Multiple Locations +2
  • Belize
    • Caye Caulker
    • San Ignacio
  • Costa Rica
    • San José
    • La Fortuna
    • Monteverde
4 - 12 weeks

Program Details

Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Apartment Hotel
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details

Return airfare from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport
Approximate airline departure taxes, surcharges and fees
Hotels and accommodations
Daily breakfast and dinner
Entrance fees to all course-specific sites
Airfare between countries
Transportation between hotel locations via private coach
Transportation for all listed program excursions
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airfare Domestic Airfare Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Some Meals SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Nov 13, 2023
Sep 04, 2018
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Traveling through Costa Rica and Belize to see, first-hand, some of the world's most diverse ecosystems is the perfect way to make rainforests, reefs, and beaches your classroom. Snorkeling Shark Alley, zip-lining through rainforests, trekking through jungles, hiking volcanoes, and swimming the coastlines of Central America make these programs an outdoor adventure infused with scientific exploration and learning.

Backpackers: Central America | Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, La Fortuna, Caye Caulker, San Ignacio, Placencia
Courses Offered: Grade 12 Biology

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • 9:1 Student to staff ratio (maximum)
  • Earn Ministry-approved credits
  • Work in a lab in the rainforest
  • Adventure activities include zip-lining and trekking
  • Live lectures, discussions and activities

Program Reviews

4.95 Rating
based on 20 reviews
  • 5 rating 95%
  • 4 rating 5%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.95
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 4.55
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 20 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Most Memorable Experience of my Life

For me, the single best aspect of the trip was the connections and friendships that I made over the 35 days. I believe that this trip attracts some of the best people, but I must give credit to the teachers for creating the family aspect and feeling that each and everyone of us felt while on the trip this summer. The teachers encouraged us to get to know, and spend time with every person on the trip. With a group as large as ours (32 students) it would have been easy to get to the end of the trip and realize that there are people that you have never talked to. I am glad to say this didn't happen.
In terms of the school work, it was busy. It was most defiantly not a free ride as some people had predicted it to be. It was busy for an obvious reason. We completed two grade 12 courses in 35 days instead of the normal 5 months. It was challenging, but the teachers were incredibly helpful and approachable, which made the workload manageable. The teachers not only had these qualities when it came to school work, but you could also talk to them about anything and they were always helpful and made you feel comfortable.
I enjoyed the freedom of having free time over lunch and in the evenings, but having structured activities and excursions were also a ton of fun and allowed us to get to know people better. Some of my favourite excursions were the cave diving, the zip-lines, and the Jaguar Park hike!
From the trip one of the biggest take aways that myself, and most people had, was how to be more independent and how to manage time better. Due to how fast pace the course is, time management is crucial in order to get all the work done on time, as well as leaving time to take in the unique surroundings that you are in.

95 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Backpackers 2018

Through this program I have been able to meet so many new people and make so many friendships. I have also been able to make my grade 12 school year much less stressful but completing 2 courses over the summer! There are so many great memories I have from this trip ranging from exploring caves to zip lining to relaxing by the pool and beach, however, white water rafting was something that I did not expect to enjoy so much! I will never forget it!

98 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Experience of My Life!

