Costa Rica

Rainforest Adventure, Community Homestay, Spanish Immersion


The first words you hear when you arrive in Costa Rica may be “pura vida,” a greeting that expresses the peaceful spirit of a nation with a long tradition of democracy and a commitment to education.

Costa Rica’s warm and hospitable people, known affectionately as Ticos, inhabit an extraordinary region of the world, one replete with active volcanoes, dense rainforest, spectacular waterfalls and pristine beaches. This country’s progressive approach to conservation has protected a substantial range of its natural habitat.

Live and work with members of your host community as you gain a new appreciation for rural life and learn about the critical link between development and environmental protection. Join the Global Routes tradition, one which dates back to over 20 years of service with a host of communities and dozens of schools in Costa Rica.

Experience Costa Rica
There is no way to walk away without some incredible change

Watch this 3-minute video to get a sense of how your life-changing experience in Costa Rica will unfold while you travel with like-minded peers and top-quality leaders.

This 4-week summer program is ideal for students ages 14-18, who are looking for a meaningful international experience with a balance of service, cultural immersion, and adventure.

Chloe came home from the Costa Rica trip beaming. She loved the people she met, loved the leaders, adored her fellow travelers. Sending Chloe to Costa Rica with Global Routes was a million times over the right decision.
Parent, Costa Rica 2017
Before arriving in Costa Rica, I expected my role to be one of giving, but there turned out to be just as much receiving on my part. Overall, I found there to be a perfect balance of fun, and growth.
Jolene, Costa Rica Student
Our daughter had an absolutely wonderful time on her Global Routes adventure in Costa Rica. As her parents, we felt totally at ease and fully informed and had no anxieties as to her safety or the competence of the people who lead the trip.
Parent, Costa Rica 2017

Improve your Spanish as you work alongside community members on a service project or enjoy a warm meal of gallo pinto with your host community.

Dive into the heart of the Rainforest. You’ll climb giant trees, forage for medicinal plants, learn Costa Rican homestyle cooking, and zip-line across the canopy.

Whitewater raft on the Savegre river, through deep canyons and lush tropical rainforest.

Relax, swim and take surfing lessons in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Program Details
Session 1: June 28-July 26, 2023----Session 2: July 7-August 5th, 2023
Starting/Ending Point
San Jose, Costa Rica
Learning Goals
Spanish, construction, leadership, outdoor skills
Service Hours Earned
40-60 hours
Language Requirement
None required, but basic Spanish exposure is beneficial
High 80°F, Low 65°F,
Group Size
up to 18 students, 2 U.S. leaders, 2-3 Costa Rican Staff
Spaces Available
Enrolling for 2023
Fresh fruits and veggies, beans and rice
Program Fee
International airfare is not included in the tuition. Roundtrip airfare from New York to San Jose will be approximately $600 – $1,000.
Rainforest Lodge, Hotels, Guest Houses, Homestay

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Your Journey

Days 1-5

Spend your first days in Costa Rica experiencing the beauty of this nation in a rainforest lodge, a magical place well off the beaten path run by a generous and dedicated family. Climb giant trees, forage for medicinal plants, zip line through the rainforest canopy, and learn how to make chocolate from cacao you gather with your own hands. Cool off by taking a dip in the nearby river, rappelling down a cascading waterfall, or exploring a local cave.


Days 6-24

For the next two weeks you reside near a small rural village outside of San Isidro de El General. Here, in the hilly farmland of southern Costa Rica, you rise in the mornings to the sight of clouds enveloping the valley below. During the day, join your group and community members as you pass cinderblocks from hand to hand towards the completion of a construction project. Practice your Spanish while playing soccer with local children, while helping your host community friends prepare gallo pinto (Costa Rican rice and beans) or while harvesting sugar cane on a family farm. These daily moments in rural Costa Rica welcome you into the way of life.


Days 25-28

You depart your host community after a big farewell celebration, or despedida, and continue on to the quiet beach town of Uvita. Here, relax on tranquil tropical beaches, explore a local waterfall, and spend an afternoon learning to surf. At high tide the mighty Pacific Ocean draws near, extending an irresistible invitation for you to dive into its warmth. When it recedes at low tide you can follow its trail along a wide sandbar that extends far into the horizon. As a final adventure, your group sets out on a whitewater rafting trip. This exciting stretch of rapids flows through a beautiful forested canyon, where waterfalls tumble from all directions into the Pacuare River.

Photos from Students and Staff

View All Photos

Visit the Costa Rica gallery to get a sense of what daily life feels like on a Global Routes Program. 

“Chloe came home from the Costa Rica trip beaming. She loved the people she met, loved the leaders, and adored her fellow travelers. She gained a lot of perspective and maturity from the experience, and she had the time of her life! Sending Chloe to Costa Rica with Global Routes was a million times over the right decision.

– Elizabeth, Parent, Costa Rica


Over two decades of experience has demonstrated to us that providing financial aid awards increases the diversity of our student body and thus the depth and quality of our programs. Global Routes strives to make our programs accessible to students who otherwise, due to financial reasons, would not have the opportunity to contribute their energy and special gifts to our projects.

We offer aid packages of between 10% and 50% off tuition, which is exclusive of airfare.

Learn More About Aid

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Whether Global Routes is the best fit for you or not, we’re here to help.

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