• Costa Rica
1 - 4 weeks

Program Details

Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Apr 15, 2021
Jul 23, 2023
69 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Join us in one of the most astounding collections of ecosystems and cultures on the planet. Global Leadership Adventures runs Costa Rica programs for teens ages 14-19 to complete meaningful community service projects, participate in unique and hands-on cultural immersion, and have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Choose from programs with themes including: Animal & Wildlife Conservation, Children & Education, Environmental Stewardship, Language Immersion and more.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Costa Rica: Animal Rescue Project (14-21 Day Program)
  • Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure (10-Day Program)
  • Costa Rica: Marine Conservation & Sea Turtle Expedition Program (21 Days)
  • Costa Rica: Spanish Service Adventure (14-21 Day Program)
  • Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children (14-21 Day Program)

Program Reviews

4.92 Rating
based on 77 reviews
  • 5 rating 94.81%
  • 4 rating 3.9%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 1.3%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.85
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.95
  • Housing 4.9
  • Safety 4.95
  • Program Selection 4.85
  • Pre-departure Help 5
  • In-program Support 5
  • Impact on Student 4.5
  • Value 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 77 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Adventure!

My daughter just returned from the three-week coastal clean-up. She had a fantastic experience not only with the staff, and experts brought in to educate but most importantly with the other children that attended. The hotels were clean and the staff did laundry and provided good meals, even for my picky eater. Although she didn't know anyone ahead of time, several of them formed a tight bond. They've been keeping up, sharing pictures and memories for the last few weeks. And, we're already planning out next year with GLA.

  • Great for solo traveler!
  • Can't think of any cons.
17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

My daughter attended the The Children's Initiative trip from June 26th to July 5th. She had an amazing time. She learned so much being immersed in the culture. She enjoyed participating in her program helping the children. She also made great friendship along the way. They also had so much fun going to the beach, hiking and zip lining. I must say the GLA team was amazing during the whole process from beginning to end. They were very accessible to answer my questions, and the wealth of information available on line about the programs and expectations was helpful. The mentors were kind, fun and knowledgable. The communication provided up until the day of the trip was impeccable. The blogs written by the participants almost daily accompanied by pictures helped to put my mind at ease. Additionally knowing that if I needed to get in touch with her emergently, I would be able to was also reassuring. I highly recommend GLA and I feel this is a well run program and my daughter hopes to participate again next summer.

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

10/10 Loved Costa Rica

I cannot even begin to express how much I loved Costa Rica. Though the housing isn't luxurious, it is not meant to be. This was an exciting and eye-opening experience for me. I was very lucky to have been with the most incredible group of people ever. We were a mix of different personalities, but we all got along well. We were also so lucky to have the best mentors ever. Gina, Sam, and Stef were unbelievably amazing and supportive throughout the entire trip. Everything we did was enjoyable. 10/10

  • Eye opening
  • Fun
  • Building connections & creating memories
  • Smaller housing
  • If you refuse to go vegan for some time, might be tough (I didn't think I could, but the vegan food was prepared so well, amazing substitutes)
  • Bug bites
41 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

not a good experience for my child

My child went to Costa Rica last summer with GLA.
This is a good kid who has excellent grades and is home for curfew and does not use substances.
There were many kids caught drinking on her program, actually ON SITE. They stole alcohol from a store where they were taken shopping. This was the majority of the participants, and it was older boys who instigated and some were quite drunk.
My child was in the space but not drinking alcohol, and yet was punished with 3 other kids who were more actively participating, kicked off the program while many who were involved got to stay. I was literally contacted in the process of my child being carted off to a different location in a different country BY MY CHILD, not by any adult in the program.
THEN -- find out through that experience that there were kids drinking on other programs as well. No responsibility was taken that it was the ADULTS running the program that should have prevented this. My child wanted to have a conversation with the adult running the program about the experience -- never happened.
Terrible -- clearly these people have NO IDEA how to safely run a teen program, and how to model responsible behavior and communication.

  • beautiful place
  • nice idea
  • ?
  • Spanish only for beginners
  • Not well run
  • Not safe for teens
45 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Summer Program Ever!

My trip to Costa Rica was the best thing I could have done. The service aspect of the program was so incredible because not only were we actively helping out a community, but we were also learning about the environment. You make lifelong friends and experience things that you never forget. My experience built confidence, not only with travel but with making friends. The mentor groups at the end of the night were a great debrief of our day and helped to reflect on our service. The rooms we stayed in were great and beds were comfortable.

  • Great Service Aspects
  • Meet New People
  • No laundry service until the last day
45 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

GLA Costa Rica Children's Initiative

My daughter had an absolutely wonderful trip on her GLA adventure. She was on the Costa Rica Children's Initiative trip from July 25-August 7 2022. I honestly cannot say enough good things. The experience matched and exceeded my expectations. She absolutely adored all the mentors and the international director, Jonathan. She made so many new friends and is really missing them! The combination of service activities, GLA bonding and leadership activities, and recreational trips is perfect for a teenager. She talked all the way home from the airport about her experience. Most of all, I think she treasures the relationships that were formed. As a parent, the communication from the company before the trip as well as the blog during the trip was superb. I never worried about her safety, as I could follow along with their daily activities. I will definitely be saving up for another trip for her in the future.

  • staff
  • communication
  • diversity
62 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Light on the animal focus

The trip had a heavier focus on standard camp activities than on animals. The “animal rescue” portion involved tidying the area around the site where animals were housed. This was 60% of the trip. Only one of the three weeks had vet experience. The program description oversold the vet aspect of the trip, and we wish there had been more of that type of experience. On the plus side, the students got to meet new people and try a variety of different activities and foods. They were happy with their mentors and felt safe.

  • Variety of activities and foods if you want a “camp” experience
  • No “animal rescuing”
  • Not enough vet experience
69 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

No Regrets!

As a parent of a participant, I was very pleased with the whole GLA process from start to finish. Their communication was just the right amount. I felt extremely comfortable with the leadership and organization of the program and staff. My son is a rising senior and felt very comfortable in a foreign country meeting new people in his group. He really enjoyed being involved in the spaying and neutering of the local animals in Costa Rica. We look forward to sending our other two sons on a GLA trip in the years to come.

  • Experience another culture
  • Practice Spanish Language
  • Provide service to the community
61 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

This program is incredible! I was able to attend it this past summer and it gave me a whole new perspective. Some tips on saving up for the trip is to start a "Go fund me" account and asking relatives to donate money toward that for birthdays or other holidays instead of giving gifts. Also, I've started putting half of my pay checks into a savings account, which adds up really quickly! If you have...

While in Costa Rica, I felt extremely safe and so did everyone in my group! We were immediately welcomed into the country by our mentors and we found them easily after getting off the plane. In both of the places we stayed, everyone was extremely friendly and confident in what they were doing. Our trip was well planned and organized as well. I never doubted that I was safe which allowed me (and...

In my program, there were 14 girls. Although I was initially worried that there were only girls in my group, it made the trip even better! We had an amazing dynamic and all of us immediately bonded. By the end of the trip, it felt as if I had known those girls my entire life -- not just two weeks. We felt like sisters and there were many tears when we said goodbye. However, we still talk almost...

In Spanish and Service in the Osa we rotated through different projects. We painted the bleachers, helped dig the foundation for a basketball court, organize their library, help to brighten up and plant in their school's garden, and my personal favorite paint a large map of the world (as most of their maps were a little outdated). Not even the overwhelming heat could bring us down we were having...