After being apart of MEI Backpackers 2018, I feel that I must recommend it to everyone I meet! It was the most incredible adventure I have ever experienced. I met some fascinating people on this trip that I now consider lifelong friends. The teachers are some of the best I have ever had, truly caring about what they were teaching and doing their best to help each and every student succeed. Approximately three weeks later and I am still in shock that I was fortunate enough to experience this. I look at pictures of the different adventures that we did as a group and it fills me with so much emotion. I can remember every sense from each of the locations we stayed at and the amazing feeling of looking up from your studying to see the vast ocean in front of you. The rainforest’s mists soaking you just enough to cool you off. Dancing to music under the stars after a delicious meal. Work never seemed to get in the way of a good time. The first class I had on this trip was Biology. It was held on a covered dock with ocean surrounding us. Breeze spilled in through empty spaces and cooled us off in very high Belize temperatures. This class was the first moment I was truly in, “awe.” I just couldn't believe that this is where my life had taken me, studying population dynamics, sitting on a dock, on an island in Belize. There would be times when we were stressed out, however those feelings would be evened out by a jaw dropping excursion the next day. The friends I made on this trip also prevented me from becoming stressed because their presence would always lighten the mood and our belief in one another drove us to succeed. Words cannot describe how much meeting these people meant to me and how much they mean to me today. At the beginning, the teachers informed us that this group would soon become family. At the time, we were to anxious and therefore, awkward to believe it. They surly did not lie, as all of us became the closest of friends. This trip has been more rewarding than I could have ever have imagined. I learned so many new things not only about Biology and English, but about myself and this amazing, gigantic world that we live in.

97 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Rae Mazzei

This experience was truly amazing. Although it did get very stressful at times, that all would just go away when going to the beach. This really helped me narrow down things for university and really showed me a new way of learning. It was amazing to be able to have this experience and learn all the things i did. Being able to study on the beach was probably one of the nicest feelings there was. All those late night crams were always forgotten about the next day when we would go hike to swim in waterfalls or go swim with sharks. I truly do not take away one negative thing from this trip

What would you improve about this program?
I think that monteverde would have been a better place to go than the solstis centre but overall i wouldn’t change anything else
108 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Summer Ever

From Day 1 to Day 35, I lived a once in a lifetime opportunity. Personally, the best part of the trip was the group. The different people you meet will possibly become life-long friends, for me they did. Although one month does not seem like the longest period to get close to friends, it really is. Doing all the activities you do, such as different hikes, snorkeling, cave spelunking and more, you learn to start trusting the people around you. I'm also extremely glad I got biology and english out of the way for grade 12. The education on the trip was amazing, and the teachers managed to provide amazing support for any concerns or issues the students had.
To future participants, this may be the best summer trip you ever experience. The school work may get a little tough, but keep to it and it will pay off! The different expeditions will leave you wanting more.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a bit more free time, but I do believe it was a perfect trip. No need for much improvement.
94 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Do This Program

Restlessly wrestling my parents to let me go on MEI has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made, because this program as been one of most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. I was mostly drawn in by the unique study experience in the wilds of Central America. My dream for this program was to study biology in lush, tropical jungles, immersed and connected with the wilderness, in contrast to the harrowing classroom setting. This, and many other hopes for this program came true as time went on. This program is very expensive, I know. But this truth forced me to push myself academically, and socially, to make every single moment count. There is no better feeling than working hard, and getting the results you want. This program has a very demanding course load, so using your time efficiently is vital to getting the most of your experience. My 35 days felt like a dream, and for that I give thanks to the amazing people I met, being a student or a teacher. Not everyone’s experience will be the same on this trip, but everyone’s experience will be absolutely phenominal. Visiting different countries and exploring their culture while interacting with locals on a daily basis is something very rare in a school setting. I loved this program, and I love all of those I did it with. Jump right in, step out of your comfort zone, and get ready to have your mind blown.

99 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Trip!

I originally looked into MEI as a more exciting way of completing summer school however from this trip I gained so much more than an education. Not only are you surrounded by supportive teachers, you also meet incredible people in incredible places. Originally I was scared to go on this trip alone but the atmosphere makes it easy for you to bond quickly with the people around you and turns the class into a family. The ability to travel the world with such an amazing group of people has helped me to grow as a person in ways i could have never imagined. I am so thankful I chose the backpackers program it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!!

92 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Summer Trip!

I went on the Central America Backpackers trip this summer and can honestly say it was one of the most inspiring and life-changing experiences I have ever had. From the amazing teachers and students I met from across Canada, to studying english and biology on the beach, I could not think of a better way to have spent my summer. I loved how close and comfortable everyone was around each other, especially having not known anyone going into the trip. I would highly recommend studying abroad with MEI Academy!

95 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers