On this Service Learning and Adventure in Costa Rica program, participate in service learning projects focused on civic engagement and conservation to learn about the local culture and environment. While in San José, assist at a local school in education, entertainment or building repairs. Discover the beauty of Costa Rica, from the soothing waters to the lush treetops, filled with a wide variety of tropical plants and wildlife species. Explore the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park to observe local wildlife exhibits, including birds, butterflies, monkeys, snakes and jungle cats. Watch majestic waterfalls cascade through the trees at La Paz Waterfall and La Fortuna Waterfall. Glide above all these wondrous sights by gondola and then zipline back down, rushing across mountains and flying through the treetops.
In a tropical rainforest, be an explorer and a scientist for a day, exploring aquatic ecosystems and searching for unique wildlife. Go white water rafting in the Sarapiquí River, soaring through a vibrant rainforest over rolling rapids. Evaluate the water quality of the Sarapiquí River using physical, biological and chemical surveys. Observe what plants and animals thrive in this body of water, considering what holds their ecological relationship in balance. Go on a guided adventure on rainforest trails to find bats in their natural habitat, participate in a live lab and multimedia presentation. Explore the nocturnal world to dispel myths about bats, with the opportunity to interact with these wonderful mammals.
By interacting with the culture and traditions of Costa Rica, there are so many opportunities for growth and transformation. On a visit to Sarchí, get to know local artists as they craft and paint an oxcart where the tradition began and became a national symbol of Costa Rica. Take a chocolate tour at the Tirimbina Biological Reserve, where cacao grows, and learn how to make delicious chocolate treats. Soak in hot springs that are heated by Arenal Volcano, relaxing in the thermal waters. Go out to the farm at Arenal Vida Campesina to learn their sustainable agriculture techniques and try freshly harvested vegetables. Before the journey ends, watch a folkloric dance performance at a Tiquicia Dinner Show and carry the memories home.
Arrive in Costa Rica and transfer to the hotel. Both the orientation and welcome dinner will take place at the hotel.
Depart San José this morning to walk along gentle trails in the dense cloud forest surrounding an active volcano in Poás Volcano National Park. If the park is closed due to volcanic activity, an alternative cloud forest activity is provided. Tour the nearby La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, explore the aviary, butterfly observatory, monkey rehabilitation area, hummingbirds and orchid exhibit. Share a buffet lunch by hummingbird gardens, and then go through the serpentarium, jungle cats exhibit and hike out to viewpoints over four La Paz waterfalls. Check in to accommodations in the Sarapiquí area this evening.
Travel from Sarapiquí to Tirimbina Biological Reserve. While there, take a chocolate tour through the cacao plantation, taste the cacao bean and participate in the creation of chocolate treats. Float above the rainforest in an open-air gondola for impressive views of the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal at a lookout point. Zipline down, crossing from mountain to mountain, for pure exhilaration over the treetops. Return to accommodations in Sarapiquí.
Go white water rafting on the Sarapiquí River through lush rainforests and farmlands. In the afternoon, learn about water cycles and their importance for the ecosystems in field exercises. Participate in live bat labs on rainforest trails with an expert. During the nocturnal hours, catch and release these wonderful mammals.
After breakfast, travel to the next destination, Arenal Volcano National Park. Once there, visit La Fortuna Waterfall and then learn about organic agriculture at Arenal Vida Campesina. For the second half of the day relax at the EcoTermales Fortuna Hot Springs, thermal pools heated by the Arenal Volcano.
Support a local school through civic engagement activities, reading to students, playing games and assisting in building repairs. Search for wildlife while on a kayaking tour in Lake Arenal.
Cross over to Monteverde Cloud Forest, one of the world’s premier destinations for naturalists. Tour Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, learning about the local wildlife. Afterwards, go on a tour of the Monteverde Frog Pond at Santa Elena. Check in to local accommodations in Monteverde.
En route to San José, relax and spend some time in the sun on a beach near Jacó. Go to the artisan town of Sarchí in the afternoon to watch an artist work on a traditional painted oxcart, a national symbol of Costa Rica. Arrive in San José in time for a Tiquicia Dinner Show.
After a week of adventures, it is time for the journey home.
Note: Activities are subject to change based on availability.
On this Costa Rica adventure, students learn about biodiverse ecosystems of rainforests and engage in service learning activities in local communities. Traveling through tropical rainforests, students are introduced to an abundance of new species of plants and animals. There are hands-on activities, where students take care of rainforest trails and assist teachers at a local school. With trained experts and researchers, students test aquatic ecosystems, compare plants and soils, learn sustainable farming and consider the difference between a cloud forest and a rainforest.
At Experience, we make sure everything is covered – from housing to technology and beyond – to provide the best experience for our students.
Quality, safe hotels with twin or triple occupancy that are centrally located.
All transportation is provided throughout the program.
Airfare covers round-trip flights from major airports.
All three meals are provided daily, featuring local cuisine.
Interactive learning experiences designed to expand educational and career goals.
Scheduled activities, experiences and guided tours are all included.
Customized experiences developed by travel experts to promote learning and engagement.
Full-time Tour Directors are on site for the duration of the trip, for an all-inclusive experience.
International travel insurance is provided for protection in case of accidents, illness, flight interruptions or baggage loss.
Advanced student security software that integrates geofencing, logistics, communication and more optimized safety features.
Dedicated 24/7 staff availability, supporting students every step of the way.
Experience understands there is a growing concern over the COVID-19 outbreak and travel. We are attentively monitoring the situation and following updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Department of State.
Public health authorities are focusing on prevention efforts and actively testing anyone whose symptoms are compatible with COVID-19. It is important to note that for travel and community settings, the CDC reports a low risk of exposure for those who are in the same environment for a prolonged period of time and without close contact as someone with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Learn more about the CDC Exposure Risk Categories.
To alleviate any uncertainty, Experience is implementing an Upcoming and Future Travel Policy for 2020. This policy allows our programs to adjust their travel dates and plans to provide more flexibility for travelers and relieve any immediate concerns. As the situation evolves, we will remain in contact with group leaders to keep them informed and adjust any travel plans as needed. We want to assure all group leaders, parents and travelers that we will not send programs to destinations that are deemed unsafe by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) or the U.S. Department of State. The health and safety of our travelers is of the utmost importance and always a main concern on our educational tours. We will continue to stay informed and safely navigate the situation.