Summer 2017

How to Choose a Program in Costa Rica

Only a short flight away, Costa Rica is a perfect choice for teens still looking to travel and volunteer this summer.

There’s a reason so many people—returned Peace Corps volunteers, young entrepreneurs, adventurous expats—have taken the plunge and moved to Costa Rica in the last few years. Residents will tell you, “Here, you can do anything.” They’re not talking about swimming in winding canyon rivers, or Tarzan-swinging through the rainforest at 40mph (but yes, we’ve done all that). They mean that people here have the time, passion and permission to truly live out their dreams.

Want to sleep in a shack and surf constantly? Do it. Want to grow organic coffee and cuddle baby sloths? Somebody’s got to.

Our alumni and staff have been coming to Costa Rica for over ten years, with a variety of dreams to pursue: travel, study nature, protect the planet. Now you can too. Pura vida.

What do you want to do in Costa Rica?

1. Awaken your inner surfer

Costa Rica: Surf & Sports Service Adventure
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Surfing is a soul sport, meaning you can’t muscle your way to standing up or riding your first wave. Learn from veteran instructors on how to read nature’s playing field that’s constantly in motion, and live with the planet, not off of it, both when you’re in the water and out. Through organizing a youth sports camp, observe how sports elevate communities, and why education on ocean stewardship and environmental awareness matters to everyone.

2. Do high-impact volunteer work in a remote farming community

Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities
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Fun fact—the community of Rancho Quemado first reached out to GLA, not the other way around. We answered the call by sending a group of passionate students to volunteer on eco-friendly building projects in their small, rainforest community (population: 200). What blossomed is a beautiful partnership, and the chance for volunteers to experience true, authentic Costa Rican culture while contributing to a growing community’s infrastructure in a high-impact way.

3. Experience a little bit of everything

Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure
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Want to spend time volunteering, but hang out at Costa Rica’s famous beaches too? All of our programs are designed to give a good balance, but this one in particular is great for first-time travelers who are looking to try it all. You’ll rotate through various service projects in small groups, enjoy cooking and dance classes, and sample the country’s adventure activities—from horseback riding to ziplining.

4. Get your foot in the door of environmental science and marine biology

Costa Rica: Protecting the Pacific
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What’s the big deal about reforestation? Complementing the oceans, trees form the other half of the planet-wide water cycle, and are vitally important to re-humidifying the air (a.k.a., we need them to breathe). They also prevent erosion from the beach and provide a habitat for the local wildlife. How does the ancient proverb go again? “The best time to plant a tree was yesterday. The second best time is now.”

5. Practice your Spanish in the remote cloud forest

Adventure with a side of language learning
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Want to get far off the tourist path? First of all, learn to speak the lingo. Second, get yourself high up into the cloud forest. There’s a local organization based here that helps transition small, local coffee farms from conventional to organic production (more sustainable, and higher return when they export). There’s also a zipline and a Tarzan swing that’ll launch you far into the forest canopy...


So there you have it. Flights to Costa Rica are some of the most economical, so choosing a program in this beautiful country is both a rewarding and savvy option. Want further information or help with enrolling in your program? Give us a call or text us at +1-858-771-0645.

Read more:
How to choose a program in the Dominican Republic
How to choose a program in Peru