Summer High School Programs in Costa Rica with Rustic Pathways

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About

Since opening Costa Rica operations in 2003, Rustic has expanded to include the most spectacular regions of this Central American paradise. From the Pacific to the Caribbean, from rainforests to rivers, from service to adventure, our programs here encompass the breadth of what Costa Rica has to offer. Our team of talented local staff members challenge veteran travelers with new experiences and introduce more novice adventurers to the joys of travel.

With our large staff of local Ticos, you’ll quickly feel at home in Costa Rica and easily slip into the lifestyle of pura vida, a phrase meaning “pure life.” Embrace the idea of living life to the fullest as you learn to relax, appreciate nature, and experience everything Costa Rica has to offer.

Questions & Answers

Hi there Cesca, I would recommend checking out our blog channel all about prepping for your program. It won't be specific to Summer Camp Leadership, but might help. (Link below.) I would also check out our student lead Facebook group – Rustic Pathways Travelers 2018. Hopefully that helps, but please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any additional questions....
Basically, Rustic Pathways has a program called group travel, and you can choose which country you want to go. For the Costa Rica group travel programs, the prices range between $1945 and $2355.

Reviews

97%
based on 94 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 30 of 94
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Margaret
10/10

Loved working with animals

I traveled to Costa Rica with the turtle expedition & really enjoyed it. Working with the baby turtles was a once in a lifetime experience & the leaders were very cool. The activities planned were thought out & fun; I specifically enjoyed surfing & zip-lining. The physical location was unique as it was remote & located directly on the beach. The community service was also fun & different than expected. I loved taking night walks & learning about preserving the turtles. They took into consideration little things, like getting ice cream after trips & getting cake for kids birthdays. Overall, the program was very fun & I hope to travel with Rustic Pathways again.

How can this program be improved?
Better accommodations
Yes, I recommend this program
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Gavin
10/10

Rustic pathways Spanish immersion

This was honestly a life changing experience. My group was great, and was not too big. My host mom was an angel on earth, and I will stay in touch with the people I met through my family and group forever. I now have a second family in Costa Rica, and a home to return to whenever I want. My Spanish has also improved a lot. Now, i can communicate with many more people, and language barriers are not as big of a problem anymore. One of the coolest things that happened on a trip was when I was talking to one of the locals, who was learning English. She would talk in English, and I would speak in Spanish, so we could both improve.

How can this program be improved?
This could be improved with different activities after class. Some of them were kind of boring, but overall, the trip was great.
Yes, I recommend this program
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jessie
10/10

Traveling Soccer and Service Team Review

My experience with Rustic Pathways has been life changing. Through quickly learning about a new country and new people, I learned a lot about myself. I enjoyed the accommodations, the food, and every single activity that we did throughout the course of the trip. I am nothing but grateful and happy that I chose to travel with Rustic because I have gained important knowledge of myself and lifelong friends.

How can this program be improved?
I would recommend more free time and a wider variety of service projects.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Tiki
10/10

Costa Rica Surf and Service

On this trip, students could spend four hours serving the communtiy doing different activities such as mixing concrete or moving blocks across a field to help build a locker room for a soccer field to make money for the community. On the last day if the service, a little girl came to visit our group ehich made all of the kids in the group realize how much we were making an impact on the community and how we can inspire students do to the same thing thag we are.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing, it was great.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sydney
9/10

Costa Rica Language Immersion

My experience was near to perfect. I loved all of the people I met, like my host family, my friends, and my counselors. However, Rustic Pathways runs two different language programs (1 week and 2 weeks) and it was really hard when our group changed each week. The majority of the activities we did were pretty fun, but a couple were a little bit boring. This program helped me see another perspective and lifestyle and I honestly believe I’m a different person because of it.

How can this program be improved?
make the activities more exciting
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jay
9/10

Excellent Program

My daughter and her friend did the Intro to Community Service program in June 2018. They both had an amazing experience and are looking forward to taking another trip next year! They were fully immersed in the Tico culture and shared many amazing adventures. I think my daughter got quite a bit out of the community service aspect, and it provided her a fresh perspective. Thank you for giving her this opportunity!!

How can this program be improved?
More frequent status updates when the kids are overseas. Communication was good, but a little more would have been helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jeremiah
9/10

Heart of The Jungle

This is my second trip with Rustic Pathways (I went to Thailand last year), and it was, without a doubt, just as amazing as the first. I decided to go on the ‘Heart of The Jungle’ trip to Costa Rica to experience some the Central-American lifestyle. The people, the cultural experience, the commitment to service, and the adventure element all shone throughout those two weeks. I would do it all again if I could. Highly recommend this trip and Rustic Pathways!

