volunteer program

20210812_101444

The Volunteer Community  

Our wonderful volunteers are core to our community, and every month we host collaborators to help with the gardens, farm, holistic animal care, kitchen support and more. We also host 500+ hour yoga instructors within our volunteer program, to guide twice daily daily yoga class.. The ideal volunteer candidate is 23-years-old or older with a bachelor's degree (or equivalent, referenced work experience) who is self-motivated, curious to learn/expand language and wants to learn hands on and share knowledge.

The Volunteer Work Exchange program at Rancho Margot hosts responsible individuals working six days each week, six hours each day in exchange for room and board. The type of work volunteers are asked to do varies greatly depending on the seasonal needs and priorities of the Ranch and the skillset and experience of each individual volunteer. Please NOTE* This is a work exchange program. While we have regular, organized educational programs available, we do not offer extensive training to our volunteers. We recruit and accept experienced individuals with can do attitudes. If your primary motivation is to have a guided educational experience, please check out our Sustainable Living Immersion or Spanish Immersion Programs! We'd love to talk to you and help make this happen for you!

 

* Specialized areas of work are reserved for volunteers with experience and/or certification. Yoga volunteers may teach up to 2 classes per day and will be asked to help tend the yoga shale space during their stay..

Ideal CandidateS Demonstrate

  • A commitment to the values of Costa Rican and our mission here at Rancho Margot

  • A positive "can do" attitude

  • An excellent, demonstrated work ethic

  • A mature and responsible lifestyle

  • A healthy dose of common sense

  • Proactivity and initiative to engage in work at hand

  • Creative problem solving with awareness to resource use

  • Independence

  • Enthusiasm for teamwork

  • Resiliency with our ever-changing climate and valley dynamics

  • The ability to work well without hands-on supervision

 

Come join us in the gardens!

Work Areas

Our volunteers work in many different areas according to the needs of the Ranch. Their primary duty is to help our workers work on tasks that do not require training. Each morning, volunteers are assigned an area of work and a worker to help for the day. It is crucial that volunteers maintain flexibility as our needs change.

 

All volunteers may be asked to do general work in the following areas:

"I learned a lot about the process here because I couldn't imagine all the steps from the garden to animals. I am learning more that this is a thing I want to live--living without so much consumerism--and I want to grow my own food when it’s possible...I came here because I didn't want to wait for the "right" time to travel and work because we don't know what it's like in the next few weeks or years; I think the right time is now."

Volunteer: Alina from Dusseldorf, Germany--Feb. 2018

  • Regenerative, hand-on, Holistic Agriculture: Must be capable of strenuous physical labor. Tasks in our produce farm may include watering the plants each morning, preparing beds, expanding gardens, working with our compost operation, planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting plants, interacting with the kitchen during harvests. You may be working with shovels, machetes, hoes, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, pruners, and knife sharpeners as needed and depending upon skillsets.

  • General maintenance and grounds work: This can include working with our team taking care of the gardens, cleaning stone and concrete pathways around the hotel, power-washing, cleaning hospitality space and event space throughout the hotel, cleaning the lake area, raking leaves, mowing lawns, chopping wood, and more.

  • Housekeeping: Working with our housekeeping staff includes all aspects of cleaning the guest spaces as well as and helping maintain workshop spaces and process hotel laundry .

  • Other tasks and projects as needed in the moment! 

In addition to the areas listed, volunteers who already have certain skills and experience prior to arriving at the Ranch may work in more specialized areas. We do not offer training to volunteers in these areas.

 

Specialized jobs include:

  • Yoga Instructors (must be certified with experience)

  • Teachers/Community service (some Spanish required)

  • Chefs, Sous Chefs

  • Bakers/Skilled Pastry Chefs

  • Skilled Butchers & Cheese-Makers

  • Beekeepers

  • Construction & Carpentry

  • Soccer or Martial Arts instructors

It’s important that our volunteers are willing to share their farming experience in real-time, through educational programs that we offer students who visit the Ranch.​

Minimum Commitment

 

Rancho Margot volunteers agree to a one month commitment (4 weeks). Upon successful completion of one month's service, the parties may agree to extend the window of service through the program as appropriate, 

Check-In Requirements

 

A credit card hold or $300 in cash will be required upon arrival, as a deposit to secure any bar-tab or in case of damage to property.

