Costa Rica Classic
|Dates:||June 28 – July 11|
July 15 – July 28
August 1 – August 14
|Arrive:||San Jose, CR*|
|Depart:||San Jose, CR*|
|Grade||7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th|
(Students Grouped According to Age)
*Optional Leader Escorted Flight from/to Miami
Learn More About Us
You May Also Like
- Work on Critical Building Projects in a Rural Village Community
- Whitewater Raft the Canyons of the Pacuare River
- Teach English Classes at a Costa Rican School
- Engage in Daily Life on a Costa Rican Farm
- Learn to Surf the Peaceful Waves of the Pacific Ocean
- Costa Rican Cultural Immersion
- Zipline through the Breathtaking Rainforest Canopy
- 30 Hours of Community Service
Mollejones Community School
Enter a unique Costa Rican village founded by local families who settled in this stunning mountain landscape over a generation ago. Due to it’s remote location and tiny population, this community does not have the same resources available to those in larger urban areas. Through English lessons that support the local school, and cultural exchange; we experience the warmth and simplicity of Costa Rican culture while supporting the needs of this amazing place.
The Costa Rica Classic program is the perfect blend of service and adventure. Create lesson plans and teach English in a rural elementary school. Experience the beauty of this majestic nation by whitewater rafting through lush rainforest on the Pacuare River with monkeys, sloths and toucans above. Live and work in a remote ranching village high in the cloud forest and get your hands dirty building much needed infrastructure. Learn to surf the gentle waves of the Pacific ocean off Costa Rica’s beautiful palm-fringed beaches. Sample coffee while learning how it is produced, straight from the lush green mountains where it is grown. Experience abundant rainforests, untouched coastlines and hidden waterfalls, taking pleasure in knowing that along the way, you are making a positive impact.
San Jose and Costa Rican Cultural Orientation
Our Costa Rica summer service program begins in its capital city San Jose, with a fun orientation to Costa Rican culture. Here we are able to adjust to “Tico time” and taste our first local fare, before traveling to our next destination.
Service in Rural Costa Rica
Next we travel to the coffee-growing high country of Savegre, where ARCC groups have visited every summer since 1994. The families in this region live quietly and humbly, yet annually welcome us with open arms. For three days, we peek into another world where life is blissfully simple and pure. Side by side with our village hosts, we lend a hand in any way we can to make improvements to their modest village. We may paint and repair communal buildings in the village or work on a greenhouse project to grow saplings of native plants. The joy and gratitude of the village for our efforts is something we will not soon forget.
Surfing the Pacific Coast
Our final taste of Costa Rica takes us to the Pacific Coast, known for its superb surf and “undiscovered” feel. Here we learn the art of surfing along beaches lined with coconut palms. After our lessons with professionals, we are practically guaranteed to be standing on our boards and riding waves with confidence.
Pacuare River Rafting & Rainforest Zipline
The volcanoes and mountains of the Andean-Sierra Madre chain form the spine of Costa Rica, from which pour gorgeous rivers to whitewater raft. The Pacuare River is arguably the best. As we paddle the Class II-IV rapids of this pure and pristine river, we pass silvery waterfalls, a wilderness of dense vegetation, and the calls of tropical birds and monkeys. We overnight at a jungle river lodge, which offers an exhilarating ride by zipline through the rainforest canopy, as well as a trip to a natural rock waterslide.
Teaching English & Cultural Exchange with Costa Rican School Children
Our first community service project brings us directly into the lives of Costa Rican youth. We bring much-needed supplies to their simple school and for two days we offer our help by teaching English to the village’s children. Our days are filled with cultural exchange as we engage them through activities, songs and play. Our efforts are rewarded by the smiles and laughter of our new Costa Rican friends. Our final day takes us back to San Jose for some souvenir shopping before enjoying our final night in Costa Rica.
“Christian has gained a better understanding of the global needs that people have. He has gained a new desire to want to travel the world and help people in the process. He is more willing to serve people and is a lot happier now as a result of his ARCC experience.”— Parent of Christian S., New York, NY
“We were all friends immediately. I feel like a better person now that I have finished this trip.”— Zach B., Mill Valley, CA, ARCC Student
“One of the best things about this trip was disconnecting our son to technology. He commented on the ride back from the airport as to how easy it was to connect to people because there were no phones, iPads or computers.”— Parent of Jack L., Ross, CA
“Eliza came back from the trip empowered, confident and energized. Over those two weeks, she became a citizen of the world; building on her natural compassion, she developed new understanding of the human spirit across geographic boundaries.”— Parent of Eliza G., Hinsdale, IL
“This was my second ARCC trip in a row and ARCC is now 2 for 2. All I can think about already is where I’d want to go next. I can’t wail till I’m old enough to be a trip leader.”— Tyler O., Pleasantville, NY, ARCC Student
“Nate came home much more confident in himself, and I could tell he was proud to have achieved this goal of traveling without his parents. He knows now that he can make new friends, be a leader, and take charge of situations.”— Parent of Nathaniel W., Medford, OR
“I have been to many places, but this is the most life changing experience I have ever had.”— Robert P., Morganville, NJ, ARCC Student
“The best decision I have ever made was to attend an ARCC Costa Rica trip. I gained tons of new experiences and friends that will last a lifetime.”— Chris S., New York, NY, ARCC Student
Group Journal Excerpts
Below you will find several Group Journal excerpts, written by ARCC students during their classic Costa Rica Summer Program:
Helping out on the Farm
On Sunday the 27th, we all had a very early start in order to arrive in San Isidro on time. After about three and a half hours of driving we made a pit stop at a crocodile bridge where we all bought souvenirs and delicious milkshakes. We then proceeded across the bridge, periodically stopping to…
Rafting and Ziplining
Hola from El Cairo!!! We just finished rafting! We headed to the river yesterday morning, had a safety talk from our awesome guides, suited up in life jackets and helmets, and then loaded into boats and floated away! The morning was filled with class 2 and 3 rapids, a quick stop to hike to an…
For the cook crew and leaders of the day, today began at 5:30. They labored in the kitchen making delicious pancakes for an hour. At 6:30, we were all up, eating and talking about surfing. When Luigi and Fredo came to our campsite at 7:30, we were ready to go, rash guards and all. We…
Last night we were presented with a challenge. All 17 of us had to stand on a tarp and, without stepping off, had to flip it over. However, the people who had done it before were not allowed to speak. We were honestly kind of lost. We had some brainstorming discussions, tried a few techniques…
The End of a Wonderful Adventure
Today we woke up in the beautiful lodge to a light rain and headed down for breakfast at 7:30. For breakfast we had delicious banana pancakes, eggs and fruit. After a great breakfast, we gathered on the deck to prepare for ziplining. The instructors helped us slip into our harnesses, we grabbed some helmets and…
What should I pack?
