PURPOSEFUL WORK WITH A PLAYFUL SPIRIT
Every month, Rancho Margot hosts volunteers to assist with our gardens, animals, kitchen, and general upkeep. In fact, these good-natured, highly driven individuals are core to our community. We also welcome volunteer yoga instructors (with 500+ hours of training) to guide twice-daily classes. If you’re self-motivated, curious by nature, hungry for hands-on learning, love to share knowledge, and hold a bachelor’s degree (or have equivalent, referenced work experience), you may just find yourself here.
We’re a fun, playful group here at the ranch, but we take our work very seriously. Please read on for all the important ins and outs and to see if volunteering is right for you.
DO YOU HAVE THE GOODS TO DO SOME GOOD?
Through our Volunteer Work Exchange Program, individuals work six hours a day, six days a week in exchange for room and board at Rancho Margot. The specific type of volunteer work varies greatly on seasonal needs, priorities of the ranch, and of course the skill set and experience of each individual. If your traits align with the following requirements, we’d love to talk with you.
- Proactively engage in the work at hand
- Creative problem solver
- Conscientiousness of resource use
- Independent and self-motivated
- Enthusiastic about teamwork
- Resilience for our ever-changing environment
- Respect for Costa Rican culture and values
- Commitment to the Rancho Margot mission
- Positive, can-do attitude
- Excellent work ethic
- Mature and responsible lifestyle
- Healthy dose of common sense
REMEMBER, IT’S THE RAINFOREST, NOT A WALK IN THE PARK
We won’t sugarcoat it, volunteering at Rancho Margot is hard work. Depending on numerous factors, you’ll be asked to assist in many areas of the ranch, so it’s crucial that you remain flexible. You’ll be responsible for helping ranch workers accomplish tasks that don’t require training but do require dedication. Yes, Rancho Margot is in many ways a paradise, but volunteering isn’t a vacation.
Working on the farm entails tasks such as watering the plants each morning, preparing beds, creating new gardens, spreading compost, planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting. Bear in mind you’ll be working with tools like shovels, machetes, hoes, pitchforks, wheelbarrows, pruners, and knife sharpeners, and you must be capable of strenuous activity.
To help us ensure an amazing guest experience, you’ll assist our housekeeping staff with room cleaning, maintenance of workshop spaces, and with the processing of all resort laundry.
General Maintenance & Ground Work
Keeping our property clean and beautiful is critically important to us. You’ll assist our team in caring for gardens, cleaning stone and concrete pathways, power washing, tidying hospitality and event spaces throughout the resort, maintaining the lake area, raking leaves, mowing lawns, chopping wood, as well as partaking in numerous other possible tasks.
Certified yoga instructors
Teachers (some Spanish required)
Chefs, sous chefs, pastry chefs & bakers
Skilled butchers & cheese-makers
Construction experts & carpenters
Marketing & social media specialists
Soccer or Martial Arts instructors
COMMITMENT & REQUIREMENTS
To be considered as a volunteer, you must be willing to commit to a minimum of 4 weeks. Upon successful completion of one month’s service, we may agree to an extension of service based on performance. Needless to say, only serious candidates should apply. Think this is for you? Send us an introduction video.
Record a maximum two-minute video of yourself that covers these points:
- Your reasons for wanting to commit time to Rancho Margot
- Your unique set of skills and how they could benefit the ranch
- A story about an adventure you went on and what you learned from it
Upload your video to YouTube as a private link and email it to us at email@example.com with the subject “Volunteer Video Submission”. If selected, you’ll be asked to fill out an application and provide proof of traveler’s insurance.
THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE LESS YOU’LL STRESS
LOCATION & SERVICES
Rancho Margot is located 28 km away from La Fortuna in a rainforest valley next to Lake Arenal. Before coming to the ranch, we strongly advise you to take advantage of their ATM, clinic, pharmacies and other services, as well as pick up a raincoat and rubber boots — we get a lot of rain and you’re going to need them.
The town of El Castillo is about a 45-minute walk from the ranch. There you will find a small convenience store, a soda offering typical Costa Rican foods, a church, and a few other hotels and tour operators. Please note El Castillo does not have an ATM and most of its businesses do not accept credit cards.
They don’t call it the rainforest for nothing. We expect rain all year long, even in our driest month of April, but September through November are typically the rainiest. Don’t worry, you won’t always be in a raincoat and rubber boots; we expect sunshine all year long, too. From April through August, the average temperature is 23°C (73°F). September through March, night temperatures can drop as low as 15°C (60°F).
