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Teach English near La Fortuna


Price above is guide only. Choose start date for your price.



Ever fancied visiting a tropical paradise?

In Costa Rica, as in most countries in the world, it’s the rural areas that need help and assistance the most; outside the cities resources tend to dry up and children are left with far less opportunities. Luckily for you, rural Costa Rica is also home to some of the most inspiring scenery this side of the National Geographic channel and these schools in particular provide a stunning backdrop to your time here. They are located in and around the small village of La Fortuna in the Central Valley, right by the stunning Arenal Volcano, although not too close! You will be working as an English teaching assistant alongside the local teachers in the schools during the English lessons schedule and you will be a welcome resource appreciated by children and staff alike.

Fancy learning some Spanish to give you a good start in country? Why not add on two weeks Spanish Language school before you start your volunteering. Call us now to find out more.

Trip Highlights:

  • Being part of the community in the stunning Costa Rican countryside
  • Helping develop the language skills of your students
  • Help out the local English teachers and learn about real life in rural Costa Rica
  • Learning (practising?!) your Spanish - much more fun than in a classroom back home!

Fast facts

Project duration: 
Min 4 weeks - Max 12 weeks
Location of project: 
One of three schools in and around La Fortuna, located in the Alajuela province 150kms North of San Jose
Arrival airport: 
San Jose (airport code SJO)
Teaching English
Working hours: 
Monday to Friday, your specific timetable will vary according to the school timetable and will be arranged on arrival
Getting to the project: 
Dependent on location of your homestay; 5 to 10 minutes walk
Minimum Age 18, Police check required (fees apply). CV/resume, insurance details and police check requested by project 1 month before arrival

What's included

Shared room in a homestay
All meals
Airport pickup: 
Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you're arriving early
In-country orientation
Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country team and 24 hour emergency support

What's not included

Flights, Insurance, Visas, Return Airport transfer, Local Transport


Day 1 (Sunday) – Arrival into San Jose airport (airport code SJO)

You will met at the airport by a member of our friendly i-to-i Costa Rica team, and taken to the Alajuela Backpackers hostel, where you’ll be spending your first 2 nights in Costa Rica. If you arrive before 6:30pm a tasty welcome dinner is provided, and the rest of your time is yours to spend as you chose – exploring Alajuela’s bars and shops, getting to know your fellow volunteers or catching up on some sleep!

If you are on a flight departing Mexico on Saturday evening that arrives into San Jose at 10 minutes past midnight on Sunday morning your airport pick up will be included however you will need to pay for an additional night’s accommodation - please arrange this with our office in advance.

As volunteers are not able to check into their rooms before 2pm on the arrival day, anyone arriving earlier than 12 midday that would like to have a room available for them will need to pay for an additional nights fee for accommodation - please arrange this with our office in advance.

Day 2 (Monday) – Orientation and overnight in Alajuela

At 8:30am a member of the in-country team will pick you up from the hostel and take you to the i-to-i office for orientation. This will give you a good insight into Costa Rica - the culture, things to do and see, what to do in case of an emergency and much more! It can also be a good way to meet other i-to-i travellers and ask any questions you may have. You’ll then be given some lunch and will have the afternoon free to explore or relax. A tasty dinner will be served in the offices in the evening!

Day 3 (Tuesday) – Let’s get to La Fortuna!

You’ll transfer to La Fortuna early in the morning. An i-to-i representative will take you to the bus stop, and make sure you get on your way! Your family will be waiting for you at the other end. We like to get you to La Fortuna today; instead of straight after the orientation as it is a long journey and we don’t want you to arrive at the project after dark (you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!). The transfer to La Fortuna takes around 4 hours by public transport.

Day 4 (Wednesday) – An apple for the teacher – that’s you

Today you’ll start your first day of teaching near La Fortuna. You will meet all the kids at the school so don’t worry if you don’t take in everyone’s name on the first day! You’ll be taken to the project on your first day by your home stay family and introduced to the staff and children. You can work out a schedule together with your class teachers and get stuck in – there’s no time like the present!

Days 6 and 7 (Saturday to Sunday) – Free time

Yahoo it’s the weekend! So what you do want to do? Oh I don’t know… you could choose between a tree top zip wire tour, or hike around the Arenal volcano, trek through a tropical forest, swim around a waterfall, or have a disco in the Baldi hot springs – Costa Rica is cool man!

