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.