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Childcare Volunteer Project in Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio

Childcare Volunteer Project in Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio

Young at heart and want to be a Childcare volunteer in Costa Rica - Manuel Antonio? International Volunteer HQ’s Childcare - Manuel Antonio project enables volunteers to help out in daycares and after-school programs that cater to children who may get little care or attention at home. Often these children are not living with their parents and have been taken in by distant relatives who work each day and leave the children to fend for themselves. Volunteers gain experience in childcare while helping provide a safe, structured and supportive environment where children can learn, grow and have fun.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from £1012 for 3 weeks
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Offer supportive and nurturing care and education to young children

  • Discover Costa Rica’s amazing natural beauty and wildlife

  • 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

Provide a safe space for children to learn and have fun
Based at after-school programs, daycares & schools
Local homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Fully hosted experience from £1012 for 3 weeks
Durations from 3 - 24 weeks
Add on a beach and jungle Mini Adventure
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Positive, patient volunteers who enjoy caring for and playing with children. You will be encouraged to use your creativity, be open-minded and ready to pitch in wherever possible. You’ll be teamed up with local staff so no experience is required.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Children in Costa Rica are often abandoned by their immediate families and taken in by more distant relatives. These relatives tend to work and leave the children to their own devices outside of school hours - time which can be unstructured and lonely. After-school initiatives help care for these children and give them the attention they need to develop and thrive.

By volunteering with children, you can not only supplement their education and provide fun activities, but also give them support and nurturing they would not otherwise have. There are plenty of opportunities for volunteers who show initiative, and it can often be that volunteers have a big role to play in helping to run the centres.

Childcare volunteer tasks vary, but generally include:

  • Setting up games and activities
  • Teaching English
  • Cleaning
  • Basic personal care education
  • Assisting the local staff
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 Childcare volunteering in Manuel Antonio with IVHQ?

When you volunteer to care for children in Manuel Antonio you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Caring for, nurturing and teaching children
  • Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
  • Practicing your Spanish
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining childcare experience
  • Immersing yourself fully in the Costa Rican way of life
  • Discovering Manuel Antonio’s biodiversity

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16 or 17 on their program start date are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional document 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

HT
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.

...
JS
Jordan Stein
25 Oct 2023

I know it can be intimidating and scary to go all the way across the world on your own, but that is exactly why it is also an amazing experience. It is a perfect opportunity for you to grow as a person and become more comfortable doing hard things in your own skin. You will also have plenty of other volunteers with you going through the same thing and doing it together is such an amazing bonding experience. I made some really close friends in just 4 weeks that I still talk to very frequently now. I was so scared and nervous my first day but I could immediately tell I was going to get comfortable quickly and I certainly did.

I believe that volunteering really showed me everything I have to be grateful for and the beauty of connecting with people from another area of the world. Volunteering showed me that I don't need to solve world hunger or end all global conflicts in order to have a significant impact on people. It can be the smallest actions of connection and teaching that can go so far.

My accommodation was amazing! My host family was so kind and welcoming and really made an effort to make us feel comfortable. They always asked us what they could do to help with planning and our overall experience. They were always so friendly and at the end of the day I always sat down and talked to them for a while. The meals were delicious! I always received more than enough food from my host family. They would always put so much effort and care into their meals. I loved being able to embrace the authentic cuisine.

...
FH
Faith Hockley
31 Oct 2022

My accommodation was amazing as I was able to build a great relationship with the family and we still communicate after I have left. Also, the meals my host family provided for me were amazing. I would tell future volunteers to just do it because it was the best experience ever and they will meet so many people and they definitely won’t regret it.

...
AR
Alana Reiss
16 Aug 2022

The biggest impact from the program was giving me confidence as an independent traveler making friends around the world! 100% go - you will be so glad you did and everyone is in the same position as you!

...
LB
Line Berriouche
15 Aug 2021

Every single moments were amazing, but especially the simple moments, when we were just talking and laughing.

...
RB
Riya Bhatia
20 May 2021

My favourite part of the volunteer experience was the people I met and truly being part of the local community, as well as living and knowing the local towns and places well.

...

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 £4 and £8 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 $1,222 Equivalent to $58/day
4 weeks $1,495 Equivalent to $53/day
5 weeks $1,710 Equivalent to $49/day
6 weeks $1,925 Equivalent to $46/day
8 weeks $2,355 Equivalent to $42/day
10 weeks $2,780 Equivalent to $40/day
12 weeks $3,210 Equivalent to $38/day
16 weeks $4,070 Equivalent to $36/day
20 weeks $4,930 Equivalent to $35/day
24 weeks $5,790 Equivalent to $34/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £272) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Costa Rica generally find US$150 - US$200 per week to be sufficient for expenses. Please note this budget is for general expenses and does not include money you will need for any weekend activities you plan to do.
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Return transportation San Jose - Manuel Antonio - San Jose
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • 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.

  • Lunch
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Manuel Antonio

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

£762
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, followed by a Coffee Farm experience.

£182
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.

£1040

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 £165) per week
  • 1-hour Private Classes: from US$225 (approximately £186) per week
  • 2-hour Private Classes: from US$440 (approximately £364) 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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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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