Costa Rica Explorations was founded with the primary goal to create, develop and nurture leadership skills and confidence in its participating high school students and teachers, while placing them in a safe and controlled, yet unique cultural living environment. When visiting Costa Rica, students are exposed to an authentic “Tico” way of life, which includes Spanish language practice, community service, and a variety of cultural, educational and adventure experiences. Our Costa Rica high school summer programs create lasting impressions and endless memories!
High School Program Focuses
Built into every one of our experiential student travel itineraries, there are three primary program focuses: Homestays, Service, Reflection & Travel. We explore what these mean below.
Our Costa Rica trips expose high-school aged students to a different culture by placing them with approved Tico families in homestay communities. The homestay experience is essential for students to become truly immersed within the Costa Rican culture. Within their homestays, students will need to utilize their Spanish-speaking skills and will experience the daily life of a Costa Rican from typical meals to how they wash their clothes. The communities used in our programs are located in small, middle-class rural neighborhoods and towns. Students, host educators and our professional guides live together within the same community during the duration of the homestay phase of the trip. Guides and host educators are strategically placed within the community to be available to the students as necessary.
Every homestay phase begins with an orientation and introduction to families and community members. The homestay families, service projects and other points of interest to the group are within walking distance of one another, making meeting locations and group coordination easy. Find more information regarding the Homestay Selection Process and Homestay Communities.
Our Costa Rica high school summer travel programs empower students to become global leaders to make a positive difference in the world through community service projects. The community service projects within our homestay communities are plentiful. Projects are focused around community-run organizations, like schools, parks, and churches.
Based on the host educator’s goals & desires for their students’ experiences in Costa Rica, coupled with the group’s individual budget, we have various service projects that we can implement for your students. Time dedicated to the service project within a student program ranges from 8-24 total hours of work. We are able to customize the amount of time spent on service work depending on the desires of each group. Projects often consist of light construction work, such as carpentry, mixing & laying cement, painting, cleaning, and planting gardens. We also offer service opportunities within the classroom like teaching English, coordinating a “sports day” or just observing classrooms in action. We hope that participating students gain inspiration, knowledge, and confidence, and continue serving their community at home and abroad after their experience.
3. Reflection & Travel
Our itineraries are designed to expose student travelers to an authentic culture in a safe environment. Our trips take advantage of the unique country of Costa Rica! Students will have fun and discover its beauty and diversity by exploring different areas of the country and participating in various adventures and educational excursions to learn about the rainforest and the different tropical environments of Costa Rica.
Many times this trip is our participating students’ first experience traveling internationally without their parents; therefore, our high school itineraries are designed to help students gain essential travel skills all while under constant supervision. Our hope is that students will gain confidence in themselves, their Spanish-language skills and their navigational skills and will seek out independent travel opportunities in the future.
Reflection is an essential element to learning. Our high school student travel program weaves in time for reflection throughout the itinerary. During orientation, our professional guides help students set individual as well as group goals. After strategic team-building activities, students reflect upon their role within the group and stop and think about how they could become a stronger group member in the future. We encourage group participants to reflect each night in their personal program journal in order to capture the learning that happens on a daily basis. Reflection, coupled with intentional educational opportunities, sets the stage for individual group and group development. Students gain a broader perspective of the world and their role within it setting themselves up for future personal success and growth.
Based on the group’s goals and budget, our Costa Rica high school student travel itinerary options range in duration from 9 to 14 days. As indicated, all trips include homestay, culture, and service, but you can add some travel and relaxation to the experience as well. Your itinerary can be customized the focus on adventure and team-building, environmental studies, history and culture or a combination of these three! If your group is unable to participate in a homestay experience, we can try our best to integrate your group into authentic cultural experiences while staying in hotels.
Our Costa Rica High School Student Travel Itineraries
Our Costa Rica high school student travel itineraries are merely templates to work from. While we can implement an itinerary in its exact form (as indicated within these trips), you can also contact us to customize a trip to better suit any specific needs or goals that you want to be accomplished during the high school students’ travel to Costa Rica.
- 9-day Homestay, Spanish Immersion & Service Student Itinerary
- 10-day Homestay, Culture, Service & Beach Student Itinerary
- 12-day Homestay, Culture, Service, Volcano & Beach Student Itinerary
- 12-day Environmental Leadership Student Itinerary
What Our High School Students Say:
“It was positive, comfortable, educational, fun! I loved all aspects of the homestay, service, zip-lining and rafting part.” — Beth
“My favorite part of the program was living with (and interacting with) the host families. What an honor it was to be with these people and get to know them. I feel like I have another family in Costa Rica!”
“The trip has helped me want to help others more.” — Josh