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Volunteer Summer Camp for Independent Teens in Costa Rica

Volunteer Summer Camp for Independent Teens in Costa Rica

Are you 16 or 17 years old and wanting to volunteer abroad as a teen in Costa Rica this summer? International Volunteer HQ’s Summer Camp for teen volunteers is a awesome way for 16 and 17 year old volunteers to spend part of their summer holidays contributing towards important community initiatives and learning about Costa Rican culture. During the month of July, teen volunteers are able to take part in community volunteering, cultural activities, sports, and tourism activities for 1 - 3 weeks on this special summer camp project.

  • Only available in July
  • Affordable fees from $1820 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Get involved in community volunteering and cultural immersion activities

  • Discover Costa Rica’s vibrant culture and people

  • Stay in a fully vetted homestay with your chaperone, hosted by a local family

Key information

Support local communities
Based in San José & Manuel Antonio
Local homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 16 and 17
Fully hosted experience from $1820 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 3 weeks
Adventure and nature activities included
Fully chaperoned experience

This program is ideal for:

16 and 17 year old volunteers who want to make a difference abroad, experience a different culture, and make new friends during the summer holidays!
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

The Teen Volunteer Summer Camp is an incredible cultural immersion experience available to solo volunteers aged 16 and 17 and it is fully chaperoned.

Participants will take part in planned activities including volunteering in local community projects, taking salsa lessons, going on cultural adventures, and joining nature tours led by our professional guides and chaperones.

While this project is only available for 16 and 17-year-olds through IVHQ, there may be younger teens participating in the project at the same time.

The Volunteer Teen Camp has two available start dates in July 2024. The first is available on July 1st, 2024 and participants can join for a 1 - 3 week duration. The second start date is July 15th for a maximum of 1 week. Each week will take place in a different location:

  • Week 1 - Manuel Antonio
  • Week 2 - San Jose
  • Week 3 - Manuel Antonio

What’s included:

  • Counselors 24/7; 8:1 student-counselor ratio
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Program and safety orientation
  • Host family accommodations (laundry included)
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, 7 days/week
  • All tours and social activities
  • Private transportation to/from all activities
  • Official volunteer certificate
  • Souvenir camp t-shirts (2)
  • WiFi and computer lounge
  • Salsa dance classes
  • Cooking classes
  • On-site snack bar
  • Institute is open 7 days/week
  • Emergency contact number 24/7

Why join the Volunteer Summer Camp in Costa Rica with IVHQ?

When you volunteer as a teen in Costa Rica, you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Contributing to community-driven volunteer projects
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Immersing yourself in Costa Rica’s culture, food, history
  • Connecting with local people in an authentic way
  • Discovering Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches, national parks and cities

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers must provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program
  • Independent volunteers aged 16 and 17 can join this project for 1 - 3 weeks, depending on the start date selected
  • Volunteers must provide two character reference letters
  • 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.

Apply For Free

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Raffaella Gurini
14 Feb 2024

I learned so much about the culture and the turtles and I met so many amazing people! We had so much fun! It’s an amazing experience, an adventure of a lifetime! It changes the way you see other people, the world and even yourself in the best possible way! Just be open minded and flexible and take the next step! You won’t regret it!

Maria Jose Benet
14 Feb 2024

Two weeks in Costa Rica with IVHQ transformed me in ways I never imagined. My journey began with a desire to step out of my comfort zone, immerse myself in a new culture, and contribute positively to a community by teaching English to young kids. IVHQ stood out because of its affordability, ethical volunteering approach, and the rave reviews from past volunteers.

From the get-go, IVHQ's support was stellar, providing all the necessary guidance to prepare me for the trip. Landing in Costa Rica, the local team's warmth and efficiency shone through. The orientation was thorough, equipping us with essential information and making us feel at ease in our new surroundings.

Teaching in Quepos was a heartwarming experience, enriched by the children's enthusiasm and the local team's guidance. Their insights into the community and culture were invaluable, making our teaching efforts more effective and meaningful.

The accommodation and meals provided by the ocal team were exactly as IVHQ described—clean, comfortable, and truly felt like a home. I am a vegan and the food the family I stayed with did a big effort to assist me with my diet, all while being prepared with the utmost care for hygiene.

