Global Routes High School Volunteer Program in Costa Rica

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Global Routes offers summer community service trips for high school students who are looking for adventure travel and community service along with cultural and language immersion. Students can be part of a two week program or a 4-week program in Costa Rica.

Both programs start with in orientation where you explore the rainforest on an adventure, ziplining, rapelling, and climbing in a pristine rainforest preserve. You'll bond with your group and prepare for a life-changing immersion experience in the rolling hills near San Isidro de El General for the service and homestay portion of your program.

In this gorgeous coffee-farming region, your group will live with host families and work on a construction-based service project. With your mornings spent on the work site and your afternoons spent volunteering in schools, teaching English, or playing soccer, you will have countless opportunities to learn about your tico hosts.

Take the first step on our website at

  • rainforest
  • community service
  • homestay
  • surfing
  • volunteer

Questions & Answers


based on 5 reviews
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 9
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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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!

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Best Experience of My Life

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone! The home-stay and the trip to the beach at the end of the trip were by far my favorite. During the home-stay I stayed with an amazing family who I still talk to on Facebook. None of the families in the community spoke English which helped me improve on my Spanish tremendously. It was so sad to leave the families at the end of the week, but when we finished building the medical outpost for them we felt so accomplished. The end of the trip was so much fun at the beach which is where our group really bonded. I have made life long friends that I still keep in touch with. Overall, I loved the structure of the trip and I would go again in a heart beat!

Yes, I recommend this program

About Global Routes

Be more than a traveler with Global Routes.

Global Routes seeks to foster personal development in our students through cross-cultural experiences that encourage them to step outside of their boundaries and open their hearts and minds to new and...