally, participants should be willing to help families with morning and evening chores, such as washing dishes, feeding farm animals, etc.

To help the community maintain sustainability, all volunteers participate in home stays with host families. This provides the host families and other organized groups of the community an alternative source of income. Sixteen host families participate, providing a home environment for volunteers to experience Costa Rican culture (e.g. meals, social activities, learning Spanish, and the possibility of making a beautiful friendship with members of the family and the community).

Adventure Tour:
On the Adventure Tour, participants will travel throughout Costa Rica including the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, discovering primary rainforests, plentiful varieties of wildlife, volcanic landscapes, cloud forests, reefs, national parks, and private reserves while staying in some of the best eco-lodges in the country. You will have the opportunity to participate in activities such as snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, treks through several ecological reserves, jungle kayaking in the canals of Tortuguero National Park, zip-lining and rappelling in La Fortuna, observing two of Costa Rica’s many volcanoes, tubing on the Negro River, getting personalized surfing instruction in Samara, and exploring the local nightlife in Heredia. Explore and experience the natural wonders in the jewel of Central America!

There are also additional packages available for adventures in Machu Picchu/Peru, Galapagos, and Spanish Language courses.


About our organization:

International Student Volunteers is committed to impacting our world by providing life-changing volunteer experiences abroad. ISV has been operating student programs since 1983, but has focused on Volunteer and Adventure Travel since 2002. Since then, more than 20,000 participants have contributed to ISV’s global volunteer efforts, making a significant impact across six continents. ISV programs offer unparalleled opportunities to get involved in the front lines of sustainable community development and conservation initiatives internationally, in addition to exploration, adventure and cultural exchange, while traveling through one or more countries. This program is open to everyone, not just students. We are not a sending agent –we run our own programs with our own trained staff to ensure you have the most amazing experience possible. ISV sets the industry standards for best practices, safety, opportunities to learn, and of course fun!

International Student Volunteers, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation in the U.S. organized under the Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable and educational purposes.

  • Program ID: # 1618
  • duration:
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
  • location:
    Costa Rica
    10° 2' 27.1176" N, 84° 14' 41.5716" W
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Community Development Projects
    Women's & Youth Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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