Following weeks

Build an unbreakable bond with the children and staff of your school as you become more and more involved in the school and community of this close community. Whether you’re here for four weeks or four months, you’ll find it equally hard to leave and return to your everyday life.

Some schools teach from 7.00am through to 5.30pm with a break for lunch – but you’re not expected to be there all that time though! You’ll tend to follow your English teacher’s schedule which is discussed on your arrival. Depending on which school you are placed at you could work from 4 to 8 hours per day. The Schedule will be discussed with you in more detail during orientation.

Your Last Day (Sunday)

Your last night will be back at the Alajuela backpackers hostel which is just 4km from the airport for your onward or homeward bound flights on Sunday. Alajuela Backpackers offers transfers back to the airport depending on departure time.


What does the project do?

We work with several schools in the La Fortuna area. These are schools run by the government of Costa Rica, the Ministry of Education. You will be working as teaching assistant alongside the English teachers in the schools and during the English lessons schedule. As well as spending time teaching, you might also spend time helping to plan and prepare lessons for all age groups (from first to 6th grade).

Student population varies from school to school; ranging from 150 to nearly 800 students. Kids are aged from 4 years to 12 years.

There is a need for English language education as the community is gearing up to be the future eco-tourist guides for the area and English is an essential skill for such a role.

What’s the project like?

Either of the schools that you’ll be working at is in a scenic, rural location that has quite a tourist trail running through it, to learn English for these kids is extremely important in order to better their chances at employment in later life. Depending on the school, there are one or three teachers who work full time but need plenty of assistance in the form of volunteers to improve their English and give the children the best education possible!

Why does the project need volunteers?

The schools appreciates volunteers because there is a need for English language education as the community is gearing up to be the future eco-tourist guides for the area and English is an essential skill for such a role. Plus, you won’t just be helping the children; you’ll be helping the teachers and the community too! Phew!

An important key for being a successful volunteer is the flexibility. Starting with your work schedule, it will probably be disrupted at some point. The English teachers have to follow a syllabus given by the Ministry of Education, do not expect this to be changed. Also, you need to be a creative, self-motivated and self-starter person who enjoys working with children. Perseverance and tolerance of working in a new environment is a plus; however, the student's genuine need for tuition and conversational English practice make this project really rewarding. Have patience and go with the flow!

Activities and schedule

Your assistance is needed from Monday to Friday anytime between the hours of 7am and 5.30pm as this is when lessons take place. However, you’ll be working out a schedule with the teachers when you arrive, so be prepared to get stuck in and working long rewarding days!

Project resources and advice

Please note that there are several cultural considerations to note when working at the schools. We ask you to cover any visible tattoos, piercings and ‘outrageous’ hairdo’s (we love them, don’t get us wrong, but they don’t tend to fit in with rural areas overseas as much…). Any resources that you bring with you will come in useful - but dont forget you can buy many things locally!


What type of accommodation will I be in?

During your time near La Fortuna you will be staying with a Costa Rican family. These families provide not only breakfast, lunch, dinner and a bed for those lodging with them, but also an interesting insight into Costa Rican culture.

All the families chosen provide clean and safe accommodation; we also know them to be good and friendly people who will not only welcome you into their home, but also their family.

We let the home-stay families know in advance if you have special dietary needs, but please also remind them on your arrival. Rice and beans is going to be your main diet, it is often eaten 3 times a day here- you will learn to love it!

You can drink water directly from the tap in most of Costa Rica including in smaller villages. Your family will make juices and drinks using this water. Should you wish to have bottled water it is available in the supermarkets

Your families will also wash your clothes once a week.

Accommodation facilities

Set in a scenic area, La Fortuna is a stunning small town (on the backpacker and tourist trail) and connects the Volcan Arenal area with the cloud forests of Monteverde and Santa Elena with the northern lowlands of the country. Costa Rica’s most active volcano (Arenal), around 30kms away, can be seen quite clearly and offers some spectacular views - particularly on a clear night when you can see it glowing away. The volcano is one of the country’s top rated tourist attractions and regularly spews out it's smoke and ash. La Fortuna itself is around 150kms north of San Jose with the journey taking around 3-4 hours by bus.

