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Rustic Pathways Base Houses

Rustic Pathways Base Houses

With Rustic Pathways, you don’t need to choose between meaningful service and comfortable accommodations. Our bases provide familiar living standards and easy access to service projects. They facilitate local immersion while ensuring our students can rest comfortably, play happily, serve wholeheartedly, and learn from their experiences.

Base Houses in Costa Rica

Volcano and Rainforest Base

La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Situated on the edge of a beautiful rainforest reserve beneath the famous Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, the Rustic Pathways Volcano and Rainforest Service Base is the perfect hub for summer service and adventure. The base is within minutes of incredible service opportunities and plenty of heart-pounding adventure activities such as zip lining and rafting. It features two stone-and-wood houses, a freshwater swimming pool, a soccer field, a volleyball court, several ponds, a small waterfall, and a lush rainforest for a backyard.

The houses are equipped with electricity, private bathrooms with hot water showers, flush toilets, and fans. Enjoy delicious meals prepared fresh daily while socializing with your new friends.

Service Initiatives

Education: Serve as English language conversation partners with local students and reinforce the lessons they’re learning in their classrooms. Many students in Costa Rica study English in school to develop skills necessary for future employment opportunities.

Environment and Animal Welfare: Costa Rica is world-renowned for its dedication to environmental protection. Rustic Pathways’ partnership with the Arenal Volcano National Park allows students to work alongside park rangers in various conservation projects within the protected areas.

Infrastructure: Work on small-scale construction projects to create more effective learning environments for students in local schools, or work with our rural community partners to support infrastructure development projects. In the past, we’ve built classrooms, installed tile floors and windows, and assisted with painting projects. We’ve also collaborated with community leaders with projects such as the construction of a tilapia fish farm and a kitchen at a community center.

Beds: Bunk beds
Showers: Hot
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: No

Programs: Intro to Community Service in Costa Rica

Surf and Service Base

Playa Grande, Costa Rica

Located along the north Pacific coast in Playa Grande, our two-story beachfront house is right next to Marino Las Baulas National Park—considered the home of leatherback turtles. The Surf and Service Base is just a short 15- to 20-minute drive from our service site, making it the perfect jumping off point for our projects in Guanacaste Province.

When not participating in service nearby, students relax at the base, surf, or play soccer or volleyball on the beach. The Surf and Service Base also offers a perfect vantage point for catching the Costa Rican sunset each night during your program.

Service Initiatives

Economic Development: Rustic is working to help develop income generation projects to support the Playa Grande community. As the area’s popularity has increased attracting more tourists, so has the cost of living for local residents. Having additional revenue sources would allow community members to supplement their income, especially during the low tourist season.

Infrastructure: Rustic supports the community of Matapalo with construction projects, including a new facility for cultural presentations and traditional dances, and a volleyball/basketball court. Finishing these projects will allow the community to host tournaments with surrounding neighborhoods. These tournaments will create a revenue source for the community to support other local initiatives in a sustainable way while providing a safe place for youth to hang out and keep traditional dances and folklore alive.

Beds: Bunk beds
Showers: Freshwater (cold)
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: No

Programs: Surf and Service in Costa Rica

Base Houses in the Dominican Republic

Mountain Air Service Base

Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

The Rustic Pathways Mountain Air Service Base is located in the region of the country known as the Dominican Alps. This mountainous countryside boasts picturesque views of the surrounding area. Located at Los Bohíos Campos de Añil, students stay in bohíos, traditional Dominican-style homes made of cinder block with thatch or tin roofs. Each bohío has two bedrooms for up to five students.

Students participating in Intro to Community Service in the Dominican Republic will stay at the base and get a feel for the local culture in this community setting common to Dominican life. The surrounding mountain villages offer service opportunities to build aqueducts and construct wastewater treatment systems. In the evenings, students can relax by the pool or explore the vast grounds at the base.

Service Initiatives

Environment and Animal Welfare: Water pollution in the Yaque del Norte River has increased as the regional population grows and families are settling nearer to the river. We have partnered with local NGO Plan Yaque since 2015 to complete eight blackwater treatment systems that process wastewater from homes before it enters the river.

