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Get ready to travel, work, and play your heart out on this intensive two-week soccer and service project through the heart of Costa Rica. Using the game you love as a medium, you’ll develop relationships with tico locals throughout this beautiful country, and give back to your host communities through thoughtfully designed service initiatives. In your downtime you’ll take advantage of the best adventure activities that Costa Rica has to offer. Join the Traveling Soccer and Service Team and effect positive change through sports!

Dates listed reflect travel time departing from and returning to the USA. International clients click here.

You must enroll in a program at least 8 days prior to the scheduled departure date. For help choosing an alternate date or location, please contact us to speak with a program expert.

With our No-Stress Travel Policy, you cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.

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Program Profile

Costa Rica
Community Service Component
Community Service Focus
Infrastructure, Education
A Little Bit of Everything
Travel Component
On the Go!
Get to Know
Adventure, The Sights, The People

  • Day 1

    Depart the United States for San José, Costa Rica. All scheduled flights from Newark and Houston to Costa Rica are non-stop and escorted by a Rustic Pathways Flight Leader. Upon arrival at the San Jose’s airport, you will be greeted by your Rustic Pathways staff.
    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.

    Ticos are also renowned for their national love of soccer. Bryan Ruiz, Alvaro Saborio, Keylor Navas, and Joel Campbell are just a few Ticos who have made their country proud by both holding spots on the Costa Rica’s national team, and going on to play on international teams.

    Head over to your lodgings where you will spend the first night meeting new friends from your program. Good luck and enjoy your stay in beautiful Costa Rica!

  • Day 2 - 5

    Depart to the valley of Turrialba, where you will have lots of soccer games, you’ll get to know the town, and do fun activities such as visiting a National Monument, mountain biking, a full morning of soccer playing against different local teams in an outdoor soccer field. After doing community service and the day’s activities spend the night in one of our base houses, where you can relax tired muscles in the swimming pool.

  • Day 6

    Today is a day packed with adrenaline and excitement as you prepare to experience the beauty and exhilaration of whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River. The Pacuare is considered one of the most beautiful rivers to raft in the world due to the lush greenery, the narrow canyons and above all, the exciting class III-IV rapids. Depart from the town of Siquirres after a day of rafting and head towards La Fortuna.

  • Day 7

    Today you will continue doing more adventure activities like zip lining in the rainforest in the morning. Have lunch, and right after walk around the beautiful town of La Fortuna to visit several souvenir shops, play a competitive soccer game, and then take some time to relax in the beautiful pools of the natural hot springs.

  • Day 8 - 12

    Enjoy being part of a Costa Rican family during your homestays, and eat delicious meals cooked by your host families. These days you will be performing some rewarding community service, playing pick up soccer games against people from the beautiful town of La Paz, where you will be focused on practicing your personal soccer skills with your friends, and versus local teams as well. During your stay at this rural community you’ll have the opportunity to learn some Spanish, do some typical activities, and swim in the local river.

  • Day 13 - 14

    Head towards the central Pacific coast to the lush and beautiful area of Manuel Antonio. Here the group will play soccer on the beach, hang out in the warm waters of the Pacific ocean, and catch spectacular sunsets. Play beach frisbee with the group, soak up the sun and take breaks to jump into the waves, get in shape by running on the beach, or simply read a book and relax under a palm tree.

    During your time on the beach, visit Manuel Antonio National Park in the morning, where you’ll have the opportunity to swim, appreciate the wildlife, and do a short hike around the National Park. Right after lunch get ready to board a 100-feet long catamaran that will take you on a cruise through the calm water of the central Pacific, where you might have the opportunity to see dolphins and do snorkeling, depending on the weather conditions.

  • Day 15

    Have breakfast and go for a final jump in the ocean, after lunch board the bus and return to San José, we will stop half way through for last minute souvenir shopping. After dinner it’s time to get a good night’s sleep since tomorrow you’ll be heading home or off on new adventures.

  • Day 16

    If you are heading home, say your last goodbyes to your new friends and head off to the airport bright and early in the morning. If you are heading off on another Rustic Pathways adventure in Costa Rica, get ready for more fun and excitement!

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.

“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.

“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.

For more information, email costarica@rusticpathways.com

Program-Specific FAQs

  • On the final Tuesday afternoon the Soccer and Service Team program will depart from the hotel in the Central Pacific. They will stay that night in San Jose in a base 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.

