With plenty of planned tours on offer, you’re never short of activities to make the most of your free time when volunteering in Costa Rica. This country offers some great adventure activities and incredible natural beauty with National Parks, tropical beaches and a wide range of flora and fauna to be found. We’ve listed below some of the popular sites and tours that past IVHQ volunteers have experienced while on the IVHQ Costa Rica program. The IVHQ Costa Rica program is based in the capital city of San Jose which is also the country’s largest city.
In and Around San Jose
You can spend a day (or more) exploring this bustling Costa Rican city. Visit the National Museum to help appreciate and understand more of the history and culture. Set out on excursions to see the National Theatre, shop at San Jose’s famous Central Market, and visit the Metropolitan Cathedral. Make sure to take your camera as there are plenty of fantastic photo opportunities!
Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Take a day trip to see Poas Volcano and its surrounding National Park. Being the largest and most active volcano in Costa Rica, Poas is considered to be one of the most breath-taking sites in the whole country and is also one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. The surrounding park is full of dense vegetation and small wildlife, with 79 different species of bird. You can even hike the Botos Trail which leads you to a beautiful crater lake, Botos Lake, with jade coloured water. On a clear day it is also possible to see both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The gorgeous gardens of La Paz are also located on the slopes of the Poas volcano. These gardens boast three kilometers of trails that surround 5 stunning waterfalls, but also the largest butterfly observatory in the world, hummingbird and bromeliad gardens, a serpentarium and frog pond.
White Water Rafting
For the thrill-seeker, you can spend a day rafting down the Pacuare River which is one of the best adventure trips in Costa Rica, offering immersion in the beautiful Costa Rican wilderness as well as high levels of excitement! Pacuare is a river gorge and world famous for its beauty, it is surrounded by high cliff walls with waterfalls cascading into the river along the way and wildlife is abundant. The white water rapids along the way make for a lot of fun and adventure too!
Many volunteers choose to travel further afield while volunteering in Costa Rica to see more of what this great country has to offer. We’ve selected a few of the popular weekend activities for volunteers that our local staff are more than happy to help you arrange.
Manuel Antonio National Park
You will not be short of activities while visiting Manuel Antonio over a weekend. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica it offers beautiful beaches, great shopping and restaurants as well as an excellent national park full of biodiversity within the wildlife and tropical rainforest. Manuel Antonio even caters for the adventurous spirit with hiking, rafting and kayaking, canopy tours and fishing.
Monteverde is a fantastic place to spend a weekend while in Costa Rica. Located in the Central Highlands, the area is famous for its misty cloud forests full of flora and fauna, the longest zip lines and suspension bridges in Costa Rica and its tasty, locally grown coffee. Spend time hiking the forests taking in the rich biodiversity and stunning views. Canopy touring and zip lining is a must while there but also take time to visit the coffee plantations, cheese factory, local museums and trying the tasty restaurants and artisan shopping in the area. Horseback tours and suspension bridge tours are also a great way to see the area.
Arenal Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most famous natural features, is a must see while you are in the country. The Arenal Volcano National Park being home to varied wildlife and impressive flora is a treat for nature lovers, as is the Arenal Botanical Gardens. The volcano is a stunning sight itself, surrounded by rainforest at its base, but the local area also boasts a wide range of activities such as white water rafting, waterfall rappelling, caving, canopy tours, horseback rides and hiking. Nearby Lake Arenal also offers a variety of water sports including canoeing, fishing and kite surfing. Make sure to leave time for a visit to the incredible hot springs in the area and La Fortuna Waterfall too!
To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Costa Rica, visit our Volunteer in Costa Rica page.