Travel the World for Free – WWOOF Costa Rica (Part 1: Where)
Work exchanges are some of the best ways to see the world on a budget. Eat, stay, and explore for FREE! While there are many work exchange programs out there, my friend, Zoe, and I personally decided on WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). I am still getting numerous questions about my WWOOFing experience. Well friends, I’m finally starting a series! Read on for PART 1 and stay tuned for blogs about nitty, gritty work and the adventures I took on while WWOOFing.
Location, Location, Location
We began our first week in Central America by working at Essence Arenal (EA), a boutique hostel above the tiny town of El Castillo, Costa Rica. Essence Arenal is known for its magical views of the Arenal Volcano and friendly staff.
The EA property sits on 22 acres and includes a hostel, organic farm, swimming pool, yoga lounge, and short hiking trails through the jungle. Whew, that’s quite a list – but there’s more. Did I mention the hammocks and fruit trees? Or the herb garden?
Essence Arenal provides guests with beauty and luxury at a small price. Because the WWOOFers stayed in old tents, Zoe and I felt like we were half “roughing it” and half living in luxury.
We still had access to the natural beauty and the delicious food. On the flip side, our shower was either freezing or scalding hot, we only had access to an outdoor composting toilet, and our roommates consisted of bats, lizards, and mice.
The furry/scaly roommates alone may be a deal breaker for some, but for us, it was a small price to pay to be living in the heart of a jungle. We were, after all, staying here for free. And eating delicious food – for free. I have only great things to say about this place.
We woke up and fell asleep to the sound of jungle insects and howler monkeys, and spent our days working outside. The family atmosphere between the WWOOFers, full-time employees, and hostel guests was unlike any work experience I have ever known.
We were greeted each morning by smiling faces, fresh fruit, and local Costa Rican coffee *cue heart eyes emoji*. Are you sick of me gushing, yet?! Essence Arenal truly was a tropical paradise.
Stay tuned for the next part in my WWOOFing series. I will be talking about what everyone really wants to know about: the work! Also, connect with me on Pinterest or Instagram – the more friends the merrier!