Program Update: What’s New, What’s Hot & Where Spots Are Limited
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Program Update: What’s New, What’s Hot & Where Spots Are Limited

As the countdown to summer seemingly accelerates, there are more students signing up to travel with Rustic Pathways. Therefore, session availability is becoming increasingly limited.

Overall, about 40% of the seats filled are for spots in one of our eight programs in Costa Rica. However, that is not the only nation that has programs that are in high demand. There are a number of sold out and limited sessions in programs across the globe.

Here is an update on our programs, including some additions and other changes that you may have missed in the following areas:

New Programs
College Programs
Updated Itineraries
Hot Programs with Sold Out Sessions
Unique Programs for the Adventurous

New Programs:

South Korea:

South Korea Culture and Service

This program has just been added, and it’s perfect for students who are fascinated by Korean culture. Students will take part in environmental service projects, try adventure activities like ziplining, and explore the rich history of this nation. View more information on our program page.


Himalayan Trekking and Temples

This program gives students a unique opportunity to really step out of their comfort zones. They spend days white water rafting and trekking across remote regions of Nepal, while also exploring the culture, religion, and history of the country in its two largest cities. Along the way, the students will view some of the most stunning scenery on the planet.

For more information,  our program page and our article: What Rustic Students Learn While Trekking in the Himalayas


Mediterranean Paradise

We’ve added Europe back to our travel options with a trip along the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. The students will visit several quaint and historical locations, snorkel in the deep blue waters, and see places made famous by the show The Games of Thrones. More details are available on our program page and our article: Traveling Through a Mediterranean Paradise


Wild Galápagos: Eco-Service in Ecuador

This program that is organized by biologist David Jackson was added last fall. It only has about seven seats remaining. This trip is perfect for students interested in conservation and allows teens to see animals they cannot see anywhere else on the planet. More details are available on our program page. and our article: A Trip Like No Other: A Galapagos Island Adventure.


Marine iguanas hang out on a beach on Santa Cruz Island. Photo: Diego Delso, Delso Photos, License CC-BY-SA

College Programs:

Demand for college programs has exceeded expectations, so we have added new options. Here are the available programs:


Andes to Amazon

We have changed the 7/12-7/26 session from a high school offering to a college one to meet demand. The other two college sessions are sold out. More information is here:

The Beauty and Ruggedness of PeruProgram page

Photo: Molly Caffry

Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico Paradise

We have added a college program for this service trip that allows students to give back while practicing Spanish and learning about the local ecosystem. More details:

Why Students Love This Caribbean Paradise – Program page

Photo: Sara K Francis


Our college Moroccan Wanderer program is sold out. You can visit this page to be added to the waitlist.

Other Potential Options:

These programs accept students through age 19:

Nepal: Himalayan Trekking and Temples
Dominican Republic: Public Health in the Caribbean
Costa Rica: Surf and Service
Costa Rica: Turtle Conservation Project
Vietnam: Hanoi to Ha Long

Updated Program Itineraries


Southeast Asian Adventurer

This program has been upgraded to include a number of new stops in Thailand. It includes activities from the northern to the southern part of the country, including rafting, biking and time with the elephants.

More details:

Traveling to Thailand for an Outdoor AdventureProgram page


Moroccan Wanderer

This itinerary has been updated so that students spend less time on the road and more time enjoying the Sahara Desert and cities like Marrakesh.

More details:

The Morocco Experience – What to Expect –  Program Page

Hot Programs with Sold Out Sessions

Costa Rica

Surf and Service & Turtle Conservation Project

These programs have the most sold out and limited sessions. Grab a spot while you can. For more information, view our program pages and this article on Rustic’s turtle conservation efforts.

Pura Vida Service also has a sold out session.

More info:

Why Costa Rica is the Perfect Place for Student Travel This Year


Andes to Amazon

Like the college version, this program for high schoolers is very popular. One session is sold out and another is limited.

Here are more details about traveling in Peru:

The Beauty and Ruggedness of PeruProgram page



Big Fiji Explorer

Two of the four sessions for this action-packed program are sold out. Fiji is one of Rustic’s most popular destinations, so generally programs in the country are “hot” options.

Island Adventure – Program page

We also have 15 other programs with limited availability. This includes programs in countries ranging from Thailand and Australia to the Dominican Republic and the United States.

The programs with the most limited sessions include:

Sacred Valley – Peru
Sun, Sand and International Service – Fiji
Intro to Community Service – Fiji
Animal Conservation – Australia
Heart  of the Jungle – Costa Rica
Marine Life and Coastal Restoration – Dominican Republic
Wild Galapagos and Eco-Service – Ecuador
Southeast Asian Adventurer – Thailand

Unique Programs for the Adventurous

All of Rustic’s programs offer unique eye-opening experiences. For experienced travelers or students who really want something different, there are some programs that stand out in their ability to get teens out of the comfort zones. Here are a few of those options.


Culture and the Crater

In this program, students learn about the Hadzabe, which is Tanzania’s last remaining hunter-gatherer tribe. They work in a remote village and go on safari to view lions, zebras, elephants and more.


Off the Map: Mongolia

In the program, students travel to a region that is known as the “end of the world” since it is the point on Earth that is farthest from any ocean. They stay in traditional Mongolian tents or gers and learn about an entirely different way of life. As an added note, we’re looking into offering a shorter 14-day version of this program. Stay tuned!

Anya Buyanerdene - Mongolia Country Manager


Himalayan Trekking and Temples

This new program takes students on strenuous hikes through remote mountain regions of Nepal. It also teaches students much about the Buddhist and Hindu faiths and allows students to witness a public cremation ceremony.


Great Barrier Reef Dive Expedition

This program is designed for students who love to scuba dive and want to spend an extended period of time on a boat that will take them to see regions of the Great Barrier Reef most tourists never see.


Great Ghana Adventure

This trip brings the history books to life as students see the Door of No Return that Africans walked through during the years of slavery. They also learn about Ghana’s diverse culture, which includes dozens of ethnic groups.

Program pageHow Students Gain a New Perspective in Ghana

Photo: Perrin Duncan



Come with Nothing: The Rustic Expedition

As the name implies, students are challenged to bring just one small backpack on this unique program that takes students to remote regions of Thailand.

About the Author

Mary Rogelstad

Lead Editor

Mary is the Lead Editor at Rustic Pathways. She has been a writer and editor for nearly 20 years. Prior to covering student travel, Mary created content for the music education company J.W. Pepper & Son. She also was a writer and producer at CNN International and a communications director for a social service agency and a K-12 private school.