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Gandoca Cultural Exchange Program

Make an Impact / Support Local Families / Experience Caribbean Culture

This Program is for people looking to connect with the expansive
culture and nature of the Caribbean coast. It's for those looking to make a positive impact on social, environmental, and economic levels while learning, connecting, and gaining new perspectives.

🍃Our Mission: To promote organic agriculture and create mutually enriching and impactful experiences for the Gandoca Community and all who visit through sharing culture, nature, ideas, and energy. 


🍃About Gandoca:  Gandoca is a small community of less than 300 people tucked in the southeastern corner of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.  This humble community is rich with nature and culture and is surrounded by protected areas of high ecological importance.  To the east a beach of turtle nesting habitat, to the north is the primary rainforest and wetlands of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, and to the south is a mangrove lagoon teeming with wildlife. The town is fairly isolated from most western tourism and a big change of pace from other beach towns; you won’t find bars or clubs or beach hotels. 

The Program Details

🍃 Cost:  The cost of the program is $35/night, all of which goes directly to Gandocan families. This includes your accommodation, three meals each day, and morning service activities.  A one time, sliding-scale inscription fee goes to support our not-for-profit operations.  Families, couples, and kids of all ages are welcome to participate.  We have special rates for couples and families. 
We're now also looking for people to help with English and Physical Education for the kids of Gandoca.

🍃Morning Service:  Your mornings are spent in service to your family and the community, but participants find that they usually receive just as much from the experience as their families.  This is a chance to learn more about the Caribbean lifestyle.  Many host families have small farms and this program is a chance to learn about tropical agriculture.  There are additional opportunities to participate in local schools or help keep the beaches clean. We welcome all ages and skill levels to get involved. Whether you're looking to roll up your sleeves and work hard or help with less strenuous activities; we have you covered.  Volunteers can expect to learn about tropical agriculture, local culture and food, and new perspectives on life.  The goal of Regenerative Tourism is for everyone to grow and receive from the exchange.


🍃 Exploring the Area:  Afternoons and weekends are free for you to explore and connect.  There is incredible nature, a beach to enjoy, as well as plenty of peace and quiet for those looking to be more introspective.  Many people continue to get involved more community projects like beach cleanups, connecting with local children, or continuing to help out their family. 

🍃 Accommodation and Food:  Volunteers live with local families and are provided three meals a day. The accommodations are rustic, but there is electricity and clean running water, and most homes have Wi-Fi.  If you ask anyone where the best food in Costa Rica is they'll tell you it's the Caribbean.  There are lots of wonderful local foods to try and for those eager it's a chance to learn new recipes.   The families are happy to adapt to any dietary restrictions and have vegan and gluten free options. 

🍃 Spanish Immersion:  This is a great place for people who want to speak more Spanish; immersing yourself is the best way to continue to learn! Though many families  speak only Spanish, everyone is patient with those who are learning.  Those who are still beginners can be paired with bilingual families.  

🍃 Length of Stay:    The minimum commitment is generally one week.  We recommend starting with one or two weeks to make sure it’s a good fit for you before committing to longer stays.  The majority of people feel right at home and extend their stays in Gandoca.

Travel with Purpose!

“I couldn’t be more grateful for making Gandoca my home for a month. I felt at home and at ease. It is a very humbling experience and great to learn some more Spanish too! I would do it all over again.”

— Maylu

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“This has been a vacation for us like no other, in the way that is was meaningful and transformational in every way possible.”

- Jossi and his sons Moshe (15) and Shia (10)

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