How can this program be improved?
N/A!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alyssa
10/10

Intro to Community Service

Going into the program I wasn't completely sure of what to expect, but I had a friend that had done the same program earlier in the summer and she came loving it. I never would have imagined that I would have so much fun and meet such amazing people while also doing difficult community service. The intro to community service is the perfect program introduction because you get to do a little bit of everything. You get to interact with the kids at the school, you work on various projects in the community, and then you get the weekend to do fun things such as ziplining, going to a waterfall, and white water rafting. I didn't expect to become so close with the people I met, but I ended being in tears when we had to say bye at the airport. I still talk to some of my close friends from the trip and they are still some of my best friends even though we live thousands of miles away from each other. It was such a life changing experience and have nothing but amazing things to say about it. One of my favorite parts was when we went white water rafting because it was so much fun and it started raining so the view was really pretty. I also loved being able to use my limited Spanish with the kids at the school. If I were to do it again though I would bring my own work gloves and bring more shirts because sometimes I would want to shower after service but we would still be doing other activities and I didn't want to dirty a new shirt.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe have a smaller group
Yes, I recommend this program
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Emma
10/10

Surf and Service, week 8

As I walked into the airport I prayed that this group of people would be completely different from the people at my school. Everyone was kind of reserved at first until I got through security and found a few people from my trip and we instantly clicked. When we got to the hotel I met 19 strangers, now known as my bestfriends. On our four hour bus ride to the base house, I knew these remaining 8 days would be unbelievable and unreal. I met the best people, the people I just want to talk to for hours. We all became so close, even with our leaders, they described us as “one of the best groups to ever come through the surf and service trip”. From walking up the steps to breakfast, lunch and dinner seeing everyones smiling faces to surfing in the 80° water, there was never a dull moment. Some of my favorite parts were having dance parties after dinner, laughing so hard everytime one of us would nose dive on their surfboard, and getting cement splashed all over us after pouring it in the machine. I met my favorite people and could cry right now thinking about my trip. I couldn’t ask for better people, food, and activities. One of the best experiences I have ever had.

How can this program be improved?
I wish it could have been longer, so we could learn how to surf really well.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Emily
10/10

My amazing rustic trip

So, I chose to do the Surf and Service program located in Uvita, Costa Rica. I don't think i would've chose to do any other program. I met 20 amazing people that I bonded with so much that the east coast side of our trip met up at the beach and we spent a weekend together after the trip. The councilors were inspiring, we bonded with them so much and had a lot of dance contest, and we shared a lot of information and memories. I will never forget how we went to a soccer field and i got really down on myself because i couldn't score a goal and ethan ( one of our councilors) kept trying to help me get one and when i finally did we celebrated like there was no tomorrow it was an amazing feeling. I will never forget being in the ocean and someone screaming "PARTY WAVE" and we all start paddling for our lives trying to catch that wave ad when we did it was the most amazing feeling. The community service was amazing and it felt great helping out the community and meeting the local ticos. I suggest this program it was amazing!

How can this program be improved?
It was amazing but i would add a little bit more adrenaline activities!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alex
10/10

Costa Rican Adventurer

The Costa Rican Adventurer program was my first Rustic Pathways trip ever. I went in horrified being alone and still kinda awkward. But at the airport, before I even got to Costa Rica, I had made so many friends. I was so excited to actually get to the country and be able to make memories with all the amazing people I had meet at the airport. My program was an amazing experience. I still remember in detail the warm beaches, the challenging hikes, the sounds of the waterfalls where we slept, the howler monkeys at night, the water coming down on my and my friend Lily as we repelled 150 feet down a waterfall, the rush when we successfully went down a tough rapid while white water rafting, and the rain drops pelting me in the face as I zip lined across lush rainforest. My trip was amazing, breath taking, and so memorable. I still talk to everyone from my trip including my trip leaders. the friends you make through a Rustic trip are friends you will keep forever. At my school I have gotten so many other people to go on Rustic trips because I know they are for every one. I would 100% recommend any Rustic Pathways trip to anyone.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alexia
10/10

