Experience Volunteering

Our experience volunteer program is suitable for everyone that has a passion for the environment and marine life conservation. .

Live the experience and participate in the daily life of research assistants. Understand their work and the important role they play in protecting and conserving endangered species. Observe and monitor wild animals to help research assistants learn more about their behaviours. This is crucial for developing strategies aimed to protect marine species from human activities of which they could be victims. Take your chance to play an active role in a marine species conservation organization!

Volunteers’ tasks include walking the beaches at night to patrol for nesting mothers with local guides, monitoring endangered parrots and engaging in activities like beach cleaning and education together with community members. Apart from that, we welcome any types of skills that you think could prove useful to ETC, like skills in language, writing, education, art, design, technology and sports. What are you good at? Bring your talents, skills or passion and let’s create something together!

Your time will be divided among the activities and each day will vary. For example, ray monitoring takes place in the morning 3 times per week at approximately 9:00AM-12:00PM, parrot counting from 4/4:30PM to 6/6:30PM depending on the season. Sea turtle monitoring will take place at night, from about 9:30PM-2:00AM and environmental education activities from 9:00AM. Your exact schedule will depend on the weather conditions and the specific needs of the day. – is this an experience volunteers schedule?


  1. experience beautiful nature
  2. Contribute to environmental work
  3. Embrace Costa Rica’s “pura vida” lifestyle

Besides the differences in designing your schedule and setting your goals for your stay, your accommodation and the surroundings will be the same; all around our beautiful village El Jobo!

During your time in El Jobo, you will have homestay accommodations near the center of the town. You will live with a Costa Rican family in your own room (or you will share with your partner/friend). They will cook typical Costa Rican food for you (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and can adapt based on your dietary preferences. You can especially look forward to Gallo Pinto! This is a popular Costa Rican dish that involves fresh, local vegetables, sun-dried black beans, and sometimes a fried egg or two — it’s perfect after a long, action-packed day of snorkelling.

Homestay families are actively involved with ETC, and often collaborate on projects, so they are familiar with your volunteer activities. This is a unique opportunity that facilitates the interchange of culture, language, and tradition with the goal of providing a memorable experience for you and your homestay family! Moreover, staying with a family is a great way to learn about Costa Rican culture, eat typical food, and practice your Spanish!

The Town of El Jobo

El Jobo is located on the Punta Descartes Peninsula, in the North Pacific corner of Costa Rica, close to the Nicaraguan border.

The emerging local tourism sector in El Jobo is still very young, with one large resort on the outskirts of town. A main street lined with small, single-family homes runs through the center of town, and there are three small supermarkets (“pulperías”), that sell essential items. The closest city -where you’ll find banks, large supermarkets, shops, and clinics- is La Cruz, about a 40-minute bus ride from El Jobo.

You will spend most of your time on the stunning beaches near El Jobo, as well as in the town itself. Please keep in mind that El Jobo is a rural developing community so do not expect to find amenities (like air conditioning!) as you might in your hometown.

There are many activities in and around el Jobo that you can enjoy in your free time. Ranging from kitesurfing on one of the windiest places in the world to paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing and snorkelling, one can never get bored in El Jobo!

For the more adventurous, there is possibility to enjoy mountain biking, horseback riding and even ATV hiking. Last but not least, because we are on a peninsula, there are many hidden beaches to explore, accessibly only on foot!

450 USD/week 

400 USD/week for a stay longer than 1 month

Why do I have to pay for volunteering?

What does volunteering mean? Nowadays, there are so many definitions of volunteering. We think that volunteering means a willingness to undertake a service that you are passionate about. You are giving your time to someone or something larger than yourself, in order to make positive change in a field that is important to you. Volunteering is not a requirement, it comes from an inner feeling of responsibility and belief.

At ETC, we value transparency and this is also well presented in our volunteering programs. We ask for a fee from our volunteers in order to cover the costs they generate for our non-profit organisation. These include salaries to the host families and the local patrollers, cost of the meals, gears and car rides provided. Without the contribution of the volunteers, ETC would not be able to organise these programs and sustain its current activities.

Nonetheless, we believe that volunteers can take away at least as much as they contribute. During the years, we have seen development of life-long friendships, fulfilment of passion, acquirement of many new skills and above all, so many happy faces.

Volunteering FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

We welcome anyone who shares our passion and would like to contribute to our work. Spanish language skills are not a requirement, but if you would like to brush up on your conversation skills, you can definitely practice with the local community members. We are continuously accepting volunteer applications and work on a rolling basis.

One of the special things about El Jobo is that there are turtles and whales all year long. That being said, volunteering with ETC is possible all year round and every month has something special. In the period of July-September, there are many whales, palegic rays and parrots to be seen. November-January is the turtle nesting season and December-March is the hatching season and when bentonic rays are most active.

We encourage all volunteers to stay as long as possible to maximize local and personal benefit. Minimum stay is 1 week, maximum is 24 weeks. If you are looking for a short-term opportunity to explore the El Jobo area and learn about sea turtles in only a few or even one day, check out our volunteering tourism offer.

Both the experience and scientific volunteer program cost 450 USD/week or 400 USD/week for stays more than 1 month.

Cost includes three meals a day, accommodation, permits, local coordination and training at respective facility, local transport, full access to our facilities, snorkeling gear, etc.—everything minus personal expenses, your airfare to Costa Rica, and transportation to El Jobo.

The houses have electricity, running water, and WiFi, and the bathroom is shared. Sheets and towels are provided for you at the house, and your family can do laundry for you when necessary. There is no air-conditioning, but every room has a fan.

Please note that as El Jobo is located in the tropics, there are mosquitoes and bugs all year around and temperature can reach at least 90°F with no air conditioning. 

Ready to join ETC?

Please fill the application form and we will be in touch!
We are looking forward to meeting you!