Gap Year Program: Cartago, Costa Rica


Gap Year Program in Cartago, Costa Rica

About the Location

Cartago is a small city that is the perfect location to enjoy the best of Costa Rica. From the famous friendliness of the Costa Ricans to the spectacular beaches and jungles of the country, Cartago is just outside San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital and a much more chaotic and urban place.

Reflecting Costa Rica’s success as a beacon of hope in Central America, Cartago’s economy relies on agriculture, especially coffee exports. Its people enjoy the economic opportunities of nearby San Jose, but also have the benefits of living in a peaceful community located in a gorgeous natural setting that is famous for great hiking and beaches.

Despite the excellent international reputation of the country as a champion of human rights and environmental conservation, Costa Ricans face many challenges. Slow economic growth, rising unemployment and a rapidly widening gap between the rich and poor are some of the issues. Assisting in caregiving and working with a local environmental organization are some of the wonderful volunteer opportunities open to you with UBELONG.




What do volunteers do?

Volunteers work four to six hours a day in a botanical garden, which is part of a botanical center focused on the Neotropic Ecozone, which is one of the eight ecozones on Earth. Volunteers help in the field with various tasks, including collecting seeds and identifying species, as well as general plant maintenance, for example watering, cutting and mulching. Volunteers also help with trail maintenance and, depending on local need, may have the incredible opportunity to work with the biologists and botanical professionals at the center.

Requirements to participate:

-At least a basic level of Spanish.
-The health and physical capability to live and do manual work in a tropical environment with few amenities.
-The flexibility to participate in many different activities depending on the season and ever-changing needs of the project.
-Education and/or professional experience in an environment-related field is not required.





What do volunteers do?

Volunteers work from five to seven hours a day in either a living center, a boarding school or a local NGO for children and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many of the children, with ages ranging between 3 and 18, have been emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused, while others are in the middle of custody fights or fighting drug problems and, in some cases, are intellectually challenged. Volunteers partake in a range of daily activities, which may include homework help, playing sports or organizing sport activities, and making art. Volunteers can also organize English tutoring activities when appropriate. As needed, volunteers also help the local staff with daily chores like administration and planning recreational activities.

Requirements to participate:

-At least a basic level of Spanish.
-A very caring and open attitude.
-The emotional intelligence and maturity to relate to people from difficult backgrounds.
-Education and/or professional experience in a caregiving-related field is not required.



$1100 for 4 weeks
$2380 for 12 weeks
$4300 for 24 weeks