first hand costa rica

Volunteer in Costa Rica

Immerse - exchange - appreciate

As a volunteer in Costa Rica you can make an important contribution to the cultural exchange in the context of the school education of children or in the context of the musical education of children. You will be welcomed by a local host family as a new member of the family and get to know the Costa Rican lifestyle, traditions and everyday life.

If you choose to help protect sea turtles, raise parrots, preserve the rainforest, learn about the importance of organic farm work, or care for confiscated or injured wildlife, you will in return receive an intensive 'first-hand' look at life and work in such environmental and animal conservation projects in Costa Rica.

In the Puro Caribe project you will have the opportunity to accompany a normal Costa Rican family in their daily life. You will help the family with their daily chores and immerse yourself in the daily life, the culture and the special way of life of this small Caribbean community.
Pura Vida!

We at first hand live in Costa Rica and are in direct contact with the schools, the host families and the carefully selected projects for environmental and animal protection. We plan and organize your stay, whereby the combination of several projects is also possible. Extensive information packages, help and tips with travel planning, airport pick-up, organization of project arrival and project change as well as constant accessibility characterize our work. The projects appreciate our volunteers very much, because they are very well prepared! And finally, we accompany you during this unforgettable and valuable experience on site whenever you need us!

Duration of stay and visa

With first hand you can do a volunteer service for a few weeks as well as for several months. The different minimum stay times of the individual projects have to be taken into account.

For a stay of less than 90 days, entry with a valid passport is sufficient for citizens of the European Union and citizens of countries included in a list that can be consulted at the Costa Rican Embassy.

If you need a visa, we can provide you with the invitation letter required for the visa, because first hand is an organization recognized by the Costa Rican General Directorate of Migration.

One tree per volunteer

If you volunteer in any of our projects and register directly through our registration form, we will plant a tree for you!

We will plant a Bosque de los Voluntarios - Forest of Volunteers - on the territory of the Bananito Reserve. Depending on a convenient time for planting, after we plant your tree, we will send you a photo of your tree and a certificate of sponsorship.

Project Locations

How first hand came into being

Under the previous owner of first hand, the non-profit association 'Asociación Intercambio Cultural ALEGRIA - AICA' organized festivals and charity events between 2004 and 2009 and was committed to international cultural exchange. From these experiences came the desire to support the children and the projects not only selectively at festival times, but more continuously. So the idea was born to find volunteers for these tasks, who through our contacts could come 'first hand' to selected schools and projects and gain 'first hand' experience ... and in 2006 first hand was born.
In 2022, first hand went into the hands of Sofia Stein. She grew up in Costa Rica and is committed to people and sustainable ecological development. Since 2007 she accompanied first hand volunteers in the rainforest project and is therefore familiar with our volunteers since the beginning and convinced of volunteering.


first hand contributes to an ecologically sustainable, educationally meaningful and socially acceptable experience of volunteers in Costa Rica. This is done on the basis of an intercultural exchange, which enables both volunteers and locals to gain knowledge about other views and ways of life, and demands and promotes understanding for difference and mutual respect.