Volunteering in Building and Construction in Costa Rica

Getting on the property ladder is but a distant dream for more than a million Costa Ricans who live in poverty. Through the uVolunteer Building and Construction Project, however, you can help low-income families make their dream of home ownership a reality. uVolunteer partners with two foundations in Costa Rica that provide loans to disadvantaged families. You will join the local underserved construction teams to help build homes for local disadvantaged residents in San Ramon.

Program Video

Building and construction volunteers provide hands-on help, clearing land, digging foundations, plastering and laying bricks and roof tiles, as well as maintaining community buildings and schools already in existence.

You don’t need any official qualifications to help out with the project – as long as you are physically fit and willing to work hard, you are welcome to join the project and land a much-needed helping hand.

Download our program information brochure to find out more about volunteering in building and construction in Costa Rica.

Quick facts

  • Program: Volunteer Costa Rica
  • Location: San Ramon
  • Minimum Duration: 2 weekw
  • Language Requirement: Basic Spanish
  • Airport Pick-up: Yes, for $75
  • Travel Insurance Not included
  • Suitable for Groups: No
  • Region: Alajuela
  • Project Site: Various Sites
  • Minimum Age: 18
  • Accommodation: Dorm Home
  • Meals: 2 Meals Daily
  • Start Dates: Every Other Friday
  • Suitable for Families: Yes

Your role as a volunteer

As a building and construction volunteer in Costa Rica, you will provide additional labor resources for disadvantaged families building their own homes. Working in rural areas of San Ramon, you will clear building sites, dig foundations, lay bricks and roof tiles, plaster, paint and mix cement. Volunteers also help out with routine maintenance of community buildings and schools.

Tasks may include:

  • Clearing land for the build site
  • Laying bricks and mixing cement
  • Fixing dilapidated buildings
  • Loading and unloading supplies

Work schedule

Building and construction volunteers work four days per week, from Monday to Thursday. Working hours usually work from 8 am until 3 pm, although this is subject to change – especially during the rainy season.

Journey to work

The construction project sites are based in and around the town and rural areas of San Ramon. Depending on the site where you are placed, you may be able to walk to the project, or you may have to take a short bus ride no longer than 30 minutes to the project site.

Closed dates

This project is closed during the fourth week of December and the first week of January, as well as for a week preceding Easter Sunday.

Project Photos

Project Location

Project Reviews & Testimonials

I had backpacked through Europe the past two summers, and I was looking for something completely new this summer.

I knew that visiting Costa Rica would be much different than visiting Europe, and volunteering in one city for two weeks would be a different experience than typical tourism.

We were assigned to aid in the construction of the house for Lyjia, a local who is trying to move out near San Padre.

No power tools were needed in the construction, solely manual labor and some elbow grease. There were 4 different kinds of cement used in securing the cement blocks, in between blocks, and drywall. I've gotten accustomed to working with lumber so this was a change of pace. Rodrigo showed us the ropes of things and we quickly began work.

From lifting cement blocks, to sifting dirt to make cement, I was included in all tasks on site.

It was such a uplifting experience. The gentlemen we worked alongside, both native Costa Ricans, were warm and friendly to us at all times and eager to learn English as much as we were eager to learn more Spanish!

The best experience of my life! That is the statement I would use to describe my trip to Costa Rica.

It all started on July 26, 2009, when I flew into San Jose. I had no idea what to expect, and as a 16 year old, was quite nervous. I was welcomed warmly by uVolunteer. The next 11 days were spent at the Sea Turtle Conservation in Gandoca.

I feel like I've done something genuinely worthwhile and I've had a fantastic time.

I arrived at my construction Project after traveling in Costa Rica for 4 weeks. I thought that going from hostel to hostel had been rough on my body but it was nothing compared to the cuts, bruises and general fatigue after digging, not to say the work hasn't been enjoyable, it's just physically demanding.

I had not done anything like this before and was surprised about how physically challenging it was.

However seeing the house rapidly forming and knowing that I had contributed to this made the hard work worthwhile. I really enjoyed my volunteer experience and would definitely do it again.

I have met people not only from Costa Rica but also people from all over the world.

For a twenty two year old male I like to believe that I have a lot of experience in my life. Volunteering in Costa Rica is just adding another notch in my belt. However this experience has been one of the best experiences of my life.

This is a laid back country, unhurried, no deadlines you can arrive late but not for the buses, be on time.

It was hard work and I remember looking at Joan and his friend wordering how they do this every day.

Every musche in my body was aching! Yet they never stopped or even slowed down. Sometimes we would catch them laughing when they saw us mess up but theirs faces (especially Joans) always glowed with gratitude.

My arrival was a bit complicated but uVolunteer dealt with it efficiently I spent two weeks with uVolunteer doing construction (building a house for a low-income family).

My arrival was a bit complicating but uVolunteer dealt with it efficiently and I was brought to the dorm and was fed a delicious meal. All the other volunteers were very nice and welcoming. I spent two weeks with uVolunteer doing construction (building a house for a low-income family).

Costa Rica Information Brochure

If you are interested in joining the program in Costa Rica, you should download and read our destination guide.

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