**Proof of Traveler's Insurance REQUIRED**

APpLICATION PROCESS (SEE ALSO CHECK-IN Requirements)

Please submit a short 2 minute video telling us about yourself and answering the questions below:

​- Why choose to commit your time to Rancho Margot?​

​- Tell us about your interest in what we do, your unique set of skills and how you feel you will be a benefit to the Ranch.​

​- Tell us a story about an adventure you have been on. What do you feel you learned from the experience?

Upload your video to youtube as a private link and email it to us at voluntarios@ranchomargot.org​ with the subject 

"VOLUNTEER VIDEO SUBMISSION" and include your dates of interest.

Things to know before you arrive

Work Hours

Depending on the areas of labor, work averages 6 hours a day, 6 days a week. 7th day is a day of rest.

MEDICAL TRAVEL INSURENCE

Medical travel insurance with coverage in Costa Rica is required: a copy of the certificate of your travel insurance must be sent to the volunteer coordinator before your arrival.

ACcOMODATIONS

Volunteers should always keep in mind about their role as hosts and hostesses, creating a good environment for our guests which are mostly families, couples and high school students.

 

Accommodation will be provided in the Bunkhouse comprised of 20 dorms and shared bathrooms, each room is for 2 people, equipped with a bunk bed.

 

There is no closet in the room, so the lighter you travel the most comfortable you will be.

 

Drinking and smoking are not allowed in the facilities. Silence time after 10:00 p.m. 

MEALS

Three typical Costa Rican meals will be provided each day according to the following schedule:

 

Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:00 a.m.

Lunch: 11:30 to 12:00 p.m.

Dinner: 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

A typical meal is: rice, black beans, some vegetables, salad, a meat dish and a natural drink. Rice and beans is the base of Costa Rican diet. Meals are served buffet-style and are not cooked to order. Because of this, special accommodations cannot always be made for individual dietary needs and preferences.

GENERAL RULES 

 

Good personal hygiene is expected as well as use of clean clothes and shoes.

Refrigerators at the bar and kitchen only store Rancho Margot items.

Alcoholic beverages from outside the ranch are not allowed.

SMOKING POLICY

Please be advised that we are actively working toward becoming a smoke-free facility and we reserve the right to ask volunteers to leave if abuse of smoking becomes a problem for guests, volunteers, employees or management.

ADVENTURE TOURS

Volunteers receive a 20% discount on organized Rancho Margot tours. Tours can be taken only on the day off. Participation has to be confirmed in the morning. Bikes are available for rent.

LAUNDRY SERVICE

 

The cost of laundry by machine is US$4 per kilo. Volunteers can wash their own clothes by hand in the laundry room without cost.

There is a specific area to hang clothes, please use only this space.

LOCATION & SERVICES

Rancho Margot is located 26 km away from La Fortuna. The ATM, clinic, pharmacies, and other services are available only in La Fortuna. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of these necessities before coming to the Ranch. 

 

We are situated in a rainforest valley next to Lake Arenal. Our proximity to the rain and cloud forests means we often see rain and we strongly encourage you to bring a raincoat and rubber boots. You can find rubber boots in La Fortuna but please make sure you get them before coming to the Ranch!

The closest town to Rancho Margot is El Castillo, which is approximately a 45-minute walk. In El Castillo you will find a small convenience store, a soda offering typical Costa Rican foods, a church and a few other hotels and tour operators. There is no ATM in El Castillo and most of these businesses will not accept credit cards.

WEATHER

It is the rainforest. We expect rain all year long.  The driest month is April, however it rains sometimes. From April through August the average temperature is 23 degrees Centigrade (73 Fahrenheit). From September through March the temperature at night can be as low as 15 degrees Centigrade (60 Fahrenheit). Sept – Nov are typically our most rainy months. We also enjoy sunshine all year too!

FREE TIME

There are beautiful hikes around the ranch. El Castillo, the closest town from the ranch is only 3 km away. There is a butterfly conservatory, a convenience store, and sometimes soccer games. Bikes are available for rent. There are a number of nearby adventure tours that volunteers often organize as a group: e.g. zip-lining, whitewater rafting, canyoneering, etc.

Remember that if you plan an activity out of the ranch, you must organize your own transportation and reception can help!

MONEY EXCHANGE

You should get colones at the airport, although US dollars are accepted in many places, but not for public transportation.

Don’t bring much cash, but make sure you can take money out of the ATM if necessary. Visa and Master Card are accepted in most places. American Express and Discover are not. Western Union is not available in La Fortuna.

what to bring

  • Rubber boots (If you are working in the farm, this is an absolute necessity! You can find rubber boots in La Fortuna for approximately $10.00 USD, but they should be purchased before your arrival.)

