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This project is located in Monteverde in the Cloud Forest highlands of Costa Rica. Monteverde is much cooler compared to the coastal areas of Costa Rica as it is roughly 1 mile (1500m) above sea level. The region is defined by a tropical climate, where seasonal variation does not really exist and there is not much shift in the temperatures or rainfall throughout the year. “Pelo de Gato” is the regional name for the thin mist that blows in from the west to shape the Monteverde Cloud Forest, which creates mystical rainbows when the sun shines. This entire area is home to one of the world’s most biodiverse microclimates.
The coffee farms involved with this volunteer program are eco-friendly in that they are not industrialized and, therefore, do not cause high levels of pollution, as other farms do. The coffee farm uses organic techniques, and the coffee produced is sold both at the family-owned farm itself and online and is fair trade. Volunteer work predominantly takes place in the morning, with volunteers waking up around 7:00 AM and working for roughly 4-5 hours. Depending on the time of year, volunteers will lend a hand to different aspects of the coffee farming process. This process includes planting, harvesting, shelling, sorting, roasting, grinding and bagging of coffee beans. As a volunteer, you will also be involved in farm maintenance.
Some of your tasks may include:
Please note: Please be aware that based on the needs of the project, volunteer activities and schedules are apt to change. There is a possibility you will be asked to help on the farm for a few hours on Saturday if there is a lot of work to do, though work on the weekend is not mandatory.
Holidays: The project is open year-round; however,activities and schedules may differ on the holidays. For specific dates, please check with our placement coordinators.
A typical day: Volunteers will have breakfast around 7:15 AM and work on the coffee farm from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, followed by lunch. After lunch, you might be asked to work a couple of additional hours if there are specific tasks pending.
Internet: Internet is available at the project site and may be available at the host families.
Laundry: Laundry is available for an additional fee at host families or at local laundromats.
Accommodations: For your first night in San Jose, you will have a shared bedroom and bathroom with a local host family. Please note that most of the host families are Spanish-speaking only. Once you move to the coffee farm, you will live in a shared, single-gender dormitory room with bunk beds and western-style showers and toilet facilities.
Food: In San Jose, both breakfast and dinner are included. Once at the project site, three meals a day are included, seven days a week. There is also the option of buying your own snacks at local stores. Costa Rican food is delicious and much less spicy than other countries in Latin America. Breakfast usually comprises eggs, fruit, rice and beans, and tea and coffee. Dinner regularly includes meat, fish or chicken, rice and beans, and vegetables. Tap water in Costa Rica is drinkable. Most special dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice.
Monteverde’s lush green landscape is a cool, misty and tropical place with mountains and forests galore. During your spare time you can take delight in hiking, zip-lining, white water rafting and mountain biking. On the weekends, which are meant for relaxation, you can also visit Costa Rica’s beach areas to decompress in the sun, snorkel and learn how to surf.
Program add ons:
Make your experience multidimensional by joining one or more of these special add-on programs in Costa Rica:
Spanish language immersion: 1 to 24 weeks of Spanish in small group or private classes
Surf school: five- day surf school at the beautiful Manuel Antonio beach
Scuba diving certification: four- day PADI diving certification
Mini Adventure: Snag the best highlights of Costa Rica on this weekend-long tour including Costa Rica Cultural Night, Volcano Tour, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and catamaran tour to Tortuga Island.
Please note that there is an additional fee for these programs.