Volunteering is an exciting and rewarding way to work in a foreign country. Volunteers in Tárcoles will have the opportunity to experience the Costa Rican culture, living with a local family while working closely with the local communities. This is also a great way to learn and practice speaking Spanish. The programs are devised to meet the needs and interests of a diverse range of individuals. By volunteering you will have the chance to meet and form many close friendships with both other international volunteers, and members of the local community.
Volunteers will mainly be working in the Tárcoles area. The town of Tárcoles is located along the central pacific coast of Costa Rica, just south of Rio Tárcoles. The town is approximately 95 km from San Jose and takes about an hour to travel by vehicle. The area is enhanced with a rich biological diversity, the nearby natural areas Carara National Park and Guacalillo mangrove reserve providing a home to many exotic animals such as scarlet macaws, crocodiles and monkeys. The forest in Carara National Park is the only remaining transitional forest in Costa Rica, endowing the area with a unique diversity of flora and fauna. Tárcoles is close to the towns Quebrada de Ganado and, Playa Azul and about half an hour away by bus from the popular surfing town Jacó.
The volunteer projects cater to a wide variety of interests, skills and requirements. These projects are provided for participants as general guidelines, and as such individuals may want to concentrate more on certain projects. Others may be interested in working with a variety of projects and splitting their time accordingly. Participants will also be required to work individually and show initiative in helping to develop existing and future programs. Below is a list of current and upcoming projects. Once in Tárcoles participants may also choose to devise their own projects with approval from the program supervisor.
Participants will be involved along with the local schools and the association LAPPA in a large scale reforestation project. The aim of the project is to plant 100 000 trees per year for a period of ten years in order to ensure that habitat is available for future generations of scarlet macaws and other wildlife. Activities include collecting seeds, setting up and maintaining tree nurseries in the local schools and planting saplings in reforestation areas. Volunteers will also help with creating awareness for this project, both locally and internationally.
Volunteers will be involved in maintaining the general appearance of the beach, including collecting and removing of foreign articles such as plastics. Also, general maintenance and the planting of trees along the coastline will be required.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to work in the Carara National Park. Duties will include general
gardening and maintenance of the park.
English and Environmental Classes in local schools:
Participants will assist with teaching English in the local primary and high schools, and with adults. English classes can be developed with the assistance of the English teacher at Tárcoles high school. Participants can also become involved in providing environmental awareness classes to the students.
Seasonally, volunteers can help with scarlet macaw projects. These will include recording the behavior
of nesting scarlet macaws during the breeding season (January – April). Additionally during July – September volunteers can assist with the yearly scarlet macaw population counts. See the Research section of LAPPA’s website for more information on these studies.
From February – May, during the scarlet macaw breeding season, an optional volunteer activity is to help with scarlet macaw protection. Pairs of volunteers will guard a group of nests concentrated on a farm opposite Carara National Park. In this area guards serve as a deterrent for potential chick poachers and it is unlikely that poachers will actually be encountered, however volunteers will be provided with two way radios for safety.
Participants will be able to work with the Scouts and Guides in Tárcoles. This will include the organization of events such as camping trips, excursions and assistance in the weekly running of the meetings.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to build and create a small butterfly garden in Tárcoles. This will include the maintenance of the garden and also the development of side projects such as worm farms to create quality soil.
Program cost: The cost of the program is US$350. This investment covers the organization of your placement; materials used in the volunteer projects and will fund vital aspects of LAPPA's conservation work. This fee will be paid in advance and includes an airport transfer to your hostel in San Jose, one night’s accommodation, and transport to the bus station the following day.
Accommodation: Volunteers will stay with a local family. US$190 per month will be paid directly to the family and includes accommodation, three meals a day and laundry service.
Other expenses that participants should consider include airfares, personal travel insurance, airport departure tax (approx $27), spending money etc.
Generally, the program is very flexible with timetables. Volunteers usually work five mornings a week for four hours a day. Participants may like to spend more time in certain projects, which is welcomed. Also, changes to the schedule can be made for participants wishing to travel during their stay.
Participants must be at least eighteen years old. They will be responsible, mature and prepared to work with both initiative and an open mind. Comprehensive travel insurance is required. Participants are recommended to read a Costa Rican travel guide before departing to be better prepared for the experience.
If you are interested, please send an up to date resume to Roy Arroyo at email@example.com
More volunteer opportunities will become available throughout the year, so watch this space!