Cost Rica family volunteer vacation

Discover Corps was founded on the belief that travel can enhance and preserve the character of a place: its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Our principles don’t just apply to our trips, but to everything we do as a company. We are a certified B Corporation, which means we have passed a rigorous independent audit of our social, environmental, and legal practices. B Corporations (or Benefit Corporations) are recognized by the State of California as providing a social good.

By adopting a clear set of responsible travel guidelines, we use our trips to improve the lives of people in the communities we visit and also support the integrity of a place, allowing it to retain the distinctive character that makes it unique. Not only is it the right thing to do, it also provides a richer experience for our travelers.

Responsible Volunteerism

Discover Corps volunteer projects are driven by the local communities — not by us. We respond to requests where our travelers can make a meaningful contribution in a short amount of time. In order to maximize your time, our local staff plan everything in advance and provide you with the support you need while you’re there. From building classrooms and improving water systems to creating eco-friendly homes, we partner with local communities to help them achieve their development goals.

While our trips only last a week or two, we strive for a long-term impact by partnering with organizations that have ongoing relationships with the communities where we volunteer. This allows each of our volunteer groups to become a link in the chain of our partner’s ongoing work. By helping communities achieve their goals, our travelers are transformed into friends and advocates of a country.

Social Commitment

Besides investing resources in locally-driven, sustainable volunteer projects that give back to the community, we also seek to preserve the cultural heritage of our destinations.

Appealing to mass market tourism has led to a trend in standardization and a global monoculture: We eschew this, instead celebrating the diversity and uniqueness of each country, as well as our shared humanity.

Our itineraries do more than observe the local culture — we seek to embrace cultural traditions and celebrate local customs. While it is a wonderful and authentic experience for our travelers, it also allows residents to rediscover their own heritage by sharing things they may take for granted. As local people develop pride and skill in showing off their locale, travelers get more out of their visit.

Economic Commitment

Good intentions are backed up with money. The choices we make when selecting partners, suppliers, and sites all have a direct economic impact in the community. The funds we spend on behalf of our travelers go to putting children through school, building homes, and starting small businesses.

Small-Scale Suppliers: Our trips utilize local, small-scale suppliers. Whether it’s a women’s group that teaches us how to cook, a family-run transportation company, or a village cooperative that offers tours of its community, we seek to channel our funds into local, small scale suppliers who provide excellent experiences for our travelers.

Locally-Owned Lodging: Our unique Home Base model is not just a great way to embed travelers into a community, it also supports locally owned lodges. In a world where multi-national hotel chains have properties in every country — but profits accumulate in only one — we’re proud to  select accommodations owned by people who live in the destination country.

Fair Wages: Our staff are like family. That’s not just a slogan; it’s an operating principle. As such, we pay all of our staff more than the minimum wage in each country. When our staff feels fairly compensated, they’re happy to provide great service that comes from the heart. It’s because of the wages we pay that we’re able to have a no-tip-expected policy: if you loved our service, tell your friends or write a positive review online.

Environmental Commitment

Our US office recycles paper, ink cartridges, cardboard, and glass. We carry out energy-saving practices such as turning off electrical equipment when not in use. All our staff are committed to protecting our environment and carry these practices with them to their home life. Whenever possible, we use suppliers and printers who use recycled materials and also have strong environmental policies.