Santa Cruz, Costa Rica

A worldwide leader in eco-tourism, Costa Rica is recognized for its rich biodiversity while also well known for its warm and welcoming people who live by the expression ‘Pura Vida.’  In the heart of the Nicoya Peninsula, the town of Santa Cruz is a short drive from stunning beaches, rainforests, and a warm, tropical environment. However, among the palm trees and sandy shores, the community rural towns like Santa Cruz struggle with over 25,000 residents living in extreme poverty and the highest unemployment rates Costa Rica. Your work to support health and education initiatives within elementary schools in Santa Cruz help lift access to opportunity and resources for a community struggling to meet their most basic needs.

The Home-Base

The Home-Base is located in a quaint and peaceful rural area that is a short walk from the bustling city of Santa Cruz.  The historic center, grocery stores, bakeries, banks, and markets are a short walk away. The renovated house has been transformed with five bedrooms accommodating four to eight volunteers in each.  It includes a hangout area with hammocks, common reading room, dining room, and kitchen.  There are gender specific bathrooms located on each end of the facility with multiple stall toilets and showers. There is also wireless internet access available in the Home-Base. Delicious meals are provided by local cooks and include typical local dishes such as gallo pinto, a breakfast combination of rice and beans and eggs.  Enjoy lots of fresh fruit and juices such as cas, passion fruit, mango, pineapple, or cantaloupe juice. The food is great for volunteers who are vegetarians.

In-Country Staff

Cross-Cultural Solutions’ local staff designs and runs each program; the staff will make you feel at home acting like a second family during your stay and helping you better understand the culture. They help facilitate your placement and activities and are always available to handle any questions that may arise. 

Costa Rica Country Director, Jose Hernández, was born and raised in San Carlos. He has a great deal of experience in international development as he has worked with the University of Costa Rica’s International Programs Department, the Foreign Service Foundation for Peace and Democracy, and the Close-Up Found in Washington DC.   He serves as Director of Public Relations and as a Protocol Official for the United Nations Conference on the Environment.  


We partner with many under-served schools and social service organizations in the greater Guanacaste province.  Former partners include:

Clemente Avendano School

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Coris Elementary School

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Rio Regado Elementary School

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Loiza Elementary School

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Juco Elementary School

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Manos de Jesus Elderly Center

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The Cultural Activities

Each weekday afternoon our professional staff guide the group on Cultural & Learning Activities in the local area.  In Costa Rica these activities include, Cultural activities include a community tour and scavenger hunt, visit to a dairy farm and milk cows, cooking lessons, a pottery workshop, latin dance lesson, visit to a monkey sanctuary, and levelappropriate Spanish lessons. Enjoy strolling, swimming, and sunsets at a local beach. Optional add-on afternoon activities include zip-line, surf lessons, or kayaking.

The Weekend Excursions (optional add-on packages)

On the weekends your group may choose to explore other areas of the country through our guided overnight packages.  Spend one or two nights exploring beaches, marine parks, rainforests, cloudforests, national parks, and more.

Uvita and Playa Ballena Pacific Coast Beaches

Embark on a group excursion to the South Pacific Coast Beaches of Playa Ballena and the town of Uvita! Participate in professionally guided surf lessons, take a hike in the park to try to spot monkeys and sloths, learn about marine conservation efforts a dolphin watching and snorkeling excursion boat tour. Enjoy additional beach time, gift shopping in local markets, and gorgeous Pacific sunsets

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Explore one of the most well-known cloud forest in the world for its biodiversity, conservation efforts, and scientific research. Take a guided nature walk through the park to experience this unique ecosystem. The following day, explore the rainforest further with an exhilarating Skytrek adventure, an extensive system of suspension bridges and zip lines through the canopy.

La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano National Park

Take an overnight excursion to La Fortuna-Arenal Volcano Natl Park. Explore the rainforest and wildlife through a canopy tour at Hanging Bridges Park or alternatively through an exhilarating Skytrek zip-line adventure. Trek to the stunning La Fortuna Waterfall for a swim and then relax in the one of La Fortuna’s many restorative natural hot springs.

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