Summer and Spring Break Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica

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Program Highlight!

A full spectrum of Chinese adventure awaits, as complex as the country itself. Hike the Great Wall of China and experience Mandarin immersion and language classes on our China: Mandarin Service Adventure program!

About

Five unique ecosystems, one adventure. Come join us in Costa Rica to volunteer and learn first hand about conservation. GLA offers multiple Service Learning Adventures in Costa Rica, from animal and environmental conservation, to language immersion, sports, and children programs.

• Spring Break Sea Turtle Initiative: Turn your passion for wildlife conservation into an adventure you'll never forget.
• Animal Rescue Project: Rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and injured animals.
• Spanish Service Adventure: Improve your Spanish skills.
• The Initiative for Children: Take on projects that benefit local youth.
• Empowering Rainforest Communities™: Empower communities that depend on the rainforest to thrive.
• Protecting the Pacific: Volunteer on the Pacific coast.
• Surf & Sports Service Adventure: Share your passion for sports and make a difference.
• The Sea Turtle Initiative: Get up-close and personal with the endangered species.
• Soccer Beyond Borders: Organize soccer camps for kids.

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...

Reviews

98%
based on 62 reviews
  • Growth 9.7
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.9
  • Program Selection 9.5
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 9.8
  • Impact on Student 9
  • Value 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 62
Marlene
10/10

Maisy's trip to Parrita

My daughter, Maisy had a wonderful experience with her trip with GLA. She has an anxious personality, and this trip brought her out of her comfort zone and she learned the value of independence and travel. Maisy went to Parrita, Costa Rica and was able to help build a playground immerse herself in the culture of Parrit. GLA staff was always so helpful and answered all and any questions we had, making us feel welcome and comfortable. I would highly recommend GLA trips for teens to any parent. Enjoy your trip!!

How can this program be improved?
I think the GLA prgram could offer more ways to fund raise
Yes, I recommend
Jessica
10/10

The initiative for children

This was the most incredible 2 weeks of my life. I was terrified as I was 16 and going totally by myself but it was so incredible. I soon realized that almost everyone that goes on trips with Global Leadership Adventures goes without friends or siblings and I felt so much better. I felt 100% safe at all times while on my trip. All of the work we did was incredible and I felt like I bonded with the kids so much although I felt like 2 weeks was not enough at all and wished I had chosen the 3 week trip. I met 6 incredible girls that I now consider to be my best friends and I will be flying across the country to visit them in just a few months; that's how strong the friendships you make with Global Leadership Adventures can be. I still have cards and pictures given to me by the kids I taught in Costa Rica. I will be going on another trip with Global Leadership Adventures this summer for even longer because of how much I loved the Initiative for Children!

How can this program be improved?
The packing list can be improved
Yes, I recommend
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Carly
10/10

Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children

My volunteer trip to Costa Rica with Global Leadership Adventures was nothing short of eye opening. The positive attitude of the people involved in my program was so inspiring. The community where I was volunteering was so happy that we could offer them help in rebuilding a better place for their children to learn and the children enjoyed having new people to kick around a soccer ball with. I found myself falling more and more in a euphoric state as Global Leadership Adventure helped me immerse myself in a new culture. Whether it be at the volunteer sight, at the beach or at a locals house, the opportunities that were given to me on this trip were surreal. The program helped me learn to appreciate what I do have instead of thriving for such materialistic things. I was able to learn about the true meaning of a pure life.

Yes, I recommend
Grace
10/10

Best Trip Ever!!!

This was one of the best experiences of my entire life. It helped with both my growth as a person, a leader, and as a friend. Growing up I always wanted to travel and see the world and even help in out in my own way. Global Leadership Adventures made all of these things possible. From the second I touched down in San José to the second I left I felt welcomed, included, and important for the first time in a long time. We did so much community service that could change a lot of the townspeople's lives for a long time. While I was there, my group helped out at a local tree nursery, we built a scale model of a baby humpback whale completely out of plastic water bottle and we even did a couple of beach cleanups in the local marine park. That's not all we did while in Costa Rica. We also went on a bunch of adventures. We went zip lining, surfing, hiking, and we even took a day trip to Corcovado national park on the Osa Peninsula. I would definitely recommend either this or any trip that GLA has to offer. The mentors were so helpful at every activity, they were definitely a big part of why my trip was so enjoyable. The food was amazing and our home base was so beautiful. Every aspect of my trip was incredible and I fully recommend trying a service trip abroad. I know for a fact I will be going on another one very soon.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I can think of that could be improved is the amount of speakers we had at our group meeting. I wish there had been more speakers to teach us more about the culture in the town we were staying in.
Yes, I recommend
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Julia
10/10

Best experience of my life!

