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 rainforests 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 the Nicoya Peninsula’s rivers, mangroves, and tropical forests while staying at a family-owned ranch and lending a hand with local conservation efforts.

Days 1-2: Northwest Coast, Costa Rica

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 3-9: Community Service Village

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 service projects. Restore public parks, 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. 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 a traditional dish. 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 10-14: Nicoya Peninsula

After saying goodbye to your host village, head south to a family-owned coastal ranch on the stunning Nicoya Peninsula. Spend time hiking in the Caletas Ario National Wildlife Refuge; learn about the organization’s sustainable permaculture practices; and visit the on-site turtle hatchery in time to see baby turtles being born. Take in a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean, and analyze wildlife photos captured by camera traps placed on the refuge grounds. Learn to whip up local specialities during cooking classes, and in your downtime, stroll along the beach before turning in for the night at your eco-friendly bungalow.