Catch Stunning Sunsets

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Lend a Hand

Turrialba, Costa Rica
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Stunning Tropical Beaches

Samara Beach, Costa Rica
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Keep Paddling!

Pacuare River, Costa Rica
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Exotic Wildlife


Costa Rica Adventure and Service


$2,995 + Airfare


Jun 18 – Jun 28, Jul 10 – Jul 20, Aug 1 – Aug 11




Session 1, Session 3, Session 5

Finishing Grades:

9, 10

Who can go on this trip?

Students from around the world!

Places we visit:

Turrialba, Pacuare River, Arenal, Samara Beach

Optional group flight there:

Miami to San Jose

Optional group flight back:

San Jose to Miami

Join us in Costa Rica for unforgettable memories and valuable service work! We will have the unique opportunity to perform 20 hours of valuable service work in two different communities. In La Fortuna we will work alongside the local association of Boy Scouts with various projects like planting trees to promote a better ecosystem, light construction, and clean-up projects. TFT feels strongly about the impact of this organization and we contribute every year to help them continue their mission in the community.

In Sámara we work with another local association that provides supplemental educational, recreational, and career opportunities for youth with limited resources in the rural beach communities of the surrounding area. We will be helping run one of their many programs focusing on academic and artistic education, environmental consciousness, health, and socio-cultural development. Projects vary but our service work typically consist of working on art projects with the children, reading to them, teaching them English, and general upkeep of the school such as painting and light maintenance.

Along with our meaningful service work you will explore volcanoes, jungles and beaches. We will experience the best Costa Rica has to offer while zip lining, hiking, white water rafting, sea kayaking, and much more! Pura Vida!

On this trip you will:

  • Volunteer in two different communities for a total of 20 hours of service
  • Participate side by side with two local associations on various projects, including working with local children
  • Go on an overnight whitewater rafting trip in the lush jungle
  • See a plethora of wildlife in its natural habitat including sea turtles, white-faced monkeys, giant iguanas and of course, sloths!
  • Zip-line over the jungle canopy
  • Take a surfing lesson at a beach famous for its waves perfect for both beginners and avid surfers
  • Swim and sunbathe while staying at a tropical paradise along the coast
  • Sea kayak over to a gorgeous island for an incredible snorkeling adventure
  • Swim in the pool formed by a 210 foot waterfall deep in the jungle
  • Hike through beautiful jungle trails and spot exotic wildlife
  • Visit a small countryside town and drink rich Costa Rican coffee
  • Prepare a classic Costa Rican meal at a cooking lesson
  • Relax in the natural hot springs at the foot of a volcano



Our trip begins in Turrialba, home to many of Costa Rica’s adrenaline-pumping activities and one of Costa Rica’s famous volcanoes! Spend your first night at a mountain lodge overlooking the volcano. The next day we will jump straight into a thrilling two day white water rafting adventure on the Pacuare River! This rafting trip is suitable for all skill levels and completely safe! We will spend the night in a lodge tucked in the rainforest on the banks of the river. Everyone always has a blast at our comfortable jungle accommodation! When we aren’t rafting, we’re taking fun hikes to waterfalls and natural pools. The second day of our rafting journey will not disappoint since the Pacuare River is rated one of the top rivers in the world for whitewater rafting! Throughout our rafting adventure we will have great bonding opportunities with everyone in our group and together we will experience spectacular views of the rainforest and even spot exotic wildlife like monkeys, colorful birds and sloths.


After our rafting journey it’s on to La Fortuna, where we stay in a comfortable hotel near the breathtaking Arenal Volcano – the 10th most active volcano in the world (don’t worry, it’s safe and very closely monitored!). In the morning, we will start working on our service projects with the Costa Rican Boy Scouts Association helping out with whatever project they are working on. Past projects have included light maintenance and painting.

During our time in La Fortuna we will zip line over the rainforest and have a thrilling view of the jungle from above. This activity is fun, safe, and just the right amount of adventure! In the evening we will relax our muscles at the natural hot springs formed by the volcano.