Heart of the Jungle

I absolutely loved the "Heart of the Jungle" Rustic Pathways program in Costa Rica! The packed sixteen day trip completely flew by because before I knew it, I had to say goodbye to the luscious land of Costa Rica and all of my new friends. "Heart of the Jungle" was the perfect mix of adventure and service. The thrilling activities, like whitewater rafting and waterfall rappelling were incredible experiences that I'm glad I got to check off my bucket list! I wish I could do them all again. The service component of the trip was life-changing. My group helped start building two houses, a handicap accessible bathroom in a community center, and more. The best part was being able to interact with and work alongside the locals. One night we even had an extremely fun soccer match with them and made up our own chant in Spanish. Going into the program I was a bit worried about my limited knowledge of the Spanish language, which is none because I study French, but I realized that the true "language" of Costa Rica was their "pura vida" lifestyle. Everyone was so kind and welcoming that language did not even matter. Along with doing service and participating in activities, I learned a lot more about the environment. Thanks to Rustic I learned how to become a more conscientious and respectful traveler, especially in the evironmental sense. My leaders were extremely knowledgeable, not to mention also being kind and caring people. My trip this past summer has made such an impact on my life and I've gained not only new friends, but also new, unforgettable memories I'll hold throughout my life.

Yes, I recommend this program
Holly
10/10

Surf & Service in Costa Rica

I was so nervous going on the trip and I kept having second thoughts. I went by myself. Walking in the airport to find the group, I noticed a lot of people had gone with friends, which made me even more nervous. However, after spending 9 days of surfing, boating, rafting, building, and laughing with 20 friends, who were once strangers, I didn't want to leave. I'm so happy I went on this trip. The Rustic leaders and great. We were all crying at the airport saying goodbye. I still talk to these friends every day. I have never been so happy in my life. If anyone is on the fence about going or is having doubts, you should get out of your comfort zone and go! I would regret if I didn't take advantage of this trip! I encourage everyone who can to do a trip with Rustic- whether or not it's Costa Rica. Your trip will amazing no matter where you go.

How can this program be improved?
It's perfect :)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maya
10/10

Summer Camp Leadership in Costa Rica

This was my first trip with Rustic Pathways and I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot and made a lot of new friends. The leaders were great and they really added on to my great experience. I loved working along with the others on the trip to create a summer camp for the Tico children. It was a great experience, helping me improve my leadership skills and learning more about the culture. Not only did we work to provide a fun camp for the children, but we also got to explore and have fun in Costa Rica, participating in trips such as whitewater rafting, zip lining, and relaxing in hot springs. I would highly recommend this program to anyone.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jude
10/10

Heart of the Jungle: the Adventure of a Lifetime

Basically, the program was nothing like I imagined it would be. It was the most incredible experience of my life. You start off the program easy, doing really adventurous and fun activities like surfing and waterfall rappelling, and then kayak to an ecolodge that has the most amazing views you will ever see. After that, you spend a few days in a hotel, and this is when the hard community service comes in, where you meet people and get to give back to the world less fortunate than you. After that, you go to another ecolodge, which is exactly what I imagined paradise to be, and you get to see all sorts of animals all while cleaning the beach. The final stop is back in the base house, where you get to white water raft, and then go to San Jose to spend a few hours zip lining. What I just described was the most basic itinerary of the summer I spent with Rustic and there's so much more to it. There are memories that are etched into my mind until the day I die. Like when we swam in the ocean, and it started raining, leaving us all in awe of the most beautiful scene. Or in Saladero, when there was a thunderstorm, so we just made a bonfire using flashlights and cups. There's the rainbow we could see as we were rappelling down the waterfall. There's the nights where we'd be exhausted and we'd all sleep on each other while the counselors tried to ask us how much fun we were having. There's the laughs together, the tears, the stories. The list is endless. There's the singing Moana songs in the middle of a store, and stopping for milkshakes at any chance we got. We made a family. We laughed together, cried together, shared our stories. We all fell in love with each other, and created bonds that we cannot fathom anywhere else in the world. We were all disconnected from the world, with no wifi half the time, and we got to experience the purest version of each other and most importantly, ourselves. Costa Rica changed everything about me, and the trip helped me find who I am, who I want to be, away from the social media world our generation is being sucked into. The people who go to Heart of the Jungle are people who are ready to work and do actual community service - the people who have the biggest hearts on the planet. Rustic Pathways are doing a really great job of bringing the best people in the world together, and making sure they make a family. They make sure we all are tolerant and we love one another, and we find the best version of ourselves. I had the most incredible experience of my life, and it hurts so much to know that my family is spread across the globe. But I am so lucky to have shared the adventures with them, so lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard (Winnie the Pooh).

How can this program be improved?
Make sure you have a lot of bug spray!
Yes, I recommend this program

About Rustic Pathways

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on...