Adventure, Leadership and Educational Travel

Costa Rica

About Costa Rica: Learn about the country and the places you will visit.
Travel Assistant
: Let us help you with some of the typical travel plans.
Photos: See pictures from previous trips


Costa Rica Adventures

¡Bienvenidos! You are about to take your first step in experiencing one of the most desirable travel destinations in the world. Costa Rica is diverse in culture, geography, climate, people, history, and nature. Filled with volcanoes, lakes, National Parks, and beaches, Costa Rica offers some of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Our Costa Rica programs will expose you to unique cultural experiences like seeing how sugar cane juice is made, and trying it of course, to adrenaline pumping rafting trips on the famous Pacuare river. While practicing your Spanish, you will also participate in a service learning and leadership program and you will return home with a sense of appreciation and desire to make change to improve your life and the lives of others.
Please read this page adn then click on the link to take you to the Costa Rica Service and Leadership page for more information specific to that prgram.




The Four Areas of Focus

Through structured presentations and group conversations, students begin to learn what it means to be a leader. They learn to identify their own forms of leadership and how each one of them can use their unique personalities and passions to make change in the world. As students learn through service, travel, using their Spanish, and building relationships, they are also building self-esteem. They will inherently become aware of prejudice and begin to identify their own internalized biases. Their beliefs and knowledge about the world will be challenged but real life experiences inevitably lead to a growth in many areas: listening strategies, the feeling of helping others, evaluating real life decisions, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. Participants (adults and children) return home with a fresh perspective on their lives and society and will implement change on some level.

Eco-adventures and the Environment
One of the main reasons people travel is to experience nature. Our Costa Rica programs take the participant on a journey through various topographical zones. You hike in cloud forests, visits rain forests parks, learn about the forest during a visit to an adventure park, and learn about the Pacific coastal landscape. There is plenty of fun to be had rafting, hiking, surfing, zip lining and all the while you are learning about the environment. It is also a perfect opportunity to have discussions around how our own lifestyles may affect the environment. It is for this reason that we collaborate with an organization that is dedicated to ethical tourism and helping the people and the forests.

Spanish Immersion
It is widely known that the best way to learn a language is to experience it. Participants can take formal classes as well as practice their Spanish while in an immersion setting. Students are supported 24-hours a day with Spanish language and encouraged to use it whenever possible.

Service Work -- Why do service work?
The effects of doing service work sometimes are not felt until the participant returns home and it all starts to sink in. While service work may seem like just manual labor, it can have a much longer lasting effect on people. Service work is becoming more common while on vacation but it is up to the company you work with to set up meaningful opportunities. We always rely on local organizations to find meaningful community-based projects that meet the needs of the people and/or the environment. Green Communities is one of those organizations. Participating in service work can dramatically change a participant's perspective on life. Every trip is different and your Program Leader will share with you the opportunities available on your trip.


Travel to Learn is unique for many reasons.

  1. Safety is our top priority. We work with licensed tour operators who make safety their priority as well. We know where to find medical facilities, have private transportation available, carry cell phones and have emergency plans at all times.
  2. Students who Travel To Learn have fun, life-changing, authentic, meaningful experiences and become leaders in their communities.
  3. Every activity in this program is specifically designed to be educational. We incorporate the Four Areas of Focus into all of our programs in order to maximize the travel experience.
  4. We have extensive educational travel experience with all ages, including programs in Arizona, Montana, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
  5. We keep our numbers low to ensure the best possible experience. A typical adult to student ratio is 1 to 6.
  6. The itinerary focuses on eco-adventures, language and cultural immersion, historical tours, and making connections with locals through community-based service work.
  7. Our passion and love of the environment and people is apparent but we make sure to have fun!
  8. A Chaperone travels from the U.S. with the group, is a fluent Spanish speaker, and a certified public school teacher in Arizona.
  9. Travel to Learn is unique in that the owner, Carlos Bill, is a certified teacher, has created these programs to be educational by nature.
  10. With most educational travel companies you will never meet the people who travel with your child. You will put them on a plane and hope for the best. The combination of our Areas of Focus and having a program created and run by a certified teacher is difficult to find.