The next day we will hike down to La Fortuna waterfall, a 210 foot ribbon of water that gushes into a cool pool in the jungle. We’ll swim in the refreshing pool formed by the waterfall, relax on the rocks, eat lunch and head back to our bus for the next leg of our journey.


After breakfast, the group will board a private coach to Samara beach, a small surf town with breathtaking mountain views. Samara is famous for its gentle waves (perfect for surfing) and wild horses that roam the beach.

Here, we will continue our community service. We will work with a local association that provides supplemental educational, recreational, and career opportunities for youth with limited resources. We will be working directly with the children on various projects. In the past we have done group art projects, helped teach English, worked on environmental tasks and more! It’s a great opportunity for us to connect more closely with the community and interact with the friendly locals.

During our stay in Samara we will enjoy the beach, soak up the sun, swim and of course, take a surfing lesson! We will also spend an afternoon taking kayaks out to Chora Island to snorkel and observe bi-color parrotfish and and other colorful sea life!

To finish our journey we will learn how to make authentic tortillas during a hands on cooking lesson, sample rich Costa Rican coffee, and learn more about what makes the Costa Rican culture so vibrant and unique!


Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?

We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.

Where do we stay?

Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.

In Turrialba we begin our stay in a beautiful family run hotel from which you can see the amazing Turrialba volcano. Next, we stay in an eco-lodge tucked in the rainforest on the banks of the river. In La Fortuna we stay close to the city center where you can souvenir shop. In Sámara we stay in a hotel surrounded by trees where you can see monkeys, iguanas and toucans hanging around the property.

For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.

Do most travelers go by themselves?

Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!

Can I bring a friend?

Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.

What do students generally like most on this program?

Students love that they are able to explore the country and get a real local experience. This program allows them to discover the rainforest, get out of their comfort zone and enjoy exciting activities like whitewater rafting, surf lessons and zip-lining. Combining these adventures with two meaningful service projects provides for a well rounded experience.

What is unique about this program?

We have great contacts in Costa Rica who have worked with us to bring this trip to life while providing a fun, authentic and meaningful experience. We include service projects in two areas where teens will have the opportunity to connect with the locals in each region. The service work is balanced out with fun activities for the ultimate Costa Rican experience!

What is included?

Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts, lunch and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.

Not included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, rail passes, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.

How do the optional group flights work?

Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.

Who are the counselors on the trip?

The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.

It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.

What are the safety qualifications for our staff?

All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.

What is the average group size?

Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.

How does this program connect to other programs?

Most of our Latin America programs are designed specifically so that participants can combine them with other trips. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.

What is the food like on this trip?

In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!

The food in Costa Rica is delicious! Expect to eat seasoned rice, beans, chicken, steak, tropical fruit and veggies, plantains, and many other foods flavored with unique Caribbean spices! Vegetarians will have no issues eating well on the trip. Also, unlike in Europe where a light breakfast of coffee and toast is the norm, ticos (Costa Ricans) eat big, savory breakfasts—and so will we!

As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.

Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?

We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.

How much free time do we get?

Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, the group will have some free time to explore some of the safe pedestrian areas of Arenal and Sámara beach. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time in each city.

What kind of visa do I need for this trip?

Any US citizen that enters Costa Rica is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.

Do I need to speak the language?

No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!


  1. Keanna Haney


    My trip with TFT was unforgettable. On this trip you feel like a member of the Costa Rican community. I learned so much about the food (which is amazing) and culture. You get to see exotic animals like sloths, monkeys, frogs, birds, etc. The adventure part of the trip is thrilling from white water rafting to zip lining with breath taking views to rappelling down waterfalls. You also get to give back to the community with service. To top it off the counselors on the trip make your experience even better. They will always make sure your safe while making you laugh and joking around. You will make some great friends on this trip.

  2. Kirsten Haney


    This trip is unforgettable. TFT is by far the best travel company. You are guaranteed a good time with them. On this trip you feel like a Costa Rican. The food is amazing and you learn a lot about the culture. The counselors make sure you are safe while also making you laugh and joke around with you. All the people on the trip are so friendly and you make a bunch of great friends. The zip lining has breathtaking views and the white water rafting is so much fun. You also get to see exotic animals like sloths. I highly recommend travel for teens.

