Nonprofits in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica has long been regarded as one of the most exceptional tourist destinations in the world due to its spectacular landscape and incredible diversity of flora and wildlife. However, despite all its wonders, there is a critical need for social advancement, wildlife protection, and environmental preservation to name a few areas.

Fortunately, Costa Rica is home to several influential nonprofits in Costa Rica that put in an endless effort to take on these challenges. In this article, we’ll look into some of Costa Rica’s top nonprofit organizations and their missions and highlight their exceptional contributions to improving the world.

Main areas of focus for nonprofits in Costa Rica

Nonprofits assist a variety of needs in Costa Rica, but we will focus next on exploring the top five areas where NGOs play a vital part in resolving issues and having a beneficial impact in Costa Rica.

A group of men and women standing in hard hats in the jungle in Costa Rica.
Nonprofits can assist several needs in Costa Rica, including environmental and social causes.


Environmental Conservation and Wildlife Protection

Being blessed with amazing ecosystems and rich biodiversity comes with an enormous responsibility to preserve it. NGO’s work includes safeguarding endangered species, preventing deforestation, supporting sustainable land and resource management, and preserving natural environments. Along with the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife, they aim to conserve rainforests, coastal ecosystems, and marine ecosystems.

An aerial view of a turquoise beach in Costa Rica with two people walking by the ocean
Environmental conservation is one of the most common reasons for nonprofit work in Costa Rica.


Rural development and sustainable agriculture

Nonprofits work to combat issues with sustainability, climate change, and rural development by promoting sustainable agricultural practices (such as organic farming, agroforestry, and permaculture techniques), assisting smallholder farmers, and enhancing access to markets and resources.

A woman sitting with her arm around her son with bags and a bicycle sitting next to her.
Nonprofits can help rural communities access the resources they need.


Youth development and education

Education is a powerful tool for shaping the future, because of this, nonprofits support programs that increase access to high-quality education, raise literacy rates, and encourage opportunities for vocational training. In addition, they frequently provide educational programs that encourage an awareness of social issues, sustainable practices, and environmental preservation, enabling the younger generation to take on greater responsibility in the world.

A large group of kids sitting under a tent and listening to a speaker.
Educational programs for youth are another common cause supported by nonprofits in Costa Rica.


Community Development and Social Services

Supporting initiatives that address poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, gender inequality, social inclusion, and the preservation of cultural heritage are some of the main objectives of nonprofit organizations in these areas.


Medical and Health Services

Charity organizations help to increase access to and the quality of health care, especially in underprivileged communities and rural areas. They aid medical clinics, offer resources for healthcare, help those in need, raise awareness of issues relating to public health, and foster a healthy community.

A woman in a white shirt talking to another woman and filling out paperwork.
Some organizations work to improve the quality of healthcare in rural areas and underprivileged communities.

Top Nonprofit Organizations in Costa Rica

The needs mentioned above are interrelated, and numerous nonprofit organizations in Costa Rica deal with several issues at once, covering more than one base. That being said, let us introduce some of the top organizations that work to make Costa Rica a better place for its people and the environment through working with regional communities, governmental entities, and international partners.


Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR)

Since 1999, Kids Saving the Rainforest has gained recognition on a global scale for its important contributions to wildlife and environmental protection in Costa Rica. KSTR’s mission includes maintaining the various ecosystems that are essential habitats for numerous species by increasing awareness, offering education, engaging local communities, and carrying out biodiversity conservation initiatives.

A group of kids who are part of Kids Saving the Rainforest
Kids Saving the Rainforest is an important nonprofit organization in Costa Rica that contributes to the country’s wildlife and environmental protection.


Earth University Foundation

This organization provides a distinctive schooling program that gives students from all over the world the knowledge and skills to become leaders in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management. They cooperate with rural communities to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, promote agroforestry, and develop creative solutions for rural development. They also provide financial support, scholarships, and resources to enhance the accessibility of education at Earth University.


Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF)

Based in the town of Santa Ana in San José, this nonprofit organization (with volunteers from different cultures) focuses on looking for ways to help Costa Rica’s most vulnerable individuals fulfill their basic human rights by offering a better life quality. They support people dealing with challenging situations, including those at risk of losing their physical health. CRHF provides workshops and training sessions on nutrition, disease prevention, and hygiene as part of its health education initiatives and they also run mobile medical clinics that travel to underserved communities to provide free medical and dental care.  


Costa Rica Youth Corps (CCJ)

This institution specializes in community service, leadership training, and youth empowerment. Their mission is to motivate young people to engage in civic life and make meaningful contributions to their communities. CCJ has a variety of volunteer programs with an emphasis on social service work, environmental conservation, and development projects.

A group of people who are a part of Costa Rica Youth Corps
Those committed to community service and youth empowerment may be motivated to join Costa Rica Youth Corps.


Asociación Costa Rica por Siempre (ACRXS)

The goal of this non-profit organization is to safeguard and preserve Costa Rica’s biodiversity and natural resources operating in collaboration with the public and private sectors. Their efforts aim to establish and manage protected areas and conserve forests, wetlands, and other vital biological corridors. Through the creation of conservation areas and the adoption of sustainable practices, ACRXS aims to ensure the long-term viability of Costa Rica’s ecosystems.

The lush rainforest in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has tons of beautiful and diverse ecosystems that the ACRXS aims to preserve and protect.


Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC)

The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest organization in the world devoted to sea turtle conservation, having been founded in 1959. The group is essential in Costa Rica’s efforts to protect its sea turtle nesting beaches and ensure the survival of numerous threatened species, including the recognizable green sea turtle and the gravely endangered hawksbill turtle.

Baby sea turtles on the beach in Costa Rica.
Sea turtles in Costa Rica are protected by the Sea Turtle Conservancy.

There is a surprising diversity of nonprofit organizations working for different causes in Costa Rica, all of which have a big impact on the different areas they focus on. These groups are paving the way for a better future for this beautiful little country through environmental conservation, wildlife preservation, youth development, health, and medical services, social services, community development, and sustainable agriculture.

Their unrelenting efforts and teamwork are proof of the ability of nonprofit organizations to effect positive change and build a society with greater equity and sustainability. These nonprofits in Costa Rica act as rays of light, encouraging people and communities to work together and create a better future as Costa Rica moves closer to a steadier and ever-growing sustainable development.

One Response

  1. Great information. I will certainly join a non-profit to help the community when we move to Costa Rica.

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