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Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities™

Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities™

Península de Osa is Costa Rica's wild side—a primitive paradise of dense wildlife and remote rainforests.


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  • Volunteer with a small community on sustainable development
  • Aid in efforts to protect the biodiversity of the rainforest
  • Experience true rural life on local farms and a gold mining camp tour
  • Spend a day ziplining through one of Costa Rica’s most extensive canopy tours
  • Swim under waterfalls and hike through Corcovado National Park
  • Snorkel from pristine tropical beaches

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National Geographic named Costa Rica’s Península de Osa “the most biologically intense place on Earth” due to the diversity and density of species that call this untouched region of Central America home. Isolated from the mainland, you’ll live in a secluded nature wonderland where howler monkeys sing, locals still pan for gold and macaws soar above the canopy. This ecological treasure trove is the perfect setting to learn about sustainable community development and environmental conservation as you volunteer with the rural people living in the village of Rancho Quemado.

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Community Service

With a population of only 200, Rancho Quemado is a small settlement that has called the remote Osa Peninsula home for generations. As the town receives an increased trickle of tourist traffic, you’ll help its residents with community refurbishment projects that help build a sustainable eco-tourism industry, such as painting community buildings, planting gardens, building fencing or helping with recycling and trash pickups. Living among native families in the heart of the rainforest will inspire you to protect the traditional way of life and the region’s precious biodiversity.

Hands-On Learning

Rancho Quemado may be a small town, but you’ll leave with lessons that extend beyond Costa Rica’s borders. You’ll encounter issues like sustainable tourism, community development and conservation in the face of global climate change. Tour gold mines, sugarcane mills, and local organic farms to understand the traditional way of life that has been preserved in the isolated Osa. Even during downtime you’ll constantly be testing your Spanish and playing sports with children, or chatting with community leaders about how their worldview has been shaped by living in the most biologically diverse place on the planet.

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From the untouched Bahía Drake and the world-class snorkeling spots of nearby Isla del Caño, to Parque Nacional Corcovado—the “crown jewel” of Costa Rica’s park system—the Osa Peninsula is a remote corner of the world brimming with opportunities for true adventure. Try to spot endangered jaguars and tapirs while hiking through the rainforest, and snorkel among abundant marine life. You’ll have a full day of ziplining and rappelling through lush vistas, and canoe to Rio Claro, where waterfalls and a rope swing wait for thrill seekers.


Your Home Base in Costa Rica will be a series of rustic cabinas, built and owned by local families in the heart of the Osa Peninsula. This region is remote and rustic, but beautiful, and accommodations are clean and safe. The Home Base is exclusively used by GLA students and staff, and is surrounded by lush rainforest teeming with wildlife. Students will stay in gender-segregated rooms with roommates, and will share gender-segregated bathrooms and shower facilities.

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Dates & Tuition

Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities™ 14-Day Program
Jun 17 - Jun 30, 2017
Jul 3 - Jul 16, 2017
Jul 19 - Aug 1, 2017
Aug 5 - Aug 18, 2017
Duration: 14 days
Tuition: $3,599
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 25
Language Hours: N/A
See What's Included
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
More Information

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.

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I was scared that my first time outside of America with a group of people I'd never met before would be frightening, but it was the best experience of my entire life. I played sports with not only my new friends, but also native children, did volunteer work among the dryforest, rainforest, and a local elementary school, swam in a natural hot springs, and hiked through the rainforest, just to name a few.

Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities™
Hometown: Greenwich, CT

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