Girls trips don’t have to be all about partying and hanging out on the beach. Many girls would like to take a day or two to get to know about the local community and volunteer in some way. Here are a few ideas for service projects in San Jose, Guanacaste, Jaco and Manuel Antonio.

costa rica Casa-de-PanThese are by no means all the projects that you can dedicate some time to. We have contacts all around Costa Rica that are always looking for volunteers to help out in one way or another.  We always encourage to give back when you can.

San Jose:

Casa de Pan is an orphanage run by a normal family in what looks like a normal house (though larger). Inside, it is anything but normal. The couple has 40 children of all ages, many with heartbreaking stories and disabilities. They provide shelter, food, education, and family to the children. You can help by cooking, reading to the children, or supervising trips to the park.

Habitat for Humanity builds houses for the needy. Costa Rica has 4.5 million people and over a million of them live in poverty. A large percent, 52{01b16e9a00671e3883468d28b4bfd86c8c15abb6dd1040a10992ef324c97fd74}, of the population lives in inadequate houses or settlements. There are 7,000 houses without proper water, 6,000 with only wood burning stoves for cooking, and 1,500 without electricity. Over 7,000 have dirt floors and over 20,000 have pit toilets. This organization services the elderly, disabled, and single parent families, with a goal of providing adequate, permanent housing.

Jaco:

McKee Jaco started back in ‘03 as an effort to help the community with the issue of stray mckee jaco animal shelteranimals on the street. They also wanted to help the animals get healthy and become adopted. Though there were initially financial problems and only a few volunteers, they were able to spay/neuter 1,000 animals a year. These were mostly strays, though some were from low income families. They treated and found homes for 500 cats and dogs a year.

Now they have grown and are able to help with other medical services such at the treatment of mange and mckee-jaco-animal-shelterrecuperation following accidents. They are a non-profit that receives no outside help. The survival of this organization is due to caring people who help spay and take care of animals that belong to people who can’t afford to care for them properly.

Guanacaste:

VIDA is an organization that seeks to improve the access to basic services in many poor communities in Guanacaste. They work with indigenous groups, towns full of foreigners without paperwork needed for fair wages, and remote towns with limited access to education, water, and health services. One of their many projects is to visit Nueva Esperanza, a village of field workers and housekeepers. The families have an average of 7 children per home. They are mostly foreigners in need of adequate salaries, housing, education and infrastructure. VIDA provides free medical, dental, and veterinary services to the population.

Manuel Antonio/Osa Peninsula:

The community of El Silencio is a self-managing town that has a recycling program that is an example for all of Costa Rica. Students raise awareness of drop-off points for recyclable goods. The town also has an animal rescue center and organic farm. The members of the community come together to produce cheese and milk for the town. It’s possible to volunteer for a day, gardening feeding animals, and cleaning common areas. A guide will introduce you to all of the community projects.

Santo Domingo is a rural area just outside Manuel Antonio. A guide will teach you about the customs and history of the area. 200 low income people live in the town and send their children to a school that is poorly funded. You can help to clean up the classrooms and playgrounds or plant ornamental and decorative plants. You can also engage the children in games after classes are done.

Osa Conservation works to protect the sea turtles that nest on Costa Rica’s beaches, specifically the Olive Ridley and green turtles. Leatherbacks and Hawksbills occasionally visit, as well. The organization protects these creatures by caring for their environment at the Piro and Pejeperro beaches. The volunteers gather data, deter poachers, and participate in outreach events to promote awareness of the cause.

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