Costa Rica Exploradores
Touch the Real Costa Rica
Grades 9-11 (ages 15-17) | June 29 – July 19 | 21 days
40 Service Hours | $4,650
Discover the Real Costa Rica. Journey in the land of the Tico, the Cloud Forest, wild whitewater, and sweet surf. This is a unique program, themed around Costa Rica’s diverse cultures and delicate ecosystems, and is backed up by Deer Hill’s legendary staff, quality and attention to detail.
Hike the Cloud Forest
After exploring vibrant San José, we hike into El Copal, a nature preserve run by local farming families— your first encounter with the incredible flora and fauna of Costa Rica. From here you hike down to the put-in of the Rio Pejivalle, and descend the river through a tropical forest to the sound of toucans and monkeys.
Raft the Wild Pacuare
One of the highlights of this trip is an exciting two-day whitewater rafting trip on the Rio Pacuare, named one of the top 10 whitewater rivers in the world by National Geographic. Renowned for its stunning beauty, the Pacuare plunges its way through canyons draped in waterfalls and primeval rain forest. These rapids are beyond anything most have experienced. Camping in comfortable sites along the way, we enjoy great food and salsa lessons from our guides. While rafting this jungle river, you visit the Cabecar Indians, an indigenous group in Costa Rica that retains many of its traditional ways.
Service and Homestays
The open and friendly people of Tres Equis welcome you into their homes. Work on service projects while immersing yourself in the richness of the Spanish language. Make improvements to the local school building, or help create the village’s first recycling center. When work is done, relax, play soccer or attend a celebration with your hosts.
Continuing the cross-cultural theme, spend three days in a remote village with the Bri Bri Indians, who for centuries have lived in harmony with nature in the picturesque Talamanca Mountains. Work on an important project in their community, such as thatching a traditional dwelling or renovating their cultural center. Through communal work and play, deepen your understanding of this country and its people.
Experience the Caribbean Coast
Spend three days at surf camp at Punta Uva, near Manzanillo, where white sand and great waves provide the perfect setting. As a final highlight, travel on foot to Punta Mona Organic Farm. Led by a local naturalist guide, hike along the coast to this thriving community based on sustainable permaculture. Help out in the gardens, pick fresh fruits and vegetables for your meals, and learn how to make chocolate.
*Special Note: All participants arrive and depart from the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, where Deer Hill leaders will be waiting to meet them from their flight. A valid passport is necessary to enter Costa Rica. Flight costs are not included in tuition total. Contact us for more information about traveling to San Jose.
“The homestay meant a lot to me because our family really wanted us there. They cared for us, and were sweet and generous. They made me feel at home and like it meant something to them that we were there.” Erin, Stinson Beach, CA
“I experienced so many new things here – Surfing, river rapids, Caribbean fruits, salsa dancing, camping on a beach in the rain, and so much more. I was in the most beautiful settings and immersed myself in a beautiful culture… I’m very proud of myself for the ways I’ve grown on this course.” Allison, Portland, OR
“Tripp had ‘the best time of his life’. From arriving at the baggage claim, to staying at Punta Mona, he loved it. Surfing, the homestay family, Circle, the group, and habla Espanol toda al tiempo! It inspired him to live simply. Thank you!” Kelly Clemens, Newport RI, CRE parent