Conservation & Community Development

Costa Rica Volunteer Projects

Whether you choose to volunteer in community or conservation projects, you’ll no doubt make new friends and enjoy getting to know what life is really like in a typical Costa Rican setting.


Technology, agriculture and tourism are the main industries in this developing nation, yet environmental protection and community support are essential components for the sustainable development of Costa Rica. The majority of ISV’s projects here are grassroots initiatives, created directly with local communities for the benefit of their inhabitants. Many community-based projects are strongly linked to conservation and vice versa.

Help community development efforts & conservation of precious natural resources!

With ISV, you have a multitude of options that will enable you to make a difference in this unique country!

Costa Rica is filled with a colorful array of animals, white beaches, lush rainforests, rivers, volcanoes and smiling communities. The national motto is “Pura Vida,” meaning Pure Life, and the volunteer projects offered by International Student Volunteers (ISV) reflect this sentiment in every way.

ISV works with grassroots initiatives to address social and environmental issues facing this Central American country, in methods that directly benefit locals. Projects range from wildlife conservation, community development, children’s programs and environmental management.

You could be observing the feeding behavior of endangered species, mapping habitats, monitoring dolphin populations, or taking beach patrols to protect turtle nests. Community development projects involve working alongside locals in recycling, reforestation, trail building, organic farming and habitat restoration. For more details on how to preserve Costa Rica’s valuable biodiversity, visit ISV’s website today!


Make a difference to Costa Rica’s remarkable animal species

Help protect the delicate balance of nature by researching and monitoring endangered species and habitats in Costa Rica.

Tasks may include:

  • Observing feeding behavior of spider monkeys, toucans and other tropical species
  • Mapping fruit tree distribution based on wildlife habitats
  • Monitoring dolphin and frog populations
  • Beach patrols to protect the nests of leatherback, green and hawksbill sea turtles and
  • Construction and monitoring of turtle egg hatcheries

ISV volunteers also help support alternative sustainable tourism and income generation by participating in family home stays.


As a developing nation strongly dependent on agriculture and tourism, community initiatives are essential components for the sustainable development of Costa Rica. The majority of ISV’s projects are grassroots initiatives located in rural areas, and run in direct consultation with the local community leaders and associations for the benefit of the people that inhabit the areas.

Given the close relationship between people and their environment in Costa Rica, it is difficult at best to separate healthy living conditions and successful livelihoods in rural towns, from the wellbeing of the surrounding environment. Hence most of the projects here combine some aspect of community support or development with environmental conservation, with the intent of benefitting social, economic and ecological conditions now and in the future.

There are some incredibly exciting projects that you can be part of to help local people meet some of their needs and build a more prosperous and environmentally-friendly life for themselves and their communities.

Academic Credits

Former students describe earning academic credit for their ISV program as an incredibly effective and worthwhile learning experience.

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Volunteer Abroad

ISV’s projects are internationally recognized and awarded. We have a commitment to sustainability & positive change.