La Fortuna, Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Teen Trip

Ultimate Costa Rica

21 days of Costa Rica! Adventure, Spanish language and 20 hours of community service. This trip has it all!



Costa Rica

2019 Dates

June 29 - July 19


21 days



Trip Highlights

    • Spanish Language: 5 Fun Days!
    • Snorkeling by Beautiful Beaches
    • 2 days of Surfing & Lessons
    • Sailing on a Catamaran
    • Whitewater Raft: Pacuare River
    • Hot springs, Waterfalls & Jungle Treks
    • Community Service: 20 Hours


*The itineraries below are from summer 2018. The 2019 itinerary will be finalized in October 2018.




Pura Vida! We start our three-week adventure with five days of morning conversational Spanish language classes. Designed with fun and everyday conversational skills in mind, we partner with young Costa Rican Spanish teachers to create an engaging classroom experience. Classes have a maximum of four Bold Earth students per teacher and involve games, field trips, and lots of laughter! After morning classes, we spend two afternoons surfing, hike through beautiful rainforests, and explore an active volcano! During this portion of the trip, each student stays with their own friendly host family. This is a wonderful start to our Costa Rica teen camp.


With our community service and classroom sections behind us, we spend several days traveling with one thing in mind - adventure! Jungle zip-lines, snorkeling, tubing and sailing all lead up to our final adventure: rafting Class III rapids alongside monkeys and toucans on the wild Pacuare River. Our trip concludes at a backpackers lodge near Arenal Volcano, where we watch the distant flow of red-hot lava from the safety our cabanas in the jungle.  Bold Earth's Costa Rica teen trip is simply the best that Costa Rica has to offer.


Our next experience is a volunteer project with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation. Based in a small village, we live with host families in the community and spend two days building a new playground at the local school. Next, we travel to the Pacific Coast to work on a project helping endangered sea turtles. Working with the Ostional Wildlife Refuge, we help sea turtles find safe hatching areas and assist baby sea turtles to safely walk to the ocean. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience on our Costa Rica teen trip!
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Day 1
Welcome to Costa Rica
Welcome to Costa Rica! Bold Earth campers will be met upon arrival at the San Jose Airport by their experienced Bold Earth trip leaders. Campers will call home as soon as they are with their leaders to confirm their safe arrival. Once the group has arrived, we load up our private van and travel the short distance to our bed & breakfast near Heredia. During orientation, we get to know each other and learn what to expect in the days ahead. We watch the sunset over the tropics of Costa Rica as we play lots of name games and eat a delicious Costa Rican feast for dinner. The adventure has begun!
Day 2
Into the Mountains and Tican Culture
On day two we head into the misty mountains of Monteverde where we meet our "tico," or host, families. The families have been carefully selected based on their accommodations, including indoor plumbing and a private room for each student, as well as a history of gracious, successful hosting. Hosting students is the main source of income for many Costa Rican families, and all host families are warm and welcoming. Most students bring a few pictures from home and a small gift from their hometown for their host family. For five days we share breakfast and dinner with our "tico" families, making the most of this opportunity to immerse ourselves in true Costa Rican culture.
Day 3-7
Learn Spanish in the Clouds
Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI) in the cloud forest of Monteverde will be our home base for our Spanish language classes. We will study Spanish for four hours each morning, followed by fun activities in the afternoon. Each student is given a Spanish test to determine their placement level. Teachers are professional, fun, and open to teaching based on the strengths and interests of the students. Learning the language is done through games, cooking, and dance. There will be homework assignments and participation in all classes is mandatory. Making a firm commitment to speaking the Spanish language ensures a true, cultural experience of a lifetime. In addition to class each day, our group partakes in local adventures, including a Sky Trek Canopy Zip-Line Tour, hiking in the Santa Elena Reserve, planting trees in the local community, and more!
Day 8-9
Pedaling Through The Rain Forest
There is no better way to explore the incredibly diverse ecosystems of this beautiful country than mountain biking and hiking in Rincon de la Veija National Park. We cruise through a tropical paradise, conquering the heat as howler monkeys screech in the forest canopy towering high above us. Bike to a mud bath/spa in the middle of the jungle and go on a river tubing adventure. All abilities are accommodated, and no experience is necessary!
Day 10-13
Playing on La Playa
Vamos a la playa! Time to catch some waves on pristine, sandy beaches. We take two days of surf lessons on the beaches of Flamingo, take time to soak up some of the warm equatorial sun, and cool off swimming in the crystal clear ocean. We get our sea legs ready for a day of sailing about the Marlin del Ray, a 66-foot catamaran! We cruise around the islands, snorkel, and check out the spectacular marine life. We have a chance to give back to this gorgeous coastal habitat by protecting nesting sea turtles as they come to shore at night to lay their eggs.
Day 14-15
Can You Say "Volcano"?
At the two week mark, we experience yet another awe-inspiring wonder of Costa Rica - the active Arenal Volcano. If we are lucky we may see an eruption! We spend one afternoon and evening exploring the area. Campers will water slide and swim in a local pool with views of red-hot lava, hike to the beautiful Fortuna waterfall, and, if time allows, soak in natural hot springs.
Day 16-18
Giving Back to Local Communities
Service time! We travel to meet our second "tico" families in Santa Ana and begin our service project with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation, a non-profit organization which promotes social awareness and assists low-income families in Costa Rica. We work hand in hand with the local community members to build a playground and mentor the kids. This is a great opportunity to use our Spanish skills to converse and interact by working, eating and living with Costa Ricans for a few days.
Day 19-20
Splashing Down the Pacuare River
To wind down our trip, we ramp up our adrenaline - it's whitewater rafting time! We crash, plunge, and float our way down the famous Pacuare River as the jungle canopy shades us from above. Class III & IV rapids offer wild and exciting plunges and drops suitable for beginners and experts. Afternoons and evenings are spent at the Rios Tropicales Lodge lounging in hammocks or exploring the surrounding jungle. Resting at night in our bungalows, we wake rested and ready for another day of heart-racing rafting!
Day 21
Homeward Bound
Sadly, all adventures must come to an end. On our last day in Costa Rica, campers are supervised until their plane takes off. Bold Earth Trip Leaders help all campers check-in for their flight and ensure that parents have been called. Together, we celebrate our successes, reminisce on our adventure, say "Adios Costa Rica!", and wonder what new experiences Bold Earth will offer next year.

