We ask for 6 hours of work for 5 days a week (30 hours work per week per person). Your day of arrival is your day off. Starting the following day, you will work 5 days (30 hours), then take 2 days off. Your days off will be based on the day you started working, so it will not necessarily be Saturdays and Sundays.
A tiled bathroom with shower is provided. We consider applicants for stays of 3 weeks to 3 months. Our intern, work/stay, and work/stay/learn programs include shared indoor lodging, breakfast and lunch on working days, with staple items (pasta, rice, beans) for you to prepare for dinners. Meals on your days off are your own responsibility. Indoor lodging will be in our casita, cafe, or in the main house, based on availability. You may not be in the same location your entire stay.
You start working the day after you arrive. If you would like to help on your day of arrival, that is great too! For each week you will be staying on the farm, you will work 5 consecutive days starting they day after you arrive. Please do not make travel plans contrary to the schedule. We are not only scheduling you, but other people staying plus the projects on the farm.
There are always on-going projects on the property and duties may include the following: feeding the animals, cleaning of their housing, cleaning of the cafe, walking the dogs up on the farm, harvesting bananas or other fruits and vegetables on the farm, working in the garden (planting, weeding), dog bathing, brushing the horse, basic plumbing, fence repair, coffee processing, jungle clearing, etc. Work will also include moving sacks of grain or vegetables, so you should be able to lift an 80-90 lb. sack, moving it from a stationary location into a wheelbarrow.
There is a fully-equipped kitchen in our private café. Shared meal preparation and clean-up is not included as part of the work duties – everyone takes part. We require all guests to eat vegan while on the property. Fresh, local, tropical fruits and vegetables are provided with some staple items like rice, beans and oats. Any food items outside of this are on your own.There are pulperias (convenience stores) within waking distance from the farm, plus grocery stores in the neighboring town of Tucurrique. There you can purchase snacks or other personal items you may need.
The food we harvest from the farm is 100% organic, but is seasonal. We buy organic, when available, but the supply is very limited in our area. You will prepare, or share in preparation of any meals – they will not be served to you. Food is to be kept and consumed only in the cafe – not in the casita. Food in the casita will attract insects. If you are away from the farm for lunch or dinner, it is at your expense. Food purchased for the farm is to be consumed on-site – not to be taken off the farm.
We provide breakfast and lunch on your working days. On working day evenings we provide pasta, beans and rice for you to prepare if you wish. Meals on your free days are on your own. You may also purchase groceries and prepare your meals for these times in the cafe. Label your personal groceries with your name so they are not accidentally consumed by others.
Diet and Lifestyle
A work/stay exchange on the farm is a great opportunity for those interested in learning or practicing a vegan diet. Our guests should be, at a minimum, vegetarian, or be ready and willing to eat vegan while on the farm. If you have no experience with a vegetarian or vegan diet, we recommend you try out a vegan diet on your own for several weeks prior to committing to your stay. We strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle and seek caretakers who are like-minded. If you are a smoker, drinker, looking to come to Costa Rica to party, or choosing the volunteer experience as the primary means for a free vacation, our farm is not the place for you. The foods you may be accustomed to may not be readily available here. There is no Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, and many of processed, frozen or packaged foods you are familiar with are not available. In addition, we do not cook with oil on the farm. This may be a change from your regular cooking habit, but we not want ourselves or our guests exposed to the carcinogens created while heating oil.
Clothing and Laundry
We encourage hand washing of clothes if you have just a few things. This should be done in the casita sink or in the bathroom behind the cafe (not in the cafe kitchen sink). There are clothes lines for drying your things located behind the cafe, plus inside and outside the casita. You are responsible for your own clothes cleaning solution – we recommend vinegar, salt and baking soda to keep things eco-friendly. Drying is done on the line (no electric dryer available). It is suggested to bring shorts, sandals, closed-toe comfortable shoes, pants and long sleeve shirt for farm work, light jacket or sweat shirt for cool nights, rubber boots for rainy season (can be purchased locally for about $12, or you can rent them from us for $5 for the duration of your stay, subject to size availability).
Laundry service is available for $10 per load (wash and dry). Give us a full day to get your laundry back to you.
Cell Phones and Internet
If a 3g unlocked cell phone is brought onto the property, it will work with the purchase of a sim card for about $1. Not all cell phones operate on the same bands that are used in Costa Rica. Check out this link for compatible phones on the ICE (Costa Rican utility company) website. For those staying an extended period, you may want to bring a laptop. Internet is available with a datacard which you can purchase locally for $52. You will also need a sim card with an $18 monthly (no contract) pre-payment that will give you unlimited 3g internet service. In the alternative, there are internet cafes 10 minutes away in the next town, and the cost is only 60 cents an hour. There is no wi-fi on the farm.
T-Mobile has a cooperative arrangement with a Costa Rican wireless carrier, Movistar, wherein T-Mobile service phones from the US will work in Costa Rica. If you use T-Mobile you may contact them for details.
Configuration of Guests and Lodging
Usually one to six guests stay on the property at any given time. Stays are typically from three to eight weeks. Indoor lodging is in the casita, cafe or in the main house. Lodging may be shared, and is not necessarily private. There are showers in the casita and main house. There are additional bathrooms/showers behind the cafe. You will not necessarily be staying in the same location on the farm your entire stay.
We receive work/stay guests through 7 pm. On your final day, plan to checkout no later than 11 am.
Optional Activities / Services
Pickup or drop off at SJO airport – $100
Pickup or drop off in Cartago central – $40
Pickup or drop off at LaMarta Biological Reserve – $10
Pickup or drop off at Tucurrique – $5
Pickup or drop off at Pejibaye – $5
Pickup or drop off at Turrialba – $20
Per load, wash and dry – $10
Animal Lovers Only!
We feel it is very important to stipulate that our helpers need to be animal lovers. We have a lot of former street dogs to care for. Some are handicapped, and some may need medical attention. We are also guardians of two pigs, a horse, a chicken, a goat and a three cats. They all need time and care, and we strive to put their needs before ours. You may also may be called upon to assist animals in need within the community. People who are indifferent toward animals would not be a good fit here.
Chemicals, tobacco, alcohol, animal food products
This is a completely organic farm. We do not use chemical pesticides, nor do we use personal care products that can damage the environment. We do not cook with oil. We do our best to have the smallest environmental impact possible. Absolutely no smoking, drugs, animal food products or alcohol permitted on the property. If smoking, drugs, or inebriation is part of your lifestyle, this is not the place for you.
Marijuana is illegal in Costa Rica. You will be a guest in this country, and you will be a representative of our farm. If you are buying drugs in our village, everyone will know. You will be asked to leave the farm immediately.
Necessity: a “Plan B”
Finally, we must emphasize that anyone and everyone coming to the farm must have a Plan B. Your presence on the farm should be of benefit to the farm and the animals. If the situation is not right for you, or if we feel your presence is a detriment to our program, you will need to have an alternate plan for your time in Costa Rica and the financial means to carry it out.
We are a couple whom have lived a diverse life in the states. Like many, we arrived in Costa Rica as tourists, and fell in love with the the beauty of the countryside, the friendly people and the culture. We bought the 9 acre property over ten years ago and one or both of us have lived here full-time, ever since. Meeting new people and sharing experiences while learning about this country of Costa Rica has been a real joy and we hope to continue in that direction. We look forward to sharing the experience with you!