This flagship project in Costa Rica aims to improve the economic prospects of a remote indigenous village by making infrastructure improvements that will support their vision of sharing their culture with travellers. The project will offer an exclusive and remote volunteer experience in a way that very, very few have ever done. Tsinikicha borders the Barbilla National Park which recently allowed the use of some of its trails for hikers. There is great potential to appeal to visiting hikers and the community has plans to offer a comprehensive traditional experience that would bring valuable new sources of income.
Six villages in the territory are involved in this initiative. A new ceremonial hut has been built. Near here is the site for a hikers’ camp and small soda (restaurant). DWC volunteers will assist in developing camping facilities for hiking visitors of the El Camino Trail as well as facilities for sustainable small business that supports tourist experiences. This will increase village commerce and offer improvements for residents.
DWC teams will work with our in-country partner Mar a Mar serving Las Brisas de Pacuarito, a remote, small settlement about four hours east of San Jose and 17km from the picturesque, small town of Siquirres.
In general, expect to work 6-8 hours per day. Volunteers usually wake up early, around 6:00 or 7:00 am for breakfast. After breakfast, the team is transported to the project site (usually by private bus) and the workday begins, usually somewhere between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. There will be lunch in the middle of the day, which is either provided by your workplace, host family, or purchased by you. Your workday will usually end around 4:00 pm.
A trip here is both unique and rewarding with many options for your free time. You can absorb the environment around your host community during the week before spending your days off relaxing or adventuring.
Catch views towards Turrialba Volcano, the Atlantic sea and the Talamanca mountains with guided hiking to help you navigate through the dense jungle of nearby National Park Barbilla. This is a 29,500 acre protected forest on the Caribbean side of the Talamanca Mountains. The park is the home of the second-largest indigenous group in Costa Rica, the Cabécar. This area is ecologically rich and important as a water source for rare (and even endangered) species including three-toed sloths, jaguars, ocelots, pumas, tapirs, toucans and countless other bird species. The ranger station for the National Park is located in Las Brisas de Pacuarito.
Easily fill up your time with Banana, Vanilla or Chocolate Tours and get involved in fun evening activities with local families including crafting souvenir walking poles, salsa dancing, dice games, Settlers of Catan (game) and soccer.
The climate is tropical, warm and humid, all year round. January is part of the dry season on the pacific coast characterized by essentially constant daily high temperatures of 30°C. While this equatorial region is characterized by low temperature variations, frequent showers and thunderstorms are common so packing a light raincoat is a good idea.
How much does it cost?
The cost of this trip is displayed at the top of the page. This cost includes accommodations, meals, in-country transport, program costs, and a donation to our host partner in their respective country. It does not include airfare. The entire trip is 100% tax deductible. A $1000 non refundable deposit ($600 for trips prior to 2024) is due once the trip is confirmed which is then credited towards your trip cost. Flight costs vary and can either be booked yourself or through our recommended travel agent to receive a tax deductible receipt. Your trip cost is due in its entirety 45 days prior to departure. If your flight is booked through our recommended travel agent, your flight cost is due within 10 days. Trip costs may be adjusted if flight or accommodation upgrades are requested or if flight deviations are required. Select trips may be subject to additional cultural activity fees. US volunteers may be subject to administrative fees/exchange rate adjustments.
Are accommodations included and what are they like?
DWC books your accommodations for you, and it is included in your Trip Cost! Your team will stay at a local hotel that is comfortable and clean. Rooms are booked as shared double occupancy. You may upgrade to a private room for an additional cost, where possible. We will do our best to accommodate adjustments
Are meals provided and can dietary restrictions be accommodated?
All meals are included in your trip cost. Some meals will be at the hotel, while others at local restaurants. The food is prepared hygienically, and dishes range from local to standard western fare. Volunteers submit a health form to DWC and all requests for dietary restrictions will be provided to the Team Leader, hotel, and host partner, to be accommodated wherever possible. We want you to be as comfortable as possible! Your Trip Cost does not include tips, alcohol, or snacks.
