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Volunteering in Costa Rica: Arrival Procedures

Arrival Procedures
  • Arrival Airport: San Jose (SJO)

A group of American Projects Abroad volunteers at a museum in Costa Rica, Central America.

All volunteers joining Projects Abroad in Costa Rica should fly to San Jose International Airport. If you are joining our Teaching, Care, Microfinance, Sports, Journalism programs, or Spanish Language Courses, you will be based in Heredia. When you arrive, you will be met at San Jose airport and taken directly to your accommodation.

When you arrive in San Jose, after getting your passport stamped at immigration, you will collect your luggage and exit into an arrivals area. A member of Projects Abroad staff will meet you at the airport and will be easily visible, waiting for you behind the barrier with a Projects Abroad sign.

If you are doing the Conservation Project you will probably arrive in San Jose in the afternoon or evening, and we'll take you to a hotel to get a good night's sleep, before returning to take you to get the bus to the Conservation Project at Barra Honda National Park the next day. The bus journey from San Jose to the park takes about four to five hours. If your flight does arrive earlier in the day, we may take you straight to the bus station.

Volunteering in Costa Rica: Orientation and Induction

Projects Abroad Costa Rica volunteer poses for a picture with her host family.

If you are living in Heredia, you will be taken directly to your host family upon arrival so that you may settle in. That afternoon or evening, you'll have the chance to relax and get to know your host family and any other volunteers staying at your accommodation. You may want to go to the internet café or call home, or simply take it easy and enjoy a typical Costa Rican dinner.

On the next working day you will receive a briefing from our local staff and a thorough orientation around the town. Normally this is the following day, but if you arrive on a Friday or Saturday, you will have your orientation on the following Monday. The orientation will include showing you the main sites and landmarks in the town and showing you how to get public transport to and from your family to our office. Our staff will also explain a bit about Costa Rican culture and traditions.

On the day after your orientation, one of our staff will take you to your place of work to formally introduce you to our placement supervisor. During this meeting your schedule and working hours will be arranged and you will have the chance to ask any questions you may have. Most volunteers then start work properly the following day and our staff will make sure that you are happy with the plans for this. Volunteers normally travel to work by bus or sometimes on foot. If you are volunteering on a Standard Project, all necessary work-related transportation costs will be covered by Projects Abroad.

Volunteers on the Conservation Project will receive an induction to the park after you arrive and you’ll be introduced to all the other volunteers living there.

All volunteers participating on standard projects in Costa Rica have the opportunity to spend one week on a Conservation & Environment project at the end of their main placement. For more information, please visit our Tropical Dry Forest Volunteer Conservation in Costa Rica page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.

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