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Sustainable Business & Tourism Internships in Costa Rica

Sustainable Business & Tourism Internships in Costa Rica

Sustainable Business & Tourism internships are facilitated through a local Marine Conservation non profit organization, which works to protect the local marine environment, through community involvement and ongoing educational support. Interns assist with business and growth strategies, while learning about the essential environmental, socio-cultural and economic pillars of sustainable development.

Internship Highlights:
  • Explore sustainable development initiatives within the marine tourism industry
  • Gaining insight into NPO operations and development priorities
  • Learn from experienced career scientists
  • Enjoy spare time in Manuel Antonio, one of the world’s most biodiverse destinations
Type of host organizations:
  • Non-profit organization
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Fully hosted experience from US$2,679
Includes accommodation & meals
Start dates every other Monday
Minimum duration 4 weeks, up to 24 Weeks maximum
Spanish language lessons available
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Currently studying or graduated from a related field, such as tourism, business, arts, sustainability, marketing, international relations, international development, political science, etc.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths

Tourism Operator, Conservationist, Environmental Consultant, Ecologist, Urban Planner, Business Sustainability Analyst, Community Relations and Outreach Manager, Chief Sustainability Officer, Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator, Marketing and Public Relations, Policy Specialist

Internship details

Costa Rica has a rapidly developing economy, which strives to balance business priorities with environmental interests. Through this Sustainable Business & Tourism internship, interns can gain insight into how non profit organizations can build networks and strategies to further sustainable development, in collaboration with communities and business partners.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation included. Click here to view remote Business Administration & Start Ups internships, which you can undertake from home.

International Internships for Marine Sciences

To many people, the concept of “sustainability” is just associated with being environmentally-conscious. While this is certainly important, many establishments can be considered “green”, or even carbon neutral, without upholding socio-cultural and economic facets of sustainability as well. For this reason, Sustainable Business & Tourism interns collaborate with a Marine Conservation nonprofit organization, to explore holistic initiatives for business and growth strategies.

Interns have broad scope to make a difference in the field of marine conservation, while also gaining insight into NPO operations and general business sustainability principles. The day-to-day operations of this internship can be anticipated to involve a range of activities which are related to relationship building for public and private sector project support, corporate partnership development, networking for funding, corporate client outreach, public relations, awareness campaigns, and more.

In addition, marketing and communications efforts include ongoing updates across social media platforms, website editing, graphic design support and fresh copy writing for proposals, grants, blogs and other articles. If interested, there is an opportunity for interns to also incorporate tasks related to environmental education within the community and local schools.

Proactive interns with an interest in business and marketing strategy, corporate social responsibility, and passion for sustainable practice, have ample opportunity to expand their experience and skill sets. There is a high expectation for interns to exercise initiative and manage a flexible schedule during this internship. Progress reports are expected on an ongoing basis. Emphasis will always be focused on progressing actions and strategies that holistically address environmental, socio-cultural and economic priorities.

Typical Schedule

  • Approx. 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday

Career Benefits

Sustainable Business & Tourism interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • NPO administrative support

  • Corporate partnership development

  • Awareness campaigns

  • Digital media communications

  • Copywriting

  • Community education

Professional development opportunities:
  • Explore holistic initiatives for business and growth strategies

  • Build relationships with the public and private sector for project support

  • Contribute to awareness campaigns and sustainability education

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

Costa Rica photo gallery

Read reviews from our Costa Rica Interns

”I feel more empowered in any field because of the information I learned about nonprofits. I had a behind the scenes look at the operations that go into this type of organization, with some information applying to all types of companies.”

Read reviews from our Costa Rica Interns

Our commitment to providing safe internship experiences

Academic credit available for all internships

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing an internship abroad or remote internship program with Intern Abroad HQ.

Learn about course credit

Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$449 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$449 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Coral Restoration and Marine Biology

Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $3,416Equivalent to $122/day
6 weeks $4,514Equivalent to $107/day
8 weeks $5,612Equivalent to $100/day
10 weeks $6,760Equivalent to $96/day
12 weeks $7,858Equivalent to $93/day
14 weeks $8,981Equivalent to $91/day
16 weeks $10,079Equivalent to $89/day
18 weeks $11,177Equivalent to $88/day
20 weeks $12,300Equivalent to $87/day
24 weeks $14,546Equivalent to $86/day

Sustainable Business & Tourism and Environmental Education

Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $2,679Equivalent to $95/day
6 weeks $3,427Equivalent to $81/day
8 weeks $4,175Equivalent to $74/day
10 weeks $4,973Equivalent to $71/day
12 weeks $5,721Equivalent to $68/day
14 weeks $6,494Equivalent to $66/day
16 weeks $7,242Equivalent to $64/day
18 weeks $7,990Equivalent to $63/day
20 weeks $8,763Equivalent to $62/day
24 weeks $10,309Equivalent to $61/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • Academic credit facilitation
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Optional extras, such as language lessons
  • Souvenirs and leisure activities during your free time
  • Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, public transportation, and any meals not included in your Program Fee
  • A deposit of $449 USD is required to secure your internship
  • Coral Restoration and Marine Biology internships include diving activities. If you are not currently PADI certified, then you are still welcome to participate. However, you will be required to complete an “intro week”, at an additional cost, prior to beginning the Coral Restoration internship. During the intro week, you will complete Open Water and Adventure Diver with PPB certification. This introductory week will include the necessary online materials and certifications that you need.
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

Arrival and Orientation

Internships in Manuel Antonio begin on the first and third Monday of each month. Exceptions may be made to this when start dates are shifted to avoid public holiday disruptions or closed when the program has already reached capacity. Interns may choose to spend a minimum of 4 weeks, up to a maximum of 24 weeks.

