Costa Rica Pura Vida

Ages 14-17
Service Hours 15+

Costa Rica Pura Vida Highlights

  • Rehabilitate marine wildlife
  • Learn to surf from world-class instructors
  • Explore Arenal Volcano
  • Raft through the jungle
  • Relax in natural hot springs

Costa Rica Pura Vida 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!

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 daylong rafting trip, complete with refreshing white water and riverside lunch. Enjoy stories from our raft guides in between the exciting white water rapids.

Day 4: Arenal Volcano and More

In the morning, enjoy a guided hike around the base of Arenal Volcano with breathtaking views. To relax after the hike, we spend the afternoon at beautiful hot springs heated naturally by the volcano’s core. For dinner, we go to a family owned organic farm and restaurant where they teach us to make fresh tortillas and local traditional dishes. Prepare for Iron Chef Costa Rica, Zeal style!

Day 5: Monteverde

Today we leave Arenal for Monteverde, one of the most biodiverse regions in Costa Rica. Upon arrival in the afternoon we settle in, eat dinner, and prepare for an exciting guided night walk. This is the time sloths are most active, so prepare to see these wonderful animals!

Day 6: Zipline Tour

If you’ve read about Costa Rica, you’re well aware of the incredible zipline tours cascading through forest canopies. 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 7: Into the Cloud Forest

Today we explore a unique forest called a cloud forest. Similar to a rainforest but with clouds providing the water instead of rain, the ancient trees and landscape are beautiful and full of life. Our guides use their expert eyes to point out tons of interesting plants and animals.

Day 8: Cirenas

Today we move to our coastal destination right on the Pacific Ocean. We stay at an exotic yet luxurious lodge just off the beach with great views of the coastline and easy access to some of the world’s best surfing.

Day 9: Sea Turtle Service

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 10: Permaculture Project

The reason our meals are so incredible here at Cirenas is because they grow their own organic food on the property through their permaculture program. Today we learn about the project and take part in activities like planting corn or cassava, harvesting food crops, and working on building projects like a chicken coop or ranger station.

Day 11: Surfing

Known for world-class beaches, great surf, and the occasional celebrity sighting, Santa Teresa is the perfect place to learn to surf! After a morning of enjoying the waves, we’ll relax in town with smoothies and other delicious treats.

Day 12: Isla Tortuga

Just a 30 minute boat ride from mainland Costa Rica is an uninhabited island paradise, complete with coconut trees dotting the white sand beaches. This is the ultimate beach day as you’ve only imagined. Enjoy a pick-up soccer game, world-class snorkeling, tasty meals and drinks, or just plain laying out under the sun.

Day 13: Visit the Capitol

The trip is winding down already! We spend today exploring San Jose’s Central Avenue and the National museum and theater. It’s a bustling city full of art, culture, cuisine, and history. This is a great day to pick up last minute gifts and souvenirs.

Day 14: Travel Home

It’s hard to believe the trip is coming to a close! Today we return home, flying stateside with our trip leaders and friends.

Travel Dates

Costa Rica Pura Vida

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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