This Costa Rica volunteer and language program is the perfect combination of immersive Spanish language study, meaningful service, and adventure travel! We have teamed up with Centro Panamericano de Idiomas (CPI), a renowned Spanish immersion school in Costa Rica that gives high school students a unique educational experience in three diverse campus locations: Central Valley, Flamingo Beach and the Monteverde Cloud Forest. This variety ensures you enjoy diverse excursions to complement your in-class instruction. Surf the Pacific, run a day camp for local children and chat with the “ticos” to practice your Spanish skills – the recipe for an amazing summer!
About This Program
What It's Like
The perfect balance of meaningful service projects, cultural and Spanish language immersion, and unforgettable adventures.
This program requires an open mind to experience a different culture, new foods and comfortable hotels.
30 Service Hours 30 Language Hours
A certificate of completion detailing the program's service hours, Spanish class hours (with mention of course level), and projects will be issued after the trip.
Everybody participates together in each project. Specific projects are confirmed in late spring and are similar to those described.
10 Spanish classes for a total of 30 hours. Open to all levels.
A professional guide accompanies the group to assist, educate and immerse the students into the local culture.
Hotels & Lodge.
Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Includes all recreation & activities listed.
Chartered deluxe, air-conditioned motor coach with a professional driver.
Up to 34 participants.
• Whitewater raft the thrilling Pacuare River.
• Zip-line through the Cloud Forest with zips as long as a half-mile.
• Improve your Spanish in 3 diverse regions of Costa Rica.
• Surf with professional instructors on Tamarindo Beach.
• Set sail on a snorkel cruise in the Pacific.
• Ride a horse to a waterfall.
• Enjoy a beach bonfire.
• Connect with locals while refining your Spanish language skills.
Flamingo is the quintessential beach community. The impact of tourism and development has created economic and environmental challenges for the locals. Our groups have helped in beach preservation, painting and building local homes for underprivileged residents, sprucing up the community center, and renovating a local classroom – which has all contributed to improving this community’s quality of life.
About Siempre Amigos
Founded in 2011, Siempre Amigos is an NGO partner organization that focuses on social responsibility with the mission to assist low-income families in the rural areas of Guanacaste, specifically in the improvement of living conditions. Siempre Amigos facilitates short-term projects with both local and international volunteers.
Throughout our longstanding relationship with the CRHF, our groups have helped with numerous projects. We have helped build a high school for the youth of Picarges and run sports, reading, dance, crafts and face painting programming for the children of La Carpio, Palenque, and Concepción. Our participants have constructed and delivered beds to reduce overcrowding and provided children with their own beds for the first time. Finally, our groups helped reconstruct a single-family home that was destroyed in a fire.
About the CRHF
In 1978, Gail Nystrom left New Jersey for a Peace Corps assignment in Costa Rica. She moved there and founded the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF) to improve the quality of life for populations in need. From her vision and drive, the CRHF manages more than fifty projects focusing on education, community development and preventive health care. Gail is a shining example to each of us of the difference a single person can make.
Our groups have aided in reforestation and rainforest rejuvenation by planting trees and plants native to Costa Rica. Under the supervision of a local guide, our students learn how to protect growing plants from invasive species at this local co-op. Students also enjoy learning about coffee plants' care and growth.
About the Life Monteverde Co-op
Life Monteverde is a co-operative in Monteverde, Costa Rica, with a strong background in agriculture and nature conservation. Their mission is to produce, protect, and educate to help perpetuate a sustainable life on Earth.
This program is open to students from complete beginners to advanced Spanish speakers. On day one, you will be assessed and assigned to a class of up to five students based on your Spanish ability.
There are a total of 10 classes held in the afternoon across the three school locations from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The focus of the course is to enhance not only your verbal skills but your grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing skills, as well. We don’t just want you to know Spanish, we want you to become comfortable speaking it so that you can confidently use your Spanish skills in your daily life, whether that’s having a conversation with a friend or ordering dinner in a restaurant.
CENTRO PANAMERICANO DE IDIOMAS (CPI) LANGUAGE SCHOOL
Founded in 1991, CPI is a respected Spanish language school in Costa Rica, accredited by the Ministry of Education. The teaching staff consists of professionals with university-training, certification, and experience in teaching Spanish as a second language to visiting students.
Classes in Three Locations – One Continuous Curriculum
WEEK 1: CENTRAL VALLEY CAMPUS (HEREDIA)
Situated in the suburban town of Heredia, the school is beautifully painted with murals, local art, and tropical gardens.
WEEK 2: FLAMINGO BEACH CAMPUS
Located literally across the street from the beach, the Flamingo location has a basketball court and is surrounded by cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
WEEK 3: MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST CAMPUS
Our school is high up in the mountains by the St. Elena Reserve with gorgeous views of the lush cloud forest.
