Agricultural Training Volunteer

Escuela de Guayabal - Tejar De El Guarco, Costa Rica
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-895 Location: Tejar De El Guarco, Costa Rica Sector: Community Development Category: Agriculture Min Duration: 3 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Intermediate
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Volunteer Job Description

Located in an agriculture area, Escuela de Guayabal has the facilities to teach agriculture to the students as part of their formal educational program conducted by the Ministry of Education. However, due to the lack of teachers interested in teaching in this area, the school does not have the necessary number of staff to teach all subjects. Therefore, the science teacher strives to teach aspects of agriculture to the students when possible.

An agriculture teacher volunteer would be expected to help the science teacher develop and implement an agriculture program that would be geared towards the different grades at the school. This program would stress the importance of agriculture in the twenty-first century and cover topics such as organic farming, the use of fertilizers and insecticides, rotation of crops, specific types of crops best suited at various locations, as well as the role of reforestation and the effects of global warming etc.

Volunteers at this placement must be at least a current student at an agriculture or agronomy school and have intermediate Spanish language skills. The volunteers need to have a sincere desire to develop stimulating agriculture programs for the students and are willing to put in the time and effort that this entails.

Volunteer Tasks Required

Organic Farming Process

Agriculture teacher volunteers must be able to teach the techniques involved in organic farming and the importance it has in the current agriculture system, with more international competition for agriculture products. Volunteers must be knowledgeable regarding how organic farming is accomplished in Costa Rica and the tools required.

Growing Process

Agriculture teacher volunteers must be very creative in order to teach the growing process of vegetables and fruit and stimulate the interest of the children so that they actively participate in this endeavour. The school provides a large orchard but they do not have the technology tools for the learning process.

The Importance of Agriculture

In the global world where technology displays such an important role in the daily routine of humans, children have lost interest in the importance that agriculture has in the world market. An agriculture training volunteer would be expected to help raise awareness of the importance of agriculture in our daily lives.

Community Involvement

As an agriculture teacher volunteer, you will be able to assign homework to the students to do at home with their families thus involving them in the learning process. Volunteers will be able to plan and implement an agriculture fair before the end of the program in order to demonstrate the skills and knowledge learned by the children during their agriculture studies.

Host Organization Details

Escuela de Guayabal

Escuela de Guayabal is a public institution under the regime of the Ministry of Public Education. The school receives approximately 144 children per year from the age of 5 to 13 years old. The classes are divided into four primary classrooms and one kindergarten classroom. The school has two difference schedules per day. Half of the children attend classes during the morning from 7:00 am to 12:10 pm and the other half from 12:30 pm to 5:40 pm.

The students comprise of children from low-income families who's occupation is usually that of a farmer. Most of the children receive a scholarship from the government which stimulates the families to send their children to school. The scholarship covers the basic needs: uniforms, some school materials, as well as, daily transportation to the school. However, breakfast and lunch offered at the school, in their little dining room, is not provided.

The school has nine teachers who divide the overall student population; to teach the basic lessons such as Math, Spanish, Social Studies, Agriculture, Science and English but the school does not have a Music or Physical Education teacher. To meet this need, as well as, to provide support to the English teacher they rely on the help of volunteers.

Does this organization have any religious affiliations?

Although the Costa Rican Constitution establishes the Catholic Faith as the state religion, it also assures religious freedom for all. The school teaches Catholic principasl only to the Catholic students.

When They Were Founded

The school was founded in 1986 by the Costa Rican government with the help of the local community. The land was bought by a contribution of all the neighbors in the community, who realized due to an increase in the student population in the Guayabal district a school was needed.

How Are They Funded

This school is part of Costa Rica's public school system. Therefore, the government provides the funds to pay salaries of the teachers and basic construction materials for improvements. For any major improvements needed, the school must obtain the funds from the local community. The community gets the funds from annual fundraising activities like bingo.

Donation Requests

The school would appreciate any of the following items: children's books in English, English dictionaries, pencils, erasers, crayons, colored markers, paper, white board markers, notebooks, and any other school supplies that can be used by the children.

Placement Location Information

Tejar De El Guarco, Costa Rica

Tejar del Guarco is located just 15-20 minutes by bus to Cartago's downtown. At the area is very common to see farms with plantations of lettuce, carrots, eggplants, watermelon, potatoes and other produce. Agriculture is the main income of families in this area. Downtown offers all the important services like banks, internet cafes, supermarkets, laundromats, little restaurants and clothing, furniture and technology stores.

