Volunteering in Costa Rica – Life Changing from Day One

Posted by: Tanner

Volunteering. The thing we all talk about wanting to do…but have a hard time figuring out a way to do it. Well, GoEco helped me complete this dream and it was an amazing experience all around! First off, Go Eco is really good at what it does and they probably have a project that you would be interested in. The project I ended up choosing was Community Development in Rural Areas in Costa Rica. I chose the three-week option which really worked well for my schedule. GoEco is very accommodating. Before my departure, GoEco and their partner organization in Costa Rica took care of everything and accommodated dad who accompanied me for the first few days so we could bring some donations down for poorer families and schools. Did I mention GoEco is very accommodating and flexible? Well, they are and that took away of lot of the stress that can be associated with international travel. I was able to grow like I never thought possible and find a new version of myself to bring home and share with others! It really is awesome.

My first week volunteering in Costa Rica was spent at a language school, which was fantastic! The teacher I had was very educated and funny and having the classes allowed me the chance to improve my Spanish…which made the next few weeks at the project much easier. I always felt welcome at the school and they helped me with so many things. It was also really fun to interact with other students from all over the world. That in and of itself was life changing. Also, with how the scheduling works out, students/volunteers have Friday-Sunday to travel around Costa Rica and do the “fun touristy” stuff before going to their projects.

My last two weeks were spent at the project in a small rural community on the Pacific Coast. El Silencio, the small village, has wonderful people and amazing scenery. The host family I stayed with were so much fun to be around and they made me feel like a part of the family. The work itself was very diverse, so if you’re looking for a chance to do a lot of different things, this is the project for you. I was able to spend time at their daycare and elementary schools working with and playing with the kids, I worked on the large Palm plantation, which was hard work, but good to learn how to do. I also worked on their dairy farm where I milked the cows and helped with other random farming tasks, and I worked at the main town lodge raking leaves and clearing debris, digging trenches, and even carrying beer to the bar. There was never a shortage of works and random tasks that needed to be done. As a note, however, the work starts really early (around 5am) and ends around noon, so you have all afternoon as free time. That can be a good and bad thing because you can’t really leave El Silencio and there is not much to do, but if you’re creative, you can have a great time. There is a pool which was an awesome way to relax and enjoy the sun. It’s a very quiet, peaceful place with friendly locals, good food, and a diverse set of volunteering opportunities.

So, I would definitely recommend GoEco to any and all wanting a quality organization to help them do something life changing and out of the ordinary. The project I chose allowed me the chance to do a whole bunch of different jobs and I still had time to do things like zip-lining, white-water rafting, hiking in the national parks and even spend time at the beaches. So all around, volunteering a great way to expand your horizons while expanding the quality of life for the people and/or animals you serve. It was, in a word…awesome.