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate, and cultural differences. Please click here to view the Costa Rica: Classic packing list.
What is the weather like in Costa Rica?
In Costa Rica, the weather is a lot like Florida in the summer time. During the day it can be hot, sunny and humid (80’s-90’s). Late afternoons often bring showers, which will cool us off. Some days you will go to bed with only a simple cover as it is often warm enough to sleep without your sleeping bag. When we ascend into the high elevation rainforest and cloud forest, the temperature becomes cooler (in the 50’s at night).
What are the service projects like?
The specific service projects that each group will work on depend on the needs of the communities at the time that the groups are there. Possibilities include: teaching English; constructing bridges in a small village; making improvements to community buildings or schools; planting trees; and environmental education and village clean-up.
What kind of health precautions should I take before traveling on this program?
Costa Rica is a relatively clean and safe place to travel. However, ARCC does recommend that you take some health precautions before your program. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more detailed information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website. Our leaders carry a full first-aid kit and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).
Where will we sleep?
During this program we sleep in a variety of accommodations: small simple hotels, jungle lodge, community house, and tent camps.
What is the transportation like once we are in Costa Rica?
Typically we will take a private 20-person shuttle from place to place. When traveling to more remote areas we will occasionally split into two groups and use smaller 4-wheel drive vehicles.
What is the food like?
On this program, you will experience typical Costa Rican fare – rice and beans. This staple is supplemented with a delicious assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables. The group will also be creating the menu and preparing the meals during some sections of the program.
Vegetarians and medical dietary requirements (i.e. allergies) are catered for. It does help if we are informed of this prior to departure date.
How much money should I bring?
We suggest you bring about $75 per week on your program. This is for souvenirs, laundry, and other incidentals. ARCC pays for all meals, lodging, transportation and activities. There is some time to shop for souvenirs in San Jose and elsewhere during the program. We recommend you bring some of your money in cash and the rest on an ATM card.
In Costa Rica the official currency is the Colon, but US dollars are widely accepted. We suggest that you carry about $25 of your money in small denominations (1’s and 5’s). Visa and MasterCard are also widely accepted. We do not recommend Traveler’s checks. ATM’s are found in San Jose, but are limited outside the city.
As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, all students traveling to Costa Rica need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is at least three months after your program start date.
Be sure to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place. If you lose your passport and you have a photocopy, it is much easier to replace.
Do I need a visa?
No. US and Canadian Citizens do not need a visa for this program.
What is the time difference between Costa Rica and the USA?
During the summer, Costa Rica is on Mountain Time. Therefore, on your program the time will be 2 hours earlier than in New York (Eastern Time) and 1 hour later than in San Francisco (Pacific Time).
How often can we take showers and do laundry?
Students are taught how to hand wash their clothes by their leaders, and will have the opportunity to do so throughout the program. Due to the remote locations we travel to, students do as the locals do, and use the warm Costa Rican sun to line dry their clothes. For ease of travel, quick dry clothes are recommended on the packing list.
Do I really need to bring a backpack, or can I bring a rolling suitcase on this program?
You will want to bring two pieces of luggage: your main bag and a daypack. Your main bag should be a backpack, travel backpack or large duffel bag. This larger piece of luggage should be approximately 4,500-5,000 cubic inches or 70-75 liters, and should be able to hold everything on your Clothing & Equipment List. The daypack should be large enough to hold an extra layer of clothing, a water bottle, sunscreen, some snacks, etc. Some travel backpacks come with an attached daypack that you can zip off and use. Otherwise, your school backpack is a good option. When you travel, you should plan to check your large piece of luggage and bring the daypack on the plane as your carry-on.
Please keep in mind that while you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this program, the group will be navigating through airports, on and off buses, up and down stairways, and taking short hikes on unpaved paths. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if everyone is carrying their belongings on their back.
You will also need to pack an EMPTY small duffel bag inside your main piece of luggage. When you get to Costa Rica, you will use this duffel bag to store certain items that you will not use during specific sections of your program.
Do I need to speak Spanish to join this program?
No. English is widely spoken in Costa Rica and your leaders and local guides will speak both English and Spanish.
What kinds of goods and supplies can we bring to donate for the people we meet?
We have the chance to live amongst some needy people who have the very basics for survival. With education being a tool to better their lives, basic school supplies are welcomed with open arms. Pens, pencils, notepads, calculators and books are widely accepted. Soccer balls are also an incredible way to cross the cultural border and share smiles. Because of limited space on our vehicles ARCC would ask that every person to bring no more than a gym of bag of goods to donate.