  • Rain gear that dries quickly

  • Work clothes that dry fast and that you won’t mind getting dirty

  • A light sweater or jacket (it can be chilly at night)

  • Waterproof hiking boots or sneakers

  • Long sleeve blouses or shirts for protection.

  • Personal toiletries IF chemical free. Please keep our systems clean and safe for our tiniest neighbors.

  • Two or three pairs of pants

  • Swimsuit

  • Travel towel (microfiber)

  • Flashlight (preferably solar powered)

  • Poncho or rain jacket

  • Natural repellent

  • Tea tree oil for bites

  • Sunscreen

  • Rain boots

  • Most importantly, bring your good vibes!

Please be conscious of the items you choose to pack and thank you for not over-packing. This helps us to in so many ways on this path to sustainable living. The less waste and packaging you bring into Rancho Margot, the less we have to process. Thank you for keeping our collective carbon footprint in mind when you are packing and traveling!

transportation

FROM SAN JOSE TO RANCHO MARGOT

If you want to arrive to the Ranch faster and more relaxed to begin your time with us, we suggest these options:

  • Collective shuttle: Interbus. Only two shuttles at 8.30 a.m. or 2.30 p.m. This shuttle must be taken from Denny’s Restaurant which is 3-minutes from the airport and you should be dropped off at Tabacon Resort, La Fortuna, where we can arrange to pick you up. Arrangements for your Interbus shuttle must be made and paid for directly with Interbus: www.interbusonline.com. Price for Interbus is $49.00 USD.  Transportation from Tabacon Resort to Rancho Margot by taxi is $35.00 USD.

  • Private taxi. We can  arrange for a private taxi to pick you up at Juan Santamaría (SJO) airport and drop you at the ranch. $180.00 USD one way.

Transportation from San Jose to Rancho Margot by PUBLIC BUS:

San José is 20 km away from the airport and a taxi charges around $45. We recommend taking the bus from San José’s Terminal San Carlos if you are already in Costa Rica. If you’re traveling to the Ranch straight from the airport, the bus stop in Alajuela will be more convenient.

  • Public bus to La Fortuna: There are direct buses leaving from the Terminal San Carlos in San José at 6:15, 8:40 and 11:30 a.m. It will stop in Alajuela around 15 minutes after departure time in San José. Bus ride approximately 4.5 hours. Price $5.

  • This bus stop in Alajuela is only 1 km away from the airport, however, we recommend taking an official taxi from the airport “Taxis Aeropuerto”. You will see their office at the exit of the airport http://taxiaeropuerto.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6&Itemid=105&lang=en

  • Ask the driver to take you to the bus stop in Alajuela where you can take the bus to La Fortuna.

  • If your arrival time is too late for this time schedule, we recommend taking a private shuttle or staying overnight in a hostel in Alajuela to take the bus next morning. You also have the option of taking the public bus to Ciudad Quesada where there are buses running to La Fortuna approximately every hour.

Keep our phone numbers handy and don’t hesitate to call us if you need help: +506-8302-7318 or +506 4000-2108.

non-fulfillment of agreement

If a volunteer does not meet the agreement outlined above, in any manner, Rancho Margot’s program administration reserves the complete discretion and right to ask the volunteer to discontinue the program and leave the Ranch immediately. Use of deposit funds may be used to arrange the exiting volunteer to La Fortuna, where housing and transport options abound.

​ 

Inappropriate behavior as determined by Rancho Margot will not be tolerated and is cause for dismissal from the program at volunteers’ expense for leaving the property. Examples of this are disrespecting stated rules, abusing alcohol, drug use, poor work ethic, lack of responsibility, blatant disregard for the community work, unsanitary personal hygiene, to name a few examples. Use or the sale of drugs on premises is cause for immediate dismissal.

Also, of course, if you decide at any moment that you don’t wish to fulfill the commitments of the program, you are welcome to leave before completion of your agreed time. The early exit fees are listed below, represent a per night charge and will be deducted from the exiting volunteer's deposit:

Stay for 1 week or less: $35 per night

Stay for 2 weeks of less: $25 per night

Stay for 3 weeks of less: $15 per night

Do not hesitate to contact us at voluntarios@ranchomargot.org with any questions you may have. We want to be very clear and understood as to this program fee.