Reflecting on my two weeks in Costa Rica, I can say that this experience has left a profound impact on me. It wasn't just about teaching English; it was about cultural exchange, personal growth, and making lifelong connections. For those hesitant about volunteering abroad, my advice is to leap. The growth, experiences, and memories you'll gain are beyond compare.

To future volunteers, embrace every moment, and to IVHQ and the local team in Costa Rica, thank you for an experience I'll cherish forever.

Keira Trudgill
18 Jan 2024

I gained so much confidence from this trip, I feel more independent and capable of solo travelling. At first, I was very nervous to travel so far from home, especially as I did an add-on week by myself, but the staff were so helpful from when I first applied, to when we got back home and prepared us for what we would be doing and what we needed to do to prepare. They answered all our questions and made us feel comfortable and at ease. I learned so much about Costa Rican culture and also the wildlife and country itself. I left with a greater appreciation for the environment and other cultures. The advice I would give is to go with an open mind and be open to trying new things. It really was a life changing experience and I would say if you are not sure whether to apply or not you should definitely go for it! I loved it and would definitely do it again.

Holly Tyte
21 Dec 2023

This was an amazing experience and I’m so glad that I chose to volunteer with IVHQ. Having done 2 projects (Childcare and Healthcare) I felt I was able to learn so much about different systems in Costa Rica. Staying with a host family was so good to be immersed in the culture and learn more Spanish. I’ve met some incredible people and learned lots more about myself as a person.

Cassandra Merino
16 Nov 2023

As a first-time solo traveler and volunteer, I would say to anyone who asked me to 100% go on a volunteering trip and experience it, especially if they find themselves in a time of doubt when thinking of what step to take next in life. When I applied to the program, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to take a gap year and experience new things and travel. I chose a program in Costa Rica because it is a country I had been wanting to visit for a long time and I had been told it is a very friendly country so I thought it was perfect for my first solo trip.

At the beginning of my trip, I had a hard time adapting to the slow life at my conservation site. I felt a huge impatience seeing all of my friends back home start uni, meanwhile, I felt like I was chilling at the beach and falling behind in life (which was not the case at all). As time went by, I realized that life is not supposed to be rushed through and that everyone experiences it differently. I had the opportunity to go to a beautiful town in Costa Rica and work firsthand in nature helping turtles, cleaning up the beach and park, and teaching English to a group of children and I decided to make the most out of it. Little by little I could start telling that my work there was making an impact even if it was small.

By the time my stay came to an end, I realized how much I had gained from this experience. I made amazing friends from all ages and parts of the world, I learned a lot about turtles, I got to experience solo traveling and lose the fear of being alone, and the biggest lesson I learned was how important it is to enjoy every second of life and not rush through it.

I loved volunteering and solo traveling and can't wait to do it again! It was an unforgettable experience and I am very grateful for everyone involved in the organization of the trip to make it possible for me to live such a magical experience.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

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Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica San Jose with IVHQ


The Teen Volunteer Summer Camp in Costa Rica is either based in San José or Manuel Antonio, depending on the week you choose to participate.

San José is Costa Rica’s modern, metropolitan, cultural hub. The capital city has been hailed as one of the most visited destinations in Central America and is the central point for tourists arriving in Costa Rica. It’s got excellent eateries, an interesting variety of museums, markets, shops, parks and nightlife and is only a short trip to any of the numerous natural attractions and adventures in the region.

Manuel Antonio is a popular tourist destination, with its main attraction being 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

Arrival and departure for this project will depend on the start date and duration you select:

Start date #1: July 1st

  • 1 week: Arrive - Saturday, 29th June and Depart - Sunday, 7th July 2024
  • 2 weeks: Arrive - Saturday, 29th June and Depart - Sunday, 14th July 2024
  • 3 weeks: Arrive - Saturday, 13th July and Depart - Sunday, 21st July 2024

Start date #2: July 15th

  • 1 week (maximum): Arrive - Saturday, 13th July and Depart - Sunday, 21st July 2024

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in Manuel Antonio, which will take approximately 4 hours. This is included in your Program Fee.

We recommend that participants under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation. If you are traveling in Costa Rica prior to your program, the local team will pick you up at your San José accommodation the day before your orientation.

