Young Explorers


Costa Rica: Arenal, Samara, San Jose


Why Should High School Students Have All the Fun?
An exciting combination of community service, language immersion, and action-packed adventure, the Young Explorers program is the perfect introduction to international travel for 12 and 13 year olds. You'll practice Spanish, work on worthwhile community service initiatives, zip line through the rainforest canopy, raft down a tropical river, view an active volcano, play sports with energetic Costa Rican children, hike through the jungle, play beach volleyball and soccer, learn to surf, and much more. As you journey through these new and exciting lands, you'll make bonds with your fellow students that only the transformative experience of travel can forge.

Ticos, Toucans, and Tropical Waterfalls
The adventure begins at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens just north of San Jose. You will stroll through swarms of butterflies, frogs, wild cats and hummingbirds amidst a lush jungle landscape. You will then head to the greater-Fortuna region, where you will be based for the rest of the week. Here, amidst friendly communities and tropical landscapes, you'll adjust to life in a foreign culture.

Situated at the foot of Arenal Volcano, the town of La Fortuna is a hub for high adventure. It offers diverse rainforest hikes, kayaking on Lake Arenal, exhilarating zip lining, soothing hot springs, and an abundance of wildlife. After the first few days of fun, your group will head over to the Sarapiqui region for a visit filled with adventure and service. You will also have the chance to visit a Maleku indigenous village, where you will learn about the medicinal uses of rainforest plants, participate in a traditional ceremony, and play soccer with local children. You'll have an action-packed week, and each new adventure will be suited to students your age.

Learning and Giving to the Community
Your days will be filled with a mix of adventure, cultural and service activities, which will include practicing Spanish and working on small-scale construction projects in the nearby villages, schools and parks. Games and art classes at the local elementary school will give you a chance to interact with students who are excited to learn and practice their English. (Work at the school is subject to school vacations and closings). As you immerse yourself in the local culture, your Spanish skills will continue to grow and you will soon feel like a part of the community.

Whitewater Rafting and Guanacaste Beaches
After a week of enjoying the relaxed, Costa Rican pace of life, you'll head to the scenic Sarapiqui River for an exciting whitewater rafting adventure. This river is full of safe but exciting rapids and is surrounded by lush tropical forest. When you come off the river, you'll head west to Carrillo, a coastal region home to plenty of sun, tropical beaches, and the sabanero (cowboy) culture. Spend this last leg of the program doing service in a local community, and then top off the journey with souvenir shopping, surf lessons, soccer on the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast, and a few optional adventure activities such as horseback riding, snorkeling and sea kayaking.
**These optional activities come at an additional cost.

Homeward Bound
The last blissful days on the beach will be the perfect time to reflect on the highlights of this amazing learning experience and reminisce with fellow travelers about all the unforgettable adventures you've shared together.


PRACTICE Spanish in a fun environment with friendly native speakers who are eager to help you learn.

PLAY with local school children as you teach English through games, songs and art classes.

RAFT one of Costa Rica's most exciting and safe whitewater rivers and get a good dose of Tico adrenaline along the way.

SURF mighty waves, enjoy the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, and relax along the famous white-sand beaches of Costa Rica.

EXPERIENCE the magic of the Maleku tribe during a one-day cultural immersion and shop for beautiful traditional crafts.

ZIP LINE through the rainforest canopy under the shadow of Arenal Volcano during an adrenaline-pumping ride.

DISCOVER the wildlife and natural wonders of the rural Sarapiqui region.

Program Duration

1-2 Week, 2-4 Week


2013 Departing/Returning dates from the United States: June 18th- July 3rd, July 2nd- July 17th, July 16th- July 31st


Students must be between 12- and 13-years old and up to participate on the program. Additionally, participants must submit an application through the Rustic Pathways website and complete the appropriate documents before traveling on the program.

Type of Programs

  • Adventure Travel
  • Community Service / Volunteerism


  • English
  • Spanish

Cost in US$:

USD 2,995+ International Airfare

Cost Includes:

  • Excursions
  • Food
  • Housing
  • In-country orientation/Training
  • In-country staff support
  • Travel while in host country
  • Written materials abroad
  • Written materials pre-departure

Program Fees Include:

The above cost includes all ground transportation in-country, 3 meals a day, housing, staff through the duration of the program, all supplies for the volunteer projects and all excursions on the program itinerary not listed as optional.

Experience Required


Volunteer Types

  • English Teaching
  • Teaching
  • Tutor

This Program is open to

American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African and Worldwide Participants.

Typical Living Arrangements

  • Other

Scholarships are Available

Rustic Pathways is providing over 100 scholarships for the 2013 season based on a mix of both need and merit. Application deadline is every year in early Spring. Please contact us for more details on applying for a scholarship and other financial aid options.

Application Process Involves

  • Online Application

Typically The Application Process Time is

1-2 business days