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If you love working with children, this is the perfect program for you! Begin your trip with zip lining and whitewater rafting trip down the Pacuare River. After bonding with your group, work together to create and run a summer day camp for local children who would not otherwise have access to camp experience. Develop meaningful connections with your campers through fun, engaging, and educational activities. End your experience with an overnight beach trip and take a boat ride to a private island to relax in paradise before you head home.

Program Profile

Country
Costa Rica
Community Service Component
Advanced
Community Service Focus
Education
Community Service Component
The People, The Language
Lifestyle
Settle in at the Base, Relax at Hotels
Travel Component
Moderate Travel Involved

2015 Departures

Departs (USA) Returns (USA) Availability
June 9 June 24 Available
June 16 July 1 Available
June 23 July 8 Available
June 30 July 15 Available
July 7 July 22 Available
July 14 July 29 Available
July 21 August 5 Available
July 28 August 12 Available

Connecting Programs

Schedule two or more programs in a row to create your ideal Rustic Pathways experience.

This program connects especially well with:

  • Day 1

    Depart the U.S. en route to San José, Costa Rica. Upon your arrival, Rustic Pathways Staff will greet you at the airport.

    Head to your lodgings for the night and spend the first evening meeting new friends and mingling about with students preparing for our many enriching programs. Good luck and enjoy your stay in beautiful Costa Rica!

  • Day 2 - 3

    Raft the Pacuare

    Start the trip with an exciting whitewater rafting challenge on the Pacuare River. During this two-day trip, get to know your team and work on your teamwork skills with activities at the river lodge at night.

    Enjoy your first glimpses of this spectacular country. From its rainforests to its volcanic peaks to its two coasts, Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful nations in Central America. Home to some of the most biodiverse swaths of land and sea on the planet, Costa Rica is famed for its natural environment – and it’s commitment to that environment! Costa Ricans – or Ticos, as they’re called here – are intensely proud and protective of their lands, and have put their country on the map as the world leader in eco-tourism and environmental protection.

    In addition to its stunning flora and fauna, Costa Rica is also world-renowned for its adventure activities and fantastic kayaking conditions, both of which you’ll be sampling in the days to come!

  • Day 4 - 5

    Set Up Camp

    When you reach the river’s end, drive to Castillo. Pay a visit to an organic sustainable ranch that will be your home for the next few days as you plan the camp. Start learning about the camp structure and schedule.

    After breakfast, participate in intensive training sessions that will give you strategies and ideas for working together and turning your ideas into a real summer camp for Costa Rican children.

    Spend the afternoon working to plan the agenda for the next week and creating the itinerary and activities that will make this summer camp a success! There will be a kayaking excursion in the afternoon on Lake Arenal, one of Central America’s largest man made lakes.

  • Day 6

    Camper for a Day

    Today is your last day of planning. Experience the camp as one of the campers as your Rustic Pathways staff lead the day of activities for you to show you how to run things on your own and give you more ideas of games and activities. Think of this as a dress rehearsal for the next week. Today you’ll leave your home on the farm and move to the base camp in Arenal, where you’ll stay for the duration of the camp you run.

  • Day 7 - 13

    Camp Time

    The next seven days will be a dream come true for the Costa Rican children joining what for some may be their first ever summer camp. Wake up early and have breakfast with your fellow counselors, before receiving the Tico kids every day at around 8:30 a.m. Spend the day with the children, running various games and activities, coordinating lunch and snack times, and then saying goodbye to them at around 3 p.m. each afternoon. You’ll build special relationships with these energetic and warm-hearted kids, and put your leadership skills into practice.

    On some days after the camp, you may have the chance to participate in different adventure activities in the La Fortuna area. These activities include ziplining through the rainforest near the volcano. You will also have the opportunity to visit the natural hot springs.

    In the evenings, you will evaluate the day with your team and prepare for the next one. Eat dinner together and enjoy a relaxing evening.

    On the final day of camp, you and your fellow counselors will visit a local waterpark with your campers. The day at the park includes a picnic lunch, water slides and a variety of pools.

  • Day 14

    Vamos a La Playa

    After a fun-filled and challenging week of running the summer camp, take off for the beautiful and peaceful beaches of the Pacific coast. These next 24 hours will give you a chance to enjoy down time, take in some sun, play beach volleyball or soccer, eat great food and enjoy a beautiful Pacific sunset. Reminisce about the camp you’ve just completed, and spend time enjoying the company of your team.

  • Day 15

    Head Back to San José

    The last full day with the program, the group will have a chance to sleep in, relax in the morning then head back to the capital. You will spend you last night at the Rustic Pathways base hotel in San José.

  • Day 16

    Departure

    Depart for home or join another Rustic adventure!

An Important Note About Schedule Changes

Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.

The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.

For more information, email costarica@rusticpathways.com

  • How does this program connect to other programs?

    On Tuesday night students will have a final group dinner and stay the night in Heredia at the hotel. Wednesday morning students will meet with their new group and guides at the same hotel where they stayed and go off on their new program.

  • Do we need to get visas for this program?

    Students from the United States and Canada will be automatically issued a 90 day tourist visa upon entry into Costa Rica.

  • Will there be a flight leader to this country?

    Yes. All flights between Costa Rica and the USA will have a flight leader starting in both Newark and Houston. Return flights to the USA will also have a flight leader as far as Newark and Houston. Flights between Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic are NOT escorted by a Rustic Pathways staff member.

  • How long is the flight to this country?

    Direct flight from Newark to San Jose takes approximately 5.5 hours.
    Direct flight from Houston to San Jose takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours.

  • Does the advertised trip length include international travel time?

    Yes, trip length includes travel time. Fortunately, Costa Rica is located very close to the United States and students will arrive on the same day they depart the US.

  • Which areas does this program operate in?

    During the Summer Camp Leadership program, students will remain in the Alajuela province near the town of La Fortuna. They will stay in the Heredia province for a very short period of time when they first arrive in country and the night before they depart Costa Rica. They will also visit the San Jose, Cartago and Puntarenas provinces for short periods of time.

  • Is your staff certified in First Aid?

    Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also 
certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.

     

  • What is the ratio of Program Leaders to students?

    Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 students. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.

  • What water will we be drinking?

    The water in Costa Rica is safe to drink. Rustic Pathways uses sterilization techniques to ensure that all drinking water for students is potable and safe to drink. We ask students to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.

  • Can I bring a cell phone?

    Students are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Students will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If students are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken

  • What sort of electrical voltage adapters do I need to bring?

    Outlets in Costa Rica are 110 V, with standard US two prong plugs (or three prong if grounded). Students from Europe will need an adapter. (Adapters are very difficult to find in Costa Rica, Don’t forget yours at home! )

  • What is the weather like?

    The Summer Camp Leadership program takes place in the rainforest area, a very green, humid, and “wet” area in the country. Students should be prepared for hot, humid weather in the 80s and 90s during the day, and the daily rain shower.

  • What will the accommodation on this trip be like?

    Throughout the program students will stay at various types of locations including a jungle lodge, a self sustaining ranch, a base house (where they will be running camp!) and a hotel . The jungle lodge is our most rustic location, while the hotel that students stay at in Puntarenas is considerably comfortable accommodations.

  • What kind of food will we be eating?

    For the most of the program students will be eating at the base camp’s restaurant where traditional Costa Rican food will be offered daily such as rice & beans with beef, fish, chicken, pork and other local specialties (expect a lot of rice and beans!!!). When away from camp they will be eating at local restaurants and will have a variety of meals to choose from.

  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    The bathroom facilities are American standard in Costa Rica. Hot water may not always be available.

  • How often will I have access to email and phones?

    Students will be taken to a wifi zone or internet cafe at least once a week on this program.

  • How often will I have the chance to do laundry?

    Students should pack reasonably for this program. Laundry is available once a week and the cost is $5-$10 depending on the amount of clothes. Those that will be connecting to another program will have access to another laundry service in San Jose at the end of their program for a cost of approximately $10-$15.

  • How many girls and boys are usually on this trip?

    The maximum number of students on this program is 20. There are typically more girls than boys however the exact numbers vary from week to week.

  • Is there anything that parents and students are occasionally surprised by ?

    You cannot flush the toilet paper in Costa Rica.

  • How much travel occurs on the program?

    There will be several road trips during the two weeks of the program. It will start with a 2 hour ride to the rafting entrance of the Pacuare River. On the third day there will be an approximately 5 hour long drive to a sustainable ranch in Castillo where students will do part of their training. From there, we will drive 45 minutes to settle into our base camp in the surrounding of Fortuna for the next 10 nights. During the time of the camp itself there will be daily short 20-30 minute drives to town and to optional activities in the area. At the end of the trip the group will take a 3 hour ride to the town of Puntarenas to get on the Isla de Tortuga ferry and spend the last day relaxing. On the final day of the program the group will drive another 2 hours to return to San Jose for the last night.

  • How will the group be transported around within the country?

    Rustic Pathways hires private buses/vans to transport our students to different program locations.

  • What immunizations do we need to get for this trip?

    Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the International SOS and Centers for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.

  • What is my membership with International SOS?

    International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.

    As a member you will have access to SOS’s extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our International SOS webpage.

  • Where is the nearest healthcare?

    Students will be within an hour and a half of healthcare facilities at all times. However, the majority of the program the students will be in the La Fortuna area. There are two private medical clinics in this town which are about 15 minutes away from the base.

  • Can Rustic Pathways cater to specific diets on this program?

    Rustic Pathways can cater to most dietary needs on this program. There will be ample access to fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, and grains for those who are vegetarian. Vegan diets can be accommodated, but with a little more foresight and planning as this is not a diet commonly encountered in Costa Rica. Please know that while we are happy to accommodate alternative diets, many of the special diets common in the United States are not common in other parts of the world and travelers must be patient and understanding in having these needs be met. Please contact costarica@rusticpathways.com with any questions regarding special diets or allergies.

  • Will mosquitoes and/or other insects be a problem on this trip?

    Yes, there are bugs. It isn’t unbearable, but we do require students to wear bug spray, preferably containing DEET, and to bring light layers to cover up during dawn and dusk.

  • What costs are not included on this trip?

    Optional Activities, personal gifts, Internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, and in-country transportation) are included in the program price. There will be several optional activities during the time of the summer camp that students can choose to participate in, however these activities are not essential to complete an excellent experience.

  • How much spending money do you recommend I bring?

    This program recommends students bring $300-350 for spending money.

  • Will I receive community service hours on this program?

    Yes, up to 70 hours are awarded on Summer Leadership Camp.

    Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage for more information on how service hours are awarded.

     

  • What service projects will I work on and how are the projects identified?

    The main service work is based on creating a summer day camp for Costa Rican rural children. The first part of the trip will focus on the actual set up of the camp, planning the logistics and details of the camp. Then the main work will come by making the camp come true and running a 7 day long session for the kids.

    When you are not working with the local children you will also spend a few hours being an environmental leader, working on different environmental sustainability projects to improve the impact of tourism in La Fortuna and Costa Rica. You may also have a chance to work on improving some local facilities for children in town. Overall this program is truly one of the most rewarding yet the hardest service work we have in Costa Rica.

  • Does this program have any required gear?

    In Costa Rica we enforce a “Big 5″ Rule for all community service. Students are required to have: 1. Full water bottle 2. Sunscreen 3. Bug spray 4. Closed-toed shoes 5. Rain jacket

  • Is this a program / country where students may be studying language?

    Students will have the opportunity to practice their Spanish with the Tico campers.