Volunteer schedule example

The schedule for 2024 will be released in a few months. Volunteers can use the 2023 schedule below to have an idea of what their days will look like while at the program:

WEEK 1 (Manuel Antonio):

Sunday, July 2nd Transport to Manuel Antonio, lunch in Quepos, Orientation, dinner with Host Family
Monday, July 3rd Breakfast with Host Family, surf, lunch, salsa class, reflection session, dinner
Tuesday, July 4th Breakfast with Host Family, scuba (pool day), volunteering, lunch, 4th of July dinner, fireworks, reflection session
Wednesday, July 5th Breakfast with Host Family, Rainmaker tour and lunch, dinner, jungle night tour, reflection session
Thursday, July 6th Breakfast with Host Family, scuba (ocean day), surf, lunch, cooking class and dinner, reflection session
Friday, July 7th Breakfast with Host Family, jungle zip line and lunch, farewell dinner with families, reflection session
Saturday, July 8th Beach morning, check out, return to San Jose with lunch and souvenir shopping, dinner with Host Family
Sunday, July 9th Airport drop off

WEEK 2 (San José):

Sunday, July 9th Airport pick up, lunch, Orientation, dinner with Host Family
Monday, July 10th Breakfast with Host Family, Britt coffee tour and lunch, food truck dinner, refection session
Tuesday, July 11th Breakfast with Host Family, volunteering lunch, go karts and dinner, reflection session
Wednesday, July 12th Breakfast with Host Family, La Paz waterfall gardens and lunch, salsa class, cooking class and dinner
Thursday, July 13th Breakfast with Host Family, Volcan Irazu & Sanatorio Duran Tour, lunch, dinner and traditional Costa Rican dance show, reflection session
Friday, July 14th Breakfast with Host Family, city tour, museum, souvenir market, lunch, dinner, reflection session
Saturday, July 15th Zip-lining, Tarzan swing and lunch, dinner with Host Family
Sunday, July 16th Airport drop off

WEEK 3 (Manuel Antonio):

Sunday, July 16th Transport to Manuel Antonio, lunch in Quepos, Orientation, dinner with Host Family
Monday, July 17th Breakfast with Host Family, Manuel Antonio National Park Tour, lunch, cooking class and dinner, reflection session
Tuesday, July 18th Breakfast with Host Family, volunteering, scuba (pool day), lunch, food truck dinner, reflection session
Wednesday, July 19th Breakfast with Host Family, catamaran tour, lunch, dinner, reflection session
Thursday, July 20th Breakfast with Host Family, surf, scuba (ocean day), lunch, salsa class, reflection session, dinner
Friday, July 21st Breakfast with Host Family, surf, lunch, farewell dinner with Host families
Saturday, July 22nd Beach morning, check out, return to San Jose with lunch and souvenir shopping, dinner with Host Family
Sunday, July 23rd Airport drop off

Accommodation and WiFi

Participants are accommodated in homestays with local families who have been vetted and approved by our local team, and their chaperone is also accommodated in the homestay in a separate room. We have been working with these families for 10+ years and the homestays provide participants with a cultural immersion experience like no other. You will find living conditions are comfortable and you can expect your accommodation to have electricity, drinkable running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers are common and the water is not always heated. Rooms are comprised of single and bunk beds and participants typically share a room with 1 - 2 other campers of the same gender and similar age.

On weekend overnight tours, participants stay in hotels with 1 - 2 other campers of the same gender and similar age.


Breakfast and dinner are provided by the host families every day, and all lunches are catered by the local team.

As this is an all inclusive camp, participants do not need to budget for things like tours, meals, or activities. However, we typically recommend between US$100 - $150 spending money per week for additional snacks and souvenirs.


  • USD
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
1 week $1,820 Equivalent to $260/day
2 weeks $3,315 Equivalent to $237/day
3 weeks $5,010 Equivalent to $239/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized 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 $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • We recommend budgeting between US$100 - $150 per week for spending money if you wish to purchase additional snacks or souvenirs.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Zipline, Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable - San Jose
Zipline, Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable - San Jose

Experience an adrenaline-filled journey through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest on a heart-pounding canopy tour, featuring the “Tarzan Swing,” “Superman Cable,” and the “Elevator,” xperience an exhilarating journey through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest on a heart-pounding canopy tour, featuring the “Tarzan Swing,” “Superman Cable,” and the “Elevator”.


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, 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).

Other projects you may be interested in

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!