Have any questions about Costa Rica? This section will answer some of the most asked questions.

Does ISV assign me to a project?
You are assigned to your University Leader from your campus. However, if you are traveling individually (without a University) you can pick.
Do I need to be vaccinated?
No, but ISV recommends testing before and after your trip.
Will I need to have a passport to enter this country?

Yes, all participants are required to have a passport.

Participants’ passports must be valid for 6 months past the date of their return date to their home country. If necessary, participants will need to renew their passports prior to departure to meet this requirement.

ISV also requires all participants to either scan and email, fax, or mail a photocopy of their passport photo page. A copy of your passport photo page is due to the ISV office at least 105 days prior to your departure date.

For more information about passports, please visit the following websites:

New Zealand:

How do I obtain traveler's insurance and how important it is for me to have on my trip?
Participants originating from outside the United States and Canada please email your local ISV office for more information on travel insurance.

U.S and Canadian participants see the information below.

Participants are required to have traveler’s insurance that includes insurance for two purposes – coverage for medical treatment and care while in your host country and travel/trip cancellation coverage. Many insurance carriers package these plans together with other travel-related issues such as lost or stolen items, for example, plane tickets, passports, and personal items. Cancellation insurance is important in the event that a problem arises that prevents you from going on the Program. Policies do vary depending on the insurance provider, what country you travel to and what is covered, so make sure that you get a policy appropriate for your host country and your needs. Any travel agency should be able to assist you in procuring travel/trip cancellation insurance. Most travel insurance companies require you to purchase travel/trip cancellation insurance within 14 days after submitting your Agreement and paying your non-refundable deposit. The preferred travel insurance carrier for ISV is Travel Guard (U.S and Canada Only).

Do I need a visa?
Travel visas are not required to enter Costa Rica for USA, Canadian, UK, Australian or New Zealand citizens who are only staying in Costa Rica for the duration of the ISV Program (up to 30 days).

For UK, Australian and New Zealand citizens who are transiting through the USA, an additional transit visa is required, called an ESTA. Please check with the USA Embassy to determine eligibility and to apply for an ESTA.

Participants who are not a citizen of the USA, Canada, UK, Australia or New Zealand:

Check with the Costa Rican Embassy for specific visa requirements.

As flights may transfer via Los Angeles or other points within the USA, an additional VISA may be required in order to enter the USA, therefore be sure to check with the USA Embassy to determine eligibility for entry or transit into the USA.

Acquiring any/all necessary documents for Costa Rica and the USA are the responsibility of the participant.

You can find more visa information on the following website:

Do I need medical insurance?
In addition to travel/trip cancellation insurance (see above), ISV also requires that all participants have medical insurance. Each participant must send a photocopy of proof of both travel/trip cancellation and medical insurance to the ISV office. Proof of travel/trip cancellation and medical insurance is due at the ISV office at least 90 days prior to departure.
Do I choose a specific volunteer project or project type, or will ISV assign me to a volunteer project?
After your contract and deposit have been received by ISV, you can submit your project preferences through our Project Preference form. We make every attempt to accommodate participants, however many factors influence the project placement ISV will give you. For example, spaces on projects are limited and some projects only operate on certain dates. If you are doing academic credit or independent study, you will need to be assigned to a specific project with other academic credit or independent study participants, and if you are traveling with a friend, this will also affect your placement! Therefore, we cannot guarantee that you will be placed on the projects that you most prefer.
Will I be able to receive academic credit for my participation on the ISV Program?
Details regarding academic credit for the ISV Program are available on the academic credit page of the ISV website. Some students receive credit through independent study.
Are the meals and lodging included in the price?

All lodging is included in the ISV Program cost. Once you arrive at your project location, all meals for the first 2 week Volunteer Project are included. For the 2 week Adventure Tour, at least half of the total meals are included in the ISV Program cost. Meals for the Host Country Welcome Meeting in Heredia are on your own. You will receive two meals per day as part of cost of the optional Spanish Language and Cultural Immersion Program.

I am a vegetarian. Is this going to be a problem?

Vegetarians must advise ISV in advance (on their application or by emailing the ISV office on or before 65 days prior to departure) if they wish to have vegetarian meals available to them during their Program. Participants with very strict dietary requirements may need to supplement meals with additional food at their own expense.

Can friends who do not attend a university or who do not attend a school that ISV has visited apply to your Program?

Friends are welcome to attend the ISV Program and can get an application online. Applicants do not have to be a university or high school student in order to participate on an ISV program. For the ISV University Program, all applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time their ISV program begins in their host country. For the ISV High School Program, participants must be between 15 and 18 years of age at the time their program begins in their host country.

When exactly is orientation?

ISV Costa Rica has a mandatory Host Country Welcome Meeting for all participants in Heredia, which takes place the day the Spanish Language and Cultural Immersion Program ends. (Details are provided in your Travel Manual, provided 30 days prior to your departure). In addition, a project orientation meeting will take place upon arriving at your 2 Week Volunteer Project location, and another will be held prior to beginning your 2 Week Adventure Tour.

Do I need to be able to speak Spanish?
It is not a requirement to speak Spanish to participate in the ISV Program; however, ISV highly recommends participating in our Spanish Language & Cultural Immersion Program, which gives participants an opportunity to enhance their ISV experience and converse with the locals.