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Intro to Community Service in Costa Rica

Intro to Community Service in Costa Rica

Spend a week at Rustic’s Volcano and Rainforest Service Base in La Fortuna working on a combination of service project 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, relax in a hammock or take a dip in the freshwater pool. 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 created with the community service!

Students love our programs in Costa Rica!
Departure Dates
  1. June 09 - June 17, 2020

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  2. June 16 - June 24, 2020

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  3. June 23 - July 01, 2020

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  4. June 30 - July 08, 2020

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  5. July 07 - July 15, 2020

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  6. July 14 - July 22, 2020

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  7. July 21 - July 29, 2020

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  8. July 28 - August 05, 2020

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  9. August 04 - August 12, 2020

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  10. June 08 - June 16, 2021

  11. June 08 - June 16, 2021

  12. June 15 - June 23, 2021

  13. June 22 - June 30, 2021

  14. June 29 - July 07, 2021

  15. July 06 - July 14, 2021

  16. July 13 - July 21, 2021

  17. July 20 - July 28, 2021

  18. July 27 - August 04, 2021

  19. August 03 - August 11, 2021

Program Profile
Program Profile
Live at the Volcano and Rainforest Service Base

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 La Fortuna 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.

Language Exchange & Cultural Immersion Program

We work with local community schools that incorporate English as a second language into their curriculum. This project aims to create an intercultural experience for the Costa Rican students and our Rustic students. The Language Exchange and Cultural Immersion (LECI) program promotes cultural awareness by creating a forum where Costa Rican and Rustic students alike can exchange their cultures, values, and perspectives in a safe and open environment through different activities that focus on teamwork, communication, citizenship, and intercultural competence.

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 Arenal Volcano National Park focusing on trail maintenance, small construction projects, and making and placing landmarks.

School Improvement Project

We partner with schools in two districts around La Fortuna 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 touristic town of La Fortuna 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 to generate additional funds for the community and a kitchen for a community center to support local events.

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 or similar sized bag is ideal.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Journal and pens
  • Book
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Ear buds
  • 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 (4-5) Some should be long socks for boots
  • Underwear (6-8)
  • Pants/capris (2)
  • Long service shorts (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, or you may bring an extra $15-$20 if you wish to buy them in country. Bring longer socks for these)
  • 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)
  • 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.