Costa Rica: The Initiative for Children™


Embrace Costa Rica’s children and make an impact on the next generation in one of two ways: through community development at local schools or via sports leadership.
  • Volunteer on beautification and infrastructure projects at rural schools
  • Discuss critical community issues in the region
  • Bond with local youth through cultural exchange or a shared love for sports
  • Experience Costa Rica’s rainforest canopy on a zipline
  • Go on two overnight excursions, one of which includes a whitewater rafting excursion (21-Flagship Program only)

On This Program you will...

Learn how development issues in rural Costa Rica—from education access to sustainable land use—are all related to the wellness of youth. You’ll be based in small towns far from developed tourism hotspots. Bond with children and families from your neighborhood as you volunteer in their schools, help lead environmental education or community sports projects, and spend time working with grassroots organizations passionate about engaging the community in more sustainable practices. After service, experience Costa Rica’s lush landscapes and outdoor adventure activities.

Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

Community Service


On the 14-day program, empower children through volunteer work in schools or summer camps. Help refurbish classrooms and participate in cultural exchange. On the 21-day program, provide environmental education to youth. Work with students on reforestation and conservation.


Sports can be an effective vehicle for positive change. Available only on the 14-day program, students with a passion for sports can lead projects that grow youth access to sports. Work on improving sports facilities or equipment, and with a little luck, lead community sports activities.

Immersive Learning

While Costa Rica is well known for its environmental and educational efforts, see first-hand how persistent development issues affect the daily lives of its youth. Chat with locals in their homes over cafecito — the Tico equivalent of tea time — as you learn what it’s like to grow up and live in Costa Rica. On the 21-day program, dive into Costa Rica’s “Bandera Azul” program, a certification program that ensures schools are meeting environmental education standards. In addition, observe alternative ways to grow, harvest and process coffee sustainably.


On the 14-day program, go kayaking, see the Arenal Volcano on horseback and take a dip in a natural hot spring. On the 21-day program, get to know the waters of Costa Rica with whitewater rafting on the Tenorio River and a standup paddleboard excursion through the mangrove forest. Spy crocodiles, monkeys, and birds on a riverboat tour, hike through a nature reserve, enjoy a Catamaran cruise and snorkeling and visit a beachside wildlife refuge where turtles have been known to nest. Both programs will reach new heights on an exhilarating zipline adventure!


The 14-day program’s Home Base is an all-wooden lodge surrounded by rural pineapple and sugarcane farms. There are three lakes near the property where students can swim, kayak or fish. The 21-day program’s comfortable and safe Home Base is located a short distance from the beach. Students will stay in gender-segregated rooms with roommates.

Program Type

Are you passionate about improving the communities children depend on?
  • Make a difference as a teen volunteer in the lives of children in-need through meaningful service
  • Connect with a new culture and make friends with like-minded interests
  • Go on excursions and explore everything that makes the destination you choose special
  • Leave a lasting impact that will have a positive effect on the community for years to come

Dates & Tuition

Costa Rica

The Initiative for Children™

21-Day Flagship Program
2021 Dates
 July 5 – July 25, 2021
Duration: 21 days
Tuition: $5,099
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 60
Language Hours: N/A
14-Day Program
2021 Dates
 June 19 – July 2, 2021
 July 28 – August 10, 2021
Duration: 14 days
Tuition: $3,799
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 36
Language Hours: N/A
More Information


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Tuition Includes All In-Country Expenses Including:

  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support

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Custom Group Travel Option

Global Leadership Adventures offers open enrollment on this program to any high school student who wishes to join any of the summer session dates listed above. Students will meet other teens from around the country and the world who sign up for the same program dates and destination.

Alternatively, this program is also available as an option for custom group travel any time of the year for those looking to put together their own group trip.

GLA Custom Group Travel works with educators, group leaders, or self-led students to create a tailored experience for their specific group of 12 or more students. Select a pre-designed itinerary or select your own countries, themes, and learning objectives. GLA’s service-learning methodology is the vehicle through which students learn, grow and challenge themselves and their fellow travelers; our host communities welcome students’ energy and helping hands.

Leadership and personal growth are the core components of all of our programs, regardless of duration, destination or theme type and can be woven throughout every aspect of the experience through our intentional design as desired by the group leader. Our programs aim to ignite participants to become inspired to be the change.

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