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

Program Details

Program Type
Apartment Host Family Hotel
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
TUITION $6,495

International airfare is not included in tuition. In general, roundtrip airfare (from New York, for example) can run from $600 – $1,300.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jun 29, 2024
Aug 14, 2023
23 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Join this legacy Global Routes program that has been running for over 20 years! Enhance your international experience by contributing to a host community, building deep connections, and participating in meaningful exchange. On the Leaders-in-Action program, students are hosted by one of our partner communities in Costa Rica.

There, you'll build leadership, education, and implementation skills by developing and running a free "friendship" camp for local youth. Along the way, you'll develop genuine relationships and connections with your Costa Rican host community, take part in host family traditions, practice your Spanish, and gain real-world skills.

After time in the community, go on an adventure that can only happen in Costa Rica - white water rafting, rappelling in the rainforest, and spending time with warm and hospitable partners.

Leave more independent, inspired, and confident as a leader!

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

  • OUR MODEL: Our hallmark model includes meaningful community service, cross-cultural exchange, and living and volunteering in rural homestay communities.
  • COMMUNITY SERVICE: Students receive a certificate for 40 to 60 community service hours.
  • LEARNING GOALS: Camp counseling, cooking, leadership, construction
  • GROUP SIZE: 12-18 students, 2-3 U.S. leaders, 2 local partners

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.9
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 4.9
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 11 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Global Routes

It was an amazing program. My daughter came back with compassion, love and confidence.
They spent four weeks at a village and learned how to build house, how to milk the cow, how to make sugar from sugar cane... It is such a unique experience. In four weeks, they successfully built a community center for the village. They all cried when they left. Besides this, they have two weeks to stay with local families who only speaks Spanish. My daughter's Spanish got improved a lot! Also she started to be interested in Spanish culture. It was an amazing trip. GR did a wonderful job to make it safe and fun! It is a great team to work with. As a whole, if you are looking for a summer program for your high schooler, go for it!

If I had another child, I would definitely send him/her there.

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

Global Routes Costa Rica program was an incredible adventure and my student grew tremendously

My son was a Global Routes student in summer 2022. He was extremely nervous and more than a little scared about going on his first long adventure by himself, especially after 2+ years of Covid that made everyone way too comfortable going nowhere and not making social connections. It was very hard for him to say goodbye and then embrace all the new people and experiences. The staff, his host family and the other students were incredibly open, accepting, warm and gracious with him. They helped him find a successful pathway through what ended up being an extraordinary adventure. With support, he was able to embrace the hard parts, really enjoy the good stuff and grow tremendously.
When he arrived home, he was transformed. He feels more confident and comfortable in his own skin. This is visibly evident – he stands taller and is much more willing to try new things. For example, on his own initiative he decided to try out for the soccer team, which we feel he would not have been open to before his Global Routes experience.

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

LIA Costa Rica Review

This trip was by far the greatest trip that I have ever been on, and the greatest experience that I have ever had. I got to be with a group of people with the majority of them being some of the best friends that I have while traveling Costa Rica and going on amazing, super fun adventure and also immersing ourselves in the culture there. The trip was a 10/10 for me because all of the activities that we did were super fun, and even when we weren’t doing any activities I was still having fun which was definitely partially due to the amazing group that I was with. From this trip you also gain many new, life-changing perspectives that help you to grow as a person. I would without any question fully recommend this trip to anyone that is interested.

  • The group of people
  • The chance to immerse ourselves in the culture by living in a town for two weeks
  • The personal growth that I gained
  • Some arguments throughout the group here and there
92 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

LIA Global Routes

This LIA program was one of the best experiences of my life so far and I'm not just saying that. I learned, grew, and had so much fun on this trip. When we got to the town I met my host family and I am still keeping in touch with the people I met there. My host family was amazing and my Spanish improved a lot. I connected with the kids there doing the Friendship Camp even with limited Spanish skills and it was so fun. I am so happy I met the people in the town and also broadened my friendships with the other LIAs. Overall, this was an amazing experience and I really do recommend it to any teens who want to connect with a new community as they help out and immerse themselves in a new culture. Especially for Windsor Mountain people, this is a perfect follow up to LIT year but really it would be great for anyone.

  • improved spanish
  • made connections with lots of new people
91 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global routes

The Global Routes program exceeded any expectations I had and gave my summer a purpose. I was in an environment where I had to try new things, which lead me to discover new things I never thought I would enjoy. For example hiking. I dove into learning about a culture through experience and from the first day felt so welcomed by the community we were staying with. My Global Routes experience was amazing and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is interested. At first I was hesitant to choose the Global Routes LIA trip. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my summer, and going away to a different country without my family seemed frightening. I had a service requirement for my school, so I had to do something, but everything that I found wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my summer. When I finally considered doing the Global Routes trip, I really loved how I could bring something I love to kids who may not get to experience the luxury of going to camp every summer. What also sold me about the program, was how we, the students, got to create the summer camp ourselves, unlike any other program.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Breadfruit was the most unfamiliar thing I ate. It was surprisingly tasty.
118 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


The summer I did this trip was one of the best summers of my life. This trip as influence me in so many ways. I have made so many life long friends, tried new things, and learned so much while on the trip. Getting to immerse in a new culture and really become part of a community was life changing.

One big thing on this trip was the chance to create our own summer camp and work with children. As someone who wishes to go into education this experience was extremely valuable. Running the camp taught me how to work in a group and how to communicate better with others.

Parents and students should take this trip as an opportunity to grow as a person. The Global Routes programs give students the awesome and unique opportunities to really experience a new culture and become part of the community.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My future advice for anyone thinking about joining a Global Routes trip is take advantage of this experience, immerse the culture and community. The Global Routes programs give students the awesome and unique opportunities to really experience a new culture and become part of the community.
122 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

I've been both a student and a leader -- highly recommend Global Routes

When I was 17 I traveled with this organization to do traveling theater in Europe (a program that no longer exists). It was one of the most influential, life changing experiences of my life to that point. It was instrumental in me developing the values that I have today (and really making me cognizent of living those values). The organization emphasizes personal growth, development, and leadership. They take you out of your comfort zone just enough to be a challenge and still fun.

In my 20s, I came back to the program as a leader. All leaders are trained in experiential education, and are selected from a large, qualified pool of talented applicants. They work hard to make sure everyone has a good time, and that everyone is accepted and met (and challenged) at their level.

Global Routes is a fantastic organization. If you're thinking about a summer travel program for teens, they should definitely be at or near the top of your list.

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

Satchel’s Review

I gave every category on this review a 10 because this trip was incredible. Although it was some time ago, it was one of the highlights of my entire adolescence. This was not only because of how much fun we had, but also because I was able to grow tremendously. And this was was not only internal awakening from visiting a place with so many underprivileged people. This trip, followed by one to South Africa the following year, really played a major role in the development of my leadership and teamwork abilities.

Thanks to our three leaders, there we’re never any safety issues, and everyone in our group had tons of support.

I’m confident that many other people in the group with me would have similar feedback. It was an ideal trip.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly don’t have many suggestions for improvement. As I said, the trip was pretty much ideal.
120 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers