• Costa Rica
1 - 4 weeks

Program Details

Program Type
Student Tour
Host Family Hotel Lodge
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance
Oct 11, 2023
Dec 18, 2023
32 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Are you looking for volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica? Global Works has a variety of options for you. Take a look at our programs and visit our site for full details. Program Options:
- 2 Week program with service work, cloud forest, homestay, and surf lessons
- 4 Week program with overnight rafting, homestay, community service, and beach time
- 3 Week Wildlife focused program with sea turtle projects, biological research station, and zip-lining
- Middle School focused program that is great intro to service travel
- Pre-Med & Public Health Focused program

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Local Community Service Projects
  • White-water raft on the Pacuare River
  • Practice your Spanish Skills
  • Surf epic Pacific Coast waves

Popular Programs

Cultural immersion in Costa Rica

This 25 day Costa Rica program has it all! Overnight Rafting Adventure, Cloud Forest Research Station service work, Zip-line, Homestay with local community members, community development projects, surfing, and more!

Medical service in Costa Rica

Get hands-on medical experience in Costa Rica! Students have the opportunity to shadow doctors, get Wilderness First Aid certified, and do community health focused service work.

Middle School Costa Rica Group

The perfect introduction to international community service travel and adventure! Designed for Middle School Students with rafting, zip-lining, surfing, and service.

Surfing in Costa Rica

Get the classic Global Works experience! This 2 week program has a little bit of everything - zip-ling, rafting, surfing, homestays and of course meaningful service work!

Whale watching in Costa Rica

A program to Costa Rica with a wildlife and environmental focus. All of the fun adventure like surfing and rafting with environmentally focused projects like sea turtle conservation and biological research center.

Program Reviews

4.97 Rating
based on 30 reviews
  • 5 rating 96.67%
  • 4 rating 3.33%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.8
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 4.8
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 30 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome trip!

Maren had a great time. She made a lot of new friends and visited incredible places throughout the country. She enjoyed all of the adventures including surfing, ziplining and rafting. She also enjoyed the community service, including visiting kids at their schools! There was a very good variety of food that she liked. She also enjoyed exploring all of the cities where the group visited. She also enjoyed seeing all of the wildlife including the monkeys. Maren would highly recommend this program to anyone!

  • The variety of cool adventure activities like rafting, surfing and zip-lining
  • All of the people
  • She enjoyed staying in many different places
  • She didn't like the super long drives
56 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I Loved My Costa Rica Global Works Trip!

I was initially nervous to go on this trip, as I hadn't done a lot of traveling with out my parents before, but when I met my group and group leaders, that all went away. The group leaders were amazing, they had everything under control and running smoothly every step of the way, no matter what was thrown at them. They were simply amazing and I felt confident even when way out of my comfort zone the whole time because they were there. The other kids were very open, and it was easy to make friends, especially with the no cell phones policy, which really helped us bond to another level. During the homestay, I really felt like I made a connection with the community, and became a part of their family for the days we were there. Actually being in the rainforest and among all that wildlife rekindled a passion for conservation, as I was able to see what needs to be saved up close. The community service was difficult but rewarding, and we were able to gain a new perspective, as though my home stay family had less material wealth than my family, the connections of their community were so much richer, and there was a much happier air to them than I find in my neighborhood. The last day was very bittersweet when we had to leave the friends we had made, and by the end, while I was glad to go home, I knew I would return as I feel like I have made a lasting connection with this beautiful country.

  • Super fun
  • Made lasting connections
  • Learned about culture and community
72 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Works - Amazing Community Experience -- A parent perspective

I think Global Works does an amazing job connecting the kids with the community. My 2 kids (14 and 16) had fantastic homestay experiences and both of them still connect with their Costa Rica families every week, which has been a super cool experience.

I think global works is safe while at the same time creating some really great opportunities for kids to explore and challenge themselves. For example, the kids had the opportunity to attend a local city soccer team game and then ended up getting to play the city champions in an impromptu game which was a really neat experience. I also think it is good to really know that the kids really work hard for the community service - they are digging ditches, pouring concrete and clearing paths.

I think the big differentiator for Global Works is their connections with the community and providing an experience for kids to engage with groups of people that they would not have the opportunity to engage with on a more traditional tour - that connection is pretty special and results in some amazing opportunities. So, combine that with hard work and opportunities to explore the rainforest, zipline, and surf and it definitely is a unique experience.

  • Unique community connections and homestay
  • Supportive guides
  • Helping where it is needed the most
182 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great 2 weeks in Costa Rica

I spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica in the summer 2022. We were a pretty small group of teenagers around the same age, which was a great way to get to know everyone and make friends. We experienced very diverse activities: community service (working with rangers on trails maintenance, participating in local activities) but also surf and meeting with the local community. We even could spend a few night at a families’ house (by groups of 2), to help us do some progress in Spanish but also understand better the culture and day to day life.
I would recommend 100%!

  • Small group
  • Friendly staff
  • Time spent with local community
  • Price
190 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A thousand times over

My Global Works trip was truly inspiring, the leaders were great, and I had an amazing time. When I think of my Global Works trip, it’s my home stay that comes to mind. It was really fun to go through your day with another family from another culture, eat food with them, play with their kids, even go to work with them...it was awesome to be part of a Costa Rican household. I never thought I would learn to catch 20-pound tilapia or harvest star fruit, avocados and mangos on my host family's farm (and, I didn't know that limes could be green on the outside and orange on the inside!).