Big Picture?

Epic Costa Rica is the perfect combination of adventure, service, and culture.

Looking for a little bit of everything? On Epic Costa Rica, you’ll experience beaches, toucans, language immersion, volcanoes, surfing, homestays, ziplining, snorkeling, and incredible new friends.

With one American Trip Leader and one local Costa Rican guide, you and 12 other campers will have the summer of a lifetime. Costa Rica is a safe, democratic, and healthy country that is frequently referred to as the adventure capital of Latin America. Bold Earth has been leading trips in Costa Rica for more than twenty years – we know Costa Rica!

Can I speak to references?

To receive a list of Epic Costa Rica references call us in Colorado at 303-526-0806 or email Please mention the trip you are interested and where you live.

Since 1976 over 16,000 students from all 50 US states and 55 countries have joined Bold Earth! We encourage you to contact our alumni directly to find out about the quality of our leaders, depth of programming and what a summer with Bold Earth is really like.

We want careful and selective families to choose Bold Earth. Our offerings are only as good as the families who choose Bold Earth Adventures. Our target student is responsible, informed and enthusiastic.

Why Study Spanish During the Summer?

We get it – you want to learn Spanish, but you don’t want to spend your summer in school! Trip Leaders and Spanish teachers are young, fun, engaging, and make learning Spanish amazing. While having fun, you will learn a ton and improve your language skills immensely.

Learning Spanish on Epic Costa Rica consists of two elements:

1. Living in Costa Rica: Each day Bold Earth makes the Spanish language a fun priority. Examples include shopping for lunch or breakfast in a local market, ordering for the group at a restaurant, completing a scavenger hunt, seeing a movie, playing soccer with local youth – the options are endless and fun!

2. Language Classes: Five of your twenty-one days will include language class for 4 hours each day. The goal of these 5 days is to have fun and improve your language skills through highly personalized language instruction. The maximum class size is four students in order to provide each student the greatest level of interaction and personalized attention from the Costa Rican instructor. The language school portion of your trip allows you to get serious in a super encouraging environment. Our Spanish immersion school takes place in a lovely, secure, and fully equipped campus.

Families (and Spanish teachers back home) are amazed by camper progress on Epic Costa Rica! Even in just five days, campers feel more comfortable speaking and writing in Spanish.

Bold Earth is clear that summer is a time to have fun in a completely new environment with friends for life. Yes, classes are graded but only for your feedback. Yes, there are homework assignments and workbooks but they are strictly for your advancement in Spanish. Most campers do homework with their family – it is really fun!

Where Do We Stay?

Epic Costa Rica campers spend 13 total nights staying in bed and breakfast-style adventure lodges, and seven total nights in homestays. Four of the homestay days are during Spanish school, and three are during the service portion of our trip. During the service homestays, two campers stay with each family. During the language stay, we place one student per family to encourage Spanish immersion. Bold Earth carefully chooses all accommodations to be safe, comfortable, and authentic.

Homestays are often the highlight of the trip, allowing campers the opportunity to really connect with locals. Homestay families are very carefully selected, screened, and have been working with Bold Earth for years. Host families are reimbursed for their hospitality.


What is the Homestay Like?

Families who choose Bold Earth are looking for authentic, safe, and successful adventures. Staying in a homestay gives Bold Earth campers the opportunity to experience the best of Costa Rica. Eating local food and experiencing Costa Rican culture while staying with a family are all part of this amazing adventure.

Year after year, campers love the short homestay in Costa Rica – it’s the perfect length and very carefully planned. Campers experience authentic culture to complement the days of active adventure.

Homestay Fast Facts:
• Two campers per family (private room) during service, one camper per family during language school
• Homestays are comfortable and modern (nice bathrooms, refrigerators, etc..)
• All campers live in same neighborhood – Trip Leaders are very nearby
• Campers are together from 8 am – 6 pm, and have a post-dinner evening meeting every night before bed
• Campers are with host-family for dinner and sleeping

Should you bring a gift for your host family? A gift is not necessary or expected. If you choose to bring a gift, we suggest a picture of your family, a soccer ball, or a cool picture book – nothing extravagant, heavy, or that can melt. Some people bring a memento from their hometown as a gift. Another gift that is appreciated is a book in English for their school or library. Children’s books in English are especially well received.

Tell Me About the Community Service!

Community Service is a Bold Earth core value. Bold Earth carefully chooses hands-on community service projects that are active, engaging, meaningful and life-changing. All Bold Earth participants will receive a certificate to document their service hours.

Service Credit: 20 Hours

Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation: Bold Earth has partnered with the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation for many years to help build playgrounds, parks, and gardens in the city of Heredia. During our community service project, campers live with host families for four days and attend Spanish School in the afternoon. We will support a low-income neighborhood by building a children’s park. We create a playground, plant trees, paint murals, and spend time interacting with the local children. For more information on the C.R.H.F. visit the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation website.

Ostional National Wildlife Park: Partnering with the Ostional National Wildlife Park, Bold Earth participants see how wildlife conservation can protect animals and ecosystems. Bold Earth Campers spend two evenings working alongside park rangers and World Wildlife Foundation biologists at the wildlife refuge to protect nesting sea turtles. We volunteer by patrolling beaches, looking for nesting sea turtles, and translocating nests to protective hatcheries. We also volunteer at the hatchery monitoring success rates and releasing baby turtles into the ocean. For more information visit: Ostional National Wildlife Park.

Click to view: ALL Bold Earth community service projects

What Should I Pack?

Over the last 20 years, Bold Earth has carefully crafted the Epic Costa Rica packing list to include everything a participant needs to be comfortable on the trip. Check out the Epic Costa Rica Packing List for a detailed description of exactly what to bring. Anything not included on the list is provided by Bold Earth.

Checking Bags? Most campers choose to check their bags for Costa Rica. Major airlines do not charge for checked bags for international destinations. Check with your airline for checked bag fees. Campers are required to pay for their own checked bags.

Give Bold Earth a call at 303-526-0806 if you have any questions. The Bold Earth Trip Advisor team is always available to help answer packing questions or provide gear recommendations.

Tell Me More About Costa Rica!

For campers interested in politics, international development, cooking, music, sports, or just about any topic, “Ticos” love to talk. Ticos are immensely proud of their country and love to share. Like Spanish? There’s plenty of opportunities to expand your language skills!

Costa Rica is a wonderful place to travel. Full of culture, natural beauty, and educated citizens, campers are immersed in a new language and a sophisticated country. Costa Ricans, known as “Ticos”, are proud, happy, and successful. Campers are always impressed by Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.

Costa Rica constitutionally abolished its army in 1949. It is the only Latin American country to have been a democracy since 1950 or earlier. Costa Rica is a leader of good governance, police relations, and environmental sustainability in Latin America. Costa Rica serves as an inspiration to the developing world.

In 2012, The New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the world’s happiest and greenest country! Campers experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s environment and the warmth of its culture.

According to the World Bank, Costa Rica’s GDP per capita is US $11,122 (2009), The literacy rate in Costa Rica is 94.9%, one of the highest in Latin America. When the army was abolished in 1949, it was said that the “army would be replaced with an army of teachers.” In 2010 the life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 79.3 years.

What is the Weather Like in Costa Rica?

