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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, Spanish language lessons, and tourism activities for 1 - 3 weeks on this special summer camp project.

  • Only available in July
  • Affordable fees from £1525 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 £1525 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 3 weeks
Spanish language lessons included
Fully chaperoned experience

This program is ideal for:

16 and 17 year old volunteers who want to make a difference abroad, learn Spanish, 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 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

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 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

Volunteer requirements

  • 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
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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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, 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 Transport to Manuel Antonio, lunch in Quepos, Orientation, dinner with Host Family
Monday, July 3rd Breakfast with Host Family, surf, lunch, Spanish lesson, salsa class, reflection session, dinner
Tuesday, July 4th Breakfast with Host Family, scuba (pool day), volunteering, lunch, Spanish lesson, 4th of July dinner, fireworks, reflection session
Wednesday, July 5th Breakfast with Host Family, Rainmaker tour and lunch, Spanish lesson, dinner, jungle night tour, reflection session
Thursday, July 6th Breakfast with Host Family, scuba (ocean day), surf, lunch, Spanish lesson, cooking class and dinner, 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, food truck dinner, refection session
Tuesday, July 11th Breakfast with Host Family, volunteering 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, cooking class and dinner
Thursday, July 13th Breakfast with Host Family, Volcan Irazu & Sanatorio Duran Tour, lunch, Spanish lesson, dinner and traditional Costa Rican dance show, reflection session
Friday, July 14th Breakfast with Host Family, city tour, museum, souvenir market, lunch, Spanish lesson field trip, 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, Spanish lesson, cooking class and dinner, reflection session
Tuesday, July 18th Breakfast with Host Family, volunteering, scuba (pool day), lunch, Spanish lesson, food truck dinner, reflection session
Wednesday, July 19th Breakfast with Host Family, catamaran tour, lunch, Spanish lesson, dinner, reflection session
Thursday, July 20th Breakfast with Host Family, surf, scuba (ocean day), lunch, Spanish class field trip with teachers, salsa class, reflection session, dinner
Friday, July 21st Breakfast with Host Family, surf, lunch, Spanish class, 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.


1 week £1525 Equivalent to £218/day
2 weeks £2778 Equivalent to £198/day
3 weeks £4198 Equivalent to £200/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 £275) 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 GBP.
  • 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.

Check what's required to visit Costa Rica

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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).

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How to get started

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