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Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Explore + Conservation + Community


Itinerary Options

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Costa Rica's Volunteering Road Trip

Showcases the best locations + dynamic projects

Welcome to our exciting off grid road trip across Costa Rica, reaching places, people and wildlife that are way of the backpacking route, allowing you to hit the ground the running and experience local life.

Your journey starts in Quepos, close to Manuel Antonio National Park where you will combine community contribution with jungle adventure - heading into the park to see the wildlife, jungle and dramatic waterfalls.

Next up is a turtle conservation phase at a remote sanctuary - to give you the desert island feeling combined with a spot of surfing and yoga at the beach, before heading into a remote wildlife sanctuary for your third week. Here you will help care and feed the animals whilst helping the local team develop the infastructure. The last phase will be spent in the famous cloud forest of Monteverde - where you will trek, explore and possibly zip wire through the canopy.

So, backpacks at the ready, you are off to embrace the Pura Vida of Costa Rica.

This is what we have planned…

Costa Rica's Programme Itinerary

The programme encompasses 4 contrasting locations where you will experience a mix of community, conservation and adventure. Please note the order may vary and exact locations may differ due to the weather, team size and project needs.

Day 1

San Jose Arrival

You will all be picked up at San Jose Airport and taken to the Rosa of America hotel to decompress after your flight. There is a little pool here, cute little bungalows and surround sound jungle noise so you will instantly feel the tropical vibe of this stunning country.


Rosa of America. 20 mins from the airport.


Supper included.

Costa Rica Adventure Programme
Day 2 - 7

Manuel Antonio National Park Explore + Community Development

You’ll be up early (because of the jet lag and noisy birds), so after breakfast and a quick swim you’ll start the journey to reach the vast and iconic Manuel Antonio National Park, where you will live in a private finca on the outskirts of the park.

Your time here will be a mix of exploring the rainforest, and helping refurbish a community centre in a little fishing village outside Quepos. While you are here you will help with upkeep of the centre, play with the kids, and make signs to encourage the everyone not recycle.


The finca comes with a pool, football and volleyball pitches – so lots to do and a great place to bond as a team. You’ll sleep to the noise of capuchin and howler monkeys. Take your ear plugs.

Dorm style accommodation with bunk beds, western style bathrooms with hot and cold water.


All meals included apart from 2 suppers out, and snacks/lunch on transfer days.

Costa Rica Adventure Programme
Day 8 - 13

Natuwa Wildlife Santuary Wildlife Conservation

This is one of those very special places, where you will see more tropical birds, panthers, jaguars, sloths than you can shake a stick at.

There is so much work to be done here, so expect to be up early and busy from about 06:00 – 15:00 helping with:

Daily feeding of the wildlife
Cleaning out the cages
Basic renovations

It's hard graft yet so rewarding - everyone reports back that this is the big challenge of the adventure. Hot and sweaty work. As a treat, reward for the graft, you will be offered the opportunity to cool down at the beach and we recommend you head off to do the fabulous Isla Tortugas tour (budget $70, you will love this.)


Brace yourself – it is very basic, adding to the challenge. You will be living in their volunteer accommodation, which is very a rustic long house bungalow, with a communal hang out area. No mod cons here, no smoking, no drinking and no wi-fi.


All meals included.

Costa Rica Adventure Programme
Days 14 - 18

Monteverde Cloud Forest Explore + Adrenaline

Your next phase will take you up to the somewhat cooler and unique cloud forest - set on top of the spine of Costa Rica’s continental divide. It is a place of dripping cloud forests, coffee plantations, monkeys and mist. You’ll stay in the little town of Santa Elena, which is filled with hip little cafes and folksy shops.

Due to its high altitude, 4,662 ft, Monteverde receives a steady supply of clouds and the life-giving moisture that they contain. This moisture, often in the form of fog, catches on branches of the tallest trees and drips down to other organisms below. This helps to support a complex ecosystem that harbours over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insect species, and over 2,500 varieties of plants. It is a unique and stunning environment.

Every morning there will be a planned activity to explore the cloud forest, leaving the afternoon free for extra adventures – such as the zip wire challenge, horse riding, bungee jumping, and coffee tours. So much to see and do, and you can decide what to do when you get there.


Local hostel, dorm style accommodation – hot and cold showers.


Breakfast and lunch only.
Dinner will be extra in one of the local cafes.

Costa Rica Adventure Programme
Days 19 - 28

Samara + ASVO Turtle Conservation + Surfing + Yoga

So, you’ve explored the jungle, helped the wildlife now it’s time to hit the beach and find the turtles. Depending on time of year you will either do this phase at Samara or Santa Teresa, both providing great surfing, hip vibes.

Whilst you’re at the beach – you will have some down time, 2 x surf lessons and a spot of yoga thrown in for good measure but you nip off for 3 days to live and work at a turtle sanctuary, run by ASVO, a local NGO. They can only take 12 at a time so you will split into two teams and head out back-to-back.

AVSO is one of Costa Rica’s main wildlife conservation NGOs who have several bases focused on turtle conservation where they protect the eggs and hatchlings of Olive Ridley, Black Turtle, Hawksbill and Leatherback species, who visit certain ‘semi-intensive’ nesting beach at night to nest.

