Hola, amigos! Please join us in Las Vueltas, Costa Rica this spring to build houses in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. If you’ve ever wanted a vacation that leaves you feeling fulfilled and inspired, this is the trip for you! No construction experience necessary; just a good work ethic, open mind and a sense of humor is always a plus.
A Child plays in front of her Habitat Home in Costa Rica. Country Profile
About Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Spanish for “Rich Coast”) is situated in Central America where a variety of historic cultures have meshed over the centuries. One of the more progressive democracies in the Americas, Costa Rica still has its share of housing needs – with nearly 700,000 new or improved housing units needed. Though Costa Rica has a fairly stable economy, large government deficits have also undermined efforts to maintain the quality of social services.
Costa Rica’s neighbors include Nicaragua (to the north), Panama (to the south), the Pacific Ocean (to the west) and the Caribbean Sea (to the east).
About Habitat for Humanity Costa Rica
Habitat Costa Rica began building in 1988, but ceased operations in 1991 with the introduction of an ambitious government-housing program that gave houses to the poor. However, with large cutbacks in the government program and an estimated 35 percent of the country’s population still living in substandard housing, in 1996 Costa Rica invited Habitat for Humanity to help once again.
Since then, Habitat Costa Rica has built hundreds of homes with partner families. Today, the program is focusing on ways to reach those families that have even fewer resources, through initiatives like “progressive” housing, houses built in stages; repair, enlargement, improvement and completion of half-built houses. Habitat for Humanity International also has its area office for the entire Latin America and Caribbean region based in Costa Rica.
For more information on the Costa Rica program, visit www.habitatcostarica.org.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may assist with improvements, full-house builds or home repairs. Most Habitat houses in Costa Rica are built using cinderblock walls, tin roofs and cement floors.
Day 1 (Arrival day, Saturday): Greeted at the San Jose airport by Habitat Costa Rica staff; shuttles to San Jose hotel; team dinner.
Day 2 (Sunday): Breakfast; travel to affiliate location; orientation with Habitat Costa Rica staff member; tour of town; free time; dinner.
Days 3–7 (Workdays, Monday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; daily transportation to site if needed; introduction to families, foreman and community; work site orientation; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (workdays will start earlier during hot or rainy seasons); lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Costa Rican food; free time for team activities and community exploration.
Day 8 (Saturday): Breakfast; free time; travel back to San Jose; free time; dinner; overnight in San Jose.
Day 9 (Final day, Sunday): Breakfast; departure.
Note: Cultural experiences with host staff during the trip may include traditional dances, market tours, recreational activities, school visits and other dining options. There will also be a farewell ceremony with partner family members on the final build day.
HFH Costa Rica will choose the team’s lodging taking into consideration our group’s size. Teams usually stay in basic, safe hotels, with team members staying 2-4 people per room.
Breakfast and dinner will likely be served at the hotel or nearby restaurant. Lunch will be eaten at the work site, where snacks and water will also be provided. There will be ample opportunities to enjoy traditional Costa Rican meals such as gallo pinto and casado.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!
Jen Hellmuth is a former teacher, now School Psychology PhD student, living in Philadelphia. Her interests include traveling, music, running, animals, cultural experiences, anything outdoors and of course advocating for education and mental health resources and dignified housing. This will be her fourth Habitat build, and she has traveled to parts of Europe, Central and South America and Southeast Asia. Jen’s ideal team members are flexible, eager to help, and open to new experiences and cultures. For more information about the build and the team, please contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.