Summer High School Programs in Costa Rica with Rustic Pathways

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About

One of Rustic Pathways largest countries of operation, Costa Rica is the perfect location for first-time travelers, adventurers, and nature lovers. Programs are one to two weeks in length but are easily connected. Start with one week of Spanish language immersion, then volunteer in an indigenous village, and finally, reward your hard work with a week zip-lining, rappeling, rafting, and surfing. With over 16 unique programs, you're sure to find your perfect Costa Rican experience.

“Costa Rica offers so much to new and experienced travelers alike. I have had the opportunity to expose students from all over to the world to the laid-back culture, friendly people, and nature that Costa Rica has to offer. As a proud Costa Rican, I love encouraging students to learn about my country.”
--Ricardo Romero, Costa Rica Country Director

Questions & Answers

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 72 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 46 - 60 of 72
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Madeline
10/10

Eye Opener

During my two week trip to Costa Rica I made so many friends that I'll have for a really long time. I'm from a really small town and this trip gave me an opportunity to see people, animals, and culture that I otherwise would not have been able to see. Rustic pathways takes you to places and to do things that tourists don't normally do. A moment that really stuck out to me was one day we were eating lunch at a restaurant in La Fortuna and I happened to be seated at the end of the table. The restaurant was really open and had big doors to the street in the front. Just sitting there watching people go by in their daily lives in a culture that is so different from my own was so amazing. It made me realize that people are so different and it's actually a really good thing. I feel like sometimes I forget that and this trip helped me open my eyes to what is out there and all the things there are to do and people to become friends with.

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing about this program I would have more opportunities to work with the animals there.
Yes, I recommend
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Riley
10/10

Surf and service trip in Costa Rica

I don't even know where to begin! My trip to Costa Rica this past summer was by far the best trip I've ever been on, it was truly eye opening. We got to surf almost everyday and we got to do community service. I'm not just saying this to sound good, but the community service was one of my favorite parts. We went to a village in the town of Uvita and assisted families in poverty. We helped them by building/ repairing their homes. We painted rooms for them and we even built a filtration system for one of the houses. The people were so thankful for the work we did and it felt so good to be able to help. Before this trip like a normal teenager I definitely took things for granted, wether it was having my own bed to sleep in, food on the table every night or shoes to wear on my feet it was the little things I didn't realize I was lucky to have until I went on this trip. Another thing I really enjoyed was meeting new people. At first I was kinda nervous I was going to get there and have no friends but I was complelty wrong, as soon as a passed through security at the airport and checked in at my gate I had already made friends and when we got to the base house it was like we were a family after only hours of knowing each other. I could go on and on about how great my trip was but you would end up reading a novel so I'm going to stop here.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I would Change about the actual program was the length, I really wish it was longer! And an improvement as a company would be to not use United airlines! They lost my luggage, delayed every flight, and even cancelled one, Rustic got us on the first plane avilable so it wasn't their fault it was the actual airline companies fault!
Yes, I recommend
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Kathryn
10/10

Best trip ever

On my trip to costa rica i had the time of my life. I saw things I've never seen before and met a ton of new friends i still keep in touch with from all across the country. I learned about the culture in Costa Rica and how to help a community thrive. Overall it was a wonderful trip through Rustic Pathways.

How can this program be improved?
The way the program could be improved is by extending the trip to sixteen days it was a little short. I really would have loved to stay longer.
Yes, I recommend
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Alessia
10/10

A Fun and Learning Experience

I did two programs in Costa Rica. The first one was Surf & Service, which I chose because I had always wanted to learn how to surf and I wanted to help out the community. I had a lot of fun at this program, made new friends and created unforgettable memories. the second program I did was the Maleku Experience program. This program was truly very rustic but fun. I learned new things about the Maleku Tribe's culture and traditions. I recommend both of these programs to anyone who is interested in surfing or learning about new cultures.

Yes, I recommend
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Jamie
10/10

Turtle Conservation

The goal of this trip was to help save sea turtles. We helped in the hatchery carrying bags of sand and leveling out the sand. We also went on LATE/LONG night walks. We stayed in a beach hut. it was very humble no a/c but a nice chef. We went ziplining and horse back riding as well as white water rafting and surfing. I wish we did more optional activities. There was alot of free time which was spent napping because we didnt sleep at night because of the night walks. Over all it was an awesome experience i would definitly do again in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?
Less free time. more group activities/bonding activites
Yes, I recommend
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Jenny
9/10

#sorustic

I felt very involved during the community service hours. I could feel myself making a difference. The optional activities were super cool like river kayaking to a waterfall. Also being able to talk to the locals really got you to see what life is like there.

How can this program be improved?
The amount of downtime in between activities and service.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
10/10

Intro to Community Service

This trip was honestly the best experience of my life so far! The community service projects were definitely hard in the hot environment but it felt very rewarding. I loved teaching English to the kids who seemed go enjoy every minute of it and were very eager to learn. The ziplining and white water rafting were extremely fun and adventurous! Even just relaxing at the base house was great, talking to friends, playing soccer, and going in the pool. I met so many amazing people on this trip who will be my friends for life. This trip was an amazing opportunity that I am very happy I did!

How can this program be improved?
I
Yes, I recommend
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Alison
9/10

Heart of the Jungle

I just returned from Heart of the Jungle and the trip was two of the best weeks of my life. We travelled around Costa Rica, saw many parts, including Corcovado National Park, the Osa Peninsula, Puerto Jimenez, and Uvita, did extreme adventure activities, like rappelling, rafting, zip lining, hiking, and kayaking, and service- and all was with great friends!!! The leaders were incredibly enthusiastic, knowledgable, and fun! And the kids on the trip were also amazing!

