Our volunteers are an important part of our community, and every month we need collaborators to help with the gardens, farm, animal care, kitchen, and more. We also look for yoga instructor volunteers to guide daily yoga classes for our guests. The ideal volunteer candidate is 23-years-old or older with a bachelor's degree (or equivalent work experience) who is passionate 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 full room and board and one day off per week. The type of work volunteers are asked to do varies greatly depending on the priorities of the Ranch and the skillset and experience of each volunteer. It is important to note that this is a work exchange program and not an educational program. While we have regular educational programs available, we do not offer this extensive training to our volunteers. If your primary motivation is to have an educational experience, we recommend our Sustainable Living Immersion or Spanish Immersion Programs!
* Specialized areas of work are reserved for volunteers with experience and/or certification. Yoga volunteers may teach up to 2 classes per day and for this reason have special schedule considerations.
A commitment to the values and mission of Rancho Margot
A positive attitude
An excellent work ethic
A mature and responsible lifestyle
A healthy dose of common sense
Proactivity and initiative
Creative problem solving
The ability to work well without supervision, applying themselves as they notice the needs that inevitably arise daily
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
Organic Agriculture: Must be capable of strenuous labor. Tasks in our produce farm include watering the plants each morning, preparing beds, creating new gardens, spreading compost, planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting plants. You will be working with shovels, machetes, hoes, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, pruners, and knife sharpeners.
General maintenance and grounds keeping: This can include taking care of the gardens, cleaning the paths around the hotel, power-washing, cleaning the reception area, cleaning the bar and restaurant area, cleaning the lake area, raking leaves, mowing lawns, chopping wood, and more.
Housekeeping: Working with our housekeeping staff includes cleaning the rooms and bungalows where guests stay, washing the walls, furniture, and mattresses, cleaning bathrooms, changing sheets, and doing laundry
Other tasks and projects as needed
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
Construction & Carpentry
Soccer or Martial Arts instructors
It’s important that our volunteers are willing to share their farming experience through educational programs that we offer students who visit the Ranch.
Rancho Margot hosts volunteers who can commit themselves for a minimum 4 weeks. Upon successful completion of one month's service, we may agree to extend the window of service through the program,
A credit card or $300 in cash will be required upon arrival at Rancho Margot, as a deposit to open a tab or in case of damage to property.
Proof of Traveler's Insurance REQUIRED
Please submit a 2 minute video showing us who you are and answering the questions below:
- Why do you want to come to Rancho Margot?
- Tell us about your unique set of skills and how you feel they will be a benefit to the ranch.
- Tell us a story about an adventure you have been on. What do you feel you gained from the experience?
Upload your video to youtube as a private link and email it to us at email@example.com with the subject
"VOLUNTEER VIDEO SUBMISSION".
Things to know before you arrive
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 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.
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.
Three typical Costa Rican meals will be provided each day according to the following schedule:
Breakfast: 6:45 to 7:00 a.m.
Lunch: 11:45 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.
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.
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.
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.
The cost of laundry by machine is US$4 per kilo. Clothes can be taken to the laundry between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. 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.
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.
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!
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 snake zoo, 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!
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
Clothes that dry fast and that you won’t mind getting dirty
A light sweater
Waterproof hiking boots or sneakers
Long sleeve blouses or shirts (people don’t think it is cold here but it does get cold, depending on the season).
A couple of clothes for going out
Two or three pairs of pants
Flashlight (preferably solar powered)
Poncho or rain jacket
Tea tree oil for bites
Most importantly, bring your good vibes!
Please be conscious of the items you pack or what you should not bring, and help us to be sustainable. The less waste that you bring into Rancho Margot, the less real trash we have to manage. Thank you for keeping our carbon footprint in mind when you are packing!
If you want to arrive to the ranch faster and more relaxed, 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.
From La Fortuna there are still 26 km to get to the Ranch. You should take a collective taxi, according to the following information:
Departure time: 7 a.m., 12:30 p.m. & 5:15 p.m. (latest shuttle not available on Sundays)
Price: $10.00 USD per person
Driver: Arturo or Luis, phone number 8887-9141
The shuttle leaves from the parking lot of Cabinas Las Palmas, in front of Super Christian #1 in La Fortuna. Please inform us about your arrival time, so we will call Arturo to reserve a seat for you.
Always keep our phone number handy and don’t hesitate to call us if you need help: +506-8302-7318.
non-fulfillment of agreement
If a volunteer does not meet the expectations outlined above, Rancho Margot’s administration reserves the right to ask the volunteer to discontinue their program immediately.
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 abusing alcohol, drug use, poor work ethic, lack of responsibility, blatant disregard for the rules and bad hygiene. Use or sale of drugs on premises is cause for immediate dismissal.
Also, if you decide you don’t like it here and wish to leave before completion of the program, you are welcome but you have to pay the fee as listed below. These prices are per night for room & board:
Stay for 1 week: $35
Stay for 2 weeks: $25
Stay for 3 weeks: $15
In case of doubt, or if you require additional information, do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org