Infrastructure: In 2012, Rustic began collaborating with local organizations to provide water access to underserved communities in the Jarabacoa region of the mountainous La Vega province. In that time, Rustic students have built aqueducts in more than 20 communities.

Beds: Bunk beds
Showers: Intermittently hot
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: No

Programs: Mountain Air and Village Service

Base Houses in Fiji

Eco-Lodge Service Base

Momi Bay, Fiji

Established in 2004, the South Pacific Eco-Lodge Service Base is integrated into the surrounding environment and community. The base is located between two villages and surrounded by a number of farms predominantly owned by families of Indian descent. The mixture of Fijian and Indian neighbors creates a vibrant atmosphere for exploration and learning about Fiji and its unique mix of cultures.

The main lodge contains a kitchen, dining area, game room with billiards, and features a large deck with a swimming pool. The grounds have extensive gardens and sports fields tucked among fruit trees and swaying palms. Rooms are divided between dormitory-style bedrooms and several authentic bures, or cabins, spread throughout the property. Bathrooms are modern with flushing toilets and solar-powered, hot-water showers.

Weekend Side Trips

Students staying at the base for two or more weeks have the option to take a weekend side trip after their first full week of service.

Highlands Discovery: 3 days, 2 nights | $295
Journey into Fiji’s rural interior and experience local life in a way few visitors ever have. Enjoy swimming beneath a towering waterfall and hiking along ancient trails. Spend the weekend learning from families about the traditional way of life in the Nausori Highlands.

Tropical Island Interlude: 3 days, 2 nights | $355
Take a dip in the Pacific as you visit one of Fiji’s glorious island getaways. Enjoy your surroundings while playing beach soccer or volleyball, or napping in the sand. Our Tropical Island Interlude is a chance to recharge between your service projects and escape to a beautiful island.

Coral Coast Cruiser: 3 days, 2 nights | $395
Experience Viti Levu’s impressive Coral Coast. Challenge yourself on a high-ropes course, explore a rainforest preserve to learn about Fiji’s native plants, and visit Suva, the country’s capital, for dinner and a movie. Between activities, take a walk on the beach or relax by the pool.

Beds: Bunk beds
Showers: Hot, solar-powered
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: No

Programs: Sun, Sand, and International Service, Intro to Community Service in Fiji, Spring to Fiji, Fiji Diver’s Dream, Big Fiji Explorer, and Escape to the Fiji Islands

Highlands Service Base

Nausori Highlands, Fiji

Far from the beaches that make Fiji famous, the mountainous interior of Fiji’s main island is one of the least-developed regions of the country. Rustic Pathways first came to this incredible valley in 1993 and immediately recognized the warm hearts and rich cultural traditions of the highlands villagers. Since then, we’ve formed a close relationship with the villages and continue to support ongoing service initiatives designed to meet their long-term goals.

Programs that visit the Highlands region allow students to live alongside local families, follow the rhythm of daily life, and participate in community service. Students on Highlands and Islands Service Immersion become a part of the special relationships we’ve developed since first offering programs in Fiji.

Service Initiatives

Economic Development: We’ve joined forces with a local clan (extended family) to support a small-scale agricultural enterprise to empower these families. We’re working closely with villagers to make this project a success by providing basic supplies, guidance, and training, and to getting our hands dirty in the field.

Education: In 2011, we started building a new elementary school in the village of Nasivikoso to allow children to attend school closer to home. Since completing that project, we’re continuing to identify new partnerships to improve education facilities in the Nausori Highlands.

Infrastructure: We’ve undertaken a wide range of projects to improve basic services in the remote communities of the Highlands. Those include installing simple water systems to improve access to running water, construction of toilets and footpaths to improve sanitation, and renovation of community halls.

Beds: Sleeping mats with mosquito nets
Showers: Cold
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: No

Programs: Highlands and Islands Service Immersion

Islands Service Base

Somosomo Village, Fiji

Located on a breathtaking stretch of pure, white sand in Somosomo, our Islands Service Base is a slice of heaven. We’ve worked to make this base a sustainable and eco-friendly place for students to live in harmony with the neighboring village and the surrounding environment. By eating freshly-caught seafood, growing our own produce, and developing long-term partnerships with our neighbors, this base truly embraces simple island life.