I thought the kids in my group were all really authentic, creative, and open-minded about trying new things and activities. I felt like we really built a community together. I would do this trip again...a thousand times over!

What was your funniest moment?
It was pouring rain, we were so close to finishing our service project in the community. For some reason one of our group members decided to tell us a story about her science teacher, named Mr. Coward. He told his class that he has thought about changing his name...and, well, I can't really say what he wished to change his name to on this review, but let's just say that we had the best group laugh ever.
222 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica: Language and Leadership

I found out about Global Works Travel through research about summer travel programs and I'm so glad I did! Global Works provided me with a trip that was challenging and fun, and where I learned through first-hand experience. Although the seven hour layover in Houston followed by the flight to Costa Rica then being delayed for two more hours wasn't much fun, it did provide me more time to learn about my group mates, and pales in comparison to all the fun I had and the experience I gained on the rest of the trip. The adventures like white water rafting, zip lining and surfing on Playa Uvita may have been the most thrill inducing, but they are not what I remember most about the trip. I remember sitting outside on the porch of Poco Sol Biological station looking over the canopies of the cloud forest. I remember how excited and anxious the group was to meet their host families in the mountainous, breathtaking town of Cedral. I remember struggling to communicate with my host mom and dad and my two little sisters, but laughing about it later with my roommate. I remember getting mud and paint and cement powder on my shirt, but admiring the immense progress we had made later. Most of all, I remember each and every one of my group members and how much I miss them. The people I was with and our dynamic was truly special. While I can't speak for other groups, I can imagine that many other Global Works groups have experienced similar connections. My perceptions of people and places changed drastically throughout the trip and the knowledge and connections I have gained are priceless. The Spanish immersion aspect of the program drastically improved everyone's Spanish and provided and authentic view of Costa Rica many of us would not have experienced otherwise. The only advice I give is to live your trip to the fullest, and take time to appreciate where you are; don't rush through an experience this unique and special.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could go back and spend 3 weeks all over again in Costa Rica with my amazing leaders and group members, I would try to slow down my experience and focus more on the moments instead of working through them. I would want to pause and actively appreciate where I am and who I am with because I know I will never be in the same place with the same people ever again. Finally, I would want to speak more Spanish and get more involved with the locals. There is no need to be shy about how good your Spanish is because the more you immerse yourself the better you'll become. In the end, it is up to your how much you learn and takeaway from this trip, and I wish I had focused even more on the parts of the trip that were the most special to me. I have already taken away so much from this trip; imagine what more I could have taken away had I just slowed down and paused a bit more to reflect and appreciate the trip.
218 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Lily's Amazing Trip to Costa Rica

I had such an amazing time in Costa Rica, and I'm so glad that I chose Global Works as my travel buddy! For starters, I was pretty nervous leading up to the trip. I was worried about my how my language skills would fare in a community full of native speakers, I was anxious about all the new people I would be meeting, and I was hesitant about being away from home. However, the moment that I started talking with everyone at the airport, my fears and anxieties melted away. The next 15 days were the most fun I've had in possibly my whole life. It was amazing to get to know people from all different parts of the world and make connections with them while helping out a community in need. The relationships I made on the trip are ones that I will never forget. Also, the food was incredible!!! I would most definitely recommend a Global Works trip to anyone who wants to travel, experience a new culture, and have a ton of fun doing it!

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest moment was when we named our host family's cat. In Costa Rica they keep most of their pets outside, but we had a cat that lived with us in the house. The family didn't have a name for the cat, so we tried to come up with one for him. After some serious consideration, we decided to name the cat Felipe after a boy in the neighborhood who we all joked about coming back to Costa Rica to marry. Our host mom thought it was hilarious, and it was an inside joke with our family for the rest of the homestay. It was a super funny and perfect way to connect with the family.
221 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Sea Turtle Expedition

Describing this trip is nearly impossible. It changed me mentally and emotionally, and it is an experience I will never forget. Even now I look back on memories, photos, souvenirs, notes and drawings that I have kept from the trip, and can't fully take in how much the trip meant to me. Everyday, I had the opportunity to try new foods, see new flora and fauna, experience new things, and get closer with friends. A year ago, I would've never guessed that I'd get to raft through a jungle, sleep in bungalows, hold a baby turtle, and lay on the soft black sand beach of Parismina. Plus, working with Parismina Association for Sea Turtle Conservation (ASTOP) was a very gratifying and eye opening experience. Being able to look at a problem in the world, learn about it, and be able to even slightly contribute to the help of ending it is something every person should partake in. It changes your mindset on life. I can easily say I am lucky I got to experience that with Global Works. Their program succeeded in immersing us in Costa Rica culture and teaching us about it in very many different ways. Then we were able to take our knowledge and do something with, like in the service part of the trip, and when talking with Costa Rica natives, and then finally at home where we all grew as people.

What was your funniest moment?
It was during our first day of rafting, and our raft leader was asking how old we all were. After each persons response, he would repeat the number but in Spanish. At the very end, a boy who was already pretty fluent in Spanish decided to respond in Spanish rather than English unlike everyone else. He was thirteen. He said "treinta." The leader paused for a minute and blinked at him. Quietly he asked, "You're thirty?" The whole raft broke out in laughter. For the whole rest of the trip, that became a joke amongst our group.
220 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers