This programme is based in the town of San Ramón or neighbouring Palmares in the picturesque Alajuela Province of central Costa Rica. San Ramón and Palmares lie approximately 30 miles north of the capital San José and 28 miles inland from the beautiful central Pacific beaches, making it a great base for exploring the highlights of Costa Rica during your free time. The towns themselves are small and traditional towns surrounded by dramatic mountainous landscapes. This is a close knit community with some of the friendliest people in the country, so you can be sure that a warm welcome awaits you!
PROJECT: SAN RAMÓN OR PALMARES
This project has been set up to help the underprivileged children and over worked staff at adoption homes and care centres in and around San Ramón, Costa Rica. While the homes and centres have been set up by government agencies to house vulnerable children they do not have the staff or ‘tias’ to give these children the time care and attention they greatly deserve. The children at the homes are not able to live with their families anymore for various reasons and so any time that can be given to them is appreciated. The care centres have been set-up to help low income working parents, specifically single mothers, who have to work during the day and can’t afford to pay for child care during that time.
The homes and centres help children up to twelve years of age. You will be able to get involved in a range of activities that will help a number of children, even just playing with the children or talking to them makes a huge difference to their lives. The placement in which you will be placed will depend on the need of the projects at the time. The more you put into the project, the more you and the children will get from your time with them. The activities that you will be able to get involved in will vary between the homes and care centres however will generally include
Taking care of the children
Helping to organise recreational/teaching activities
Playing games and activities with the children
Helping them with school duties
Feeding the children
Practicing outdoor activities
Helping the babysitters with daily activities to give the ‘tías’ more time for their other duties
Helping the ‘tías’ with the upkeep of the house when the children are at school
Sunday-Monday: Arrival in Costa Rica and Orientation
Today you will get your first glimpses of this stunning country as you are met at the airport by one of our representatives and then transferred to spend your first night in a guest house in Alajuela. Alajuela is a small city that is close to San Jose (Costa Rica’s capital), the perfect place to spend your first two nights. On Monday you will have a detailed orientation, covering all the great work you will be doing at the projects, while letting you know how to make the most of the rest of your time in Costa Rica.
Transfer and introduction to the project: 1 Day
Tuesday: Transfer to your homestay and project site
Following your first two days in Alajuela you will transfer by public transport to your homestay, either in Palmares or San Ramón depending on your choice of location. Once you have had a chance to settle in and meet your host family, you will go to your project to meet all the people that you will be helping. Once you have finished introductions, you may have time to spend with the children and get started straight away.
The volunteer work begins: 4 to 12 Weeks
Wednesday – Friday (and Monday to Friday for all following weeks)
Wednesday will be your first chance to get fully immersed into the project. You will be involved in a variety of activities to interact and help the children who will be looking forward to learning from you.
During your time on the project, your working hours will be divided between centres and homes. You will generally be volunteering between 8am and 4pm, with evenings and weekends as your free time. You will be free to explore this stunning country or get to know the local culture while improving your Spanish.
Please note: Itineraries and activities are subject to change.
Additional Information & FAQs
The minimum age to participate is 18 years and there is no maximum age.
Please note: you may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
On arrival into Costa Rica, you will be taken to a hostel in Alajuela where you will be spending your first two nights for your orientation. Following your orientation you will then be transferred to your homestay accommodation in San Ramón or Palmares.
By volunteering on this project not only will you be helping the children, but also spending time in a rural area with a local ‘tico’ family, an unforgettable cultural experience. While staying with a host family you will be able to truly immerse yourself into Costa Rican culture, and experience their way of life. You will be staying in a semi private room (up to three sharing) with a shared bathroom. For both project locations the host families are members of the community the project is based in. Therefore giving you a great insight into the community as a whole, while making it easy to help at the project during your free time if you would like to.
Also included in the programme are three daily meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner which will be provided by the host families. The meals are traditional Costa Rican cuisine, and includes rice, beans, corn, meat, pasta, vegetables and seasonal fruits.
IS THIS TRIP FOR YOU?
Please note that this project is for female volunteers only
Having an intermediate level of Spanish is very important and experience of working with children is preferred but not essential. This means you need to be a creative self-starter who enjoys working with children, as well as possess flexibility, perseverance and tolerance. You also need to be able to handle difficult situations as children come from very difficult backgrounds.
You may be the only volunteer at your chosen project at any one time. However, you will still have the full support of your in-country team and those at the project. If you are looking for a group volunteering experience we have plenty of options for you to consider.
ADVICE & SAFETY
Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.
You will be assigned a personal travel advisor who will co-ordinate your programme with you. Feel free to contact them at any time before you go, or when you are on your travels.
In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number.
1. Do I need qualifications?
No, as long as you are pro-active you will be more than welcome to volunteer.
2. Do I need to speak Spanish?
You do not but you would enjoy your time more and get more out of it if you took lessons before. Please note, Spanish lessons are not included however can be booked at extra cost. Please ask our team for details on Spanish classes in Costa Rica.
3. Do I need a visa?
Depending on your nationality, you would receive a 90 day visa on arrival.
4. How much money do I need?
We normally advise between £60-90 spending money per week, although you can get away on less.
5. Can I volunteer with my friend?
Yes, and we can make sure you live together as well.
This trip requires a Police Check to be carried out – please contact us for further information on how to do this.