• Costa Rica
2 - 4 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, Payment plans
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Host Family Hotel Lodge
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
TUITION $6,995

International airfare is not included in tuition. In general, roundtrip airfare (from New York, for example) can run from $900 – $1,300.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jun 29, 2024
Aug 17, 2022
15 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

This 4-week summer program is ideal for students ages 14-18, who are looking for a meaningful international experience with a balance of service, cultural immersion, and adventure.

Costa Rica’s warm and hospitable people, known affectionately as Ticos, inhabit an extraordinary region of the world, one replete with active volcanoes, dense rainforest, spectacular waterfalls and pristine beaches. This country’s progressive approach to conservation has protected a substantial range of its natural habitat.

Live and work with members of your host community as you gain a new appreciation for rural life and learn about the critical link between development and environmental protection. Here, in the hilly farmland of southern Costa Rica, you rise in the mornings to the sight of clouds enveloping the valley below. Working alongside community members and your peers, it will be a transformative summer you'll never forget.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

We recognize that we are a long way from the diversity we aim for within our students, staff, and partners. We want and need more diversity to truly become the organization we would like to be. We recognize that this will not happen overnight or without dedicating time, attention, and resources. To that end, we have created a strategic plan to address our current shortfalls and to make significant improvements, which you can see on our Diversity & Inclusion page.

Neurodivergent Support

At Carpe Diem, each applicant reads through our extensive Essential Eligibility Criteria prior to enrollment. This criteria allows applicants to determine if the organization is an appropriate fit for their gap semester/year goals and their individual needs. During the interview and application process, we have honest and direct conversations with students and families about the support that our staff is able to provide throughout the program experience. We are committed to creating a culture of acceptance and support. To that end, our Overseas Educators and local leaders are selected for their skill in group facilitation and promoting inclusive group dynamics.

Accessibility Support

At Carpe Diem, each applicant reads through our extensive Essential Eligibility Criteria prior to enrollment. This criteria allows applicants to determine if the organization is an appropriate fit for their gap semester/year goals and their individual needs. We have honest and open conversations with applicants about our ability to support individual needs on each program, with the ultimate goal of a healthy and successful experience for all students. In the past, we have worked with students with severe allergies, diabetes, chronic injuries, and mental health diagnoses. We know each student's journey is individual and we work with families to support these individual needs where possible to help determine if the program is a good fit for their gap semester goals.



Global Routes - and our sister organization, Carpe Diem Education - is committed to maximizing the net positive impact while minimizing the carbon footprint of every program. In our office, on our programs, and through our carbon offset match, our programs are geared toward environmental education to empower future leaders to move their communities to take action. During our programs, students learn more about their impact as individuals and a travel community - then take a solution-oriented lens to tackling key issues. We also contribute to and amplify the voices of organizations and partners who focus on permaculture, natural building, and sustainable solutions.

Ethical Impact

Global Routes - and our sister organization, Carpe Diem Education - is designed to connect to our local communities and provide reciprocal exchange and engagement. Through engaging in experiential education, community engagement, and intercultural exchange, our students develop enhanced perspectives, deeper cultural understanding, and a profound sense of self-discovery and personal growth. We work with vetted local providers to build their businesses as they provide value to our students and programming. With our homestay families, we ensure we minimize our footprint by regularly rotating the communities we work with and evaluating our social impact alongside their community leaders.

Program Highlights

  • Improve your Spanish as you work alongside community members on a service project or enjoy a warm meal of gallo pinto with your host community.
  • Dive into the heart of the Rainforest. You’ll climb giant trees, forage for medicinal plants, learn Costa Rican homestyle cooking, and zip-line across the canopy.
  • Whitewater raft on the Savegre river, through deep canyons and lush tropical rainforest.
  • Relax, swim and take surfing lessons in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Program Reviews

4.89 Rating
based on 9 reviews
  • 5 rating 88.89%
  • 4 rating 11.11%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.9
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.75
  • Housing 4.75
  • Safety 4.75
  • Program Selection 5
  • Pre-departure Help 5
  • In-program Support 5
  • Impact on Student 5
  • Value 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 9 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience in Costa Rica with Global Routes

The month of July 2022 was hands-down the most incredible month of my life by far. Being in Costa Rica fostered a period of personal growth for me that has been so eye-opening. This program introduced me to friendships that I know will be life-long and I am forever grateful for that. I also walked with newfound confidence and a broader perspective on the world. I truly cannot recommend this trip enough. I was also once sitting behind my computer scrolling through reviews and let me tell you that whatever anyone wirted won't do the trip justice -- you have to just sign up!