PRACTICE YOUR SPANISH THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Our staff and local guides are fluent in Spanish, so get ready to practice beyond the classroom. Whether you are ordering a meal at a restaurant, working alongside local community members during service projects or bargaining with local market vendors, your Spanish language skills are sure to improve.
Whitewater raft on the thrilling Pacuare River and learn how to cook Gallo Pinto and Casado while practicing the Spanish names for each ingredient during an ‘auténtica’ cooking class.
Take in 200-feet of rainforest beauty at La Fortuna Waterfall before relaxing in thermal hot springs with friends. Enjoy the view of this active volcano but don’t worry, we keep a safe distance.
Learn to ride the waves with professional instructors at one of the best surf breaks in the world. Enjoy sailing on the Pacific with a snorkel cruise off the coast. Try to tango with a Latin dance class and chill out by a beach bonfire at night.
On this volcanic retreat, ride horses through the forest and along the river. Experience a rustic mud bath, then hike to a beautiful waterfall before cooling off with a rewarding swim in the pool at our eco-resort.
Zipline through the Cloud Forest of Monteverde. Look out for sloths, exotic birds, and monkeys in the Reserve. Enjoy the nightlife with your new friends at the local disco.
Central Valley, Costa Rica
Our groups will be staying at a few carefully selected hotels in the Central Valley. Properties include Hotel Autentico, Hotel Bristol Aeropuerto, Hotel Adventure Inn, La Rosa de America and Hotel Aeropuerto. Amenities at all hotels include air conditioning, internet access and a swimming pool to enjoy.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Your group will stay at one of the following hotels near Arenal volcano: Hotel San Bosco, Hotel Montechiari, Lavas Tacotal, or Lavas del Arenal. All of the hotels offer great views of Arenal Volcano. Rooms are air-conditioned, Wi-Fi enabled and have refreshing swimming pools.
Flamingo Beach, Costa Rica
Our group will be staying at one of the following carefully selected hotels near Flamingo Beach: Hotel Casas del Toro Hacienda, Hotel Cabinas Isolinas or Seis Playas Hotel. Amenities at all hotels include air conditioning, internet access and a swimming pool to enjoy.
Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
Hacienda Guachipelin is an eco-resort set atop the mountains with an open-air restaurant overlooking the valley. Facilities include a pool, patio with hammocks, air-conditioned rooms, Wi-Fi, and recreation space.
Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
The Monteverde Country Lodge features incredible views of the Cloud Forest, charming rooms and a restaurant.
Flight to San Jose, Costa Rica
Participants on this program have the option of joining us on a chaperoned flight to San Jose that will be from either a NY/NJ area airport and/or South Florida, determined in the spring. Our staff will be with you from check-in onward. For our many travelers from outside these areas, you can choose to join the chaperoned flight and we are happy to help you arrange connecting flights at suitable times. If you prefer, you may meet us in San Jose and we will help you coordinate your flight and times and greet you as you come through immigration and customs.
Return flight home from San Jose, Costa Rica
For the 21-day return from San Jose, we offer a chaperoned flight back to the USA. You may choose to join that flight and arrange transfers (if required) at suitable times after clearing customs and immigration in the USA, or you may fly from San Jose to your home city and our leaders help you to check-in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed.
Where We Stay
We carefully select clean and comfortable accommodations with the needs of our students in mind. While our volunteer programs do not stay at luxury resorts, we do know that a good night’s rest, in your own bed, is key to performing your service hours well and having enough energy to enjoy the day’s activities. For this reason, and also to maintain the close group bond and to uphold the quality of this program, we do not offer any homestays.
Meals & New Cuisines
Eating well while away from home is an important part of a summer’s success. Part of your travel experience will be immersing yourself in the local cuisine and culture, so please bring with you an open mind and a willingness to try new things. For example, Costa Rican traditional cuisine offers plenty of rice, beans, meat dishes and tons of fresh fruit, but don’t worry, they also have North American style options on the menu.
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive experience in this area.
It’s generally okay to drink tap water in Costa Rica, except for a few select areas. As a precaution, we will provide purified drinking water in large containers so that travelers can fill up their reusable water bottles as needed.
We recommend you follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and consult with your physician for current immunizations and medication required for travelers to Costa Rica. These recommendations may change from time to time. We will send you detailed information in March (or upon enrollment if later) regarding the current recommendations for this itinerary.
You will only need one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in the packing list that will be sent to you prior to departure. You will have the opportunity to do laundry at your convenience by dropping off your laundry at a local wash-and-fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go.
Included in your program tuition is all lodging, breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, recreation & entertainment listed, airport transfers in designated times, gratuities & taxes.
Not included is transportation to and from the program and personal spending money for snacks, souvenirs, and laundry. We also make available optional travel insurance that is not included, but highly recommended.
Please contact us with any questions. We are happy to hear from you!