• Costa Rica
4 to 10 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Host Family Tent
Small Group (1-15)


Starting Price
Price Details
Fundraising targets

4 week Expedition $3,400
7 week Expedition $4,950
10 week Expedition $5,500

As a charity we talk about fundraising rather than costs, and encourage everyone to do some fundraising for their Expedition. We offer lots of ways to help with fundraising and we have supported thousands of young people to reach their target.

All our projects are driven by the needs of the communities we work in, and more than 80% of our income goes directly to the projects, so you can be sure that you're having a lasting, positive impact.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Accommodation Activities Some Activities Airport Transfers Equipment Meals Some Meals Transportation Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare SIM cards Visa Wifi
Mar 17, 2022
Apr 22, 2022
15 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

We believe young people can change the world. So we run Costa Rica volunteering programs for young people to ignite their passion for change and equip them with the skills, networks and confidence to become leaders.

Costa Rica is one of the 20 most biodiverse countries in the world. Despite its popularity for tourists, there is significant disparity in income between rich and poor communities. Our volunteers work to preserve Costa Rica’s biodiversity and address inequality. You'll join forces with young people of Costa Rica and local project partners to preserve its natural resources, increase the resilience of local communities to climate change and improve access to education.

Raleigh Expedition is an international volunteering program delivered by the youth-driven development charity, Raleigh International. Raleigh Expedition is one of the first UK programs to be accredited by the Gap Year Association (GYA) and recognized by TeenLife as a Top 15 Most Popular Gap Program.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Our programs run for 4, 7, and 10 weeks throughout the year, so you can join during your gap year.
  • Work with local people to improve their access to education on the indigenous Community project.
  • Take part in an Adventure Leadership Trek through a variety of stunning landscapes that tourists don’t get access to.
  • Develop essential teamwork, leadership, intercultural learning, and active citizenship skills and knowledge – the foundation for young people to become future leaders.
  • Work with innovative Costa Rican youth to help create a more inclusive society.

Program Impact

We’re holding development projects to account using technology, developing the skills to run behaviour change campaigns and reducing the impact of climate change on communities most at risk. Youth-driven change is getting things done!

Join over 55,000 people from over 100 countries and become part of a global community dedicated to supporting youth-led action. Young people are continuing to take action in their own communities once they return, from creating sustainable start-ups, to challenging gender inequality and calling for action on the climate emergency and human rights.

If we are going to finally defeat poverty and injustice, find sustainable ways to protect our planet and achieve the Global Goals, young people must be the ones taking the lead and driving the solutions. Read our 2018 impact report at: raleighinternational.org/our-work/our-impact

Program Reviews

9.2 Rating
based on 25 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 84%
  • 7-8 rating 12%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 4%
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 8.6
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 25 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An experience I will never forget

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and a wide variety of animals. I loved that I was able to join an indigenous community I would have never been able to meet otherwise and prove myself to be capable of anything after completing the Adventure Leadership Trek. The people I did the projects with were all very hard-working, supportive and kind, which made the projects much more fun and easier. The challenging bit of my Raleigh expedition was having barely any personal space, which made me feel overwhelmed and drained from time to time. As an introvert, I need some time to recharge every now and then, but because I was always around other people I did not always feel like I could fully recharge. This, however, did also help me with opening up to other people and communicating my needs to them.

  • Good safety measures
  • Amazing people to work with
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Lack of personal space + not much space to have some alone time and fully recharge
  • Chaotic/stressful atmosphere on Fieldbase (the place all volunteers meet before Expedition and in between projects)
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Raleigh Costa Rica

I’ve always been a very quiet and introverted type of person so taking part in Raleigh was a really big thing for me. I knew no one before I arrived and was completely out of my comfort zone! Being surrounded by positive and likeminded individuals helped me to come out of my shell and just be myself. Working in indigenous communities and in wildlife parks was so worthwhile as you can see the positive difference that you make which was so special. Trekking 256km through the heart of Costa Rica was both physically and mentally challenging but also so fun and rewarding as it makes you realise how much you’re really capable of. I have made some of my best memories on Raleigh and was probably THE best thing I have ever done in my life! I have grown so much as an individual and made friends for life. If you’re not quite sure whether or not to take part in Raleigh just take the leap of faith because you will most certainly not regret it!

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

Raleigh Costa Rica - February to April 2022

For my gap year before university, I spent 10 weeks volunteering with Raleigh International in Costa Rica from February to April 2022. I didn’t have many expectations before heading out, only that I would be doing a community project, environmental project and a trek. Within 3 days of arriving, I felt really settled and had made friends I’d felt I’d known be years. First, I did the indigenous community project which I absolutely loved. We were so isolated, with no service and connection to the outer world which I loved! It was easy to connect as a group and mix in with the children. We helped repair a turmite-infested building, build a guard house, and then we taught some classes to the children about the environment, English and maths. We also did a few sports days which was really fun, and being able to speak Spanish, I could communicate with the children (who’s second language was Spanish too). We did an action day, in which we taught the community about the importance about keeping the water source clean, and then took part in a football match! The locals gave us a few Cabecar lessons (their language) and taught us about their culture, which was such a privilege! For my second project, I volunteered in a national park. We helped clear the paths of leaves and rocks, dig holes for new fence posts and make a new hot spring. It was a lot harder work, and we often only found out what we were doing that morning which could be frustrating. However, we were camping within a national park, where nobody else could stay and woke up to monkeys in the trees above us, and surrounded by amazing wildlife. It was honestly an amazing experience. Finally, I took part on a 19 day trek. It was a challenging experience, but one I can say that is very doable! We bonded so well as a group, and were always so supportive of each other. The VM’s and Field Base team helped us with any issues we had and made sure to cater for what we needed and when, even if it wasn’t the plan, which really helped when some of our team were ill. The views we had, and the towns we passed through was such an amazing experience, and one I would love to do again! I would so recommend Raleigh to anybody. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, where you make likeminded best friends which you will keep for the rest of your life.

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

Raleigh Costa Rica

I had the most amazing 10 weeks volunteering in Costa Rica for Raleigh. It had allowed me to explore a new country in a completely unique way, whilst at the same time having a genuine and positive impact on the people and the environment. I had the opportunity to camp in a national park; live inside a remote indigenous community and trek 260km across the breadth of the country, experiences that most people will never have access to. Raleigh has also helped me grow in confidence as a leader, and develop my communication skills in social situations. I have met so many amazing people, many of which I will stay in touch with for a long time.

  • Super safe and organised way to travel
  • Opportunity to see remote parts of a country
  • You will meet loads of new friends
  • Sometimes the structure can feel slightly restraining
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Raleigh expedition in Costa Rica

I spent 10 weeks in Costa Rica with Raleigh international. My first project, a 3 week trek was incredible. The team was amazing and I definitely learnt more about leadership roles and improved my confidence. My next phase was spent in an indigenous Comunity, helping to build a dining room for a school. This will improve access to education and definitely felt like we were making lasting change. The final environmental phase was so good seeing all the wildlife and helping the rangers. My experience in Raleigh has been so rewarding and made a lasting difference on my life.

  • Meet amazing people
  • Make a lasting change in communities
  • Visit places that are off the track
  • Very quick change overs
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Exceptional experience developing myself and others

I volunteered as a Project Manager with Raleigh Feb-Apr 2019, it was quite simply the most rewarding, exciting and fun 3 months of my life! I had the opportunity to work on all three different 'stages' from a trek across the country building the confidence of international youth, to digging trails in a National Park to bring tourism to a new remote area, to building a school in an indigenous community.
As a project manager you co-lead a group of 15-20 international volunteers aged 18-25 so your impact is not only on the local communities of Costa Rica but of also on the development of youth from all around the world.
I met friends for life and really came away feeling like a made a different to so many lives, I am proud to continue to support Raleigh as an Alumni and love continuing to watch their impact grow over seas, I couldn't recommend it more.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
You will worry about things before you go like; where will I wash? where will I sleep? what will I eat? however, this all becomes a new normal and you do not even think about them when you're there. Don't sweat the small stuff!
Your challenges become; how to I engage 15 18 year olds? which way do I turn on this dirt track? how can I build a new classroom for these children? Put your concerns into perspective and enjoy it.
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best experiences ever!

I had such an incredible time on Raleigh. I met people I didn’t think I’d ever meet and did things I never thought I’d get the chance to do! Honestly, couldn’t recommend enough! Working in an NRM project was so beautiful and trekking across Costa Rica was challenging but so rewarding! Working with indigenous communities was so eye opening and I’m so grateful to have had the chance to go there. I have made incredible friends that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life and I really hope that many more people will get to have the experience that I have had! The support and learning you receive throughout your Raleigh experience is invaluable. I feel I have developed so many different hard and soft skills, few of which I would ever have had the chance to develop had it not been for Raleigh. Thank you all so much!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How much I learned in three months! I now know more about who I am and what I want to achieve in life! The most surprising thing was really how much you can be pushed to your limit and still succeed.
35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Fantastic Opportunity to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone in Costa Rica!

I first heard about Raleigh International through school and as soon as I decided to take a gap year following school, I knew I wanted to embark on a Raleigh expedition. It was the best decision I have ever made!
Spending 10 weeks in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with Raleigh allowed me to experience new cultures, learn valuable communication, problem solving and organisational skills and meet a whole host of people I would never otherwise have met. To say that I was taken out of my comfort zone during my expedition would be an understatement- a Raleigh expedition will completely propel you from your comfort zone!!! From reinforcing paths and fixing bridges in the heart of a national park to making dream comes true for the local people with the addition of a gravity water system to hiking across breathtaking landscapes, every day on Raleigh is different. Some days will be harder than others and everyone will likely be affected by illness and feeling home sick at some point but the support and safety in place mean that sooner rather than later you will be feeling elated and in awe of the experience you are living! The projects take venturers and volunteer managers off the beaten track and allow you to experience parts of the country you would never be able to experience if you were travelling on your own or with a tour company. In addition the projects present the unique opportunity to live and work alongside local people to contribute towards the UN sustainable development goals.
I had always been very shy and reserved at school and I lacked a significant amount of self confidence but following my Raleigh expedition I arrived home a completely changed person (for the better!). Although vastly different it equipped me with so many of the skills I needed to completely my pharmacy degree and go on to begin my career as a pharmacist and I’m sure the same would be true regardless of the sector that you go on to work in. I guarantee you will absolutely not regret choosing Raleigh International.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Embrace every moment- take pictures and live in the now. Use your time on Raleigh to reflect on the things that matter and to grow yourself as a person- write in a journal, say yes to any new experience, put maximum effort into every project but most of all; don’t forget to look up and realise where your are! Costa Rica is full of some of the most amazing landscapes and people you will ever see or meet and you will sorely miss them when you are back home!
34 people found this review helpful.
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