Note that Coral Reef Restoration and Marine Biology internships are unavailable from mid September, through till the end of October. This is due to heavy rainfall in October. The Environmental Education and Sustainable Business & Tourism internships are available year-round.

Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee:

  • The accommodation is covered from the Sunday night before the Monday start date - interns are required to arrive no later than the Sunday before their Monday start date, as all orientations are held on Mondays.
  • The typical port of entry is the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO). Upon arrival, interns will be met, greeted, and transferred to the accommodation.
  • Interns are asked to arrive at SJO no later than 3pm on Sunday (before the Monday start date), as Quepos / Manuel Antonio is approximately 3 hours drive from San Jose. It’s advisable to have an early night, to avoid being overtired on the start date.
  • The last night of the accommodation is the Saturday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on Sunday.
  • Extra nights of accommodation can be arranged in advance, if requested, and are subject to availability.

If you are planning to spend time independently in Costa Rica prior to your internship and will not require an international airport pick up, we can discuss alternative arrival logistics with you.

Orientation covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. Your specific internship placement orientation will follow the general orientation, as you’ll be shown how to travel to and from your internship and be introduced to the team you’ll be joining.

Please note that all internship participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.

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Accommodation and WiFi

Interns are accommodated in various local homestays, which are typically situated in the “Zona Americana” neighborhood of Quepos. This is an extremely convenient location, being within walking distance of the world class yacht yard of Marina Pez Vela (just 5 minute’s walk of the dive center), the local farmers market, central market, bus station, abundant shops, restaurants, cafes, and the “malecon” boardwalk. Both the Quepos airport and the Manuel Antonio National Park are approximately just 5-10 minutes’ drive.

Each homestay will, on average, accommodate between 4-9 program participants. Bedrooms are basic and each can sleep between 2-3 guests, with space for guest storage (rooming arrangements are not shared between genders). Bathrooms and common areas are shared. Breakfast and dinner is provided, as well as laundry service and basic WiFi.

Please note that the accommodation pictured in the photo gallery of this webpage is provided as an example. Since we work with more than one option for accommodation, the exact accommodation that you’re assigned may differ from the photos. However, you can expect a similar standard and similar amenities, to what is shown.


Internships include two meals per day provided by the host family (daily breakfast and dinner). Breakfast in the homestays is served at 6.30am. Interns will usually spend lunch time around the marina, where you can purchase sandwiches and snacks from the commercial plaza. There is also sufficient time to walk into downtown Quepos, where there are many affordable eateries. Dinner at the homestays is served around 6.30pm. If you choose to opt out of breakfast or dinner, any day of the week, you should communicate this back to your host family.

A typical Costa Rican breakfast may consist of cereal, fruits, pinto and eggs, accompanied with coffee. Dinner commonly consists of starches (rice and beans), as well as meat (often chicken) and salad. Meals are basic, hearty and nutritious, but may not be what you’re used to eating at home. Tap water may be consumed in Costa Rica. If there are special snacks you like to have, please budget for them. Alcohol consumption and smoking is not permitted in any of the homestay accommodation.

Let us know in advance if you have any specific dietary requirements. Bear in mind that strict vegan diets can be more difficult to accommodate. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables are available but specific substitution products, such as non-dairy milks, are very expensive in Costa Rica.

A weekly budget of approximately US$100 should be sufficient for covering weekly lunches, while also having extra for snacks/treats/drinks and public transportation. (If you want to eat at fancy restaurants every day, it will be easy to spend more. However, there are great local eateries and markets which are affordable).

Language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a requirement for interns in Manuel Antonio; however, lessons with a local language school can be arranged for those who wish to learn. Lessons are coordinated directly through our team in Costa Rica and can be confirmed in advance or at the orientation.

Weekends and travel

Hosted within the Quepos region of Costa Rica, you’ll find everything you need in an area renowned for its rich biodiversity, accessible National Park, popular beaches and modern amenities. The area is a popular destination for tourists, so you’ll find it user-friendly to get around and find things to do. Nevertheless, local coordinators are on hand to assist with the booking of safe and reliable activities with the most recommended vendors, so be sure to ask them for advice about maximizing your experience. It’s wise to research what you’d like to do in advance, given that certain activities will have a higher cost than others. Whether you want to swim, shop, surf, scuba, enjoy yoga, hiking, or more, there is an abundance of natural beauty, adventure, and excellent cuisine to soak up!

Essential country information

Capital San Jose
Population 5.094 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time zone UTC−06:00
Weather and climate:

Costa Rica experiences a tropical climate year-round. Although you get much cooler temperatures in the mountains, the average annual temperature for most of the country lies between 21.7°C (71°F) and 27°C (81°F). In the Quepos / Manuel Antonio area, the temperature typically varies from 78°F to 92°F (25°C to 33°C) and is rarely below 75°F or above 94°F (24°C or above 35°C).

There are just two seasons - the dry season, from December to April, and the rainy season, from May to November. Due to the large amount of rain in October, the diving internships (Coral Restoration and Marine Biology) are unavailable from Mid September until November 1st. The non-diving internships are available year-round.