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Teaching English Volunteer Project in Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio

Teaching English Volunteer Project in Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio

Curious about Teaching English in Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio? International Volunteer HQ’s Teaching English project gives volunteers the tools and opportunity to gain teaching experience and pass on English skills which are highly valuable for local students. Volunteers will assist in classrooms, community centres and even family homes in the coastal paradise of Manuel Antonio. Students include both adults and children who need to learn how to speak English if they are to secure employment in the booming tourism industry.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from AU$1977 for 3 weeks
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Teach English to locals to give them a better chance of getting jobs

  • Explore Costa Rica’s spectacular natural environment

  • Experience daily life staying with a local family in Manuel Antonio

'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

Key information

Improves access to education
Based in the community of Manuel Antonio
Local homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Fully hosted experience from AU$1977 for 3 weeks
Durations from 3 - 24 weeks
Spanish language lessons available
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who speak English fluently and are interested in sharing what they know with students of different ages and abilities. Relevant experience or a TEFL certificate are an advantage, but not required.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Manuel Antonio’s magnificent national park is adored by visitors, meaning many locals are employed in the tourism industry. But being able to speak English is an essential requirement for most tourism jobs, and those who haven’t had the opportunity to learn face much tougher employment prospects.

As a volunteer English teacher you’ll teach independently and assist in classrooms, community centres and even family homes. Students can include both adults and children. You’ll be given lesson planning assistance, materials and books, as well as a crash course in teaching English to get you started.

Teaching duties can vary depending on the placement but usually involve:

  • Teaching English classes
  • Lesson planning
  • Tutoring students
  • Helping with pronunciation
  • Set up educational games and activities
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

More than half of all children and teens do not meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Quality education provides an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment and is key to preventing poverty, securing long-term employment and improving quality of life.

Why do Teaching English volunteering in Manuel Antonio with IVHQ?

When you volunteer as an English teacher in Manuel Antonio you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to English language education
  • Helping students gain a skill valued by employers
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Developing your communication and leadership skills
  • Gaining teaching experience
  • Immersing yourself fully in the Costa Rican culture
  • Exploring the biodiversity of Manuel Antonio

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 participating without a parent or guardian can only volunteer for a duration of up to 12 weeks
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 participating without a parent or guardian can only volunteer for a duration of 12 weeks.
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
    All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

LH
Linda Hodges
06 Sep 2023

Just go for it! I am a rather shy person and had concerns about being older (74), but I met a lot of good people and was so well treated by every single person I encountered. I feel I really got the feel of the local culture. It made me realize I can step out of my comfort zone and be just fine!

...
DC
Deborah Clarke
31 Aug 2023

The project had a very large impact as it was totally different from anything I had done before. I felt the students benefitted in a variety of ways. Feeling that I had made some small difference in the students' lives was the best thing, not just from the point of view of learning English, but giving them the feeling that people care about them.

...
OH
Olivia Humphrey
19 Aug 2023

This experience changed my life! I feel like I have made a positive impact and gained so much confidence. As well as this, I was able to see the beauty of Costa Rica and meet so many people from lots of different places. The accommodation was lovely and so was the food.

...
ST
Sonia Tumiotto
15 Aug 2023

I would recommend any individual to go in with an open mind and to be ready to be placed outside their comfort zone as there may be things you might be a bit uncomfortable with but it is important to remember that it is all part of the experience and will get better the longer you are there!

...
SW
Susan Wolfe
23 Mar 2023

There were so very many "favorites"; from my homestay setting to my planning times at the local team's office each day, celebrating a local team member's birthday with the staff, and daily bus trips with my team. All so memorable, all so meaningful.

I was moved to know that there are so many wonderful people working, volunteering, teaching, and studying Spanish, who are out there in the world wanting to help others and to assist others in making their lives a little richer. If I can do it, so can you. And you won't regret a minute if you fully invest and immerse yourself in "the process".

...
AD
Ashley Del Rosario
01 Mar 2022

I did the Teaching English program in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and it was amazing. I met so many people and taught the most caring and loving kids and adults. I’m so glad I chose Costa Rica as my first volunteer trip with IVHQ. I 100% recommend IVHQ if you are travelling solo and want to volunteer in a country you’ve never been to. I will cherish all the memories and the 3 weeks I was there.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

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Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica Manuel Antonio with IVHQ

Location

Costa Rica is in the true heart of Central America, and halfway down its stunning southwestern coast is the popular tourist destination of Manuel Antonio where several IVHQ projects are located.

Manuel Antonio’s main attraction is a small but glorious national park known for the unparalleled biodiversity found at its forests, beaches and coral reefs. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise and adrenaline junkies will also find plenty of adventure to be had in the surrounding area. The small local population relies on the tourism industry for jobs and economic growth.

Arrival and orientation

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose on the Saturday before your start date. Volunteers who fly into San Jose before midday on Saturday will travel to Manuel Antonio that day. Volunteers who arrive into San Jose after midday on Saturday will spend the night in San Jose and travel to Manuel Antonio on Sunday morning. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the local team’s offices. This is included in your Program Fee.

We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation. If you are travelling in Costa Rica prior to your program, you can meet the local team in Manuel Antonio on the Saturday before your program starts.

The program orientation is hosted by our Costa Rica team at their offices in Manuel Antonio. Orientation is compulsory to attend and is held on Sunday morning or afternoon, depending on what time you arrive in Manuel Antonio.

Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Costa Rica – an introduction to Costa Rica, its customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Costa Rica, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

First day

On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays

During the week, you will have a morning or afternoon shift, which will last around 3 to 4 hours. Your volunteer work and hours are dependent on the location and type of project you are participating in. A typical morning schedule is as follows:

7:30 - 8:00 AM Breakfast with your host family.
9:00 AM Leave home and travel to your placement. You will join the local staff and will receive a duty roster and plan for work.
12:00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.
1:00 - 5:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, go sightseeing or take Spanish lessons.
7:00 PM Dinner with the host family.

Weekends

With your weekends free you can strap your boots on and explore the phenomenal natural environment of Manuel Antonio, or choose to put your feet up and relax on the amazingly beautiful tree-lined beaches.

You’ll have the unique opportunity to get well acquainted with the Manuel Antonio National Park where you’ll be able to see a huge array of exotic animals and wildlife including monkeys, sloths, anteaters, ocelots, crocodiles, iguanas, snakes and lizards. It’s also a great spot for birdwatching with the chance to see more than 350 bird species. Outside of the park there’s a wealth of other adventure activities including whitewater rafting, ziplining, snorkeling, hiking, fishing and surfing.

It’s worth noting that Sunday is a religious day of rest and many stores and restaurants will be closed. Costa Ricans tend to devote Sundays to spending time with their family. If you wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

On long weekends you may choose to travel around the rest of Costa Rica and the many cities, volcanoes, jungles, coffee plantations and beaches which are more than worth a visit.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers who are between the ages of 18 - 27 are accommodated in a larger dorm-style volunteer house that can fit up to 15 volunteers, and is hosted by a local family. Volunteers who are over the age of 27 are accommodated in smaller homestays that can host 2 - 6 volunteers at a time, alongside a local host family.

In all accommodations, living conditions are comfortable and you will have electricity, running water (drinkable) and western bathrooms. Please note, low-pressure showers can be expected and the water is not always heated. Bedrooms are comprised of single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. Volunteers can expect to share a room with 2 - 6 other volunteers. You will need to bring your own towel and toiletries.

Please note, volunteers under the age of 18 who are traveling solo will be accommodated separately from those over the age of 18, in a homestay. If there are other volunteers under the age of 18 participating at the same time, the local team will do their best to ensure they are accommodated together.

Private room upgrades (double bed, shared washroom) are available in homestays for a cost of $62 per person, per week.

WiFi is available at the accommodation, and you will also have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office.

Meals

Volunteers are provided with breakfast and dinner at their accommodation. Breakfast is usually toast, fruit and eggs accompanied by tea or coffee. Dinner usually includes: meat - typically chicken, starches and vegetables. At almost every meal you’ll be offered Gallo Pinto, the national dish of Costa Rica, which is primarily made of fried rice and beans.

Lunches are not provided to Manuel Antonio-based volunteers, as they are typically away from their accommodation at midday. It is recommended you budget between AU$8 and AU$16 per day to buy lunch.

If you have specific dietary requirements, our local teams and homestays can cater to you, however keep in mind that as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
3 weeks AU$1977 Equivalent to AU$94/day
4 weeks AU$2418 Equivalent to AU$86/day
5 weeks AU$2766 Equivalent to AU$79/day
6 weeks AU$3114 Equivalent to AU$74/day
8 weeks AU$3810 Equivalent to AU$68/day
10 weeks AU$4497 Equivalent to AU$64/day
12 weeks AU$5193 Equivalent to AU$62/day
16 weeks AU$6584 Equivalent to AU$59/day
20 weeks AU$7976 Equivalent to AU$57/day
24 weeks AU$9367 Equivalent to AU$56/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$532) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Costa Rica generally find US$150 - US$200 per week to be sufficient for expenses. For Turtle Conservation and Eco-Agriculture projects, volunteers can bring less spending money as the location is remote and all meals will be provided.

Free-time experiences & tours in Costa Rica

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Costa Rica! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Costa Rica program.

Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio

Immerse yourself in Manuel Antonio’s stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities on this 6-day adventure

AU$1488
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose

Embark on a full-day adventure exploring La Paz Waterfall Gardens, an animal sanctuary, and a Poas Volcano Tour, followrd by a Coffee Farm experience.

AU$355
Mini Adventure  - San Jose
Mini Adventure - San Jose

Experience a comprehensive 6-day Mini Adventure, featuring Arenal Volcano, the Britt Coffee Tour, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, whitewater rafting, and a visit to the pristine Tortuga Island.

AU$2030
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio

Immerse yourself in Manuel Antonio’s stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities on this 6-day adventure

AU$1488
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose

Embark on a full-day adventure exploring La Paz Waterfall Gardens, an animal sanctuary, and a Poas Volcano Tour, followrd by a Coffee Farm experience.

AU$355
Mini Adventure  - San Jose
Mini Adventure - San Jose

Experience a comprehensive 6-day Mini Adventure, featuring Arenal Volcano, the Britt Coffee Tour, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, whitewater rafting, and a visit to the pristine Tortuga Island.

AU$2030

Spanish language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Costa Rica program, however, learning basic conversational Spanish will help you maximise the benefit of your program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

Manuel Antonio Language Lessons:

  • 2-hour Small Group Classes: from US$200 (approximately AU$323) per week
  • 1-hour Private Classes: from US$225 (approximately AU$364) per week
  • 2-hour Private Classes: from US$440 (approximately AU$711) per week

Check what's required to visit Costa Rica

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital San Jose
Population 5 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time zone UTC−06:00

Weather and climate: Costa Rica is unequivocally a tropical country. Although you get much cooler temperatures in the mountains above 2000 meters, the average annual temperature for most of the country lies between 71°F (21.7°C) and 81°F (27°C). The coolest months are from November through to January, and the warmest months are from March through to May. San Jose stands at approximately 1170 meters altitude and has a mean annual temperature of 69°F (20.6°C).

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How to get started

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