My trip to Costa Rica was truly an amazing experience. I did the 14 day animal rescue program so I got to work with lot of the strays from Costa Rica at a local no kill shelter. As much as we help the dogs and their living conditions, we also had lots of fun! The staff and students made all of the service hours a blast. We also got to experience lots of other fun activities like zip lining, hot springs, , seeing the waterfalls, coffee tours, and touring San Jose. Those are just some of the awesome things we were able to do. You also get to learn a bunch of things about the Costa Rican community. The bonds you create with the students and staff are incredible and I can't wait to go back next summer! The staff are exceptional and it was very safe. This trip has made me look at everything in a different way and it truly made me a better person. I recommend Global Leadership Adventures for any teenager who wants to make a difference in the world, and wants to have lots of fun!

How can this program be improved?
This program is amazing! I would not want to change anything about my experience!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jack
10/10

Global Leadership Adventures - Truly Life Changing!

Global Leadership Adventures, or GLA, is incomparable to any other program. Every staff member is always there for you, especially your mentors. All of the mentors are very supportive and kind hearted people. When I got back home, the first thing I said to my mom and dad was, "Can I do another next year?" Everyday we woke so excited to scarf down our delicious breakfast and head out into the jungle to join the smiling faces of the locals. I will never forget these 10 days, the best 10 days of my life.

How can this program be improved?
They can plan better at the airport, so that people don't have to wait or other flights. However, during that time waiting, you can connect with the mentors and other kids.
Yes, I recommend
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Stefanie
10/10

Amazing Experience

We sent our god daughter on the two week animal rescue program in Costa Rica. She is a dog fanatic so we knew that this program would be great for her. We did research other programs and companies, but decided on GLA because we felt they were the highest quality program at the best price. Their communication before, during and after the program has been first-rate. Our god daughter returned from the experience feeling that it was a life-changer for her. She hadn't been away from home for an extended period of time without family, so this was important to have her do to give her the chance to be on her own. She will go to college next year, so this was a great stepping stone to being able to go away from home for college.

Yes, I recommend
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Britton
10/10

GLA - Initiative for Children Costa Rica

This program was amazing! I met so many awesome people from the other students, to the staff, to the community members - everyone helped make it such a memorable trip. It was incredibly well organized, especially compared to some other programs that my friends have gone on. It was definitely unique in the sense that it felt like a trip where the community was helping the community and not a bunch of foreigners helping a less fortunate community.

Yes, I recommend
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Phoebe
10/10

Life-changing

I went to Costa Rica on the Beachside Service Adventure this past summer and have come back with new insight, views, values, and an abundance of incredible memories. Not only do Global Leadership Adventure trips involve students giving back to those in need, but you also get to meet amazing people, experience and learn a new culture, and grow as an individual. The impact you make is extremely special and you will do good for yourself and more importantly, others. GLA has given me a life-changing experience that I will never forget.

Response from Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Thank you for sharing your takeaways from your volunteering experience in Costa Rica. We're so glad you had an amazing time and made lifetime memories with GLA.

Yes, I recommend
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Rayya
10/10

The best experience!

I am so happy I stumbled across Global Leaderships one day. I have always wanted to do a service opportunity abroad but my parents are very hesitant towards it as most are. My parents talked to the GLA staff over the phone and they reassured them I was going to be in a safe environment wherever I went. I am a shy girl, but everyone on my trip was so nice and at the end of the ten days I felt as though I had known everyone in my group for a while. Meeting the locals and how the lived and how happy they were made me fall in the love Costa Rica and how beautiful the country was. It definitely made me a more humble, appreciative, and optimistic person. One of the best decisions I've ever made was going to Costa Rica through Global Leadership adventures.

Yes, I recommend
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Natalie
10/10

The Most Amazing Trip Ever.

Global Leadership Adventures Costa Rica Beachside Adventure program was one of the biggest eyeopeners I've ever experienced. I know, lot of parents are concerned, thinking "Is it safe? Is it clean? Is it fun?" YES! " Is it a scam?". No, it is not. It is a life changing, leader building, intensely beautiful program that I wish every teen could experience. Playa del Coco Week One (our group) was such a fun, goofy, pure group. The mentors were amazing, l appreciate the love and passion they set forth. We would take walks on the beach, shop, tour around, and much more fun. But, our service projects... they were hard. (Good! But wow!) My group helped start to build a bridge. A bridge! We met so many beautiful people, from the US and Costa Rica. Global Leadership Adventures, you hold a special place in my heart. THANK YOU!