Can I add personal travel onto this trip?
Absolutely! We want you to have the best travel experience possible. If you choose to add personal travel onto the front or back end of your trip, you are welcome to book your own accommodation and transportation arrangements for early arrivals or late departures, however you are required to arrive in time to fully participate in the volunteer experience with your team. Personal travel would not be covered in your tax-deductible receipt.
Can my family come on the trip with me?
The trip cost listed is a per person rate. Family members can participate in the trip as part of the volunteer team by paying a separate trip cost. Children 12-17 wishing to participate in a volunteer trip require a parent/guardian with them.
What is the minimum age requirement to volunteer?
Children under 12 are unable to participate in our program due to the nature of the volunteer work involved. Children 12-17 wishing to participate in a volunteer trip require a parent/guardian with them.
Do I need construction experience and how much will we work?
You don’t need special skills or training to be able to help. We hire local skilled labourers who will give training onsite for construction and team leaders. You will work at your own pace, within your own comfort level, five days a week from about 8AM to 4PM. Your evenings and weekends are free for cultural activities and relaxing.
What is the work site like and what is the intensity of the labour?
There is a building manager and translator on site. Tasks on the work site vary and you will only be asked to do what you are comfortable with and within your physical abilities. There is no pressure!
Why should I volunteer?
Support sustainable change with us. Learn about the world and yourself, lend a hand and build hope. Every bit of time spent on a DWC project is helping a person, a family, or a community. You’ll know that your contribution will make someone’s life better. DWC matches teams of volunteers and resources with people and organizations in developing nations to alleviate poverty and inspire hope and your efforts do have impact. The experience is enhanced by working as a team. Simply put, there is joy and self-discovery that comes with giving to others. And you’ll have fun doing it, too.
Are DWC trips religious or political in nature?
DWC has no religious or political affiliations.
Each trip is coordinated by DWC with the help of a Team Leader, who has travelled with DWC previously and is First Aid Certified. Your Team Leader will liaise with DWC and ensure all your questions are answered. Your Team Leader will handle all team finances through the trip and travel with you to ensure the best possible travel and volunteer experience for their team! They also facilitate fun, cultural experiences where possible, ensuring group cohesion. See your Team Leader Biography here:
Kathleen D'Sylva and Kathleen Simard
Kathleen D’Sylva currently works as a Continuous Services Improvements Manager with Softchoice. It was with Softchoice, as a Softchoice Cares Board member that she was first introduced to DWC and Kathleen Simard! Kathleen has participated in DWC trips to Railmagra, India in 2017 and then Cebu, Philippians in 2019. Kathleen currently lives in Burlington, ON with her husband David, 2 of her 3 sons, and their basset hound, Harley. She enjoys hiking and cycling, really, anything outdoors and is working towards her level 1 Sommelier, Intermediate Wine Certification.
Kathleen Simard, originally from Atlanta, lives outside of Philadelphia with her Canadian husband, 2 daughters and a son. She loves adventure and has never met a stranger, making friends wherever she goes. She met her co-leader, also Kathleen, on her first DWC trip to India in 2016. It was a life changing experience and one she is thrilled to do again in Costa Rica! Kathleen is semi-retired from her career in technology sales making more time for her personal passions including Family, friends, travel, cycling, yoga, snow-boading, live music and acting! Her mantra: “Write down your dreams and follow them because the universe is listening. There is no limit to what you can achieve in this life!”
Carbon offsets are used to compensate for the greenhouse gasses that we create through certain activities, such as flying. For every tonne of carbon released into the atmosphere, an ‘offset’ is a carefully designed project that absorbs or stores the equivalent CO2 emissions. You can choose to offset your own flight, your whole family’s, or do this as a gift for a friend.Offset Your Carbon Footprint