Guayabal is the name of the main suburb area where the school is located. It has a different environment from Tejar downtown, this area is more rural with very little facilities. There is no supermarkets but it has a pulperia which is a Costa Rican Spanish word for convenience store.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From the BaseCamp Center in San Jose, take the bus to downtown, and then walk through Central Avenue until you get into Avenue 6 & 8 where you will find the bus station to Cartago. Once in Cartago, you will need to get off at San Luis Gonzaga high school and take the bus to Tejar del Guarco. You may need to ask the drive to drop you off at the yellow bridge, where you will take to the left and walk 10 minute to the school.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 45km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 1:10

Weather in the Area

The high elevation of Cartago and frequent cloud cover give the city and surrounding areas relatively cool temperatures throughout the year. Temperatures range from 15-25 degrees Celsius, and nights can be considerably cooler. The rainy season is from May to December, and it will rain almost every day during these months.

Cartago is located at the eastern end of the Central Region of Costa Rica, allowing you to enjoy a particular climate, which is affected by the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The climate of this region is typical of plateau, combining the kind of climate of the Caribbean with the climate of the Pacific slope. It is characterized by moderate rainfall and cool temperatures. This area maintains a rainfall close to 2000 mm per year, with 128 rainy days and one dry month. The average high temperature is 26 degrees Celsius and the minimum average of 15 degrees. The forest is the Humid Subtropical associated.

City/Village Description

Tejar de El Guarco is located minutes away from the city of Cartago, which was the capital of Costa Rica until 1823. Geographically it is situated at an altitude of 1,435m above sea level on the slopes of Irazu Volcano, 24 km east of the city of San Jose. It is still the capital of the province of Cartago. The city is located in Costa Rica's Central Valley, approximately 25km from San Jose.

Tejar del Guarco is located just 15-20 minutes by bus to Cartago downtown, here it is very common to see farms and plantations of: lettuce, carrots, eggplants, watermelon, etc. Agriculture here is very important for family livelihood.

Guayabal is a smaller town, very traditional for example you can see people using carts pulled by cows to transport different products, vegetables and fruits. Cartago is one of the smallest provinces in Costa Rica but has the most abundantly preserved traditional colonial way of life.

Nearest Medical Clinic

Hospital Max Peralta
Street 1 Ave 7 & 9
TEL 1: 506-550-1999
TEL 2: 506-550-1998

Placement Address

Escuela de Guayabal
1 Km De La Escuela Ricardo Jimenez
Tejar De El Guarco
Costa Rica

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Costa Rica at our BaseCamp Center in San Jose. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Costa Rica. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Costa Rica you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica
BaseCamp Costa Rica Address

Ave 16 St. 39&41
Los Yoses Sur
San Jose, Costa Rica

BaseCamp Costa Rica Contact Details

Tel: 506-8763-9595
Tel: 506-4030-1891
Mobile: 506-8763-9595

Take a Tour of BaseCamp
Accommodation in Costa Rica

All volunteers on our program in Costa Rica start out at our BaseCamp Center. The center is located in the capital city San Jose, and is a fantastic place from which to start your adventure.

Once volunteers have finished their orientation, where they live depends largely on the location of their placement. If their placement is more than a 1 hour 15 minutecommute from BaseCamp, then the only accommodation option may be host families or volunteer lodges in the national parks. However, if the placement is within a 1 hour 15 minute commute, then volunteers can choose whether or not to stay with us at BaseCamp or live with a host family.

BaseCamp Costa Rica is located in the province of San Jose at Los Yoses area. This is a fantastic area closed to the University of Costa Rica, San Pedro Mall, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, embassies and stores. Walking distance to down town and only 30 minutes away from the Juan Santamaria Airport.

BaseCamp has four bedrooms and three wash-rooms. The beds are mainly bunk beds in dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. There is a large common area where movies, books and games are available to our guests and there is a patio with a nice set up. This is an ideal setting for reading, studying Spanish or just some quiet relaxation.

BaseCamp is where volunteers first come when they arrive in Costa Rica and where they live for at least the duration of their orientation and training. The meal plan at the centre is based on a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This meal plan allows volunteers to gain comfort and familiarity with both Costa Rican food and meal etiquette before making the transition to living with a host family.

Orientation and language training sessions take place in the BaseCamp Center. Each day of orientation blends some workshops and lessons with a mixture of outings to explore and become familiar with transportation and knowledge regarding the city.

Living With a Host Family in Costa Rica

Living with a host family in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

In the case of a volunteer lodge or ranger station (which is often the only option for placements within a National Park), volunteers will be living in dormitory type accommodation and meals will be provided in a mess hall or dining area.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Costa Rica.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Costa Rica

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks

Costa Rica wildlife and conservation placements require an additional $7 USD per day fee to cover park fees and accommodation. All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • July
  • December

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Dec 03, 2021 Jan 07, 2022 Feb 04, 2022
Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022 May 06, 2022
Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022 Aug 05, 2022
Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022 Nov 04, 2022
Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023 Feb 03, 2023
Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023 May 05, 2023
Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023 Aug 04, 2023
Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023 Nov 03, 2023


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message