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Costa Rica Adventure 2025

Contribution + Challenge + Culture

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Costa Rica Volunteering + Adventure

Conservation, community and cloud forest

Welcome to our revamped 4-week Costa Rican programme revamped for 2025 which has combined the highlights from the current adventure, and original Plastic Ocean programme. This new programme is designed to showcase the very best of this small, sun-drenched corner of Central America which holds over 5% of the world’s biodiversity, boasting more national parks per square metre than any other country in the world. If that’s not enough, it has both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, punctuated by fertile coffee growing mountains and active volcanoes. Simply stunning, and all to be experienced through our action packed adventure which combines challenge, contribution and culture.

Your journey starts 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. Following this you will head inland to find the famous cloud forest of Monteverde to trek, explore and if nerves prevail zip wire through the canopy.

Your third phase will be spent working at a wildlife sanctuary before your final phase living beachside at our base in Santa Teresa. Here you will contribute to our plastic pollution, and turtle conservation projects before testing your balance on a surf board and on a yoga mat.

For 2025 this programme is the ultimate show-stopper of a gap year programme in Costa Rica, ensuring you see the best of all the must-see sights. This is Costa Rica. but The Leap style.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025

Costa Rica's Programme Itinerary

This 4 week programme delivers a dynamic and varied experience as it includes contrasting locations and projects to keep you on your toes. Please note the order of events may change depending on the time of year/weather.

Day 1

San Jose Airport hostel for the night

Day 1: Arrive and head to the Rosa of America hostel in San Jose to get a good night's sleep after your flight.

Accommodation

The Rosa of America

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Days 2-6

Manuel Antonio Community Project + Waterfall Hikes

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 spend 5 nights living in a private Finca on the outskirts of the park.

Your time here will be a mix of exploring the rainforest, and helping with the upkeep of a Cocal Community Centre in a nearby fishing village, which we have supported since 2021. This centre is a vital part of the community as it is where all the kids go to when their parents are at school.

While you are here you will help with a meddle of tasks such as: playing with the kids, cleaning the beach, making signs to encourage everyone to clear up the litter, and make fun beach furniture with old tyres.

Expect a full-on busy community experience, mixed in with waterfall hikes and exploring Manuel Antonio National Park.

Accommodation

The finca comes with a pool, football pitch, badminton, and volleyball – so lots to do, and you’ll sleep to the noise of capuchin and howler monkeys.Dorm style accommodation with bunkbeds, western style WC and showers with hot and cold water. It’s an off-grid experience for this phase, no WIFI in the finca.

Food

All meals included apart from 2 suppers out.Expect mix of local and European dishes.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Days 7-10

Monteverde Cloud Forest Adventure + Exploration

Your second phase will take you to the stunning cloud forest of Monteverde - set on top of the spine of Costa Rica’s continental divide. You’ll stay in the little town of Santa Elena, which is filled with groovy restaurants and folksy artisan shops.

Due to its high altitude – some 4,662 ft (1,440 m) – Monteverde receives a steady supply of clouds and fog which catches on the branches of the tallest trees and drips down to other organisms below. This helps to support a complex and far-reaching 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.

Every morning there will be an activity to explore the cloud forest, leaving the afternoon free for ‘extra’ trips – such as the zip wire challenge, horse riding and bungee jumping. So much to see and do, and you can decide what to do when you get there. Please note these extra trips are to be paid for when you are there.

Accommodation

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

Food

2 meals a day. Supper out and about.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Days 11-14

Natuwa Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation

This is one of those very special places, expect to see more tropical birds, panthers, jaguars, sloths, than you can shake a stick at, you name it ...it’s here. There is so much work to be done, so expect to be up early and busy from about 06:00 – 15:00.

Here we plan for you all to be split up into smaller groups to tackle the:

Feeding of the wildlife
Cleaning out the cages
Basic renovations

Accommodation

You will be living in the volunteer accommodation which consists of a long house style bungalow, with a communal hang out area.

It is rustic and basic – no mod cons here. It has a non - smoking, no alcohol policy on site.

Food

All meals included. Expect local pinto style food.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Days 15-27

Santa Teresa Surfing + Plastic Projects + Turtles + Spanish

So, you’ve explored the jungle, adventured in the cloud forest, and conserved the wildlife, now it’s time to head to the epi-centre of the Leap operations in Costa Rica – that being Santa Teresa - world famous for surf breaks across beaches so pristine, uncrowded, and seemingly endless that they are regularly listed as some of the world’s best. It is a very cool, hip town with a great surfing, yoga vibe. It is THE place to be a gapper. But it’s not all play – while you are here you will get stuck into a mix of adventure and volunteering projects which include:

Plastic Pollution

The plastic pollution on the pacific coast is ever-present, and our Leapers have been instrumental in helping the local community tackle this – from beach cleans ups, to working at the community recycling centre called BIONICS (founded by none other than Pharrell Williams), to creating recycling bins.All these initiatives really help to maintain the surf-safe beaches and provide an insight into how impactful community collaboration can be.

Turtle Conservation

In addition to this you will visit ASVO, one of Costa Rica’s main wildlife conservation NGOs.Their Montezuma base is focused on turtle conservation who need your help to protect the eggs and hatchlings of Olive Ridley, Black Turtle, Hawksbill and Leatherback species, who visit this ‘semi-intensive’ nesting beach at night to nest.

Here you will work between 4 and 6 hours per day with occasional night shifts. Typical jobs will include maintenance of infrastructure and surroundings, beach cleaning, night patrols to look for nesting female turtles, transport of food and water, collection of data and releasing baby turtles into the ocean. We are also trying to protect them from the effects of plastic in the ocean, so the beach clean ups are vital.

