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Costa Rica

Welcome to Rustic Pathways in Costa Rica!

Rustic Pathways has been operating enriching programs in Central America for eight years. We offer twenty diverse programs in Costa Rica, which range from helping save sea turtles, to working with an indigenous tribe in the Caribbean and exploring the jungle in Corcovado National Park. Three years ago we began working with the Kuna Indians on the San Blas Archipelago in Panama. We are proud to continue our work with this welcoming community and to introduce our students to this beautiful destination through service and adventure.

Group Travel in Costa Rica

We custom design our Journeys to meet your school’s requirements, so please contact us to discuss the type of experience you are looking for. As a general guide, here are some of the potential elements of your Journey through Costa Rica:

Service Projects

Rustic Pathways has developed various long-term partnerships with communities, villages and local organisations in Costa Rica. Experience for yourself the power of sustainable environmental development programs. Contribute to sea turtle conservation efforts or lend a hand with remote village infrastructure projects or social development and engagement activities. Some of our service projects that you could support include:

Reforestation Projects: Undertaking environmental initiatives by replanting trees on the Osa Peninsula, helping in a recycling centre or helping in local gardens.

Primary Schools: Help run and tutor in English classes at primary schools around Costa Rica.

BriBri & Sarapiqui Village Service: Teaching English, small-scale construction work and improving local infrastructure.

Turtle Conservation: Work alongside National Park Rangers to protect this beautiful creature and it’s habitat by assisting in the turtle hatcheries, beach clean-ups, reforestation and egg-collection projects.

Summer Leadership Camp: Work together to create and run a summer camp for disadvantaged local kids. Develop meaningful connections with the kids through fun, engaging and educational activities.

Education and Cultural Exploration

Experience the warmth and laid-back vibe of tico culture in the beaches, towns, and jungles of Costa Rica. Immerse yourself in the indigenous culture of the Bribri, hone your Spanish skills through immersive homestays, or get adventurous and explore the jungle and zip line through the rainforest. You may like to incorporate some of the following experiences into your Journey:

BriBri Cultural Activities: BriBri community and culture is very welcoming and during your time in the village you will have the opportunity to learn about this village’s way of life. As well as learning about how to use the cacao plant to make chocolate and about BriBri’s use of medicinal plants.

The Maleku Community: Have a unique opportunity to interact with the Maleku community. You will play games and practice Spanish with the local children and learn about this fascinating culture. The Maleku are one of Costa Rica’s eight remaining indigenous groups and have lived in the northern regions of Costa Rica for centuries. Today, only about 600 Maleku people still live in three communities in northern Costa Rica on a reservation that is a fraction of the size of their former lands.

Costa Rican Wildlife: Home to some of the most bio diverse swaths of land and sea on the planet, Costa Rica is famed for its natural environment – and it’s commitment to that environment! Costa Ricans – or Ticos, as they’re called here – are intensely proud and protective of their lands, and have put their country on the map as the world leader in eco-tourism and environmental protection. Learn, firsthand, about some of the methods used in sustainable development areas.

Adventure and Challenge

Adventure and challenge is inherent to every Journey, however, if you are looking to physically challenge your students through a specific activity, you may opt to include:

Surfing: Learn to carve up some waves in a series of surf lessons from local legends.

Kayak, Sail, And Snorkel: Get out on the warm Costa Rican ocean to try your hand at any of these activities.

White-water rafting: Throw on a lifejacket and head for 1 or more days down the Pacuare River for a rafting adventure.

Sleep in a cave: A truly Rustic experience, this camp is set behind a giant waterfall. While the setting is Rustic the camp has all facilities to make a night out here comfortable with beds, bathrooms, a kitchen and even a fire pit!

Rappelling waterfalls: Led by professionals in the industry, rappel down towering waterfalls into the jungle below. One of the waterfalls is 50 metres tall!

Zip-lining: Zip-lining in Costa Rica is a breathtaking experience. As you shoot through the rainforest canopy you can hear howler monkeys and birds cheer as you reach lightning speed.


There are various accommodation options that we can offer in Costa Rica; it depends on how “rustic” you would like your Journey to be.