  • Technology free -- no phones!
  • Time set aside for reflection and learning
87 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Routes Costa Rica Trip

The 2021 Costa Rica trip with Global Routes was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. From the very beginning, the staff worked so hard to ensure that we felt prepared for the trip and made sure we knew exactly where to go and what to do. It was so well organized and felt so personalized. The trip was the perfect combination of travel, spanish and cultural immersion, free time, service and fun activities. I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone who wants to have an amazing summer full of travel and new experiences.

What was your funniest moment?
I had a lot of funny moments on this trip—mostly embarrassing ones, but those were self-inflicted. This one is fairly random, but we were living in the middle of the rainforest, right next to the Savegre River, so we typically went swimming at least once per day. We would jump off a huge rock and then swim back to jump off again. One day, a few of us decided to swim across the river and climb up a steep cliff-like structure to jump off and cross again. Our path the the jumping spot was obstructed by a fallen tree, so I thought I would just slide under it, and save myself a fall if I happened to slip going over. Unfortunately for me, both the rock and the tree were way more slippery than I thought and I slid about fifteen feet down before falling in the river. It was surprisingly not painful, but I was glad I followed the packing list’s advice and only brought a one piece bathing suit.
109 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica: 11/10 Experience

In February of 2020, right before the pandemic began, I was lucky enough to travel with Global Routes to Costa Rica for about a week and a half. GR collaborated with my high school, Notre Dame Academy, in Hingham, Massachusetts. My life changed for the better. I not only met so many incredible people on the program, but made connections with so many new people. To this day I still keep in touch with my host family and other members of the community we stayed in. Although the program was challenging at times, every second was worth it. If I could change one thing about this program, it would be to make it longer. I wasn't ready for the experience to end. Not only did I learn so much about a new culture and new land, but the trip was extremely rewarding. I will never forget this trip with Global Routes and would recommend everyone travels with them. Learning how to be a good global traveller is so important, especially for teenagers in high school. My love for Global Routes began on this program and led me all the way to Hawaii for a 4 week summer program with them a year and a half later (July 2021). 11/10 recommend Global Routes. Not only will you have an amazing experience, meet incredible people, but you will also learn o much about yourself! The leaders and staff members so an extraordinary job!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go in with an open mind and no expectations! This will make your experience 10x better, I promise!
106 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Routes

I had a great time in Costa Rica getting to travel across the country having new experiences everyday. Weather it was working on the greenhouse, swimming in the river or zip lining across the canopy the country, culture and people never seized to amaze me. Every place we stayed at we were met with a warm welcome and some of the best food out of any place I’ve traveled. I The country is so beautiful and an amazing place to create memories that will last a lifetime. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who loves to travel.

What was your funniest moment?
I loved climbing the mango tree to the very top and shaking down the fresh mangos to eat.
105 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Community In Costa Rica

I was eager to spend the summer going into my senior year with friends, but was urged by my parents to attend the Global Routes program in Costa Rica. I had the opportunity to fundraise to build a community center for a small town "El Roble" south of San Isidro. I knew this experience was going to be more rustic and rural than when I had been exposed to, but was suddenly motivated by the concept of helping a neighborhood in the middle of the jungle gain access to resources I was already accustomed to. After a week of getting acquainted with my fellow Global Routes volunteers, by helping to preserve the rainforest in Monteverde, (mixed in with fun activities, zip lining, hiking, hot springs etc), we reached the town we were organized to help. Everyone in my program was paired and set up to live with a host family. At the top of a steep dirt hill, 15 min walk from the main road in town, my new friend and I were assigned a room outside the main house with a queen sized bed draped in mosquito netting with Los Abuelos. I loved the expansive views of the greenest rolling hills of Costa Rica. Before we started our building project, I remember Los Abuelos prepared chicken soup fresh from the coop. Although an authentic experience, after watching this process, I excused myself from eating most of the meat during this trip.