You will be staying in a home stay accommodation near to your project, which will be in the La Fortuna area. You'll stay with a local family of at least two generations and a few animals too, giving you a great cultural experience and real opportunity to understand and get to enjoy the Costa Rican way of life - remember, Costa Rica was recently found to be the happiest country in the world and you'll soon see why.

You’ll be placed in a shared room in a local home stay. The rooms are usually on a two person shared basis (where possible) and we’ll do our best to place couples together but this cannot always be guaranteed. You’ll be sharing a living space and bathroom with the family you are living with and they’ll take you under their expert wing to make sure you feel settled and welcome in to the family.

All of our home stays are within a short distance of the others so you can meet up in the evenings and socialise together. They all have good facilities with running water (probably not hot water but you won’t need it!), bedding, electricity and lots of delicious food for you! you won’t need a mosquito net in La Fortuna unless you particularly want to bring one with you to protect your bed from the creepies!

Where is the accommodation?

The home stay accommodation is based around a 5-10 minutes walk from your school. Ah it’s not a bad life there, walking around in the sun, making friends, eating rice and beans three times a day…we defy you to want to leave anytime before you absolutely have to!

La Fortuna (which could be a bus ride away from where you are staying) is a strange and wonderful place, plenty of tourist attractions around to keep you occupied and all in love with Costa Rica, but still nice and rural enough and far enough away from reality to really get away from it all.

How far is it from my project?

The total time from your project to your accommodation is around a 5-10 minute walk away! There’s a lovely walk in scenic surroundings to wake you up at the start of your day!

What you get

Next steps

Flights & insurance

Country information

I've done this trip. Write review >
Jennifer Lee gives this project
Here is what Jennifer had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
The opportunity to work with and get to know the children in the school. The chance to meet and work closely with awesome English Teachers. The care shown by the in country staff when I had bronchitis, when the teachers were on strike, when I went to US for a funeral. I appreciated your ability and willingness to help in anyway possible.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Practice Spanish before and while you are here. Pack in preparation for dress code/teaching.
Catherine Lee gives this project
Here is what Catherine had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
the family were so much fun, and really quickly made me feel at home. They were also a great source of information about the project, other volunteers and the area and really helped me with my Spanish.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Always ask for clarification if you get confused Don't be afraid of making mistakes with the language
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
relaxed chaos.
Lesley Hedges gives this project
Here is what Lesley had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Lovely family at homestay. Wonderful school with such hard-working staff. Beautiful country.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
just do it don't come back to the grey UK in November take hankies for when you leave
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Meet people and see places that will stay with you for ever,
Pearl Bernard gives this project
Here is what Pearl had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
teaching the children in the school - it was hard work but worth it, and the principle thanking me! My host family giving me a present - a beautiful hammock
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
do not pack too much like I did go with the flow of things have a little knowledge of the language
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
working with the children is an experience that I will treasure
Danielle Schembri gives this project
Here is what Danielle had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
staying with the family, and helping at the school
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
make the most of the experience - bring ideas and experience to what you are doing keep and open mind and go with the flow
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
being part of the community, learning the language, meet great people, new experience
Patricia Clarke gives this project
Here is what Patricia had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
I can´t pin point one thing
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Bring plenty of bug spray Be prepared for language problems Look at different places for trips as prices can vary
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
An experience that will never be forgotten
Oliver Holden-Rea gives this project
Here is what Oliver had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Getting to know the family and the kids in the school
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Relax Don't impose your own ideas of culture etc. upon another society
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
A bloody great time.
Emma Nugee gives this project
Here is what Emma had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Getting to know the family we were staying with
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
Learn Spanish Take care what you pack Have an open mind
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Really eye opening and inspiring
Namitha Naidoo gives this project
Here is what Namitha had to say:
What were the highlights of your trip?
Staying with family in La Fortuna, they were really awsome, felt very much at home.
Do you have 3 top tips for future travellers?
earn Spanish Get used to rice and beans Be prepared to dance cumbia!
Give Us Up To 10 Words That Sum Up Your Experience:
Enjoyable hard work!!
Stephanie McQuade gives this project
Here is what Stephanie had to say:

We work in partnership with hundreds of established projects that are run by local communities. The information on our website comes directly from the projects and we work with them to ensure this information is as accurate as possible. However, due to the very nature of the projects themselves the exact details of what happens on a daily basis can change with little or no notice. If you have travelled with us and have any updates to this information, please let us know.