Costa Rica High School Community Service

Costa Rica is known for its biodiversity, astounding natural beauty, and pioneering conservation efforts. Steaming volcanoes poke out of thick, green jungle, and protected tropical rain forests reach all the way to the pristine coast. Immerse yourself in a local village and work alongside community members on a variety of eco-service projects. Then set out to explore Costa Rica’s most active volcano and the breathtaking western coast.

June 15 - June 28, 2019
June 30 - July 13, 2019
July 29 - August 11, 2019
Airfare is not included. We have arranged a round- trip group flight between Miami and Liberia.

Trip Highlights

  • Experience everyday life in a traditional Costa Rican village.
  • Help develop sustainable infrastructure in your host village by planting an organic garden or restoring community buildings.
  • Lend a hand at a research center that protects endangered leatherback turtles, and help monitor nesting spots on the beach.
  • Stay at a working, sustainable ranch beneath the Arenal Volcano, and explore the surrounding rain forest on horseback.

Itinerary | 14 days

Days 1-2

Start your journey on the Pacific coast, where we’ll spend two days in a small beachside community. Go swimming, learn to surf, and spend some time volunteering at a research center that protects the endangered leatherback turtle.

Days 4-9

Travel to our community service village in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Split into teams and head out with members of the community to work on a variety of conservation-based service projects. Clear forest trails, plant an organic garden, or implement a new recycling program in town. Help build local housing, or pitch in on the restoration of a community building. Organize a village cleanup, plant trees, or develop a conservation project that local youth can continue after your visit.

During your time in the village, get a firsthand look at how conservation is woven into everyday life in Costa Rica. Learn about sustainable fishing practices from local anglers, and take night walks along the beach to help monitor sea turtle nests. In the afternoon, take a break from your projects to explore the area. Hike to a swimming hole with your new Costa Rican friends, arrange a game of pickup fútbol, or join some local women in the kitchen to learn how to make tortillas. Throughout your time here, record your service work through photographs, journal entries, and videos. Craft a story about the conservation challenges facing the community or the impact of your work.

Days 11-14

After wrapping up our community service projects, we’ll move on to Arenal, the most active volcano in Costa Rica, flanked by thick rain forest. Our home here is a small, sustainable ranch that has its own organic garden, reforestation corridor, and natural pools. Learn about the ranch’s sustainability initiatives, spend an afternoon exploring the rain forest on horseback, or go kayaking on Lake Arenal.

Descend from the mountains and return to the coast for a final day of reflection with your group before returning home.

Our community service trips are for students in grades 9-12. Students settle into a community and get involved with collaborative service projects that focus on infrastructure, education, or sustainability. Students work alongside local people, and document their experience through photos, journals, and video. Collaborative community projects provide an opportunity for deeper cultural interactions and insight into daily life in our host communities. Students travel alongside a team of highly-qualified trip leaders—college graduates with extensive experience in the field, who love working with students. Our community service trips are limited to 18 participants, and the student-to-trip-leader ratio is usually between six and eight to one and never more than nine to one.
On this program, students will spend an estimated 35–40 hours on community service projects. At the end of the program, students will receive a certificate stating the number of service hours completed. Projects described in this itinerary are examples and vary depending on the needs of the community.
Accommodations in the village are simple. The group sleeps in sleeping bags on the floor of the community center. Boys and girls share a sleeping area and bathroom with other students of the same gender. At the beach, we stay in a family-run villa. At the eco-lodge in Arenal, we sleep in bunk beds.