Recycling - Upcycling

founded in 2006
first hand Costa Rica
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Coordinator | Frank
Coordinator | Frank
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
If you have ideas for waste processing, if you are skilled in (art) crafts and / or if you have ideas for workshops on waste prevention, then we need you! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
About the Program
An estimated 3.5 million tons of garbage are produced by the world's population every day - with the urban population producing about two to four times as much garbage as the rural population. Costa Rica and the beaches in particular are also affected by this global problem. A central aspect to get the problem under control for future generations is to raise awareness and avoid as much garbage as possible.

In order to make good use of the waste that has already been created, there are many ideas to use old materials in such a way that new products are created. If materials are processed in such a way that a comparable product of slightly lower quality is produced, this is referred to as recycling or downcycling - e.g. when recycled paper is made from paper.

If the processing results in a product of higher quality, then this is called upcycling. Here, there are no limits for imagination and creativity: Bags made of old sheets or T-shirts or chip bags or umbrellas, candleholders made of cans, belt made of bicycle tires, table decoration or planters made of bottles, sculptures made of flip flops, flower tubs made of tires, figurines made of yoghurt cups, detergent bottles, plastic utensils etc., (wall) Carpets made of old fishing nets and ropes, walls or benches made of "ecobricks" (plastic bottles stuffed with plastic bags) and and and ...

About your work / your skills
You should bring creativity, talent for improvisation, (manual) skill, crafting talent, Willingness to organize the materials, the hand tools,  willingness to communicate, openness, ability to approach people, enjoy working independently, sense of responsibility if you are working with children (6-12 years) and maybe (depending on what you want to do!) crafting material.

About the locations
You will be in one of the small towns on the pacific coast between Sámara and Nosara. This is where our school programs are located and you probably will be close to the school volunteers. So, if you can plan together some events for the kids or the community.

Typical day

Depending on your own ideas and wishes, your typical day can change a lot! You can work in a variety of different areas - such as waste prevention or waste upcycling - and you can work with different groups - children, adolescents, adults - or maybe you have your own art project that you want to do and show. Therefore, the following list is only a suggestion of what you could (!) do!

  • Information on the extent of the garbage problem worldwide
  • Workshops on waste prevention and waste separation for different groups
  • Actions for collecting rubbish and cleaning the beaches
  • Sort, clean and prepare the collected material for further processing
  • Making 'new' products ... in the photo gallery you can find some suggestions and in www. there are endless ideas!
  • Conducting events to collect donations for the realization of further projects or for charitable purposes

Free-time activities

After work you can go to the beach, swim, surf or snorkel. The next village with leisure time possibilities is not far: there are tours for watching dolphins, kayaking, canopy, fishing and others. Go out in the evenings to listen to music and dance.

On the weekends you can go on tours in and around this area and there are a lot of places to visit in Costa Rica: National Park Monteverde, National Park Manuel Antonio, Volcano Arenal, visit the caribbean coast, visit our rainforest lodge, go on a trip to Nicaragua or Panamá …
Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (basic level) or English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Required Documents
Criminal background check IF you want to work with children!
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by first hand Costa Rica

The fees are used to pay the families and for our coordination services. We organize the journey to the project and we also do hostel reservations in San José if needed (mostly it is needed!) - and, if you will combine projects, we will also organize the transportation between the projects. You will have to pay the cost for the pickup and the transport.

Further we will introduce you to your family and to the community; we will help you to get the first steps done ... And we are 24/7 available in case you need help - please contact us via email or WhatsApp or Phone.

Airport Pickup at Juan Santamaria International Airport

We provide airport pickup, we organize the journey to the project and we also do hostel reservations in San José if needed (mostly it is needed!) - and, if you will combine projects, we will also organize the transportation between the projects. You will have to pay the cost for the pickup and the transport - about 60 US$ including the bus ticket to the project .


You will be living with a family in the village and you will have your own room.

The rooms of our guest families are pretty different - just as different as individual tastes and economic possibilities are! So, please don't expect your room to be exactly like the one you find in the photos (we will have to update some photos soon) ... maybe your room is completely different! Our philosophy is not to choose a project because of its accommodation - it will be definitely be a lot more rustic than you are used to and you will experience that life in Costa Rica doesn't take part inside the houses, but outside. 

We have many many years of experience with our volunteers in our guest families and we haven't had one single case in which a volunteer couldn't get along with the room ... so, wether your room is very nice or not, doesn't say anything about the heartiness of your family and the wonderful experiences you make in the project! ;-) 

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

You'll enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner with the family based on the tipical Costarican diet, for example rice, beans, vegetables, meat and fruit.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. We assist you to find cheap flights to Costa Rica.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Costa Rica provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Costa Rica you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Costa Rica.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

The projects start every Monday and it is recommended to arrive in San José latest on Sunday before your project starts. You can arrive earlier - and you can already be in your guest family from Friday before  project start.
Whenever you arrive - you will be picked up at the airport by our driver with a sign with your name. He will drive you to the reserved hostel (if necessary), give you the bus ticket (he will buy a ticket in advance to reserve you a seat in the bus), pick you up at the hostel the day of your journey to the project and bring you to the bus.
The cost will be around 60 US$ plus the hostel night (between 10-12 US$ (dorm) and 30 US$ (single/double room).

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
8 weeks
12 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$253 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. first hand Costa Rica will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with first hand Costa Rica during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if first hand Costa Rica cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by first hand Costa Rica.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

Recycling - Upcycling

If you have ideas for waste processing, if you are skilled in (art) crafts and / or if you have ideas for workshops on waste prevention, then we need you!


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