Finca La Gran Vista was established on January 16, 2001 as a non-profit project. It has the aim of spreading awareness of environmentally sustainable agricultural methods to other farmers in the region.
The farm is run by a family of five: Xinia, Donald, Max, Larry, and Terry. Finca La Gran Vista sits on twelve acres, and accommodates horses, chickens, ducks, medicinal plants, fruit trees, grass for forage, several crop species, spring-water wells, an area of rainforest, red worm composting for soil regeneration, and a pond.
- Volunteers stay in shared accommodation, with electricity
- Each volunteer has their own bed
- We also have hot showers and electric power sources in bedrooms
- Volunteers are expected to keep their rooms clean, including the bathroom and kitchen
- The host family provides all the meals
- Meals consist of simple Costa Rican food and usually include a lot of cooked rice and bean
- Volunteers can even learn how to process, (and help drink :-) La Gran Vista's very own house wine, a sweet concoction that always goes down smooth
- With a large number of guests staying, Xinia will need some help in the kitchen, so each volunteer will help with food preparation for a day. This will give them a chance to practice their Spanish, learn a bit about typical Tico cuisine, make frescoes, and possibly cook with biogas
- We ask that everyone help with the dishes after lunch and supper-it goes much faster with a little bit of help
- If you have special dietary needs, please let the La Gran Vista office know ahead of time
- Please remember that vegetarianism is not the norm in Costa Rica, but simple requests for no meat can easily be honored. Don't expect veggie lasagna or soymilk, but you will enjoy lots of salad, fruit, eggs, cheese, rice, and beans
- Volunteers are welcome to store their own food in the refrigerator, but please remember that space is limited
These are the main volunteering activities:
- Animal care
- Reforestation methods and seed saving
- Worm composting
- Soil regeneration and Conservation
- Medicinal Herbs
- Green House Maintenance.
Each morning you will find a whiteboard with the day’s tasks, which will be assigned by Donald. The work is at times challenging, but volunteers have invariably found it stimulating and rewarding.
Please Note: Given the nature of conservation/community development volunteer work, there are often numerous circumstances out of our control (e.g. the weather, relying on materials to be delivered on time, etc). Please understand that we will do our absolute best to keep tasks as described in project overview, however, changes may need to be made if necessary.
Here's how your typical day would look:
8 am to 10 am: Volunteering work
10 am to 10:30 am: Break
10:30 am to 12 pm: Volunteering work
12 pm to 2 pm: Lunch
2 pm to 4 pm: Volunteering work
*Please note that this is an example of a typical day. Daily schedules are flexible, depending on each volunteer or group
**Volunteers also have weekends off
Local Excursions and Sightseeing
We offer a tour to the beach, which includes lunch and private transportation. This costs $68 per person.
There are many activities for students in their free time, from relaxing in a hammock to enjoying the local scenery and exploring the local area.
Donald organizes regular tours to the Dominical Beach, and visits to the nearby waterfall.
At the local school, a ten-minute walk away, there is a decent-sized football pitch with proper metal goalposts where "mejengas" (huge, frantic games of football, usually about twenty-a-side) often take place.
Volunteers are warmly welcomed to join in whenever there's a game!
If volunteers choose to participate in any activities during their free time, all costs associated with that activity (e.g. transport, tickets, etc.) are the responsibility of the volunteers, not Finca la Gran Vista. Also, any meals missed during free time activities cannot be reimbursed.
Costa Rica has very good health services, and the nearest clinic is in Palmares, about ten minutes away.
There is also a large hospital about twenty minutes away, in San Isidro.
What's included in the fee?
What's not included in the fee?
The following is not included in the fee:
- Insurance: All students must carry a comprehensive medical insurance policy; in addition, participants are encouraged to consult a travel clinic and/or their personal physician to discuss recommended immunizations for Costa Rica. We encourage every participant to be up to date on his/her tetanus shot (good for 10 years). La Gran Vista has never had problems with malaria or cholera in the area where the project is located, though these are both present in Costa Rica. Dengue is most prominent during the rainy season. The U.S. Center for Disease Control provides tips about how to stay healthy while in Costa Rica, as well as recommendations for immunizations (www.cdc.gov)
- The price of transport to and from the airport
- Pickup: July 23, at 2pm, from Juan Santa Maria International Airport
- Dropoff: July 30, 2pm, at Juan Santa Maria International Airport
- Note: The private transportation will cost and it will depend on the number of people traveling together
- There is an option to get to the location by bus and not use our private transportation. Instructions can be provided.
- La Gran Vista is situated in the rural county of Perez Zeledon, three hours south of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Protected forests, sublime beaches, and fabulous waterfalls can be found nearby.
- Temperatures range from 87-97° F during the day, dropping to 82-86° F at night. Expect daily showers in the afternoons during your stay.
- Public phones and e-mail access are available in the nearby town of San Isidro (twenty minutes away), as are banks (Banex exchanges American Express traveler’s cheques for free) and 24-hour electronic cashpoints.
- Most phones do work here, but it is much cheaper to buy into the local system. Nice 3G phones run about $150 and $35 per month.