Volunteers can choose from a wide range of projects including Childcare, Teaching English, Construction and Renovation, Turtle Conservation, Eco Agriculture Conservation, and Healthcare. The local team in Costa Rica are supportive and efficient, and many volunteers highly regard this program, making it one of the most popular among our North American travelers. Essentially a land bridge connecting two major continents, Costa Rica is home to 210 species of mammals, 878 types of birds, 218 reptiles, and over 35,000 species of insects. With a remarkably high biodiversity density and a sharp contrast in landscapes, from mangrove to mountain top, Costa Rica is home to approximately 5 percent of the world’s species with more types of butterflies than all of Africa and more types of birds than the whole of North America. Over 25 percent of Costa Rica’s land mass is protected, and this makes the nation the world leader in conservation policies. Volunteers are encouraged to explore the rain forests, tropical day forests, cloud forests, marine areas, and wetlands in support of Costa Rica’s conservation efforts. Some of these parks include Arenal Volcano National Park, Carara and Corcovado National Park and Monteverde Cloud Forest. Not to mention, the white, gray, and black sand beaches and prolific wildlife dotted with small towns and laid back fishing villages can be discovered along the Pacific Coast to the west, or similarly, along the Caribbean coast to the east. As Costa Rica is home to over 50 volcanos, the lava deposits have created unique black and gray sand beaches, such as Playa Negro and Playa Hermosa. These beaches are uniquely soft to the touch and visually striking when contrasted with crystal clear water and remarkable sunsets at dusk. Despite a peaceful worldly disposition, the country still suffers hardship in the area of inflated prices of food and imported goods. Poverty stricken in many areas, the nation still battles corruption, poor road conditions, robberies, illegal drugs, and a sluggish legal system. Most volunteer placements are based in and around San Jose, and volunteers are accommodated in homestays with local families and other volunteers also serving on the program. Buses are the most common mode of transportation; however, there are many universities and parks to stroll in the area. Volunteers who are helping on the Turtle Conservation project are placed in one of four locations on either the Pacific or Caribbean coast. Those who would like a retreat from city life will be most comfortable staying in the basic but cozy homestays in the cloud forests of Monteverde while on the Eco-Agriculture project.