A previous and fantastic intern left my former 9-to-5, where she was making mere peanuts researching in an office, to take a job in Costa Rica and make a difference in the world. Since then, I've had a major crush on the country, and write it up whenever I can.
Of course, Costa Rica is one of those destinations that, because of underdevelopment, is a pure, natural place to see, but also a difficult place to wrangle. Sure, there are tons of beach getaways, but if you're looking for more of a rainforest or cultural trip, many tour companies are a little lacking. This also makes it an expensive trip. Not to mention there are areas of the country that are so underdeveloped the locals are in desperate need of help. On the other side of this equation, greedy land owners buy large amounts of Costa Rican property to harvest the natural resources, leaving nothing for natives, and barren holes behind. Costa Rica remains a conundrum.
Luckily, I was tipped off to a voluntourism company called Globe Aware which organizes trips to Costa Rica, Peru, Romania, Nepal, Vietnam, Jamaica, and more, with a catch- you do community service while there. The tasks are more experience than labor and range from providing language conversation to Peruvians studying English, to assembling wheelchairs in Cambodia. Lodging and meals are provided on most tours, which last an average of a week and cost around $1200 (10% discount for minors).
And if you'd love to take one of these trips, but just don't have the money, Travelocity has, from time to time, offered a $500 grant to deserving individuals who would like to spread some love across the globe. Their voluntourism page highlights tours saving Leatherback Turtles in Costa Rica (yay!), assisting medical operations in Tanzania, and even cleaning up US parks.
Read the original story at Frill Seeker Diary.