As a volunteer, you represent the ranch as a host so please always work to provide a welcoming environment for our guests. Your accommodations will be in the Bunkhouse, which has twenty dorms and shared bathrooms. Each room is for two people and is equipped with a bunk bed. Your room has no closet, so the lighter you pack, the more comfortable you will be. Drinking alcohol and smoking are prohibited in these facilities. Quiet time starts at 10:00 pm.
Depending on the areas requiring labor, be prepared to work an average of six hours a day, six days a week. The seventh day is reserved for rest.
Three meals will be provided each day. Breakfast is from 6:30am to 7:00am, lunch is from 11:30am to 12:00pm, and dinner is from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. A typical Costa Rican meal, or Casado, consists of rice, black beans, vegetables, salad, a protein, and a natural drink. Meals are served buffet-style. Since they are not cooked to order, special accommodations may not always be made for individual dietary needs and preferences.
Our laundry machine costs US$4 per kilo. Volunteers may wash their own clothes by hand in the laundry room for free. Please use only the designated area to hang your clothes.
MEDICAL TRAVEL INSURANCE
Medical travel insurance with coverage in Costa Rica is mandatory. A copy of the certificate of your travel insurance must be sent to the volunteer coordinator before your arrival.
As a representative of the ranch, you are expected to maintain good personal hygiene and to wear clean clothes and shoes.
BAR & KITCHEN
The refrigerators at the bar and kitchen are to be used only for Rancho Margot items and are not for volunteers’ use. Additionally, alcoholic beverages from outside the ranch are not allowed.
We’re not there yet but we are actively working toward becoming a smoke-free facility. If your smoking becomes a problem for our guests, employees, management or other volunteers, we reserve the right to ask you to leave.
Volunteers receive a 20% discount on all organized Rancho Margot tours and bikes are available for rent. Please be advised that tours may only be taken on the day off.
When you’re not working, we invite you to enjoy our amazing part of the world. There are several hiking trails around the ranch. Just three kilometers away in the town of El Castillo, you’ll find a butterfly conservatory, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to join in a game of soccer. We do offer bicycles for rent here at the ranch. And volunteers often organize group adventure tours such as ziplining, whitewater rafting, and canyoneering. Please remember that if you plan an off-site activity, you must book your own transportation (our reception desk can help).
We strongly recommend that you exchange for colones at the airport. US dollars are accepted in many places, but not for public transportation. We advise you not to bring too much cash but do make sure you’re able to take money out of the ATM if necessary (the closest one is 28 km away in La Fortuna). Whereas Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most places, American Express and Discover are not. Also, Western Union is not available in La Fortuna.
NON-FULFILLMENT OF AGREEMENT
Most often, our volunteers are exceptional and represent the ranch well. However, if a volunteer does not meet our expectations, we reserve the right to ask the individual to discontinue the program and leave the property at their own expense. Examples of dismissable behavior include, but are not limited to, alcohol or drug use, sale of drugs, poor work ethic, lack of responsibility, bad hygiene, and blatant disregard for ranch rules.
TRAVELING LIGHT REDUCES OUR FOOTPRINT
WHAT TO PACK
Conscientiously packing only what you need helps us in so many ways on our path to truly sustainable living. The less waste and packaging material you bring, the less we need to process. Thank you for keeping our collective carbon footprint in mind when you travel. We want nothing more than for you to get the most out of your volunteer experience, so here’s a list to help you pack for success:
~ Rubber boots (an absolute necessity, easily purchased in La Fortuna for about $10USD)
~ Work clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
~ Rain gear/poncho that dries quickly
~ Two or three pairs of pants
~ Long sleeve shirts or blouses
~ Waterproof hiking boots or sneakers
~ Light jacket or sweater for those chilly nights
~ Chemical-free toiletries to keep our ecosystem clean and safe
~ Several pairs of medium to heavyweight tall socks to wear with boots
~ A hat or baseball cap
~ Microfiber travel towel
~ Flashlight (preferably solar-powered)
~ Sunscreen for your face, body and lips
~ Natural insect repellent
~ Tea tree oil or after-bites lotion
~ Water bottle(s)
~ Rubber-palmed knit gloves
~Each and every one of your good vibes
IN OUR FOREST, TOGETHERNESS IS ALWAYS IN FULL BLOOM