Costa Rica – Sustainable Organic Coffee Farming

Get your hands dirty while assisting local farmers to grow, harvest and produce fair trade, organic coffee! Coffee is an important product in Costa Rica, for both cultural and economic reasons. It is an immense help when volunteers work with the local farmers who participate in small scale, high quality production while being mindful of and taking care of the region’s natural environment through eco-friendly agriculture.

Program Highlights:

  • Lend a hand at a small, local farm to support local families
  • Learn to harvest and process coffee beans
  • Experience living like a local by staying with a Costa Rican family
  • Enhance your Spanish language skills
  • Have the weekends to explore: hike up volcanos, go white-water rafting and ziplining, or perhaps take a trip to a Caribbean island

 

Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum one-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your home stay in San Jose. Spend the day settling in and enjoy the young and vibrant atmosphere of the nation’s capital.

Day 1, Monday: Your host family will take you to the Institute in San Jose, where you will take part in an orientation session to familiarize yourself with the project and your time in Costa Rica. After Orientation, you will be driven to the bus station to transfer to Monteverde, settle in with your local host family.

Day 2-5, Tuesday-Friday: Travel to the project site in Monteverde and begin your volunteer work. Volunteers are expected to work four-six hours per day, and may participate in tasks such as planting and pruning coffee trees, packaging and marketing, assisting with deforestation projects and supporting supplemental agriculture projects.

Day 6-7, Saturday-Sunday: Your weekends are free to rest and relax; however, if additional assistance is needed on the farm, the project director may ask for your help.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday free. Use your weekends to explore the Monteverde region, or have a chat with the local staff about the must-see places in Costa Rica. Departure is on Saturday.

 

Location icon Location of the Project: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Project length Project length: Min 1 week – Max 1 year

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: Eco-agriculture, sustainable coffee farming

Age Age: 18-80 (Volunteers who are 17 may apply with parental consent)

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 20 international volunteers

 

What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared, dorm-style rooms

Food Food: Three meals per day are provided when on the project

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Airport pickup is provided upon arrival

Orientation Orientation: Volunteers will receive a general program orientation and then a specific eco-agriculture orientation in San Jose.The day after, you will travel from San Jose to the project site by public bus. There will be an additional orientation once you arrive at the project site.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

 

What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, lunches while in San Jose, personal expenses

This project is located in Monteverde in the Cloud Forest highlands of Costa Rica. Monteverde is much cooler in comparison 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 as well as 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 general farm maintenance.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Planting, harvesting, sorting and shelling coffee beans
  • Grinding, roasting and bagging the beans
  • Farm maintenance such as raking, weeding, and clearing space for new plants

 

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 icon Internet: Internet is available at the project site and may be available at the host families.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry is available for an additional fee at host families or at local laundromats.

Accommodations icon 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 rooms with bunk beds and western-style showers and toilet facilities.

Food icon 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 consists of 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.

 

Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Please take note of this program’s minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Basic level of English and/or Spanish
  • Police clearance
  • Sincere interest in sustainable farming methods and the process of coffee growing
  • Moderate level of physical fitness
  • Flexible and open-minded

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.

Volunteer Experiences

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