Costa Rica Journey

Ages 14-17
Service Hours 20+

Costa Rica Journey Highlights

  • Assist with sea turtle rehabilitation
  • Surf lessons from world-class instructors
  • Explore Arenal Volcano
  • Raft through the jungle
  • Relax in natural hot springs
  • Receive Spanish language credit

Costa Rica Journey Details

Costa Rica, or rich coast in Spanish, is an incredible country chock full of life. The sliver of land is small, only 0.1% of the world’s land mass, however it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. What’s more, 25% of the country is a national park or protected area. With one coast along the Pacific and the other coast on the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is sure to please the beach goers, snorkelers, and surfers in the group. For those interested in volcanoes and rainforests, Costa Rica has those too. Zeal travels to Costa Rica for these reasons and many more!

In addition to the incredible adventures and experiences on this trip, you’ll spend one week in San Jose learning Spanish in the morning and developing your language skills through city exploration and community service in the afternoon. In addition, you can receive high school or college credit for your morning language coursework.

Community service is an essential component along the way. Community service days include working with sea turtles and Habitat for Humanity. You will learn about marine conservation science, help with rehabilitation efforts of injured wild sea turtles, and build modest homes for Costa Rican families in need.

Activities on this adventure

Explore Arenal Volcano

Go Rafting

Zipline and Canopy Tour

Sea Turtle Service

Learn to Surf

On Every Zeal Adventure

At Zeal we hold safety, growth, friendships, service, and fun as our core beliefs. These are reflected in all our trips, so rest assured you could only make a good choice when you decide to go on a Zeal trip. Our leaders are seasoned, trained, and equipped to keep you safe on your adventure. Our itineraries are incredibly fun and offer you the opportunity to grow into your best self. Each trip will have 15-25 hours of meaningful community service. Finally, we encourage you to live the adventure with your friends, old and new! At Zeal, we allow both groups of friends and individuals to sign up for a trip.


Day 1: Travel to Costa Rica

Today we depart on our group chaperoned flight from LaGuardia airport. Participants meet their trip leaders and peers at the airport two hours before the flight, and fly all together to San Jose, Costa Rica. Upon arrival, the group will travel to their first destination in La Fortuna and settle into their idyllic eco-lodge.

Day 2: Forming

Today is about getting to know each other, the trip, and the area. We start the trip off right by taking time to really get to know each other with icebreakers, team challenges, and games. In the afternoon, we visit some special local places to get a lay of the land and feel more at home. Of course, we’ll have time to visit the natural springs for swimming and relaxation.

Day 3: Rafting

Now that we’re all friends and recovered from jet lag, it’s time for some fun! We embark on a day long rafting trip, complete with refreshing white water and riverside lunch.

Day 4: Canopy Tour

If you’ve read about Costa Rica, you’re well aware of the incredible zipline tours cascading through jungle. Today is your day to experience the hype! What does it feel like to rush through tropical stands of trees filled with animals like monkeys and toucans? Find out today!

Day 5: Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano was active until 2010, complete with smoke plumes, explosions, and spewing lava. Today it lays dormant, and is safe to explore. With a local guide, we walk the trails around the Volcano, learning about its history and earth science. After a day of trekking through the jungle, stop at natural hot springs warmed by the earth’s molten core.

Day 6: Waterfall Tour

This region of Costa Rica is known not only for the impressive volcano but also natural hot springs and beautiful water falls. Today we scout a series of  the falls and take refreshing swims along the way. From tall careening water to wide deluges, these falls offer a variety of experiences and photo ops!

Day 7: Everybody Surfing Now

After five days in Costa Rica’s northwest jungle region, we move to Tamarindo on the west coast. Known for world-class beaches and great surf, we start this phase of the trip off right with surf lessons in the afternoon. It’s a great way to stretch after the morning drive from La Fortuna! Finish the day off with invigorating tropical smoothies and local cuisine.

Day 8: Rest and Relaxation

We’ve already been traveling a week! Can you believe it?! Today we sleep in, make calls home, and hang out at the beach. Today is all about recharging. Ahhh rest day!

Day 9: Tortuga Island

We board a boat that brings us from mainland Costa Rica to Tortuga Island. The island is uninhabited and surrounded by pristine reefs. It’s literally a tropical paradise! We spend the entire day exploring the island, enjoying the beach, pristine snorkeling, and trails that criss cross the small slice of pristine natural utopia.

Day 10: Visit a Tropical Farm

Today we visit a local farm! Try your hand at milking cows, making cheese, cooking local favorites, and picking guava. Today offers a glimpse into the good life of connecting with land and nature. We also take a fun ride through the farm on 4×4 vehicles and see beautiful views of the coast from the farm’s higher grounds.

Day 11: Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

Today we learn all about sea turtles and have a chance to give back to these amazing animals through a local organization that specializes in conservation and rehabilitation. If you’re interested in biology, marine conservation, international volunteering, and veterinary medicine, this day is for you!

Day 12: Sea Turtle Rehabilitation

Today we continue working with sea turtles to help rehabilitate them after injury or disease. With a second day here, you feel more at ease with the tools, procedures, and animals. Your education and experience accelerates on day two.

Day 13: Travel to San Jose

Today we depart the southwestern Osa Peninsula for San Jose, the capitol city. The trip includes driving through country side, a ferry crossing, and hours of music and relaxing car time. Nap, chat, put on your headphones and zone out, enjoy the sights, but above all, enjoy a little down time after two long days of fulfilling service.

Day 14: Explore San Jose

After a lazy morning and phone calls home, we spend today exploring San Jose. It’s a bustling city full of art, culture, cuisine, and history. This is a great day to pick up gifts and souvenirs too!

Day 15- 20: Language and Service

For the next six days, we spend each morning studying Spanish in a classroom setting. In the afternoons we immerse ourselves in Spanish by volunteering with local youth at a summer day camp. The afternoons are a great way to hone your Spanish language skills!

Day 21: Travel Home

It’s hard to believe that the trip is already over! Today we depart for home with our trip leaders and friends.

Travel Dates

Costa Rica Journey

What’s Included

Trip tuition covers all activities, food, accommodations, in-trip travel, gear, and fees associated with parks and other destinations. Please note trip tuition excludes travel expenses to and from program. Participants are encouraged to bring $100-200 of pocket money for optional purchases like souvenirs and gifts.

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