Pura Vida Service

Pura Vida Service

Spend a week at Rustic’s Volcano and Rainforest Service Base working on a combination of service projects and enjoying Costa Rican adventure. Whether helping out with service initiatives or participating in cross-cultural experiences, you’ll contribute to the community, practice your Spanish, and make new Tico friends. After service, experience some of Costa Rica’s best adventure activities like zip lining and whitewater rafting. Visit hot springs and a traditional Costa Rican farm to learn about the local culture. After action-packed days, take a dip in the freshwater pool or relax at the base house. This program is great for first-time travelers and students interested in making new friends from across the globe.

Students love the zip lining, rafting and the impact they create with the community service!

2024 Departure Dates

June 4 – June 11, 2024 Available Enroll Now
June 11 – June 18, 2024 Available Enroll Now
June 18 – June 25, 2024 Available Enroll Now
June 25 – July 2, 2024 Available Enroll Now
July 2 – July 9, 2024 Available Enroll Now
July 9 – July 16, 2024 Available Enroll Now
July 16 – July 23, 2024 Available Enroll Now
July 23 – July 30, 2024 Available Enroll Now
July 30 – Aug. 6, 2024 Available Enroll Now
Aug. 6 – Aug. 13, 2024 Available Enroll Now
Program Profile
Program Profile

Service Projects at the Volcano Base

Students staying at our Volcano & Rainforest Base will have the opportunity to participate in a range of community initiatives that we support in the local area. These projects are designed in close collaboration with our local partners to support community goals. Students are assigned to project teams and will rotate through the initiatives outlined based on the needs of each project during their program.

Green Communities

Costa Rica is world-renowned for its dedication to environmental protection and we support a number of local initiatives working to protect the natural environment and promote sustainability. Contribute to projects at the National Park focusing on trail maintenance, small construction projects, and making and placing landmarks.

School Improvement Project

We partner with schools in two nearby districts to support infrastructure improvements that create brighter learning environments for students. Schools receive limited funding from the government and communities work hard to provide additional support to boost their children’s educations. You will work on small scale construction projects that in the past have included building new classrooms, installing tile floors and windows or adding a fresh coat of paint.

Community Infrastructure Project

Residents in communities outside of the tourist destination towns rely heavily on agriculture as a source of income and have limited resources to support their priorities for community development. We have partnered with several rural communities to support these goals and you will work alongside community leaders to undertake building projects. In the past these have included initiatives such as construction of a tilapia fish farm, a kitchen for a community center, and a communal garden project.

Base House
Service Work

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!
Consider no checked bag. We strongly recommend that you consider packing only a carry-on size bag. This prevents your luggage getting lost or separated from you, keeps your bag manageable, and helps you be more mobile on your travel day.
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.


A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for daily activities and outings.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Photocopy of flight information
  • Wallet/money
  • Journal and pens
  • Book
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Change of clothes
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Ear buds
  • Medication
  • Additional community service forms
  • Visa documentation (if applicable)
  • Consent to Travel Letter (for students under 19, recommended by the US State Dept but not required)
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
Main luggage

A 40-50 liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal


  • Socks (4-5) Some should be long socks for boots
  • Underwear (6-8)
  • Pants/capris (2)
  • Long, loose-fitting shorts for service project work. Something that provides coverage and protection while keeping you cool. (5-6)
  • Tank Tops (3-4)
  • T-shirts (6-8)
  • Long sleeved shirt (1)
  • Rash guard (Suggested for rafting)
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Bathing suit cover-up/sarong
  • Rain jacket
  • Sandals for water (like Tevas or Chacos or water shoes for rafting)
  • Sneakers (Closed-toed comfortable shoes)
  • Sun glasses
  • Hat (for sun)
  • Rubber boots (Suggested for service. Try to bring with you as these can be purchased more easily in the US than locally) or extra pair of service sneakers
  • Long socks to wear with rubber boots


(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Oxybenzone-free sunscreen (reef-safe)
  • Biodegradable/natural bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Foam ear plugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Razor/shaving cream


Portable games–Bananagrams, playing cards, Frisbee
Flash Light or headlamp (suggested)

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

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