Hotels: A variety of 3, 4 & 5 star hotels in cities and towns.

Homestays: Students can homestay with local families in remote villages.

Volcano & Rainforest Base House: A large property located near the town of La Fortuna, this large house has capacity for groups of more than 60.

Turrialba Base House: A traditional Costa Rican townhouse set in the Turrialba Valley and is known for its proximity to adventure activities.

The Surf Base House: Perched on a hill overlooking the rainforest, this multi-story surf house is located just outside the coastal town of Uvita. With easy access to consistent surf, this is a great spot for beginners or advanced surfers.

River Lodge: Located on the banks of the Pacuare River, the lodge is used primarily for rafters that are on overnight trips.

Luxury Tents: Camping in shared tents when in remote places is a great way to experience the Costa Rican wilderness.

Sample Itinerary (Intro to Community Service in Costa Rica)

Exciting service and thrilling adventure at the Volcano and Rainforest Service Base

Day 1

Fly in to San Jose. Upon your arrival, Rustic Pathways Staff will greet you at the airport.

Enjoy your first glimpses of this spectacular country. From its rainforests to its volcanic peaks to its two coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful nations in Central America. Home to some of the most biodiverse swaths of land and sea on the planet, Costa Rica is famed for its natural environment – and its commitment to that environment! Costa Ricans – or Ticos, as they’re called here – are intensely proud and protective of their lands, and have put their country on the map as the world leader in eco-tourism and environmental protection.

In addition to its stunning flora and fauna, Costa Rica is also world-renowned for its adventure activities, some of which you may be sampling in the days to come!

Head to your night’s lodgings. Spend the first night meeting new friends and mingling about with students preparing for our many enriching programs. Good luck and enjoy your stay in beautiful Costa Rica!

Day 2

Wake up early for breakfast before departing with your group to La Fortuna, one of Costa Rica’s most scenic towns. After a beautiful three-hour drive, arrive at the Volcano and Rainforest Service Base in time for a fresh Tico lunch. There will be time to settle into rooms and get to know The Base before going to a cultural presentation at a nearby school. In the evening get to know your new friends and enjoy games, good music, and new stories.

Day 3

In the morning after breakfast, get with your respective work group and leave the Base to work on one of the exciting and rewarding projects in the surrounding communities. Work will be divided into community improvement projects, educational facility development, and green initiative projects.

After a productive morning, return to The Base for a fantastic lunch. Take a siesta or jump in the pool for a quick swim before leaving again to work on a different afternoon service project. After dinner you will prepare for Language Exchange and Cultural Immersion with a local school.

Day 4

Wake up for an early breakfast, and then have another significant and productive day with different community service projects. After dinner, head into town for local souvenir shop and a chance to use the Internet!

Day 5

After a nice breakfast, get ready for a day full of scenic beauty and head out to the zip line through the rainforest canopy where you can observe the magnificent Arenal Volcano and the artificial lake that runs dam for hydroelectric power in the country. After Lunch you will go to the nearby waterfall of La Fortuna and spend time to enjoy the beauty of the waterfall and swim in the river. After this prepare for a trip that will take you through the roots of Costa Rican culture, with typical activities, music and Costa Rican cuisine that you’re going to love.

Day 6

After breakfast, get ready for an intense day of adventure! You will be off to go whitewater rafting on the famous Sarapiquí River (class III & IV). Those who do not wish to join the tour can spend the day relaxing at The Base or shopping in La Fortuna. Return to The Base. At night you will have an activity at the base house with the entire group that you’ll have fun.

Day 7

Wake up for an early breakfast, and then head out to work in your community service projects. At night enjoy a relaxing visit to the hot springs after a week of hard work!

Day 8

After breakfast you will work on your last day of community service. Return to the Base for lunch and then pack up for the return to San Jose, stopping along the way for last-minute souvenir shopping.

Day 9

It’s time to say adiós to Costa Rica and head home from your exciting Rustic Pathways adventure!

Special Requests

Please chat to us if you have any special requests that you would like included in your Journey.

There is nothing too big, small, or out-of-the-box that we can’t handle.

What Next?

Please email us at to start designing your Journey!

We would be delighted to partner with your school to support the global education of your students.