This six week mini semester is jam-packed with multi-day adventures through a country rated one of the happiest on earth! You can come and be the judge of why the people are so happy, but this rating probably stems from the laid-back ‘Tico’ vibe, combined with a globally inspiring model of eco-stewardship. 

The adventures on the Costa Rica Mini Semester program are for all skill levels and abilities, and will be led by professional guides as you hike, kayak, raft and surf through the best of Costa Rica. All you need to bring is a sense of enthusiasm and curiosity! Read more about the highlights of the trip below:


This leg of the journey is something you just wouldn’t get the chance to do on a typical Costa Rica holiday. We take on an epic sea kayaking journey through the Golfito, camping on beaches along the way. We will be amongst amazing rainforest scenes, dine under the stars and get a chance to see dolphins. We will be supported by professional guides and will be going at a pace that suits the whole group. We’ll pack our snorkels and jump in the beautiful water to check out marine life every chance we get! 


This is an action packed three day rafting journey on the Pacuare River. The guides are super knowledgeable about the local area and indigenous tribes. The EcoLodge where we stay is amazing, and all of the building materials and supplies had to be imported via raft - what a feat! It’s an intimate jungle space where we can escape the noise and have time together as a group. The Pacuare rafting experience is filled with epic rapids through tropical rainforests and places for us to play under waterfalls. This is one of the best locations in the world for white water rafting. 


Up in the highlands, we head out on a three day hiking adventure on the Ruta Sukia. Lots of incredible wildlife live in the jungle here, including jaguars, pumas and monkeys! While walking, we will get up close and personal with spectacular waterfalls and caves. We will immerse ourselves in Costa Rican culture by living under the same roof as local families in homestays along the way. 

Surf Camp

We will spend three days learning how to surf and honing our skills on the Pacific swell in the world-renowned surf mecca of Playa Uvita. All of the instructors are Tico and work with us one on one in developing skills; they are really patient and give great advice. The waves here are suitable for all abilities. You’ll see pros out there as well as learners, it just depends on which part of the beach you go to. The instructors will teach you all about ocean currents and wind direction, so you can take these newfound skills and feel comfortable in other surf locations across the globe. It’s such a special moment when we get to our feet for the first time and everyone cheers! After three days of lessons, we will be catching party waves. The surf camp is all about laughing together, learning about muscles you never knew existed, and making memories that last a lifetime. 

Animal Rescue 

We spend a portion of the program at an animal rescue center dedicated to protecting and helping endangered Costa Rican wildlife. This rescue center is home to a variety of animals rescued from the illegal animal trade, which is unfortunately still functioning in parts of the country. The goal is to help the animals recover from both physical and psychological wounds that have arisen from their past suffering. During our stay, we’ll support the center with volunteer work such as working in the animal kitchen, assisting with the sloth garden, helping with the compost, and enriching animal homes. All of the workers are incredibly passionate about rehabilitating the animals. They wake at the crack of dawn. There are volunteers working alongside us too; it’s fun to ask them how they ended up volunteering at the animal rescue center and what their travel plans for the future look like. 

Spanish Lessons

Where the jungle meets the sea in Drake, we spend five days practicing Spanish. Every day will be a combination of private classes with a professional and then practicing with the local community. By the time we arrive at Drake, we’ve already had a bit of exposure to Spanish speakers, and this is the chance to nail some of the rules and conjugations. The classes cater for all abilities, so if you’re a complete beginner or a conversationalist, we’ve got the lessons perfected. Who knows, this could be the launch point for a lifetime of learning Spanish! 

Sustainable Farming

We will spend time at two working farms. The first is situated by evergreen forests on the River Savegre Basin. Santiago is the owner of Rancho Tinamu, a community rooted in environmental sustainability. Santiago has a huge heart, and always has a smile on his face. He really embodies the pura vida lifestyle. He speaks in Spanish, but it’s very slow so he’s the ideal person to learn Spanish with. We will be working alongside the community, furthering our sustainability education and learning skills such as carbon neutrality through tree planting. We will get out on a night safari and explore nearby caves. Our second farmstay is located in the heart of Osa peninsula at the border of the Corcovado National Park. We will be working alongside the local family, planting tubers, fishing in the lagoon, collecting eggs from the chickens, milking the cows, baking bread and getting our hands dirty with trail maintenance.


The Costa Rica minimester is an incredible program. There is scheduled downtime, with yoga lessons at surf camp and space to breathe between adventures during service learning. We will see the best the country has to offer in a diverse and seamless itinerary, with awesome and supportive program instructors alongside us the whole way. Learn more about this program here.

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Author Orla O'Muiri Posted

Category Costa Rica Departure Spring 2023