Our three week Costa Rica adventure is an exciting combination of community service, diverse adventure travel, and stimulating cultural immersion in an unspoiled tropical paradise of pristine beaches, exotic wildlife, and colorful flora. Earn 50 hours of community service while building a rural school in a cloud forest, teaching local school children English, and restoring nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles. Experience the beauty of this peaceful country by surfing along white sand beaches, rafting a jungle river, exploring Corcovado National Park, snorkeling, and soaring through the forest on a high treetop jungle zipline.
Our programs offer a wide variety of activity options. Explore the activities specific to this program below.
After landing at the international airport in San Jose, your trip leaders will meet you and the rest of your group just outside of customs. It will have been a long travel day, so you will spend your first night together at a close-by, local hostel. You’ll play games, go over your trip itinerary, and get excited for the adventure to come. After a good night’s sleep, you will be up early and ready to explore this beautiful country. You will head to the San Gerardo Rivas community and take an afternoon of Spanish language classes. The next day, you will begin your first service project among the San Gerardo locals.
At San Gerardo, you will help the community with various projects at the local school. Each day will begin with a wonderful and filling breakfast followed by a morning walk to the village. There, you will work to improve the school’s buildings, its playgrounds, and even help create new sporting fields. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with the kids and locals and practice your Spanish skills. There will be a variety of evening activities including a cultural dance lesson. In between, to break up your five days of service, you’ll take a day off to go for a hike around the mountainous countryside. From here, you will head south to Playa Blanca, close to Puerto Jimenez on the Peninsula de Osa, for your next service component.
Your next service project will be focused on helping the sea turtles! The site of this service work covers a 25-mile stretch of pristine waterfront in the Golfo Dulce, an important nesting site of Leatherback, Hocksbill, and Green Sea Turtles. Each of these species is endangered, and the area provides little protection from predators or poachers. Because sea turtles are highly migratory animals, the safety of this nesting site is absolutely critical to their species’ survival. In partnering with an international biological conservation organization, you’ll engage in an important community-based conservation program. First, you’ll learn about sea turtle biology, habitats, and reproductive behavior from local scientists. Then, you’ll dive into your conservation work: you’ll divide into teams and conduct nightly “beach patrols” where you’ll watch over turtle nesting sites, deter predators, and actually relocate some nests and eggs to safer areas. Besides offering protection, you’ll also enjoy the chance to interact with turtles in their natural habitat and witness each species’ nocturnal egg laying in action. This important turtle conservation work is sure to foster some of the most meaningful memories of your journey. Moreover, you’ll gain a deep, appreciative understanding for these peaceful creatures and their essential contribution to the greater oceanic ecosystem.
The next few days will be spent exploring the very waters that you just worked so diligently to protect. Bringing out the sea kayaks, you will spend three days and two nights along the coast of the Golfo Dulce in the bay that separates the Osa Peninsula from the mainland of Costa Rica. You will meander through pristine rainforest coastlines and famous mangrove forests. You’ll stay overnight on a coconut and pineapple farm – the perfect location to relax after a hard day’s paddle!
Following your kayaking trip and your time spent on the Osa Peninsula, you will pack your bags and head north to the small coastal village of Uvita. Uvita is also on the Pacific Coast and is the perfect spot to learn how to surf! You will spend the next two days learning from professional local guides. They will instruct you on how to paddle out safely beyond the break of the waves, stand up on your board, and ride the gentle waves all the way to shore. You will also have plenty of time to relax on the white sandy beaches and soak up that Costa Rican sun.
When the surf is up, you’ll spend the next two days exploring the Costa Rica’s trademark biodiversity. You’ll take a day trip to Corcovado National Park and hike the inland coastal routes through beaches, mangrove swamps, and lowland rainforests. Corcovado is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, so you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for jaguars, squirrel monkeys, and scarlet macaws.
The next day, you’ll take a boat ride on the Pacific side of Costa Rica to Canos Island, a biological reserve. Its turquoise-blue waters and colorful coral reefs make it the ideal location for a few days of snorkeling.
The culminating activity of your Costa Rican adventure will be an incredible overnight rafting trip down the mighty Pacuare River. Featuring some of the finest rapids in Latin America, the Pacuare also has breathtaking views of steep canyon walls and untouched wilderness. You’ll raft through virgin forests and steep gorges. After everyone is briefed on river safety measures, you’ll take to river and navigate through thrilling rapids and huge boulders. The thick undergrowth provides shelter for jaguars, ocelots, monkeys, sloths, and a myriad of colorful, tropical birds. Costa Rica adventures don’t get any better than this! You’ll spend the night in river-side bungalows and enjoy amazing meals prepared by your raft guides.
You will then head back to San Jose for your final night together as a group. You will celebrate all that you have accomplished on this amazing adventure with a final banquet of traditional Costa Rican cuisine. The next morning, you’ll depart from the San Jose airport, the same place your trip began just 21 days ago.
I loved everything we did, the people we met, and the group as travelled with.
Luke, 2019 Costa Rica Student
Trip Price Includes
- Group gear
- Personal gear and clothing
- Airfare to and form the trip start and end