Children in Costa Rica

Thousands of children are orphaned, and the absence of a loving family drives many into a life of drugs, crime, and prostitution.

  • Over a quarter of the population of Costa Rica is below the age of 14.
  • Thousands of school-age children do not go to school because their families rely on them to earn a living.
  • Children, mainly boys, are forced to take backbreaking agricultural work or sell merchandise on city streets.
  • Of Costa Rica’s thousands of orphans, many have no family to look after them, and sink into child prostitution, drug abuse and gang violence.
  • HIV afflicts more children here than almost any other Latin American country.

Costa Rica is a relatively peaceful country. In 1949, it became the first country in the world to abolish its military, and since then order has been maintained by a small law enforcement team. Living standards too are good compared with other Latin American countries. Despite this, the gulf between rich and poor is stark, and poverty is rife in rural parts as well as in the capital, San Jose. One in five struggle hard to make ends meet, while the richest 20% control control over half of the nation’s wealth.

Our Children's Villages in Costa Rica

SOS Children’s Villages has worked in Costa Rica since 1971, giving children a better childhood and a loving home for life.

sponsor a child in Costa Rica
Tres Ríos, San José

We began our work in Costa Rica in 1975 when SOS Children's Village Tres Ríos was built with ten family houses. With few programmes in Costa Rica offering short term protection and care to street children, we built a Transit Home with six houses in 1996 in Santa Ana. The aim was to provide short term care and assessment of further needs in a family type atmosphere. As well as the six houses providing accommodation for 48 children, the transit home had an SOS Medical Centre, SOS Nursery and sports facilities. In 1982, the 'Hogar Luz' - the House of Light - was added to the facilities to care for seriously mentally and physically handicapped children.

Puerto Limón

The second Costa Rican SOS Children's Village opened in 2000 in Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast, one of poorest parts of the country with many social problems. SOS Children's Village Limón has ten family houses, providing a home for over 100 children and an SOS Nursery for children between 3 and 6 years old from both the SOS Children's Village and the neighbourhood.
In February 2000, we opened an International College in Santa Ana. Modelled on the first International SOS College in Tema in Ghana which was founded in 1990, it provides secondary education for up to 200 pupils, with grants for those who cannot afford the fees.

Santa Ana

The most recent SOS Children's Village in Costa Rica is a conversion of the Transit Home we operated in Santa Ana. Opened in 2009, it consists of ten family homes.

Local contact

Asociación Aldeas SOS de Niños de Costa Rica

Apartado postal 37

2070 Sabanilla – Montes de Oca

Costa Rica

Tel: +506/2224 8075, +506/2283 9794,

Fax: +506/2224-8154


Explore SOS

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Aid agency SOS Children’s Villages UK welcomed comments by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott on the need to change immigration rules that keep families apart.

Get Involved

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You can help children who have lost their parents. They may have been orphaned by AIDS, natural disaster or conflict. Poverty may have forced their parents to give them up, or they may have been separated from their family by war.