The base consists of large safari-style tents built on platforms where you’ll sleep each night. Meals are eaten in our rustic dining area or on picnic tables overlooking the water. Showers are outdoors and toilets are self-composting to minimize the impact on the environment. Kayak, snorkel, or have a bonfire and guitar jam session on the beach with our local team on this island paradise.

Service Initiatives

Environment and Animal Welfare: Work on projects to help support regrowth of the coral reef system and help offset environmental degradation. Conduct reef checks on five different reefs, remove crown of thorns sea stars, and build and install coral structures. Work with local partners to track fish populations and monitor the overall health of the reef. Students will also contribute to the ongoing efforts to plant mangroves in the area. One mangrove can offset 800 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

Beds: Cots with sleeping bags
Showers: Cold
Toilets: Self-composting outhouse
Air Conditioning: No

ProgramsMarine Service and Adventure

Base Houses in Thailand

Rural Isan Service Base

Udon Thani, Thailand

Located in northern Thailand, the Rural Isan Service Base is a modern oasis amid traditional Thai life. Surrounded by terraced rice fields and village homes, students have the opportunity to witness traditional, rural Thai life.

Due to our long-standing relationship with the local communities, we’re able to offer students an all-encompassing experience. Home to some of our most popular programs, including Intro to Community Service and Community Health and Wilderness First Aid, this base house provides a comfortable setting to introduce students to international travel.

Weekend Side Trips
Students staying at the base for at least two weeks have the option to add a weekend side trip after their first full week of service.

Hill Tribe Weekend Escape: 4 days, 3 nights | $495
Head into the mountains to spend a couple of nights at a beautiful eco-lodge high in the mountains. Photograph incredible landscapes, learn how to cook delicious Thai food, swim in a cascading waterfall, hike to a mystical cave, and learn about the ethnic minority groups that call this mountainous region home.

Buddhist Retreat: 3 days, 2 nights | $395
Spend three days living like a Buddhist monk or nun learning how meditation and mindfulness are a part of daily life in Thailand. Get acquainted with the basic tenets of Buddhism and leave the temple refreshed and grounded.

Escape to Paradise: 3 days, 2 nights | $695
Relax on some of Thailand’s most pristine and stunning beaches in Krabi. Snorkel amid coral and colorful fish in aquamarine waters and climb jungle-covered rock formations.

Beds: Single beds or bunk beds
Showers: Hot
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: Yes

Programs: Intro to Community Service in Thailand, Community Health and Wilderness First Aid

Lanna Highlands Service Base

Chiang Dao, Thailand

Nestled in the mountains outside of Chiang Dao, the Lanna Highlands Service Base is the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. The property showcases traditional Northern- style architecture against a backdrop of lush gardens and trees. The surrounding mountains and forests help preserve crisp and cool air, a haven from Thailand’s summer heat.

When you’re not working on a service project or exploring nearby Chiang Mai, find a quiet place to take in the view or enjoy free time with friends in one of the picturesque waterfalls just a short drive from the base.

Beds: Mattresses with mosquito nets
Showers: Hot
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: No

Programs: Hill Tribe Service and Elephant Conservation

Base Houses in the United States

New Orleans Service Base

Louisiana, United States

Located just a short drive from the heart of the city, the New Orleans Service Base provides a comfortable retreat after a long day of service. The base boasts comfortable communal spaces, dorm-style bunk rooms, and modern bathrooms.

Spend downtime relaxing by the nearby lake, listening to live music, exploring New Orleans’ vibrant neighborhoods, and trying local cuisine like crawfish, gumbo, or beignets from Café du Monde.

Service Initiatives

Infrastructure: Rustic Pathways has partnered with SBP to assist with the ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery effort. Rustic students have contributed to the construction of at least one new home each year since 2010. With the recovery entering its 14th year since the hurricane devastated the city in 2006, our work in New Orleans has expanded to include assisting with other community infrastructure projects and partnerships with other area nonprofits.

Beds: Bunk beds
Showers: Hot
Toilets: Standard Western
Air Conditioning: Yes

Programs: Rebuilding New Orleans, Young Explorers: New Orleans


Interested in staying at a Rustic Pathways base house during an immersive spring break or summer travel program? Click below to explore all Rustic base house programs.