The community of El Roble were so excited for us to help them, that they were saturated with builders and gave us a dual task to teach english and make art with the local kids. The town was very small, everyone knew each other well, there was a little pulperia where everyone socialized during soccer games. The food was so good, but the people were even better. Between getting to know each other activities within our global routes group, bonding with the locals, and helping El Roble build their center (making cement by hand), my understanding of community came to fruition. What I got out of the experience far exceeded my expectations. My Spanish improved significantly, my appreciation for a more simple way was recognized, and my interaction with new friends and foreigners has changed my approach to traveling and sense of community.

Leaving the town was extremely emotional for everyone. Our guides gave us regular updates about our families over the following years, and I still keep in touch with some friends made during this summer 19 years ago. It's exciting to know this program still provides the same experIence for teens today! I would recommend this program to anyone looking for a rewarding experience beyond the status quo.

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

Costa Rica 4 week Immersion

My daughter spent 4 weeks in Costa Rica with Global Routes in 2017. She came back home with a lot more maturity and perspective about her life and the world. She really enjoyed the group of teens that went on the trip and her leaders and learned from everyone. It was a rewarding and special experience for her. This was my second experience as a parent with Global Routes. What they don't tell you is how much they support the kids. The leaders and Adam knew where every teen was every day. When the kids get into different flights to go home, it doesn't end there. Adam tracks every flight and confirms that every child gets home safely. They provide a detailed written assessment of your teen's strengths and development areas. I would recommend Global Routes without hesitation - both for the experience and for the safety aspect. My daughter loved the trip. Over and over she would say, I just had SO MUCH FUN! She especially enjoyed the homestay which she was initially a bit nervous about. It turned out to be a very interesting family and the perspective she gained about her own American family was priceless. She would love to go on another trip with Global Routes - I'm on board, too!

What would you improve about this program?
I can't think of anything. Every situation was handled by the leaders and Adam in an outstanding way. I was very impressed. My daughter loved the breadth of activities and the people she met. It was a spectacular trip.
116 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

really nice!!

I chose this program in my freshman year of high school because of its safety. I wanted to learn spanish in Latin America in a stress-free environment. The very pleasurable group that I went to CR with was small, only about 14 people and 2 counselors, both who spoke Spanish very well. I really enjoyed working on a small village project at the local school and I am still in touch with my host family today.

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

An Unforgettable Experience

Making the decision to go to a foreign country for a whole month with a group of people I had never met was not easy. However, looking back on my experience in Costa Rica with Global Routes, it was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made. My experience has affected me so profoundly, that I've had trouble describing it in a way that others will understand, but what I can say is that Global Routes provided the perfect environment for personal development. Opportunities to reflect upon my strengths and weaknesses seemed to naturally present themselves throughout the duration of the trip, and by the end I felt that I had a deeper understanding of myself than ever before. I feel as though the group I was a part of could have been anywhere in the world and had just as meaningful of an experience. That being said, Costa Rica was absolutely beautiful and there is no other place I would have rather been, and connections we all made with the locals we encountered were truly precious (and for me personally, completely unexpected). Also, the bond among the members of my group was the strongest I've ever witnessed in such a setting. Working daily on the construction of a communal kitchen for San Antonio, the community we stayed in for the majority of the trip, taught us about the value of working hard and as a team, and also gave us the opportunity to connect with those who welcomed us into their homes. Before arriving in Costa Rica, I expected my role to be one of giving, but there turned out to be just as much receiving on my part. Overall, I found there to be a perfect balance of fun (in the waterfall rappel, daily soccer games with the community, zip lining, surf lessons, white water rafting, and group bonding in general), and growth (in the responsible risks we were encouraged to take, the adjustment required to live in such a new setting, the roles of leadership we frequently took on, and the beautiful cultural exchange that occurred). If I had to pick a favorite part of the trip, it would be the home stay, although the time spent in the rainforest and at the beach was spectacular as well. I would highly recommend going to Costa Rica with Global Routes - I would definitely do it again if given the opportunity!

107 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers