• 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
Jan 18, 2023
65 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

4.96 Rating
based on 73 reviews
  • 5 rating 95.89%
  • 4 rating 4.11%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.9
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.95
  • Housing 4.9
  • Safety 5
  • Program Selection 4.85
  • Pre-departure Help 5
  • In-program Support 5
  • Impact on Student 4.5
  • Value 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 73 reviews
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
2 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
24 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
27 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
22 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Marine and Turtle Adventure

This was a perfect initiation into international travel and solo travel for my daughter. GLA provided the guidance and details to make it a great trip. It was well balanced between service, personal journey, and cultural exposure. The housing was safe and well appointed, and the food was amazing. Her experience with all the local people was beyond positive. She found them to be helpful and friendly. The service work involved cleaning the beaches of debris from storms and gave the group opportunities for collaboration. The day trips gave them a chance to get into the rain forests and see wildlife. All in all, the trip gave her a chance to meet new people and make friends, do hard, meaningful, satisfying work, and be in a wonderful place. I would recommend it to teens and families for a first solo trip.

  • GLA support
  • Wonderful country
  • Service could have been longer in the day
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Sun, sand, and Independence

My son went to Costa Rica. He is 16 and had never left the country on his own before. COVID has made traveling difficult with testing and additional documents which made me more nervous about sending a minor child to Central America alone.
Everything went very well! GLA was very clear about exactly what kids needed to spring in terms of paperwork and clothing. They were there to meet my son at the airport.
My son had a most excellent time, possibly the best week of his life and made many friends. He loved the food, the kids, and the staff!

  • Individual attention
  • Friendly staff
  • Complete information
30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Spring Break

This is what I sent to GLA after my kids trip.

I can’t even begin to articulate how wonderful this whole experience has been. 2019 I discovered you after Emma expressed interest in a peace Corp experience. To send my kids on a trip like this gave me a panic attack AND pure excitement.

I did an optometry mission trip to Honduras as a student. The joy, good hard work, bonding, experiencing and appreciating a different culture, the beauty, the non tourist life changing experiences, I wanted this for Ben and emma. And they got it!

I saw it in the blog pictures, in all the kids. And heard it in the many accounts of the trip. They cried in the last night. Likely a release of such an emotional trip. But also they will miss all their new friends in the hosts, mentors, and peers.

Thank you to all that made this happen. Your passion, dedication, time, personal communication, foresight, planning, April Fools joke! All of it. Thank you so very much.

I cried reading the last blog. Tears of so many positive emotions.

And Delta unaccompanied minor program ended up being a God send.

Bless you all.

Wendy and Josh Arrington

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

Parent review

My daughter returned from Costa Rica saying it was the best experience ever. She had to travel out of the country on her own and handled flight delays coming back. She built strong friendships with all the other attendees and they are already planning reunions. They helped out with children in the community but also learned many new activities including surfing, zip lining, white water rafting. They did cooking lessons, dancing lessons. The facilities were also reported to me as being very nice and there was a special cook who offered a wide range of food. We ran into no problems except the reto4 hour flight delay but that worked out fine in the end. I would highly recommend this program and we already told our younger son that he can go somewhere through GLA when he is the same age.

68 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...