The principle objective is to protect adult female turtles and their nests from human predators and wildlife, natural events such as beach erosion and flooding due to high amounts of rainfall in nesting season. This is achieved by the construction of a ‘hatchery’.

Here you will work between 4 and 6 hours per day with occasional night shifts. Typical jobs will include maintenance of the hatchery, beach cleaning, night patrols and releasing baby turtles into the ocean.


Samara and Santa Teresa – hip little beach side house.
Turtle sanctuary – expect a very rustic bungalow – one large mixed dorm, with basic showers and WC.


Samara and Santa Teresa- breakfast and lunch included, supper will be extra in one of the beach side cafes.
Turtle sanctuary: all food included.

Costa Rica Adventure Programme
Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Did you know?

Onward travel has never been so easy

Book a programme with us and you will receive a complimentary 12 month subscription to our Backpacking Advice Hub. This Hub is your one stop shop for all things travel advice, itineraries, handy insider hints and tips to really get the most from your travels. It is a must-have resource for independent travel post-Leap.

Our teams never want to come home post-programme and choose to add on a phase of independent travel with their new found friends - making the most of their gap year. Costa Rica is perfectly placed to add on a phase in Guatemala, Mexico and Panama. Call us and chat through your ideas.

A team of volunteers river crossing.
Volunteers helping the kids on their gap year in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican kids helping volunteer
leap volunteer surfing in Costa Rica
Exploring Monteverde in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica's Details & Costs

Maximum team size - 22

If you are under the age of 18 at the point of travel - please call us to discuss before booking.

Download Itinerary

Options and costs

Whats included?

On The Go

Four seperate phases in four different places, you'll be constantly on the move from place to place.

Busy Social Life

Larger teams of 15-22 people, so perfect for meeting lots of new people and being in a buzzy social setting. You'll work hard and play hard!

Constrasting Experiences

Think of it as a four week road trip around the best of what Costa Rica has to offer.


From zipping through the Cloud Forest to surfing lessons, you certainly won't be bored.

Free time

You will have free time interwoven into your 4 week.

Backpacker favourites:

  • Downtime in one the local yoga retreats.
  • Surfing.
  • Kayaking & snorkelling.
  • Zip wiring through the National Park.
Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Jungle Surf Camp - it's so much more.

This programme is run by the dynamic Chris Patterson who has been our Costa Rican partner for over 15 years.

Chris has run travel and Spanish courses since the 1990’s and has become increasingly passionate about the crisis of plastic waste in our waters and the damage it is doing. Seeing dolphins and turtles time and time again, washed up on the shoreline wrapped up in discarded fishing nets was enough to break him into action.

So, Chris now welcomes volunteers into his home, lovingly named the Jungle Surf Camp, who will set about learning Spanish with the aim to get out into the community to bang the drum about plastic. Backed by the Oceans of Plastic campaign and documentaries he wants our leapers to teach, explain and steer changing attitudes.

In addition to the above Chris has planned this adventure for us, in response to the demand of gap year students who want to travel responsibly.

Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Watch our videos

Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Explore + Conservation + Community

Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Wildlife + turtles + cloud forest exploration

Costa Rica Adventure Programme

Community + Wildife Conservation + Turtles

"Safe, organised gap year travel"

What an amazing organisation. From the minute we first rang to enquire about projects to today (my daughter arriving home from Tanzania this morning) I just can't fault anybody. Emily has had the most amazing time in Tanzania and all the staff have been wonderful at keeping me informed when there were problems (nothing serious thankfully).

I would have no hesitation in recommending the company for safe, organised gap year travel. Emily will have wonderful memories for life and I'm so proud of her and grateful for the support given by The Leap. Thank you so much.

- Tracey Talbut

"I can’t think of a better company"

Clementine has just finished her Costa Rican adventure with you and has absolutely loved it. She says it was fantastic from start to finish and the group couldn’t have asked for a better team looking after them led by Chris. The same applies to you too. You have been brilliant from the get-go and nothing seems to have daunted you – ever! Getting the children out there was no mean feat and your ability to switch the programme to Costa Rica from Cuba at such short notice was very impressive. The photo at the beginning was a great touch and you have been incredibly responsive to every query however small. Thank you both for everything, I can’t think of a better company to have used for Clementine’s trip.

- Tania ( mum )

"How fantastic you all are"

We really can’t thank you enough for everything you have done to make this amazing adventure happen, and for all the hand holding for Mimi and us along the way! It’s incredible that they have managed to have as close to normal a gap year as it must be possible to have right now and we are enormously enormously grateful to you and everyone at The Leap who has helped make this happen. Thank you. We have been spreading the good word about how fantastic you all are!

- Selina ( mum )

"Change the course of their lives"

I am filled with admiration at all the trouble you have taken over every detail, so much appreciated when filling in all those damn forms! And it was brilliant that you kept us all (in our case 3 generations!) involved and informed about the changing situation every day. It has been so difficult for this group of 18 year olds unable to do their A levels properly and with all the attendant problems of the pandemic. I think the programmes you are offering may well change the course of their lives not only for the future of the planet but also by giving them opportunities to work hard together at the same time as having fun. Huge thanks and congratulations, I’m telling everyone how fantastic you are!

- Caromy (Grandmother)

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Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

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