Costa Rica House Building Volunteers
2-8 weeks from £589
- The smiles of families when you give them the keys to their brand new home
- Exploring the beauties of San Ramon, in the picturesque Alajuela province
- The opportunity to discover central America's beautiful Costa Rica in your free time; do a canopy walk, visit volcanoes or soak in a hot spring
Volunteering Costa Rica is a hugely rewarding programme, where you will be able to help in building new homes for people living in some of the poorest rural communities of Costa Rica. You'll live and work with the local people to get a real feel for what life in this wonderfully diverse country is really like.
The people of Costa Rica need your help…. living in houses that do not have adequate sanitation or protection from the weather, is common place in many rural communities, but you can be a part in changing this. With a bit of hard work, you can really make a difference by building new homes that are safe and secure for the people that need it most.
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
Sunday – Monday: Arrival and Orientation
On arrival at San José International Airport, Costa Rica, you will be met by one of our representatives who will take you to your first night’s accommodation in the historic town of Alajuela. The following day, Monday, you will receive a detailed orientation from our local team which will cover important information about your programme and provide you with lots of information about Costa Rica along with tips on the best places to visit during your free time.
After spending two nights in Alajuela, you will be transferred to San Ramón to start your programme, volunteers usually travel by public transport. On arrival in San Ramón you will be introduced to the delightful family who will be your hosts for the duration of your programme, before having a bit of time to settle in and get familiar with your new home. Later on you will be taken to your project so that you can meet the people that you are working with and witness first-hand the wonderful work that has already taken place. If there is time you may even be able to start getting your hands dirty and stuck in to the project work!
Wednesday – Friday
Having settled in and got to know your host family, Wednesday will be your first full day of project work. Don’t worry if you are unsure of what to do, there will be plenty of people around that will be able to help and show you the ropes!
The working day is normally from 8am to 4pm, with a lunch break in the middle of the day. Your evenings are your free time so you are welcome to spend them as you wish, you may like to spend some time with your host family and practice your Spanish or perhaps meet up with your fellow volunteers.
Saturday – Sunday
The weekends are your free time, this is a great opportunity to explore Costa Rica and visit some of the splendid things it has to offer. From canopy walks to volcanoes to beaches, there is something for everyone!
For the remainder of your time on the programme your work schedule will run from Monday to Friday, starting at 8am and finishing at 4pm; your free time will be in the evenings and at weekends.
On the final day of your programme, you will need to make your own way back to Alajuela where you will be able to arrange a transfer back to the airport.
Please note: Itineraries are subject to change without prior notice.
Each house can take between ten and 24 weeks to build from start to finish, the stage of building work that you will be involved in will very much depend on the progress of the houses that are being built at the time you arrive.
As the programme is funded by the Costa Rican and Canadian Rural Housing programme and is a scheme to provide affordable to housing to the lowest income families in the rural areas; one of the requirements of the scheme is that the family for whom the house is being built for is very much involved in the building process as well. So as well as working with your fellow volunteers and builders from the scheme, you will be working alongside the people that you are helping and this will be give you the wonderful opportunity to get to know the people that will benefit from the house that you are building and gain an insight as to how much of a difference the new home will make to their lives.
The project work is likely to be very tiring and physically demanding but in return the sense of achievement will be incredible. You will be required to get involved in lots of different aspects of the building process, some of these tasks may include the following:
- Carrying materials and tools to the building site
- Digging trenches for the foundations
- Laying floors
- Mixing concrete
- Putting roofs on the houses
- Building septic tanks
- Preparing frameworks for the buildings
It is not a requirement of the project for you to have any building experience or skills, as the team you will be working with will be able to teach you everything you need to know. However, if you have any previous building or construction experience then please do tell the local team know so that they can put your skills to good use.
How have previous volunteers helped the project? We asked our in-country team…
“We started working with the project about 9 years ago and in that time our volunteers have helped over 150 deserving families become home owners.
Everybody involved in the building programme wins. The families would not normally be able to afford to have a house built, but gets free labour from our volunteers allowing them use the small amount of money they have to buy doors or paint. The host family has some extra income that allows them to put their children in school or help buy food for their family, and the volunteer gets a great insight into the real Costa Rica and makes a difference to the local community!”
- Airport pick-up
- All meals with home-stay family
- Laundry once a week
- Full support and assistance
- 24-hour support number
- All flights
- Travel insurance
- Return airport transfer
For the first two nights of your programme in Costa Rica, during your orientation, you will be accommodated in a comfortable Backpackers Hostel which is centrally located in Alajuela.
After your orientation, you will be transferred to San Ramón for your project. You will be staying with local host families for this programme; this is a great way to really get immersed in the culture and lifestyle of the local Costa Rican community. Volunteers are normally accommodated in a shared room with another volunteer and will have access to a shared bathroom.
Included in your programme will be three meals per day, these will be provided by your host family and will be based on a Costa Rican diet which can be fairly basic including items such as rice, beans, corn, pasta, vegetables, meat and seasonal fruits.
To get a flight quote simply use the form below, or contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037.
Get Flights Quote
Your flight to Costa Rica should arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), San Jose, Costa Rica at any time on your programme start date, and your return flight should be arranged for your programme end date.
To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.
Please note: If you are flying to Costa Rica via the USA you will need to obtain Travel Authorisation by registering online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) no later than 72 hours before departure. This is compulsory and will cost USD$14 to register. To register, please visit: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your Online account, or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.
Minimum age 18, maximum decided on potential participants health and fitness.
Passports and valid travel documents are your responsibility. Please ensure that you have the correct, valid documents to travel to Costa Rica.
Passport holders of the following countries can get a tourist visa on arrival for 90 days: United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand do not need to apply for a visa to enter Costa Rica and will receive a 90-day entry visa for no cost on arrival.
For all other nationals that are not listed you should contact your closest embassy/commission to see what your requirements are to get your tourist visa.
Please note that you will need to pay approximately US$29 in departure tax when you leave Costa Rica.
Please note: If you are flying to Costa Rica via the USA you will need to obtain Travel Authorisation to be allowed of the plane in the USA by registering online through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) no later than 72 hours before departure. This is compulsory for anyone entering or travelling through the USA and will cost USD$14 to register. To register, please visit: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
Visa courier service
If you prefer to use a specialist visa courier service to apply for your visa on your behalf, we recommend Visa Central who can offer you assistance and advice, making your visa application straight forward.
To investigate costs for this service click here to select the country or countries that you wish to travel to.
Do I Need To Know Spanish To Participate?
You will need a basic level of Spanish to get by living and working in the community. Most volunteers join our Spanish language school for a week or more before starting on the project. Contact our travel advisers for details and costs.
Can I Travel On Afterwards If I Wish?
You will be more than welcome to travel afterwards.
Can I Travel With My Friend?
You and your friend/s can join this trip with you and we wil make sure you all stay together.
How Big Are The Groups?
The group sized always change but generally there are between 4-8 people.
Do I Need Building Experience?
No, you will be taught everything you need to know to help build a house out there.
How Long Does It Take To Build The Houses?
The build time varies depending on the size of the house. Typically it takes 10 to 24 weeks per house.