Costa Rica: Protecting the Pacific

Turn your passion for Earth’s oceans into a journey in marine conservation.

Highlights

  • Volunteer alongside local community members to preserve and protect the Pacific
  • Learn about the ocean environment, impacts of pollution, and how humans affect the ocean
  • Learn to surf in Costa Rica’s first Marine National Park
  • Cruise through pristine waters, scouting for dolphins, whales, turtles, and tropical fish
  • Hike through lush rainforest at Corcovado National Park
  • Snorkel along the world-famous reef of Caño Island Biological Reserve
  • Zipline through the rainforest canopy

Overview

Often considered the planet’s most sustainable country, Costa Rica is a role model for the international community in environmentalism, and the perfect setting for learning about marine conservation. You’ll be based in Bahia Ballena—which translates to “whale bay”—a small coastal village located next to Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Rica’s first marine national park. With these surroundings, you’ll discover issues critical to local sustainable development, examine the full spectrum of marine conservation and adopt the perspectives of grassroots environmental leaders in ocean stewardship. You’ll also set out to explore an abundance of coastal wildlife, with the possibility of seeing tropical fish, dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and other sea creatures. This is a great opportunity to connect with nature, really feel the heat and humidity of the rainforest, and be in constant physical contact with the beautiful and diverse natural world that surrounds you in Costa Rica. This program is tailor-made for those interested in marine conservation, and for who are interested in the adventure of a lifetime!

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Community Service

In coastal communities, greywater (waste water generated from activities such as laundry, washing dishes, etc.) often finds its way into the ocean, harming the ecosystem and the marine life. We’ll work to combat this problem by building biogardens, which are designed to filter the water and add beauty to the community! Additionally, we’ll support an ongoing community project that uses technology to locate waste problems in the community. Time allowing, we’ll build recycling centers to help the community keep harmful trash out of the ocean. These contributions you make to the marine ecosystem will help sustain its beauty and wildlife for years to come. Service work on this program allows students to connect with the environment and learn about the real challenges ocean life faces.

Hands-On Learning

When we’re not working to improve the community, we’ll learn to surf and kayak through the mangroves. We’ll learn about the Marine National Park concept, the importance of the mangrove system, sustainability in marine tourism, and marine resources. We’ll also play random games of soccer on the beach with the locals! Our Home Base managers will teach us about sustainable lodging and cooking with local food. Overall this program gives students real perspective. Documentaries and discussions will add deeper context to what we are seeing and impromptu chats with park rangers provide organic learning moments. Our staff work hard to connect the dots for students; we hope to give them a view beyond the surface and help them engage their minds.

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Adventure

Taking time to have fun and experience the adventurous side of Costa Rica is imperative; after all its one of the world’s top adventure destinations! One day, we’ll visit the Osa Peninsula! This will be a full day of boating on the water and hiking in a National Park, named by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth in terms of biodiversity.” We’ll scout for sea life, like dolphins, as we cruise along the ocean to the park! We’ll have a picnic lunch, and spend the afternoon snorkeling along the reef of an Island Biological Reserve.

Lodging

The Home Base is a peaceful lodge surrounded by lush gardens. The community is a combination of boutique lodges, restaurants, and locals whose lives depend on the ocean, the national park, and tourism. Students stay in gender-segregated rooms with fans, and have bathrooms with cool-water showers (trust us, you won’t want hot). There is a pool at Home Base. Meals will be hearty, local, and healthy, consisting of meats, beans, rice, vegetables and fruit.

Dates & Tuition

Protecting the Pacific
Duration: 8 Days
Tuition: $1,950
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: 20 (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours: 16
Language Hours: -
Additional Notes
See What’s Included
Tuition includes all in-country expenses including:
  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
More Information
Fundraising

Tips to raise funds for your trip

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.