• Costa Rica
1 - 4 weeks
Need-based funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Not Included
Oct 30, 2023
Jan 23, 2018
22 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience Costa Rica, a leader in conservation and biodiversity, and find out why this small country is home to some of the world's happiest people. On Service programs for middle and high school students, immerse yourself in the life of a small village while working side-by-side with locals on meaningful projects. Play pick-up games of soccer with Tico kids or hike to a hidden swimming hole. Explore Costa Rica's incredible diversity of landscapes and wildlife—trek through the rainforest in search of toucans, sloths, and howler monkeys, learn to surf on Costa Rica's world-renowned waves, or participate in a thrilling whitewater rafting trip. Whether you're searching the jungle for sloths and capuchin monkeys, learning to make traditional Costa Rican culinary specialties like gallo pinto, or practicing your Spanish vocabulary, your time in Costa Rica will be fun, eye-opening, and memorable.

Video and Photos


Program Highlights

  • Play pick-up games of soccer with children and teens from your host village
  • Learn to surf on the pristine waves on Costa Rica's Pacific coast
  • Trek through a cloud forest in search of sloths and capuchin monkeys
  • Go whitewater rafting with skilled river guides and take a thrilling ride through pristine rainforest

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.75
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 4.75
  • Safety 4.75
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Review of Putney in Costa Rica

I will never forget my time spent in Costa Rica through Putney. I very much expected to learn more Spanish and make new friends, but I had not expected to create such longlasting bonds that would affect me for the rest of my life. Biolley is a beautiful village in Costa Rica that helped me become a better me. The people treat you as their own and push you to become a better member of any community you may be a part of. I suggest that any and everyone consider being a part of this amazing experience.

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

Best Experience of My Life

My trip to Costa Rica was fantastic. It was an absolutely beautiful place with the most amazing people.

I travelled to Miami, Florida to meet up with with all the other students in our group. Sure, it was awkward for the first day or two, but by the end of the trip, we were all sobbing our eyes out when it was time to leave. I talk to these guys often, so our friendship didn’t break when the trip was over. We even plan to meet up sometime soon! The staff was also fantastic, they were there for the students and to make the trip overall more enjoyable. My two leaders, kept us laughing, together and healthy through everything. I truly miss them.

However, the community service aspect was phenomenal. The people opened their homes to us, without hesitation, cooked for us, cleaned for us while we worked. Throughout this, we became super connected to the village and their way of life. We experienced their culture firsthand and became family. I now have a village in the mountains of Costa Rica, that I will have never forget.

Fantastic trip. Thank you Putney.

What would you improve about this program?
Simply not possible.
104 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Fantastic time in Costa Rica

I went on the Community Service trip to Costa Rica with Putney. Overall, the experience was one in a lifetime and thoroughly recommendable.

I live in the UK and travelled to Miami to meet with the group who were made up of two leaders and 13 kids. The other kids were mainly Americans, with the addition of two French boys and a girl from the Netherlands. The mix of people worked really well and we made lots of progress with our community service project. I was away for a well-structured month which consisted of working weekdays and 'vacation' excursion trips on the weekends to explore the vast activities that Costa Rica has to offer. During the weekdays we stayed in the remote village of Biolley. Here there is a small-scale coffee plantation where we helped out by mixing and laying cement, moving and making coffee beds, weighing and bagging coffee and lots of other general jobs around the ecolodge. We also helped out with the cooking which allowed me to bring home new recipes to cook for my family. We got to know the villagers very well and were even invited to do homestays for a night. On the weekend excursions, we went to various parts of Costa Rica to do activities like surfing, horse-riding , zip-lining, white-water-rafting, plunge-pool jumping and swimming in waterfalls. On top of this, we got to see some incredible animals including sloths, toucans, tarantulas, crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas and parrots.

All in all, if you are looking to go to an amazing country to meet some amazing people, both local Costa Ricans and fellow group members, then you should choose the Putney Community Service trip to Costa Rica.

What would you improve about this program?
N/A - it was perfect
97 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best time of my life

This was one of the best experiences in my life. Going into this trip I expected nothing, all I knew was that I was going to Costa Rica with my twin sister. We did not know anything else about the trip, we did not know a single person. Now when I look back at the trip I would not have spent my summer any other way. I meet some of the most interesting and fun people I have ever met, everybody came from a different place and everybody had different stories. But we learned to grow as a family. I look back and think of the people in Costa Rica as my second family, they will always be there for you and care for you. Even though the work was hard, it was all worth it in the end. Seeing all of the local peoples faces once we finished our projects was one of the happiest moments in my life. Every single day everybody woke up with a smile on their face and they were ready to work. And of course we did not only work every single day, we also had time for the group just to bond and enjoy each others company. The costa rica trip that Putney provides is a great learning experience, it also gives you the feeling of a second family. I strongly recommend this program for teenagers because it is mind blowing and you learn a lot, you also get to meet some amazing people.

What would you improve about this program?
I do not think that this program could get any better. The balance between work and free time was perfect, and the weekend activities were SO much fun.
106 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers