Health Care Volunteering in Costa Rica

GOAT Volunteers offers two different options for health care volunteering in Costa Rica.  Volunteers have the choice of working in an elder care center or hospital setting.  Unlike our health care projects in other countries, individuals without health care experience can volunteer in some cases in Costa Rican health care projects if they have aspirations of working in the medical field.  This is an exceptional opportunity for medical students or health care professionals to gain experience working in a developing country.

Volunteers have the choice of working in an elder care center where they’ll interact with the residents, practice English, help the nursing staff distribute medications, and maintain the facility.

Those who choose to to work at the hospital placement will shadow nurses and be tasked with performing general procedures such as taking blood pressure, temperature, height, weight, and more.  Individuals showing significant initiative may have the opportunity to assist with other tasks and procedures.

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Dr Selena Judon-Monk“The info on the website about your personal experience, transparency, and working directly with NGOs was a major reason we considered this program.” – Dr. Selena Judon-Monk (USA, June 2019)

Selena also mentions GOAT Volunteers in a contribution she made to CourseHero about study abroad volunteering.  Check it out on the GOAT Volunteers blog!


Room & Board

Your project fee for projects in Costa Rica covers your room and full board in either a host family house or volunteer dorm-style facilities depending on the location of your placement.

  • Shared, single-sex room (occasionally a private room is available) with a fan
  • 3 meals per day (meals will typically be simple Costa Rican dishes)
  • Drinkable tap water
  • Hot water is not available (hot water is not common in Costa Rica)
  • Some locations have limited WiFi access (location dependent)



As with all GOAT Volunteer projects, there are 2 primary fees associated with volunteering: the application fee paid to GOAT and the project fee paid directly to the NGO after they accept your application.

1 week$275
2 weeks$500
3 weeks$700
4 weeks$875
6 weeks$1,150
8 weeks$1,550
12 weeks$2,250
Prices for projects in Costa Rica are in US dollars; please check the current exchange rate for costs in your local currency (

Included: Airport arrival transport • Pre-departure information • In-country orientation, training and coordination • Accommodation: private or shared room (location dependent) in a host family house or volunteer dorm-style facility with a fan • 3 meals per day (in most locations*) • 24/7 emergency phone

*In the volunteer houses in Jacó & Heredia, volunteers receive breakfast and lunch. Dinners are not provided as most volunteers choose to eat at local restaurants or cook for themselves and food waste became an issue.

NOT Included: Flights • Travel insurance • Local transport • Return airport transfer • Personal expenses • Bank/wire transfer fees

For custom lengths of stay not listed, please contact us for pricing.


All projects incur a $250 application fee.  Please see the The Fine Print page for more information.


Trip Add-ons

Volunteers participating in all projects in Costa Rica have the opportunity to take add-on Spanish language lessons.  Click the button below for more information.

Spanish Lessons


Special Considerations | Health Care Volunteering in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

For special considerations regarding all projects in Costa Rica, please visit the Costa Rica page.

Health Care Background Requirement

This project is limited to certified health care professionals, health care students (med school, nursing, etc.), and students planning to pursue a career in health care.

Criminal Record Check

GOAT Volunteers requires a criminal record (background) check for all projects working with children.  Inquire with your local police department to see if they offer this service (many do for free or a small fee).  U.S. citizens can visit the U.S. Department of State website for additional information.

The criminal record check must be submitted to GOAT Volunteers after the prospective volunteer’s application is accepted and at least 30 days prior to the project start date.

Language Requirement

This project requires volunteers to speak English fluently and have at least an intermediate level of Spanish. This is to avoid miscommunications while working with doctors, nurses, and patients.

For individuals interested in improving their Spanish language skills, classes are available outside of volunteering hours. Please see the Spanish Lessons page for details and pricing.

Placement Location

Our partner NGO in Costa Rica supports a huge number of projects.  In most instances, placements will occur at the location most in need of volunteers at the time.  Occasionally, volunteers will be given the opportunity to select which location they prefer.