Yes, I recommend
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M
9/10

2 Programs - 2 different experiences

This summer I participated in two Rustic Pathways programs in Costa Rica: Summer Camp Leadership and Turtle Conservation. I think that i got lucky with SCL because the group of people I met there will be my lifelong friends and the program was so much more fun with them. My TC group was not bad in the sense that I did not like them, but I definitely did not connect with them as much as the SCL group. Maybe this was partially because I did TC after SCL and I was still reminiscing over my great time, but the group dynamics definitely had an impact on each of my experiences. Aside, both trips were amazing in different ways. The SCL trip allowed me to explore the kind of community service I am interested in (working with kids) while also being able to explore the country of Costa Rica and the awesome adventure activities available there. The TC camp was much more service based, considering that we only had a week to pack in 30 hours of service along with a rafting trip, zip lining, and surfing. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to see a sea turtle actually make her nest and lay eggs. I felt like we were really contributing to saving the turtles by protecting their eggs and cleaning the beach. Before I got to Costa Rica, I was expecting to spend my first night in a hotel. I wasn't anticipating anything super nice, but I definitely was surprised when we arrived to a hostile on the first night and were not fed dinner or anything. To say the least, Rustic Pathways lives up to its "#sorustic" promise from the onset of the trip. I stayed in 7 different locations throughout my 3 week stay in Costa Rica and many were cramped, dirty, buggy, communal, and slightly uncomfortable. However, this (along with the constant rice and beans) would probably be my only complaint about this trip. Although the locations we stayed in were super rustic, they allowed us to experience the "real" Costa Rican lifestyle. Overall, I would definitely recommend Rustic. I would recommend going on only one program (whether it is 1 or 2 weeks) for your first time with Rustic because for me, the switchover was very hard.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing about the SCL program it would be the food. For one week of our trip we stayed at Casi Cielo where the portions were very small and we got so hungry we walked 2 miles to the grocery store to tide us over during the long camp days with the Ticos. If I had to change one thing about the TC program it would be to add more hammocks to the Punta Mala base house. Everyone kept waiting around for one of the hammocks to open up and it was annoying.
Yes, I recommend
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traveler1635
10/10

Summer Camp Leadership

I had an excellent experience on this trip, and I got everything I wanted out of it. It was so cool to run the summer camp for the Tico kids, and it was great to know that you were making a difference in their lives. Since they only speak Spanish, I was able to really improve my conversational skills. Finally, I had so much fun (rating, ziplining, the beach, etc.) and I made great friends that I keep in touch with. I would recommend this program to anyone (but it is helpful to know some Spanish before you come)

Yes, I recommend
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costarica13
10/10

Volcano Service Base

I went to Costa Rica for the this summer and it was amazing! The volcano trip is a little more than half community service and half adventure. There is a bit of driving to the adventure activities but the zip-lining and rafting were worth it! I had a medium sized group and we all got really close over the course of the trip! The leaders are amazing and I wish there were more activities we could all do together. The service projects can get pretty strenuous especially with the humidity but it was very rewarding.

How can this program be improved?
I wish I could have seen the impact of my service more clearly.
Yes, I recommend
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Larissa
10/10

Amazing experience!

I went on two programs with Rustic this summer- Sarapiqui and BriBri and they were both great! I had so much fun and really made some great friends. Everything was really organized and we were always busy doing community service or fun activities such as white water rafting or zip-lining. The staff was also very helpful and they became really close with the students over the week. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who loves to travel.

How can this program be improved?
The only complaint I have is that some of the community service projects were pointless and did not help the locals such as hauling rocks up a mountain that were just put on the ground.
Yes, I recommend
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Carlotta
10/10

The best summer of my life

We helped the local community in the morning by helping build a house, collecting rubbish and creating garbage cans with recycled water bottles; in the afternoon, we learned how to surf. Special activities such as rafting, repelling, yoga lessons and boat trips were organized, to make us have even more fun. After two weeks of staying in Costa Rica in the Service and Surf program, I spent the last day crying because I wanted to stay there forever. I had never had so much fun, I made great friends as well as helping others and learning how to surf. The house we stayed in felt so much like home, the food was wonderful, the counsellors were always there when you needed any kind of help. It was one of the best experiences in my whole life.

How can this program be improved?
Most of the service work had to do with the local community: English lessons and building houses. I would have preferred having all the service have something to do with helping the people. As much as painting signs for the national park and collecting garbage is helpful, you can't really see all the difference you're making.
Yes, I recommend
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KylieW
10/10

TURTLES!!

I had an amazing time on my trip! Everything was very well organized from the very first day. We stay at a very rustic " tree house on the ground" on the western coast. Each nigh we would search the shores for eggs and turtles and during the day we would dig in the hatcheries and pull weeds. In free time we could play games, rest in hammocks, or go " extreme wading" (which was really swimming but there is a strong riptide so we weren't actually allowed to swim) I had an amazing time and so did the rest of my group. I would recommend this for first timers and returning Rustic members

How can this program be improved?
There isn't really a chance to get all the items you may need ( i'm talking to female members here) so stock up before you come or suffer the uncomfortable consequences
Yes, I recommend
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Taram
10/10

Heart of the Jungle

This trip was a lot of fun. The first 2 days of the trip, I hated it because i didn't know anyone and the service work was pretty annoying but then i realized that its good to give back to people and we started touring costa rica. its a beautiful country and the people are super friendly and laid back. my councellors were super nice

Yes, I recommend

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...