Frequently Asked Questions - For more travel information visit out Travel Assistant page.

Who can participate?
Costa Rica HS: Any student 14 years or older.
Costa Rica ADULT: Any adult over the age of 18.
Travel To Learn will accept participants regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, income, or national origin and has no affiliation with any branch of government, political party, or interest group.

Why do volunteer work?
Although Costa Rica is not considered a third world country, there is are plenty of people struggling to meet their basic needs. We work in the Santos region with small communities who need help. Participating in volunteer work is an opportunity to help others as well as to learn from those we help. Volunteer work isn't a new concept but the idea is starting to reach more people. In fact, volunteer vacations are becoming more popular as evidenced by this news clip.

Do I have to speak Spanish to go on this trip?
No. Whether or not you have taken Spanish, you can participate in the program. However, having previously taken Spanish will increase your access to Costa Ricans and their culture. Remember, language is inseparable from culture so the more Spanish you know, the more you will get out of your experience.

Who is going to teach me Spanish?
gYour Program Leader in Costa Rica and Chaperone from the U.S. will support you as you use your Spanish throughout the trip.
Costa Ricans/Immersion: You must also decide to practice your Spanish on your own. Tours may be in Spanish and many Costa Ricans don't speak English so you'll have to immerse yourself. Participants who practice their Spanish, regardless of fluency, learn more from the locals and get more from their travel experience.
There may be formal Spanish classes offered.

Do I need a passport or a visa?
Visas from the United States are not required. Your passport must, however, be valid for at least 6 months prior to your departure date.

Where will I sleep?
Your program may involve home stays or it may involve staying at a home base. Home stays are with families in the communities where we work. Carlos Bill has visited these homes and Green Communities has been using these families for years so rest assured that they all meet very high standards. Home base could be a lodge style accommodation where multiple gender-specific students sleep in a room or a cabin. All accommodations have been chosen because they meet the standards that we feel participants would expect.

Why Costa Rica?
Typically people do not ask why visit Costa Rica because it has been a popular travel destination for years. The questions might be, why the area of Los Santos in the south central region of the country. This region has not been opened up to tourism until Green Communities began programs there ten years ago and so it is still a very quiet place to visit. It is the end of the cloud forest in Central America and claims some of the most biodiverse areas in the world, including the best spot to see the famous Quetzal birds. This region is also known as having the highest quality coffee production in the country and participants will be learning all about organic eco-coffee production as they work on plantations. Because of the diversity found here, tourists can experience various climate zones in one day, going from 7,000 ft to the Pacific Ocean in a few hours. Overall, Costa Rica simply offers an authentic travel experience fairly close to home.

How will I get around?
poastWe use only use private shuttles.

Investing in your child
International travel programs may seem expensive. I challenge you to find another educational program run by a teacher that places such an emphasis on language and cultural immersion, leadership, service work, and ecotourism. Then, I challenge you to find one with the prices we offer for such a packed itinerary.
Think about the things that people already spend money on and consider the value of these items compared to an experience that will change your child's life.

Cell Phone Plan
Cell Phone
Shoes = $100
Laptop = $500-2,000
$100/1-2 years
last 1 year
lasts 3 years

A Travel to Learn Experience = Priceless and lasts a lifetime!




Travel To Learn collaborates with Green Communities, an organization dedicated to helping people and the forest. Their mission aligns with Travel to Learn and so our work together is even more powerful. They are dedicated to safety and providing fun, educational, authentic, and ethical tourism. They only work with volunteer, service-based community tourism that serves the people and improves the environment. They even make their own biodiesel to run their company vehicles! Visit them today and learn all about them.



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Contact: 602.538.2929

 All photographs copyright of Carlos Bill and ©Travel To Learn LLC