Your stay can be planned very individually - considering the minimum stays. It is also possible to work in different projects during one stay.
Advice: It is NOT possible to change projects once you are in Costa Rica. Also, it is NOT possible to get the money back if you leave the project earlier because you don't like it.

Why do I have to pay for volunteer work? See end of this page!

The prices are valid for 2023.

Registration Form and Deadlines

Registration form

We do not have any registration deadlines. It applies: if there is still a place available, we can organize your assignment even at short notice. Please keep in mind that we send three big information packages, some additional documents have to be filled out and sent back, the flight booking, the bank transfer and the organization of the pick-up take some time. Some projects are booked 3-6 months in advance, especially during the main holiday periods.

The sooner you sign up, the more certain you will get a place and the less stressful the planning will be!

The prices include:

  • information material for preparing your stay
  • organization of your arrival pickup from the airport in San José and transport to the project - you have to pay the transport fees that depend on your choosen project - between 15 - 70 US$
  • Spanish classes (if choosen) including material
  • homestay with guest families or in the project including breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • school projects:
    • onsite coordination and emergency support during your stay
    • orientation in your working area, family and school
    • volunteer office with wlan
  • nature projects:
    • onsite coordination by staff of the nature organisation
  • certificate for your voluntary work

Not included in the prices are:

  • airfare
  • insurances
  • airport tax $29 (2014)
  • hotel night in San José (depending on your arrival)
  • excursion costs, transportation, entrance fees...
  • personal expenses

Cancellation Policy

If - after the transfer of the project costs - you cannot start your project for an important reason, the following cancellation costs will apply:

  • up to 2 weeks before the start of the project - 25 % at least 450 US$ (organization costs)
  • up to one week before the start of the project - 50%.
  • less than one week before the start of the project - 75%.

The remaining amount will be transferred back to your account minus the transfer costs and possible reservation costs (hostel, bus ticket).


"According to the entry regulations, as a citizen of the European Union, you may enter Costa Rica as a tourist without a visa and stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. The passport (in good condition) must be valid for at least 3 months upon entry and one must have an onward or return ticket or a valid bus ticket proving departure within the 90 days. Furthermore, one needs a proof of solvency (100 US$ per month) and if one enters from certain countries (see list on the homepage of the embassy), also the proof of a yellow fever vaccination." (Source:

If you want to stay longer than 90 days in Costa Rica, you have to apply for a visa according to Costa Rica's immigration regulations. Information from the embassy on this can be found in this document, which should serve as a first overview. This document is taken from the homepage of the embassy - the further links in this document are only available from the original page of the embassy (see above).

first hand is an organization recognized by the Costa Rican General Directorate of Migration, which can issue the necessary invitation letter. For more information, please contact us by mail or phone.

Why do I have to pay for volunteer work?

first hand is a small, private, Costarican organization and recieves neither government funds nor financial support from private sponsors.
The projects and the families are unable to support the volunteer financially or give free lodging and food - the weekly costs go almost entirely to the families/projects.
The first hand staff also need to be paid for their work to make a living (if not, first hand and these volunteer options simply would not exist!): project organization, volunteer coordination and '24/7' support, permanent contact with the projects/schools/families, maintenance of the volunteer office (water, electricity, phone, internet, materials, gas), answering emails, mail contact with volunteers etc.

If you find an organization that can support your stay - that's great! But there are thousands of other needy projects (schools etc.) that these few organizations can't help. Our projects, our schools and the children here definitely also need help ... and they are all very thankful if you come!


Organization fee (one time) 450 $
School per week 190 $
Puro Caribe per week 220 $
Macaw + Wildlife Reserve 230 $
Turtles per week  
- Buena Vista
+ 60 $ one time fee
220 $
- Montezuma
+ 60 $ one time fee
220 $
- Mata Palo 230 $
- Osa 260 $
- Caribe A 230 $
- Caribe B
+ 45 $ one time fee
290 $
Rainforest per week 200 $
Rescue Center
- 4 weeks (selfcatering)
880 $
Rescue Center
- additional week (selfcatering)
140 $
Sloth Monitoring per week 230 $
Ecofarm per week 210 $

Minimum stay

Turtle camps 2 weeks
Turtles and Sloths 2 weeks
Puro Caribe 2 weeks
Macaw-Reserve 2 weeks
Rainforest 3 weeks
Organic Farm 3 weeks
Rescue Center for animals 4 weeks
School / Music School 4 weeks

Spanish Classes

first hand classes homestay total
(Mon-Fri 2 h)      
1 week 160 $ 190 $ 350 $
2 weeks 295 $ 380 $ 675 $
3 weeks 410 $ 570 $ 980 $
4 weeks 520 $ 760 $ 1280 $
School classes homestay total
(Mon-Fro 4 h)      
Sámara / week 335 $ 195 $ 530 $
Heredia / week 295 $ 195 $ 490 $