Volunteer FAQ

Most volunteers have questions leading up to their time at Finca Bellavista, and while learning to adapt to the living and work environment. We’ve tried to answer the majority of these common questions below.

Before Arrival
Obtaining a background check is usually free and easy. Start by contact ing your local police station if you don’t have one on file for a current employer.
All Finca Bellavista associates have to sign a Code of Conduct, which outlines the behaviors, language and general ethical code that is required to volunteer or work at Finca Bellavista. Finca Bellavista considers volunteers to be associates. As such, volunteers are expected to uphold the elements within the Code of Conduct during your volunteer term. Breaching this contract could result in being dismissed from the program.
While speaking Spanish is not a requirement, you will often work alongside our Costa Rican staff and need to be able to take direction from them and communicate with them to some degree. Having at least a conversational level of Spanish will allow you to work and connect more efficiently with our staff, and will enhance your overall experience. However, if you are not confident in your Spanish but are still open-minded and willing to learn, volunteering at the Finca could be a great way to start. If this is the case for you, we recommend taking a beginner or conversational Spanish course and/or studying on your own prior to volunteering.
The majority of travelers will not need special or additional immunizations to enter Costa Rica. Many travelers opt to receive Hepatitis vaccinations prior to traveling to Costa Rica; however, malaria and other common vaccinations to tropical countries is not necessary. Please check with the Centers for Disease control website for any current warnings or recommendations.
Volunteers have modest and shared accommodation in the volunteer bunkhouse, which sleeps up to 6 people and is located at our community base camp. Being respectful of others and being able to live in a shared space with others is essential. We do not have the ability to offer private accommodation for volunteers at this time. If you are interested in private accommodations, please check out our reservations page and consider visiting as a guest!
The volunteer program is currently focused on enhancing guest experience, as well as assisting with behind the scenes operations. Typical duties for volunteers include showing new guests to treehouses, helping in the kitchen with meal prep and clean up, helping clean the treehouses and cabins for new visitors, working in the gardens, setting up for and running Happy Hour, delivering meals to guests, taking guests on hikes, assisting with groundskeeping, and helping out with special projects. Daily duties can change very quickly here, so flexibility is a must! In addition, you must be confident in your physical condition and overall physical health, as daily responsibilities involve hiking in and out of the jungle (sometimes on challenging trails), and other physically demanding activities..
Yes. The volunteer schedule allows for sufficient down time for exploration and wellness. However, as a volunteer you would be considered an associate of Finca Bellavista. You must be comfortable recognizing that you are not a “guest”, and that volunteering means working. Each volunteer will have scheduled days off during their term, rotating between 1-3 days off per week. If you want to travel extensively or spend time with friends that are in country, please make plans before or after your scheduled volunteer term to do so.
Wearing boots is a good idea for a variety of reasons – insects, animals, stubbing toes, etc. and are necessary for safety and comfort, particularly for associates and the activities that they often do. If you do not feel like traveling with boots, you are free to borrow a pair from our community wall. There is no guarantee of size availability. Volunteers can also stop in to a ferreteria (hardware store) en route to the finca and pick up a pair of boots for around $10. Be sure to bring tall socks!
 We usually have extra bug nets that can be fixed to the bunk beds in the volunteer bunkhouse; however, as with boot availability, bug net availability is subject to a variety of factors that we don’t have control of (such as regional or countrywide shortage of bug nets). Better quality netting and breathability can likely be purchased outside of Costa Rica, so if you are particularly sensitive to bugs or bug bites when camping, please bring a better quality one just in case. 

After Arrival
Yes, we have had to ask a handful of volunteers to leave Finca Bellavista. All were related to violation of the Finca Bellavista Code of Conduct, and most were related to drug or alcohol misuse or  behavior that jeopardized the safety of our guests or associates.
 Volunteers are allowed to accept tips when offered directly as a result of a service you have provided. Guests can also provide and designate tips upon their check-out that are then distributed to the appropriate people. Please do not solicit tips from guests for services rendered. (Reimbursement is also applied to certain situations, such as luggage or meal delivery).
Please notify the volunteer coordinator or on-duty manager  and they will help sort through coverage of duties and options for treatment.
The bugs occasionally become a nuisance around the full and new moons. There is no standing water, as the river that flows through the finca always runs. The bugs in the rainforest are not nearly as bad as the beach, but wearing light pants at night can prevent bites. Some people are more susceptible than others, so bring bug spray if you are one of these people.
When a volunteer shows considerable interest, motivation, creativity, aptitude or other noticeable commitment to their work, we are always open to discussing what might be mutually beneficial. Many of the people you will coordinate with for your daily duties started out as volunteers!
That all depends on how many people are visiting you, how long they plan on staying, and what kind of accommodation they are comfortable in. If your visitors come during a busy time of the year (mid-December through mid-April), availability is usually limited and our ability to offer a good discount is minimized. However, if they come to visit during a slower time of the year, we often times have flexibility and the ability to accommodate deep discounts in select rentals.
The volunteer coordinator is your point of contact while on site at the finca. Schedule changes, daily duties, and questions should be directed to the volunteer coordinator. If the coordinator is not present, the manager on duty will be your point of contact.