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, Spanish language lessons, and tourism activities for 1 - 3 weeks on this special summer camp project.
- Only available in July
- Affordable fees from $1795 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
This program is ideal for:
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.
On weekdays, volunteers get involved in volunteering within the local community on important projects. During weeknights, planned activities include salsa lessons, bonfires, karaoke, Costa Rican BBQs, game nights, movie nights, as well as quality time and Spanish language practice with your host family.
On weekends, you take part in exciting cultural adventures and nature tours led by our professional guides and chaperones. Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse travel destinations on the planet and Summer Camp never disappoints!
While this project is only available for 16 and 17 year-olds through IVHQ, there may be younger teens participating on the project at the same time.
The Teen Volunteer Summer Camp has two available start dates in July 2023. The first is available on July 1st 2023 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
- 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 certificates for Spanish
- Souvenir camp t-shirts (2)
- Small group Spanish classes, 15 hours/week
- Spanish books and materials
- 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 do Volunteer Summer Camp for Independent Teens volunteering in San Jose 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
- Learning and practicing the Spanish language
- 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
- Volunteers under the age of 16 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 in lieu of a background check
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English
Costa Rica photo gallery
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
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, 1st July and Depart - Sunday, 9th July 2023
- 2 weeks: Arrive - Saturday, 1st July and Depart - Sunday, 16th July 2023
- 3 weeks: Arrive - Saturday, 1st July and Depart - Sunday, 23rd July 2023
Start date #2: July 15th
- 1 week (maximum): Arrive - Saturday, 15th July and Depart - Sunday, 23rd July 2023
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
Disclaimer: This schedule is based on the 2022 timetable and the confirmed 2023 schedule will be available in the coming months.
WEEK 1 (Manuel Antonio):
|Sunday, July 2nd||Airport pick up, transport to Manuel Antonio, lunch in Quepos, Orientation, dinner with Host Family|
|Monday, July 3rd||Breakfast with Host Family, surf, lunch, Spanish lesson, 4th of July dinner and fireworks, reflection session|
|Tuesday, July 4th||Breakfast with Host Family, scuba (pool day), service learning, lunch, Spanish lesson, dinner, jungle night tour, reflection session|
|Wednesday, July 5th||Breakfast with Host Family, catamaran tour and lunch, Spanish lesson, cooking class and dinner, reflection session|
|Thursday, July 6th||Breakfast with Host Family, scuba (ocean day), surf, lunch, Spanish lesson, salsa class/pizza night, reflection session|
|Friday, July 7th||Breakfast with Host Family, jungle zip line and lunch, Spanish lesson field trip, 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, Spanish lessons, relfection session, dinner with Host Family|
|Tuesday, July 11th||Breakfast with Host Family, service learning, lunch, Spanish lesson, go karts and dinner, reflection session|
|Wednesday, July 12th||Breakfast with Host Family, La Paz waterfall gardens and lunch, Spanish lesson, salsa class, food truck dinner|
|Thursday, July 13th||Breakfast with Host Family, games and sports tournament, lunch, Spanish lesson, dinner and traditional Costa Rican dance show|
|Friday, July 14th||Breakfast with Host Family, city tour, museum, souvenir market, lunch, Spanish lesson field trip, cooking class and 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||Airport pick up, transport to Manuel Antonio, lunch in Quepos, Orientation, dinner with Host Family|
|Monday, July 17th||Breakfast with Host Family, surf lessons, lunch, Spanish lesson, sunset reflection session at the beach, dinner with Host Family|
|Tuesday, July 18th||Breakfast with Host Family, service learning, scuba (pool day), lunch, Spanish lesson, dinner and reflection session, jungle night tour|
|Wednesday, July 19th||Breakfast with Host Family, chocolate tour, lunch, Spanish lesson, salsa dance lesson and reflection session, dinner with Host Family|
|Thursday, July 20th||Breakfast with Host Family, surf, scuba (ocean day), lunch, Spanish class field trip with teachers, dinner at the marina, reflection session and icecream|
|Friday, July 21st||Breakfast with Host Family, Manuel Antonio National Park tour, lunch, Spanish class, farewell dinner with 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.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||$1,795 Equivalent to $256/day|
|2 weeks||$3,290 Equivalent to $235/day|
|3 weeks||$4,985 Equivalent to $237/day|
- 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
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 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.
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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.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 upon arrival
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Currency||Costa Rican Colón (CRC)|
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).