How can this program be improved?
Make the picture MB size just a little bigger
Response from Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts both on your volunteering experience and on GLA. We're glad you were satisfied with the pre-departure assistance we provided as well as your experience in Costa Rica.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lindsay
10/10

Life-changing experience: Costa Rica Beachside Service

I went on the beachside service adventure program in Costa Rica this summer, and it was an amazing experience. I was assigned to a service project that involved helping a community build a bridge so the children's walk to school would be more than cut in half, as the river we helped build a bridge over swelled up in the rainy season. The trip changed my perspective, and I went without knowing anyone else, so it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I got to play basketball with local teenagers, go swimming in the ocean at sunset, make new friends, try to make costa Rican style art, visit an animal sanctuary, a natural hot springs, and so much more. Everyone on the staff was so kind, on one of the last nights they all shared personal stories about how they ended up volunteering abroad, and they were all so inspiring.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Terri
10/10

For the parents

Sending my 16 year old daughter out of the country on her own (without knowing anyone who would be there) was a daunting and slightly terrifying experience. Yet, she wanted to go so badly. She wanted to "see the world" and do some good for others. We did our research and settled on Global Leadership Adventures, a 10 day trip to costa Rica.

It was a growth experience for all of us. We learned to let go and trust others to take care of our chid (which they did wonderfully). She grew in countless ways- independence, maturity, empathy, seeing a hard days work pay off (they helped build a bridge to shorten the walk to school for local children). She saw the world from a whole new perspective, met interesting and caring people, had adventures and gained valuable experiences she never would have staying close to home.

After she returned, she was so excited to share her experiences and we were so glad we made the decision to let her go. We highly recommend GLA and the volunteering abroad experience.

Response from Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

Thank you for trusting GLA! Safety continues to be our #1 priority so parents like you can have peace of mind while students go abroad to volunteer, pursue new passions and develop their leadership skills.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Isabel
10/10

Global Leadership Adventures (Costa Rica-Beachside Service)

This was the first service trip I've ever done and the first time I've traveled out of the country by myself. Although the experience was daunting, this was the most rewarding experience I've ever been able to take a part in. Global Leadership Adventures though of each detail to a tee and the service was equally as exciting as the excursions. We spent long days mixing concrete and painting benches but the service was all so worthwhile and afterwards we were rewarded with dips in the gorgeous ocean across from our home base. The best part of the trip however was the people I met, without this trip I don't think I would have ever been able to meet people as special as the ones I met. And the best part was that we were able to make lasting memories with one another like snorkeling, horse back riding and jumping off rocks near a gorgeous waterfall. I am still friends with most of the people from the trip and I am so thankful to the program for bringing them into my life.

How can this program be improved?
Personally the only way this program would have been better for me is if it were longer! Luckily though, Global Leadership Adventures has numerous other programs around the world for longer times.
Yes, I recommend
Sophie
10/10

Spanish and Service in the Osa- Coolest Trip I've Ever Been On!

When I asked my mom this past summer if I could go to a Spanish language camp, I expected I would be going to classes at my local college for a week. So when she found this Global Leadership Adventures program, we were both ecstatic. I was so nervous because I had never traveled alone before or to a Spanish speaking country. I really shouldn't have been because it was the smoothest traveling experience I've ever had. GLA finds flights for you and has a representative meet you at the airport so there is nothing to worry about. As soon as I met the staff, I was instantly welcomed along with the other students. Throughout the two weeks session they were kind and attentive, but they also gave me responsibilities and challenged my skills to help my Spanish. The most amazing part of this trip however, was the connection I made with the community. Every single day I got to live among the residents of the beautiful Rancho Quemado. These were the happiest, warmest, most generous people I have ever met. They were extremely patient with me as I struggled to be grammatically correct and included me in every conversation and game of soccer. Although the community service I did left an impact on the community, they left a much bigger impact on me. I learned to incorporate more gratitude into my daily life, to enjoy the little things. I still think of the friends I made every day. Not to mention I am now the smartest student in my Spanish class!

How can this program be improved?
Although we did receive a Spanish lesson at the beginning of the trip, it would have been a little more useful if it was more formal.
Yes, I recommend

About Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

With a history and heritage in global education, Global Leadership Adventures packs our itineraries with leadership development, volunteering and the delight of taking learning off the beaten path. Our unique program design produces what many...