Adventure
Interlaced into your time here will be time to explore the famous waterfalls at Montezuma, test your balance through two surf lessons, and one yoga lesson, before learning a spot of conversational Spanish to help you navigate your time here.

Accommodation

Santa Teresa: your main base will be at the buzzing Jakera Camp, which is a jungle paradise (includes a swimming pool), overlooked by a rich tropical forest bursting with wildlife including capuchin and howler monkeys.

You will sleep in one the bungalows dotted around the tropical gardens and central hub where you eat and chill out.Dorm style accommodation with bunkbeds, western style WC and showers with hot and cold water. Approx. a 10 minute (800 m) walk to the beach.

ASVO: Very rustic, Robinson Crusoe style accommodation on the beach.

Food

Santa Teresa: 2 meals a day provided.Supper is extra out and about.
ASVO: 3 meals a day provided.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Day 28

Back to San Jose Back to base to fly home

On your final day you will be taken back to San Jose to stay back at the Rosa of America hostel ready for your flight the following day.

Accommodation

The Rosa of America

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Costa Rica Adventure 2025

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.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Costa Rica Leapers learning to surf on beach.
Costa Rica Adventure 2025
Costa Rica Adventure 2025

Costa Rica's Details & Costs

Max team size of 22 per departure. 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?

Beach Life

You'll spend most of your time based on or near the beach, with some surfing lessons thrown in on the of the world's best surf breaks.

Buzzy Teams

Expect teams of between 15-24, leading to a guaranteed social life - you'll work hard and you'll play hard.

The Bigger Picture

Be on the front line of reducing plastic pollution, and get firsthand experience in marine conservation.

Language Development

Learn Spanish or practice the skills you already have; perfect for cultural immersion and anyone wanting to continue travelling around Central/South America.

Backpacker favourites:

Your days are going to be busy and varied as the projects and activities are weaved together, but we promise some downtime, weekends free at Santa Teresa, so you take advantage of the extra adventures you might want to do.

Tortuga Island trip from Santa Teresa – budget $75
Extra surfing lesson – budget about $60 per lesson
Extra yoga classes – budget about $15 per lesson
Zip wire at Monteverde – budget $60
Bungee jumping at Monteverde - $80

Costa Rica Adventure 2025

Jungle Surf Camp - it's so much more.

Your programme is run by the dynamic Chris Patterson who together with his wife, family and team have created the Jungle Surf Camp on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

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.

Practically, he has set up village recycling stations and organises rubbish collections, he encourages supermarkets to stop using plastic bags and beach bars not to use plastic drinking straws... simple initiatives, but together will help enforce the message and give practical meaning to the bigger picture. Community beach clean-ups are also now part of everyday life and blue flag awards are being handed out.

Chris has also built great relationship with the local turtle sanctuaries , Cocal Community Centre enabling all our volunteers to experience a multi-activity programme.

Costa Rica Adventure 2025

Watch our videos

Costa Rica Plastic Oceans

Spanish + surfing + turtles + environment

Costa Rica Plastic Oceans

Leap team highlights

Costa Rica Plastic Oceans

Team highlights

"I can't recommend this enough"

I can’t recommend this enough, I had the most amazing time and made the best memories. Lizzie and Carmen were the best leaders and were so much fun.

- Imogen White

"Grown in confidence"

I have grown in confidence from meeting new people and I have realised how much of an impact everyone could make with everyday things

- Louisa

" I recommend this trip to anyone who is thinking about doing it!​"

One of the best experiences of my life!! I met the most amazing people and experienced so many incredible things. The trip is so well organised and you get a mix of everything Costa Rica has to offer! Lizzie and Carmen were the most incredible group leaders and this made such a difference, I recommend this trip to anyone who is thinking about doing it!

- Maggie Calder

"I would highly recommend this trip."

This trip has left me with a group of life long friends from around the world, experiences that have plus will affect me forever, and skills to help me through life.

Everyday was a new adventure, from building hatcheries for turtle eggs to teaching English at a local school to playing volleyball with the Costa Rican Cost Guard to hearing stories from past poachers to watching a turtle lay eggs to have a sing-a-long with the group.

- Jessica

"Insane!"

Hi to all at The Leap,

This is a bit late but a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in organising Herbie Purces Costa Rica trip. In his own words “it was insane”.

So wonderful they had a “normal” experience in abnormal times.

Our thanks again

- Gwen Purce

"I have seen some amazing things that I never would have otherwise been able to do"

I’ve had a really good experience at the leap. My two leaders Lizzie and Carmen were amazing. Really helpful and fun, making my experience much more enjoyable. Having them around also made me feel a lot more comfortable and safe. I have done and seen some amazing things that I never would have otherwise been able to do and have made a load more friends in the process.

- Lucy Wise

"You are amazing organising it all"

How exciting for them!! - Trip of a lifetime. Inigo has been stuck at home since last March as I suppose they all have - so what a wonderful, exciting, fun and not to mention horizons broadening time they will have. You are AMAZING organising it all - I don't know how you do it. Huge thanks for everything


- Rose (mum)

"​Thank you guys SOOOO much"

Thank you guys SOOOO much for the whole experience I have LOVED it all and couldn’t thank you enough for all the effort you have put into the trip my heart is so full from everything you have helped us achieve!! Enjoy your well deserved break :)

"An experience not to be missed!​​"

The Leap took all the responsibility and stress out of the gap year experience. Would advise that all teenagers do this part of their gap year before they 'free' travel. The Leap are highly professional and inclusive of parents.

- Sara

"Quite an extraordinary responsibility"

Thank you, Milly. You've been an absolute star - quite an extraordinary responsibility and you're doing it admirably. Great friend of ours, has signed up for Namibia in March after hearing about Skye's adventures ahead...


- Katie Turnbull

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