Are teams required to pay a deposit?

No. If you tell us you are coming ... we believe you! We have established relationships with the local hardware stores, so your materials will be purchased ahead of time and paid for upon your arrival. If, for some reason, at the last minute your team cannot come, we believe in grace and trust that God will continue to provide for our projects' needs.  In the event of a trip cancelation, should your team decide to donate the materials portion of your budget, we will happily invest those funds in the project you were scheduled to work on.

Do team members need prior contstruction experience in order to participate?

Absolutely not! We welcome everyone from seasoned professionals to folks who have never held a paintbrush before. We will always have knowledgeable people on the work sites to help those team members who have less experience. It is also important to remember that every project has different tasks involved — some require more know-how than others. We are confident that no one will leave feeling that they were not able to contribute to the work of the team. While the most visible result of work teams is often the structures they build, we are equally as concerned about the relationships that are built between teams and their host churches. You are not simply imported foreign labor. You are invited to participate in the church's embodyment of being the one Body of Christ!

Who arranges transportation and food for the team?

We take care of all of those arrangements for you. Most meals are prepared on-site by members of the local church where the team is working. We also work with a dependable transportation company who gets the teams from the airport to the site and back, as well as the transportation for the day off.

How many people can come on a team?

While there is no hard and fast rule about this, we like to keep teams in the 15-20 person range. If a church has interest from more than 20 persons, we recommend that they consider bringing separate groups. However, we can try to accomodate a large group if multiple groups is not an option. Again, this is not set in stone, but we have found that to some degree, too large of a group often limits the level of involvement of team members and presents some logistical challenages.

What is the duration of a team's stay?

As with team size, this is not set in stone either. The closest work sights in the Zona Sur to the airport in Alajuela are at least a half-day away (once you factor in time spent waiting on baggage, etc.). So, allowing for two days of travel time, hopefully at least four days on sight, and a day off, you are looking at seven days not counting Sundays (no work on Sunday). Some groups choose to straddle a weekend which provides a nice break in the middle of the "work week." Others prefer to come from Saturday to Saturday which offers the group the opportunity to worship with the host community two or three times during their stay. Ticket cost is another factor since certain days are significantly cheaper than others.

How much does it cost to bring a team?

This depends on project cost and team size. Please note that the following is a Sample Budget based on a 15 member team.*  Once you have determined how many people will be on your team, we will calculate a budget for your particular team.

Construction Materials - $300**
Meals on Site - $80
Meals in Transit - $50
Housing - $25
Transportation - $120***
Insurance - $30****

TOTAL PER TEAM MEMBER = $605 x 15 members = $9,075

Local Labor/Compensation - $1,600

TEAM TOTAL = $10,675

There are expenses (administrative and living) that Yolanda and I incur by living in Costa Rica full-time and running this ministry, and we rely on gifts and offerings from churches and individuals for our salary support. If your team would like to contribute to Costa Rica Mission Projects in that way, we welcome you to do so and are grateful for your support. We love this ministry and hope to continue to serve you all and the churches in Costa Rica for a very long time. This is completely optional and for that reason it is not included in the budget above.

* The majority of expenses do not change based on number of team members. For a group of fewer than 15, it may be necessary to factor in more money for building materials so that we have roughly the same amount as wtih a 15 person team. By the same token, this figure may decrease for a group of more than 15.

** This is an average figure and is subject to change depending on overall cost of project as a whole.

*** Depending on what activity your team decides on for the day off, there may be an expense in addition to transportation (i.e. entrance fee at a National Park)

**** Insurance is available through UMVIM. Check with your Jurisdictional UMVIM office to find out what is offered.

Is Costa Rica safe for foreign travelers?

Costa Rica is a very stable country, both politically and economically. The result is that it is not as dangerous as some of the hot spots in Central and South America. That being said, discretion should be used whenever traveling in a foreign country, regardless of the political/economic situation. (The same could be said for traveling in the U.S.). I have been working in Costa Rica for the past 18 years without incident, and while Costa Rica Mission Projects obviously cannot make guarantees, we will do everything in our power to make sure that your team has a safe, comfortable and pleasurable experience.

Can youth groups come? Are there age requirements?

Yes, youth groups are welcome! If team members are old enough to participate in a UMVIM youth work team (16-years-old), and their youth leaders are willing to travel overseas with them, then we will happily put them to work. We also encourage families to come, in which case age is not an issue.  Our youngest missioner so far was a four year old!

What do teams do on their day off?

Costa Rica is a beautiful country that offers many exciting activities. San Isidro, the home base for Costa Rica Mission Projects, is only about 35 kilometers from Dominical, a popular beach for surfing. The coastline is literally dotted with pleasant beaches to the north and south of Dominical. There are also numerous rivers with hiking trails and waterfalls within driving distance from the work sites. The Manuel Antonio National Park is the most visited national park in Costa Rica and is 2 hours north of Dominical. Some of the areas pineapple and coffee plantations offer tours as well. Most of these excursions involve leaving very early in the morning and returning late at night. We are happy to help groups plan their day off, but they are welcome to make their own arrangements if they want.

What kind of shots should one get before coming to Costa Rica? What are the medical facilities like?

It is best to check with your personal physician. They can get the most up-to-date travel health information for you. Health care in Costa Rica is very good. Conveniently, the largest hospital in the Southern Zone is in San Isidro, so if need be, we can get a patient to that hospital for care. UMVIM offers very good insurance that we recommend teams consider getting before they come.

What languages do they speak in Costa Rica?

While you may very well meet some Costa Ricans who speak English, the official language is Spanish. Spanish speaking team members are very helpful, but not essential to the effectiveness of a team. Someone who can communicate with the host community will be available to translate when necessary. We do encourage those team members who do not speak Spanish to embrace the opportunity to learn to communicate through gestures and "sign language" (you'll be surprised at how well you do!). Cost Ricans are extremely patient people, and you are probably not the first "gringo" who has tried to talk to them.

Can we have Bible school for the children when we come?

This depends entirely on the time of year that your group comes.  Costa Rican schools are on Summer break during our Winter, so a January or February team could likely do it.  We encourage those teams who are interested to definitely take advantage of the opportunity.  Getting involved with the children deepens the relationships that we hope to see built between churches, and also provides an excellent way for the host church to reach out to the wider community.  Taking up donations of school supplies is a good way to get the children in your home church involved in your church's mission activities as well.