Frequently Asked Questions

Are donations to Surf For Life tax deductible?
Yes, Surf for Life is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.

How do I register for a Trip?
Visit our Join a Trip page and complete the registration form to sign up for a trip.

How many people can go on a trip?
We try to keep groups personable by limiting them to 10-12 people.  However, we are flexible and can work with you if that number needs to be adjusted.

What dates are available for these trips?
Please check the events section of the Surf For Life website for all project trip dates or e-mail

How long is a trip?
All trips start on a Saturday and go until the following Saturday (7 days total). Please make sure you coordinate your itinerary to align with provided airport shuttles.

How do I fund raise?
When you register, you will set up your own personal fundraising page. Surf For Life will provide you with some fundraising tips & ideas and letter templates that offer several approaches to raising the required funds for your trip and will assist you in executing any other strategies you may have such as holding events. Once you are registered, you will be contacted by someone on our fundraising support team.

Are non-surfers welcome to volunteer?
Being a surfer or wanting to surf is not a prerequisite for participating in Surf For Life projects. In fact, most of our participants are not surfers. Trips are open to anyone who has the ability to participate.

What type of people join Surf For Life trips?
Every Surf for Life volunteer team is unique and generally, our trips are open to the public.  Groups of co-workers, friends, sports teams, couples or individuals might join the same trip. Some common goals that all of our volunteers share are giving back to local communities, connecting with the children and having fun!

How does this trip get paid for?
Volunteers are expected to raise funds to support their trip and project.  Each volunteer should meet a fundraising commitment of $1850 that covers project material costs and their room and board. There is a $150 non-refundable deposit to secure your spot on a trip.  This fee covers your non-volunteer activities while on your trip. If your company offers a Matching Gifts Program, you can apply for a match for every donation made by your co-workers, and this cuts your total fundraising goal in half.

By what date do I need to meet my fundraising commitment?
You have until the day you depart for your Surf For Life trip to meet your $2,000 commitment. This means that all donations from friends and families should be submitted to your page by then and all matches should have been applied for through your employer (if your company offers a Matching Gifts Program). If there is a remaining balance, you should submit one final amount through your page in the amount of that balance. If you are having a hard time meeting your commitment, please communicate with us ahead of time so we can help you achieve your goal.

What happens if I need to cancel my trip after I have registered? 
Your $150 deposit is non-refundable once Surf For Life sends you confirmation of your registration acceptance.

Where will we stay and eat?
Volunteers will reside in per-arranged accommodations suitable to the local community and lifestyle. Typically, volunteers are accommodated two-three to a room. Three meals per day will be provided as part of your room and board. Though meals are provided, tip is not included for drivers, food servers and hotel staff. It is recommended that you bring about $200USD cash (small bills preferred) for entry or exit airport taxes, food and drink “extras” & tip for drivers, food servers and hotel staff.

How will I get to my trip destination?
Volunteers are expected to arrange their own airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica; San Salvador, El Salvador; or Managua, Nicaragua. A pre-arranged shuttle from the airport to your final destination will be provided as part of your package.  Shuttle leaves at specific times, please make sure you coordinate your itinerary to align with provided airport shuttle.

Do I have to pay any airport entry or exit taxes?
$10 entry tax upon arrival to San Salvador and Managua (must pay with cash)
$28 exit tax before exiting San Jose, Costa Rica (can pay using cash, debit/credit card)

Can I get reimbursed for part of my flight expense?
Anyone who registers on or after 2/1/14: If you exceed your fundraising goal, 50% of funds raised over $2,000 can be applied towards your economy class airfare. When you return from your trip, send Surf For Life your economy class flight receipt and a request for reimbursement, and we will send you a check. (50% of funds raised over $2,000; not to exceed total airfare costs. Surf For Life will only reimburse for actual dollars spent on plane ticket; flights purchased with points are not eligible for reimbursement). Anyone who registers prior to 2/1/14:  If you exceed your fundraising goal, up to $500 over that goal can be applied toward your airfare. When you return from your trip, send Surf For Life your flight receipt and a request for reimbursement, and they will send you a check (up to $500).

What will I be doing on the Surf For Life trip?
The type of volunteer work you will do depends on the timing and needs of the community. Projects range from building bridges to constructing schools to working in soup kitchens. In general, volunteers work onsite at the project for 4 days (about 6-7 hours per day). The first and last day of the trip are usually free days or “fun days” arranged by Surf For Life to introduce you to the area (surf lesson, zip-lining, etc.)

What should my frame of mind be while on a Surf For Life trip?
The most popular saying in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” which literally translates to “Pure Life”, but this saying goes far beyond the translation and is actually a way of life for most of the regions you might visit while on a Surf For Life trip. It symbolizes the idea of enjoying the simple things in life and being happy. This rather relaxed state of mind also means that things don’t always go according to plan when visiting extremely “chilled out” countries. Natives tend to do things at their own pace which can be alarming to Americans who are accustomed to a very strict schedule. This is especially true when working on construction sites for our projects. Sometimes, necessary supplies arrive late or not at all. Schedules are tentative, and things change often and without warning. That being said, we advise you to embrace the Pura Vida mentality on your trip. It will be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Do I need vaccinations to go on a trip?
Vaccinations are not required to enter the countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador or Nicaragua.  Please consult your doctor to be sure what is best for you.

What do I need to bring for the trip?  
Please refer to our What to Pack list.