  3. Fiona


    Among all the amazing memories I made on this trip, one I will never forgot is white water rafting down the Pacuare River. I had the most amazing and unforgettable experience. Even though this excursion was only on the second day, I already felt like I knew the other teens on my trip so well. It was so easy to connect with the other kids and the trip leaders, which made this trip all the more fun. As we paddled down the river, all the kids laughed and screamed as we hit the big rocks and intense rapids. Despite knowing each other for less than 24 hours, we laughed at each other and helped each other when one of us fell out. Eventually, we stopped for lunch on the side of the river, and after, we walked over to a waterfall. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen; I will never forget the view. We had the chance to slide down the waterfall and jump off the side into the natural pool. The experience itself is indescrible. Overall, I had so much fun and will never forget this day.

  4. Tyler


    Wow, I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to sharing all of the amazing things that occurred during my time with Travel for Teens in Costa Rica. In 2014, I went on the Costa Rica Adventure and Service trip and absolutely loved it! Going into the trip I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had high expectations because the standard had been set so high on my previous trip with Travel for Teens, Discover Europe. This trip was exactly what it said it was, an adrenaline rush with a huge service component. We had the opportunity to zip-line on multiple occasions, repel down waterfalls, swim in the ocean, go white water rafting and much more. The service components were fantastic as well. During my trip, we helped a local scout troop clean up their local community and my favorite which was clean the outside of a local school building. We had the opportunity to interact with the children, play games like duck duck goose and practice a little bit of our Spanish. I could expand on so many aspects that made this trip fantastic, but there is one specific thing that I would like to highlight. This trip really immersed myself and the other travelers with the locals. Whether it was at the hostel we stayed at or the vendors that would take us on our activities I didn’t feel like a tourist, but a traveler. One day we had a cooking lesson with a husband and wife that taught us how to make coffee and empanadas. This was hands down one of the best parts of the trip. The couple was very warm, welcoming, and loving towards us and not to mention helped us make some of the most amazing empanadas I’ve ever tasted. That opportunity also really gave me the chance to really bond with other teenagers on the trip. Yes, this trip was fantastic in every way and I can say so much about it, but the one thing I would like people to know is that ,with Travel for Teens whether on this trip or another one, you will feel and be embraced as a local. This is the best way to truly get the most out of your experience and Travel for Teens does it magnificently.

  5. Stella Estok


    This was the best tft trip I’ve taken so far! I had Tom and Carla as my counselors and they were amazing, friendly, and helpful. The work with the kids was so humbeling and really helped me to see that it’s our jobs as people to help each other! I felt fully embraced as a local on this trip and every place we went we were treated amazingly. I can’t wait to go on my next adventure with tft!

  6. Milan Patlikh


    I don’t know where to start so I guess I’ll say that this trip was by far the best experience I’ve ever had. Being my first TFT trip, I was originally very nervous and unsure if I would like it. Within the first day, I fell in love with Costa Rica and felt like I knew my counselors and trip-mates for years. I’ve been to many places with my family, but it’s safe to say that the experience is just so much different when you’re on a TFT trip. I tried things I would have never normally done like surfing and was able to experience unique opportunities like helping elementary school students. I still remember the best 12 days of my life vividly and talk to many of the friends I made everyday. There’s so much more I can add, I’m so glad I decided to go on this trip. It changed my entire perspective about travelling and I can’t wait for more trips in the future!

  7. Katie Zinkham


    I just want to thank all of you. Hanna had an AMAZING time. She loved all of the directors and hopes to do another trip. Again thank you for great communication and giving my daughter an experience of a lifetime. 5 stars to you and your staff.

  8. Katie Zinkham


    When asked how the trip was on a scale of 1-10, Grayce said “11” — and she can be a tough customer! Thanks for taking care of them, for showing them the beauty of Costa Rica, for fostering new friendships and for facilitating some important lessons in gratitude and humility.

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