Costa Rican summer weather is pretty much perfect, 80° – 90° F, 26° – 32° C. Frequent afternoon rainstorms cool down the day and usually do not interfere with our activities.

Keep in mind, one of the main reasons we visit Costa Rica is because it’s covered in amazing rainforests rich with wildlife, birds and incredible beauty.

What is Costa Rican Food Like?

Bold Earth campers love to eat, and Costa Rican food is delicious, healthy, and diverse. Popular foods in Costa Rica include rice, beans, chicken, fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables. Bold Earth and host families always provide plenty of delicious and nutritious food, and campers help cook during the trip!

Costa Rican cuisine is known for being flavorful, yet fairly mild, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals, often served three times a day; Gallo Pinto, a breakfast dish of rice and beans mixed together with onions and bell peppers, is often considered the Costa Rican national dish.

Is Costa Rica an Authentic Adventure?

Bold Earth is 21 days of outdoor adventure for campers who want to whitewater raft, jump off waterfalls, surf, climb volcanoes, wake up early, go to sleep tired, eat local food, and adventure, adventure, adventure!

Bold Earth is an authentic adventure experience. This is not a teen tour. With twenty years of experience in Costa Rica, Bold Earth has scouted the most authentic, safe, and exciting locations, hired the best local leaders, and found the sweetest host families.

Can I Combine Two Bold Earth Trips?

Epic Costa Rica is specifically designed to be combined with Peru Machu Picchu or Ecuador Galapagos. The time between trips (1 day) is fully supervised and is included at no additional cost. Please contact our Colorado office for more information at  303-526-0806 or email at

What Will My Group Be Like?

Bold Earth is proud to run trips with small groups and positive social dynamics. Our Epic Costa Rica group has a maximum of 13 incredible and enthusiastic campers with one American Trip Leader and one Costa Rican guide.

Group size matters! Small groups enhance camper experience and cultivate better relationships. Knowledgeable and experienced guides make Bold Earth trips safer while giving Bold Earth programs powerful authenticity.

Bold Earth encourages all participants to take ownership of their Bold Earth trip. Campers will get a chance to be the Leader of the Day (LOD), which will give campers the opportunity to step into a leadership role. Our goal is for students to return home with a dozen new lifelong friends, feeling more confident, more of a leader, and more self-aware with a better appreciation of the world around them.

Do Campers Join Bold Earth Alone?

Yes! Bold Earth campers are diverse, energetic, leaders and fun! Approximately 85% of campers join Bold Earth on their own. Bold Earth fully supports students joining on their own or with friends.

Bold Earth will not allow more than three people who know each other in one group. We recommend you contact alumni references from this trip to ask them for feedback about the students in their group.

Do I Need a Passport/Visa?

Passport: ALL campers require a valid passport to enter Costa Rica. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the end of the trip.

Americans, EU, and Canadians: No visa required

Other Countries: Most campers will not require a visa to visit Costa Rica. For more information, we recommend you contact the Costa Rican embassy in your home country.

Do I Need Any Immunizations?

Bold Earth carefully researches possible health risks as part of our trip planning for the exact destinations we visit on Epic Costa Rica. Bold Earth visits well-established tourist locations. For most campers, standard vaccinations are sufficient for travel in Costa Rica.

For more information, please consult your family physician or local travel clinic. The day-to-day Costa Rica Active itinerary on the website can be printed show to your travel clinic or family physician.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Costa Rica specific website which we find to be very broad covering all areas, ages, seasons and types of travel.

Ultimate Costa Rica

Travel Made Easy!

  1. Fly Together: Our goal is to fly together as a group. All students are met upon arrival and families are called immediately from the airport.
  2. We recommend participants book flights three months before departure. Booking around April 1st allows the Bold Earth team to guarantee low fares and maximum coordinated group flights.
  3. Combine 2 Trips: Many Bold Earth participants combine Bold Earth trips. Call or e-mail our office for more information.

Every trip has a story.

We have 40+ years of amazing travel tales to share, but our favorites are always best told by our adventurers themselves.
View Trip Blog
Ostional Wildlife Reserve, Costa Rica
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I had an amazing time and made a lot of great friends on Epic Costa Rica. Costa Rica is a beautiful place and I had such a great experience. It was a summer that I'll never forget."
-John C

"Awesome growth experience for my son. He has matured since returning and has had extremely positive things to say about Epic Costa Rica, his leaders and the great group of kids who attended with him. The Trip Leaders were excellent communicators. Kept us well informed and I felt the children were in very capable hands. Would recommend to anyone and would consider for our younger daughter when she gets older."

-Parents: Stephanie & Jeffrey

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