Live the Osa Costa Rica Internship & Immersion Program

Our Mission

Live the Osa'sLive the Osa's mission is to create opportunities and connections for cultural and language immersion in Costa Rica. Whether you stay for one week or three months, we guarantee you will not feel like a tourist. Our programs are based on a strong philosophy of cross-cultural principles, including mutual respect, sustainability, self-awareness, community service and education. Interns, teachers, students and families will improve their Spanish, learn about a new culture, and immerse themselves into the Costa Rican way of life by living with a local family and giving back through an internship serving the greater Osa community.



Helaine Wemple is the Live the Osa, LLC owner and program director. She presently lives in New Hampshire, but her second home is Costa Rica where she lived for a total of 9 years. She spent 3 years in Puerto Jimenez, working with U.S. High School student groups and presently is a High School Spanish teacher continuing to lead yearly group trips to the Osa Peninsula. She has many connections and friends in the community, which make this program possible.


Marlene Salazar Cordero is the internship coordinator and the owner of Hospedaje El Ceibo, a family-run lodge in the Osa Peninsula. She grew up in this region and her large family also lives in the area. Her husband, Luis is also from Jimenez and has extended family in the area. These invaluable connections make this program possible. Marlene has 4 children, two of whom live with her at El Ceibo. Sagri and Konsi are both in elementary school, and welcome international guests into their home and their lives.


Live the Osa Accommodations Slideshow

Hospedaje El Ceibo is run by Marlene Salazar Cordero and her family. Marlene grew up on the Osa Peninsula and has a large family in the area. With her connections, this program is possible! The lodge, Marlene's family's home, is used for student groups, some drop-in clients and Live the Osa interns. She welcomes people into her home and daily life, and therefore this is not just a lodge, but a "homestay". Live the Osa participants should make every effort to become part of the family, help in the kitchen, converse with Marlene and the children, and assist in their daily activities. At the same time, we ask participants to respect the guidelines for El Ceibo, the family's privacy needs, and other clients at the lodge. For the sake of total immersion, if you would like to stay with another local family while other student groups are at the lodge, please let Marlene know and she can make those arrangements.

Internship Options

There are many options for internships (beyond the list below), and we will work with you to make the best possible matches. We recommend you try more than one. Our local host will organize your internships in advance and introduce you upon arrival; however, it is your responsibility to set a schedule with your internship and follow through with the set responsibilities.

Some options include:

  • Public Elementary and High Schools
  • Private Elementary Bilingual School
  • Law Office
  • Bank
  • Dental Office
  • Accounting Firm
  • Fisherman
  • Pharmacy
  • Local Store
  • Construction
  • Hotel
  • National Park
  • Restaurant
  • Police Station
  • Environmental Non-Profit
  • Sustainable Farm
  • Medicinal Plant Garden


The program takes place on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica in the town of Puerto Jimenez. Lodging is at El Ceibo in the town of Ñeque (4kms from Jimenez) and most internships are located in the town of Jimenez or surrounding villages.


While on the Osa, you should make sure you see some of the amazing things this area of the country has to offer. Ask Marlene for suggestions on tour guides, transportation and things to see or consult your Guidebook. Note that most internships will not be scheduled on the weekends. However, some stores, restaurants and hotels could accommodate an intern for a weekend if desired. Also, schools are closed from mid-December to mid-February and the first two weeks in July.

Day Trips

  • Matapalo, for a remote beach and surfing location
  • Playa Preciosa, for a beautiful beach and Friday night dancing
  • Animal Refuge (across Gulf)
  • Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden (across Gulf)
  • Kayaking in mangroves
  • Rainforest hikes or horseback tour
  • Carate (entrance to Corcovado National Park)
  • Luna Lodge (yoga retreat center)
  • Boat trip in Gulf (dolphin watching and fishing)
  • Public boat to Golfito

Overnight Trips

  • Corcovado National Park
  • Friends of the Osa Turtle Nesting Project
  • Cerro de Osa Rainforest Research Center
  • Luna Lodge (yoga retreat center)
  • Carate
  • Guaymi Indigenous Reservation
  • Drake Bay
  • Panama