Costa Rica: Empowering Rainforest Communities

Península de Osa is Costa Rica's wild side—a primitive paradise of dense wildlife and remote rainforests.

Highlights

  • Wake up daily in the tropics, surrounded by beaches and lush rainforest
  • Volunteer on project teams to impact the livelihood of surrounding communities
  • Snorkel along coral reefs teeming with exotic fish and majestic manta rays
  • Dine under the stars on a remote island
  • Live steps away from the beach
  • Learn about village life and connect with the locals
  • Experience Costa Rican culture, food, music and dance firsthand

Overview

National Geographic named Costa Rica’s Península de Osa “the most biologically intense place on Earth” due to the diversity and density of species that call this untouched region of Central America home. Isolated from the mainland, you’ll live in a secluded nature wonderland where howler monkeys sing, locals still pan for gold and macaws soar above the canopy. This ecological treasure trove is the perfect setting to learn about sustainable community development and environmental conservation as you volunteer with the rural people living in the village of Rancho Quemado.

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Community Service

With a population of only 200, Rancho Quemado is a small settlement that has called the remote Osa Peninsula home for generations. As the town receives an increased trickle of tourist traffic, you’ll help its residents with community refurbishment projects that help build a sustainable eco-tourism industry, such as painting community buildings, planting gardens, building fencing or helping with recycling and trash pickups. Living among native families in the heart of the rainforest will inspire you to protect the traditional way of life and the region’s precious biodiversity.

Hands-On Learning

Rancho Quemado may be a small town, but you’ll leave with lessons that extend beyond Costa Rica’s borders. You’ll encounter issues like sustainable tourism, community development and conservation in the face of global climate change. Tour gold mines, sugarcane mills, and local organic farms to understand the traditional way of life that has been preserved in the isolated Osa. Even during downtime you’ll constantly be testing your Spanish and playing sports with children, or chatting with community leaders about how their worldview has been shaped by living in the most biologically diverse place on the planet.

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Adventure

From the untouched Bahía Drake and the world-class snorkeling spots of nearby Isla del Caño, to Parque Nacional Corcovado—the “crown jewel” of Costa Rica’s park system—the Osa Peninsula is a remote corner of the world brimming with opportunities for true adventure. Try to spot endangered jaguars and tapirs while hiking through the rainforest, and snorkel among abundant marine life. You’ll have a full day of ziplining and rappelling through lush vistas, and canoe to Rio Claro, where waterfalls and a rope swing wait for thrill seekers.

Lodging

Our Osa Peninsula Home Base is on a dirt village road, built and owned by local families in the heart of the Osa Peninsula. This region is remote and rustic, but stunningly beautiful, and accommodations are clean, simple, and safe. The Home Base is exclusively used by GLA students and staff, and is surrounded by lush rainforest teeming with wildlife. Students will stay in gender-segregated rooms with roommates, and will share gender-segregated bathrooms and shower facilities. The families who operate these lodges are always close by to answer questions, chat in Spanish, or show you some local cooking techniques.

Dates & Tuition

Empowering Rainforest Communities
Duration: 8 Days
Tuition: $1,950
Student/Staff Ratio: -
Max Capacity: 24 (Minimum Group Size: 12)
Community Service Hours: 22
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.