  • Students from the United States and Canada will be automatically issued a 90 day tourist visa upon entry into Costa Rica. For students traveling on Passports issued in countries other than the United States and Canada, we recommend you contact the Costa Rican embassy in your home country for additional visa details.

  • 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, Peru, and the Dominican Republic are NOT escorted by a Rustic Pathways staff member.

  • 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.

  • Yes, it includes the first and last day of international traveling for the students.

  • During the Traveling Soccer and Service Team program students will visit the San Jose, Alajuela, Limon, Cartago, and Puntarenas provinces.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!)

  • Students will visit a variety of different locations but most of the time, students should be prepared for hot, humid weather in the 80’s and 90’s during the day with a daily afternoon rain shower. When the students are in the Cartago province the climate will be slightly cooler.

  • Students will be staying in two different types of accommodations; with host families in typical Costa Rican homes and in hotels during their travels. The hotels are carefully chosen according to the needs of the program and are clean, comfortable and safe.

  • Students will be eating at local restaurants as they travel throughout Costa Rica. The food will vary between traditional Costa Rican food and occasional American and international selections.

  • From years of experience these home stay families have long been a favorite of our students. The home stay section of the trip offers clean and safe family homes. Two or more students of the same gender will stay with each family.

  • Hotels and Costa Rican houses all have bathroom facilities with running water, American style toilets and showers.

  • Students will have limited access to internet during their program when they visit towns with internet cafes. They will be able to purchase international phone cards in Costa Rica from the guides or at local convenience stores which can be used to call home from the public phones

  • Laundry is available once a week and the cost is $10-$15 depending on the amount of clothes.

  • There are typically more girls than boys however the exact numbers vary from week to week.

  • Since this is a traveling program, students are going to be moving around different parts of the country every 3-4 days. The longest time they are going to be in a bus will be from 3 to 4 hours, depending on weather and traffic conditions.

  • There is going to be a bus and a driver with the group for the two weeks.

  • Access to healthcare in Costa Rica is really good. Students are going to be doing white water rafting, zip lining and a one-day boat tour on this program. The vendors we use for these activities have very good safety policies.

  • 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 HX Global 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.

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

    As a member you will have access to HX Global’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 the HX Global  webpage.

  • There are clinics in every town we visit. It would take less than 30 minutes to get to one of them in each place the program visits.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Personal gifts, internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.

  • We recommend students to bring from $200 to $250.

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

  • Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organizations to identify and prioritize the needs of each community.

  • Students need to bring their own soccer gear such as soccer cleats, indoor soccer shoes, shin guards, socks, and gloves for the goalies. Rustic Pathways is going to provide uniforms, soccer balls, pinnies, and any other necessary accessories for soccer practices and games.

  • This is a competitive program, so knowing how to play soccer is fundamental.

  • This is an excellent program for students that want to practice/learn Spanish, since they are going to be staying at local homes with Costa Rican families for 5 days of the trip.

Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:

Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.

Rustic Gear. Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.


A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Ear buds
  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Medication
  • Additional community service forms
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts

Checked Luggage

A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.


  • Socks (8-10)
  • Underwear (12-14)
  • Pants/capris (2)
  • Long shorts* (2-3)
  • Long skirt (1)
  • Tank tops (5-6)
  • T-shirts (5-6)
  • Long sleeved shirt (1-2)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Quick dry towel
  • Beach towel/sarong
  • Rain jacket
  • Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
  • Sneakers
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat (for sun)
  • Soccer cleats
  • Shin guards
  • Indoor soccer shoes
  • Headlamp/flashlight


(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Foam earplugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Razor/shaving cream

Important Reminders

  • *Community Service Appropriate Attire includes T-shirts and tank tops with no visible undergarments and shorts with a 3” or more inseam.
  • Don’t forget the Big Five:Water Bottle, Sunscreen, Bug spray, Rain jacket, Closed-toe shoes.
  1. a
    San Jose

    Welcome to Costa Rica! You will meet your group and program leaders in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.

  2. b

    Visit our base house in Turrialba, play competitive soccer and relax in the swimming pool.

  3. c

    Enjoy a full day of rafting in the Pacuare river, one of the best rivers of the world for rafting.

  4. d
    La Fortuna

    Enjoy the zip line and then relax in the hot springs in the evening.

  5. e
    La Paz

    Play more soccer, do community service, and enjoy the mountain air.

  6. f
    Manuel Antonio

    As the last part of the program, visit one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica, located in a beautiful National Park.