After your three-week adventure in Costa Rica, you’ll be speaking Spanish like a local! We’ll start our trip with a splash by whitewater rafting for two days on the Rio Pacuare. From there, we’ll spend five days learning the official language with host families truly immersing ourselves in local culture. Afternoons will be spent ziplining through the canopy, biking through the beautiful town of Turri, hiking along lush trails, and swimming at the base of towering waterfalls. We’ll learn from the experts and contribute to the conservation of Costa Rica’s green sea turtles. Next comes some surfing at the world-famous Playa Carrillo, snorkeling in crystalline waters, and enjoying dolphin watching off the coast. We’ll top off our trip with a visit to the indigenous territory of Matambu and participate in a cooking class to learn about the local culture. Pura Vida!
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Ultimate Costa Rica
21 Daysview dates and prices
Arrive: San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)
Depart: San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)
Day 1-3: Whitewater Raft the Rio Pacuare
We’ll start our Costa Rica adventure with a two-day jaunt down the warm, jade-green waters of the Río Pacuare! Surrounded by dense, lush rainforest and cascading waterfalls, we’ll switch between calm waters and exciting class II–IV rapids; keep your ears pricked and eyes peeled for toucans, parrots, sloths, monkeys, and more. National Geographic has named this river as one of the top 10 rivers to raft in the world.
Day 4-10: Learn Spanish during homestays
For five days, we will take Spanish classes with Costa Rican teachers from Turrialba Base House while staying with local families (two to three students per homestay). Students will be in small classes, grouped by language ability. It’s not all classroom time, however—we’ll also explore the surrounding region in a multitude of ways. In the afternoons, we’ll zoom through the forest canopy on a zipline, play soccer games with locals, and bike through the beautiful town of Turri on a guided tour!
Day 11-13: Community Service
Over two days we’ll volunteer with experienced conservationists on the local beaches of Corozalito. We’ll take nightly walks looking for sea turtles and participate in conservation work to protect the turtle nesting sites on Corozalito Beach. If we’re lucky, we will observe them coming out of the water to lay their eggs and return to the ocean all under the light of the moon.
Day 14-15: Surf's up!
While in Costa Rica, you have to learn how to surf! Two days with professional surf instructors will teach us the correct techniques, water safety and awareness, and surf etiquette. Playa Carrillo is acclaimed for its reliable, beginner-friendly waves; in fact, this entire area attracts surfers of all abilities from across the globe. When we’ve had our fill of the breaks, we’ll relax on the beach and play games at the pool.
Day 16-18: Sea kayaking and Dolphin Tour
We’ll continue to explore pristine waters while sea kayaking and snorkeling off the coast, encountering manta rays, butterfly fish, angelfish, and turtles! We’ll play in the local beach coves like Playa Samara and even head out on a dolphin-watching tour one morning and experience the joy of watching these playful animals racing our boat. Our time here wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a local women’s group to learn woodworking and traditional artisan skills during an art class.
Day 19-21: Visit Matambu
Before we leave the region, we’ll visit the indigenous territory of Matambu, a beautiful community of a modern-day indigenous tribe called the Chorotega. While there, we will visit Nangu, an eco-cultural project where the students will learn about the culture and participate in a cooking class before exploring the local area during a hike along the picturesque river. We’ll spend the next morning playing at the beach before transporting back to San Jose for an epic farewell dinner and celebration of our incredible adventure together in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!
Dates and Prices
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Accommodations & Service
Community Service: Approximately 20 Hours
- Sea Turtle Conservation: We help protect local sea turtle populations by helping hatchlings make it to the ocean.
- 16 nights of bed and breakfast style accommodations. We stay in small, comfortable, and authentic eco-lodges and hostels.
- 4 nights of homestays. There are 2-3 students per family during the homestay portion of the trip. Students only share a room with other students. Homestay families have been vetted and are middle-class families, they have clean water and refrigerators at every home.
Community Service: 20 hours
Bold Earth combines stellar trip leaders with small groups, unique itineraries and activities. Our daughter had an amazing three weeks of unplugged memories she’ll be talking about for the rest of her life (not exaggerating). She bonded with her group, genuinely improved her Spanish with the homestay, actually learned about the culture of the country she visited. Her highlights: helping 74 baby sea turtles find their way, white water rafting, hiking, canyoneering/rapelling down a waterfall, ziplining and surfing. Support staff was on top of everything and a pleasure to work with. She came home ready to book another Bold Earth trip for next summer.
Bold Earth opened me up even more than I was before and I made such great friends and memories. it was one of the best summers that I’ve had.
I learned that it’s extremely important to be present and cherish every moment. The three weeks flew by so fast that it almost felt like a dream and that it didn’t even happen. When I returned from the trip, I instantly missed having roommates and eating each meal with the group. I believe that you gain the most knowledge when you travel and immerse yourself in unfamiliar environments. The homestays gave me the opportunity to improve my Spanish skills by interacting with the family in addition to trying authentic food.
Bold Earth has been one of our daughter’s greatest life experiences and one of our best decisions as parents.
This trip was not like an ordinary teen tour. It was beyond thoughtful in helping the kids step outside their comfort zones and be fully immersed in the local culture. It was the perfect combination of adventure, community service and immersion with the language and culture. I loved how small the group was – it allowed the kids to all be close and get to know each other very personally. The group leaders are outstanding – it is evident that Bold Earth puts a lot of time into training them. I am beyond impressed!
It was one of the most fun times in my life. I made many amazing connections in the group, and I could be myself around everyone, which is huge.
What an awesome, well-run experience for my teen. I was excited she got to see a new country, make new friends, and grow in her Spanish skills.
The trip was well organized with a wonderful variety of experiences for the kids to enjoy and learn from. I never had to worry about safety.
I loved everything, especially the ziplining and the waterfalls. Surfing and beach time was also fun! The jungle was really cool, and community service was rewarding. Everything was really well-organized.
My son had a fantastic time – best of his life! Bold Earth combined volunteering, adventure and travel into an experience that my teenage son absolutely loved. Thank you so much – it was simply a perfect summer program for him!
This is our second experience with Bold Earth (we sent our other child last year) and they sure know what they’re doing! Their staff is ALL very well-trained in terms of cheery personalities, prompt email responses, organization, and attention to detail. The Bold Earth experience has paved a future of independence, confidence, and courage we wanted for our teens. Thank you so much!
My daughter had a wonderful time. It was her first time being away from home for so long and in another country. We felt she was in safe hands and had a wonderful, enriching experience where she made many new friends and gained independence.