Global Health Team #CR527GH

COUNTRY: Costa Rica

ARRIVAL: May 27, 2017
DEPARTURE: June 8, 2017
COST: $2195

Just 1 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!

Volunteers will be working in ISL partner communities to provide global health services to those in need. While in Costa Rica they will also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and explore the cultural landscape in a meaningful way.

Global Health Teams

ISL’s global health teams are interdisciplinary and able to provide a variety of general medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, healthcare management, and nutrition services in developing communities. From urban centers to small towns and villages in remote areas, our teams work in various settings to provide field clinics in which patient needs are assessed and acute conditions are treated.

Regardless of background, volunteers are able to receive an invaluable opportunity to not only interactively observe health professionals in action, but to actively assist with important aspects of health care under careful supervision. Our holistic approach makes ISL’s global health teams ideal for students of the health professions at all education levels.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica (“rich coast” in Spanish) is a Central American country bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica has become one of the most stable, democratic, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. It permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of a few sovereign nations without a standing army. While Costa Rica is known for its coffee and tropical fruit exports, tourism is now the largest industry. 25% of the country’s land area is protected—one of the largest percentages in the world. From tropical Cloud Forests to Volcanoes to Beaches, Costa Rica is truly rich in geographical and bio diversity.

Costa Rica’s poverty rate is lower than most Latin American countries, but it has stalled at around 20% for almost two decades. Even so, according to Habitat for Humanity, more than 52% of the population lives in substandard houses or settlements. Costa Rica also has a large number of poverty stricken immigrants, mostly Nicaraguans. These are the communities where ISL volunteers serve. Costa Rica is good first country to visit for those who have not been exposed to extreme poverty before.

What ISL Provides

ISL Provides 24-hour accompaniment by professional, bilingual staff, airport pickup/drop off, all ground transportation, all lodging, two meals per day, drinking water, instruction by licensed medical professionals, project medications and supplies, tours and basic recreation.

What to Bring

You will need a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, scrubs, donations of medications and medical supplies (optional), and funds sufficient to cover one meal per day, premium recreation, personal spending, and departure tax.

Meet the Staff

Leonardo Rodriguez Costa Rica Physical Therapist and Team Leader
Leonardo Rodriguez
Team Leader and PT

Leonardo is a bilingual Physical Therapist and Team Leader. His involvement with ISL brings him great satisfaction he says, “due to the ideals ISL stands for–Service and Learning”. He enjoys the mutual interaction that occurs with volunteers from different walks of life and the reciprocal exchange of cultures.

Abdi Acuna ISL-Costa Rica Team Leader
Abdi Acuna
Team Leader

Abdi has been with ISL-Costa Rica since 2010 and has a Master´s degree in Graphic Design. ISL volunteers love the fact that he is also certified in Massage Therapy! He enjoys traveling and playing guitar and soccer. He has always felt grateful to work with so many volunteers and to serve the underserved.

Marta Cabezas Costa Rica Team Leader
Marta Cabezas
Team Leader

Since 2006, Marta has been a Costa Rica Team Leader favorite with ISL volunteers. When she is not leading teams, she is a grandma, a hard core soccer fan, and a bilingual secretary. She has also collected over 170 Nativity sets!

Gabriela Perez
Gabriela Perez
Co-Country Coordinator

Gabriela is responsible for overseeing ISL-Costa Rica staff members and making sure everything runs smoothly for ISL teams in Costa Rica. She especially enjoys working with children and the elderly in her community. She is also pursuing a degree in Preschool Education. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, reading and spending time with her family.

Pouchi Chan
Pouchi Chan
Country Coordinator

Pouchi is responsible for overseeing ISL-Costa Rica staff members and making sure everything runs smoothly for ISL teams in Costa Rica. She graduated from the University of Costa Rica and enjoys traveling, getting to know people from different cultures and working with ISL volunteers.  Her favorite outdoor adventures include hiking and camping.

Activity Information

You will need a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, scrubs, donations of medications and medical supplies (optional), and funds sufficient to cover one meal per day, premium recreation, personal spending, and departure tax.


Goal: To learn about global health issues, provide a full physical exam from a local, licensed, medical professional to populations with little or not access to health care, experience Costa Rican culture, and gain perspective on the global landscape.

Day 1 

Meet ISL Staff at the airport; settle into guesthouse. Enjoy dinner; discuss tomorrow’s agenda and any changes to the itinerary

Day 2

Morning:  “Welcome to Costa Rica” Orientation

Afternoon: Medical Orientation (practice taking vital signs and patient histories, patient examination, house visits, community triage); Medical Spanish Seminar

Evening: Dinner out, Salsa lessons! Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 3

Morning/Afternoon: House Visits (Team splits into small groups and visits homes in an ISL partner community, assessing living conditions and the need for acute care. Common

acute health concerns include lice, scabies, parasites, diarrhea, and childhood illnesses)

Evening: Dinner out; learning session on Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue Fever (diagnosis, treatment, prevention); Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 4

Morning: Set up field clinic; Pharmacology Seminar

Afternoon: Community Clinic (volunteers rotate through stations performing patient

interviews, taking vitals, and helping in the pharmacy. They will also have the opportunity to observe the examination/diagnosis/treatment process where appropriate); Suture Seminar (Volunteers will learn how to suture using sponges)

Evening: Dinner out; Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 5

Morning/Afternoon: Community Clinic; Case Presentations with supervising physician

Evening: Dinner out; Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 6

Morning: Visit a nursing home and spend time with the elders, members of the community too often forgotten (play games, dance, sing, do crafts, help with grooming, etc)

Afternoon: San Jose city tour, visit museums

Evening: Dinner out; Prepare for health fair; Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 7

Recreation day at beautiful Jaco Beach, Jacó Beach and Zip-lining at Vista Los Sueños (ziplining  optional – $35)

Jaco Beach is the closest beach to the Central Valley and is one of the most visited coastal destinations in Costa Rica presenting forest and ocean side by side. The beach is a 2.5 mile (4 km) strip which offers world renowned surfing and more. Vista Los Sueños Canopy property boasts spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. While ziplining you will have the opportunity to view a wide variety of wildlife and tropical forests. 

Day 8

Morning/Afternoon: Host Health Fair (Chart growth curves for children; provide hypertension/diabetes screening for adults); face painting & soccer match with local children

Evening: Dinner out; Injections Seminar (volunteers will practice giving injections with citrus fruit); Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 9

Morning/Afternoon: House visits

Evening: Dinner out; Medical Spanish Review; Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 10

Morning/Afternoon: Community Clinic

Evening: Walking tour of Alajuela; Group Reflection; discuss tomorrow’s agenda

Day 11

Morning: Community Clinic

Afternoon: Visit Sarchi; shop for souvenirs

Evening: Natural Medicine Seminar; Group Reflection;

Day 12

Recreation day (Baldi Hot Springs $43)

Baldi Hot Springs is surrounded by a beautiful view of Arenal Volcano, hot spring water from volcano and beautiful gardens. Set into the placid cloud forest of Costa Rica, the San Luis canopy tour will take you on an exhilarating adventure through lush, green canopy and across the majestic o Cataratitas. Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable are the highlights of this tour. 2.5 hour drive. 

Day 13


*This itinerary is subject to change