Community Service Projects
Costa Rica is known for its biodiversity and its pioneering conservation efforts. Steaming volcanoes poke out of thick, green jungle; and protected tropical rain forests, teeming with wildlife, reach all the way to the pristine coast. Immerse yourself in a mountain village and work alongside community members on a variety of service projects, documenting life in the village through photos, journals, and video. Then set off to explore Costa Rica’s most active volcano and the breathtaking western coast.
Start your journey on the pristine Pacific coast, where we’ll spend our first days in a small beachside village. After a day of orientation, snorkel amid spectacular marine life, kayak across the bay, learn to surf, and enjoy an afternoon at one of Costa Rica’s white-sand beaches.
Community Service Village
Travel to our village in the mountainous northwestern province of Guanacaste, and settle into everyday life. Our days start with a typical breakfast of rice, beans, eggs, and fresh fruit. Then split into teams and head out with members of the community to work on a variety of service projects. Clear forest trails, teach English to students at the elementary school, or paint a health center. Help build local housing, or pitch in on the restoration of a community building. Organize a village cleanup, plant trees, or develop a conservation project that local youth can continue.
In the afternoon, take a break from your projects to explore this lush, mountainous area. Hike to a nearby swimming hole with your new Costa Rican friends, or arrange a game of pickup fútbol. Go for a walk in the tropical forests to look for monkeys and unusual flora. Join some of the local women
in the kitchen to learn how to make tortillas and gallo pinto, or try your hand at milking a cow at the town dairy farm. Throughout your time in the village, record your service project work through photographs, journal entries, and video. With the guidance of your leaders, craft a story about your experience, the challenges facing the community, or the impact of your work.
After wrapping up our community service projects, we’ll move on to Arenal, the most active volcano in Costa Rica, flanked by thick rain forest. Our home here is a small, sustainable, family-run ranch that has its own organic garden, a reforestation corridor, and hot springs. Learn about their sustainability initiatives, spend an afternoon exploring the rain forest on horseback, or go kayaking on Lake Arenal. Swim in the crystal clear pools below Catarata de la Fortuna, a spectacular waterfall located at the base of the dormant Chato Volcano. Descend from the mountains and return to the Pacific coast for a final day of reflection with your group.
Accommodations in the village are simple. The group sleeps in sleeping bags on the floor of the community center. Boys and girls share a sleeping area and bathroom with other students of the same gender. We prepare our meals alongside volunteers from the community. At the beach, we stay in a family-run villa. At Arenal, we sleep in private bungalows and eat buffet-style meals in an open-air restaurant.