Costa Rica School Trips & Expeditions

About Costa Rica expedition

Costa Rica is in many ways the ideal place for a school expedition. Its incredibly varied topography means that pupils on Costa Rica school trips can trek in the rainforest one day, visit an active volcano the next, and finish relaxing on a hot sandy beach on the Caribbean coast. Choice and variety are the name of the game here.

Our volunteers have the opportunity to enjoy the hot springs of La Fortuna and venture deep into the Cloud Forests of Monteverde, where they might see exotic wildlife including the endangered quetzal, a bird of paradise once worshipped by the Mayans, to whom its long tail feathers were worth more than gold.

As one of the most biodiverse regions, Costa Rica is the ideal school trip location for many subjects including biology, environmental sciences as well as History School trips.

Costa Rica is also one of our Expedition Leader Training bases and our unique agreement with the National Parks department ensure off the beaten path access to this amazing country.

Suitable for:  Science School Trips, Geography School Trips, Outdoor Education School Trips, World Religion School Trips

Support we offer on a Costa Rica expedition

We support schools embarking on a Costa Rica expedition in a variety of ways, including:

  • Tailormade itineraries to match your school’s learning objectives
  • A launch evening at the school for parents, students and teachers
  • One point of contact for planning and preparation
  • A comprehensive pre-departure briefing
  • A highly qualified Expedition Leader to accompany your group

For more information regarding planning and executing an expedition to Costa Rica with your school, see our comprehensive guide on how to plan a trip here.

Day 1

Arrive Costa Rica

Fly from London to San Jose. On arrival, you will be met by your Gapforce Leader and transferred to your accommodation in Alajuela.
After checking in to your rooms, you will receive a welcome & safety briefing over dinner followed by an early night.

Day 2

Travel to Monteverde

After breakfast, we pack up our kit and head to Monteverde's fabulous Cloud Forest where you'll have lunch and orientation, followed by a briefing about the volunteering project.
LIFE is an award winning fair trade and educational organisation with coffee plantation focussing on sustainability, tourism and conservation.

Day 3


Your first full day of volunteering typically involves an introduction to the project as well as sustainable production and Life farm evolution.
Field Work activities include planting trees, collecting seeds and work in the organic garden.

Day 4


Your second full day at Life will include more work planning trees, collecting seeds and working in the organic garden.
There will also be a chance to visit the coffee roaster to see how coffee is processed and try some different coffees and roast levels!

Day 5


In the morning, you'll have the chance to navigate around a high ropes course and whiz down zip-lines that are set into the canopy.
After lunch, you'll take a guided walk along the forest's many trails during which a guide will point out any animals or fauna along the way.

Day 6


Time to say goodbye to Monteverde as we head towards La Fortuna, set in the foothills of Arenal Volcano.
You'll cross Laguna de Arenal via boat, keeping a lookout for crocodiles, sloths and Tapir along the way, before arriving in La Fortuna in time for a relaxing soak in one of the many natural hot springs

Day 7

Cerro Chato

Today your group will ascend above the cloud line to hike around Cerro Chato's infamous green crater.
The hike will also take you through Arenal National Park where you can expect to see and hear the exotic wildlife.

Day 8


After breakfast, we begin the long journey east towards the Caribbean coast.
We'll take a few scenic stops along the way, arriving into Puerto Viejo mid- afternoon and chance to prepare kit and have an early night before our jungle adventure.

Day 9

Jungle Survival Training

Carrying what you need, you walk into the jungle to our base camp for the next two nights.
After setting up camp, your leader will teach you the skills required to operate in the jungle including basha set up, jungle observations and fire lighting.

Day 10


Today starts with some practice of the skills you've learned before beginning a two day trek through the jungle.
With the help of knowledgeable local guides, we will follow one of the many hiking trails through the forest, passing waterfalls and caves and looking out for wildlife along the way

Day 11


Waking up to the sights and sounds of the jungle, you continue your trek arriving back at base camp in the early afternoon.
After packing away the kit, you will walk out of the jungle and transfer back to Puerta Viejo for a shower and well deserved restaurant dinner!

Day 12


After breakfast, you head to Pacuare and the beginning of an epic two day rafting adventure on the Pacuare river!
Using experienced local guides, you'll spend the afternoon cruising down the river, negotiating rapids and enjoying a different perspective of the rainforest.
You will overnight at a beautiful riverside camp!

Day 13


You will wake up the sounds of the river and, after a hearty breakfast, board the rafts again and continue down the river arriving at the finish point in the early afternoon.
After lunch, you will transfer back to Puerta Viejo and spend the afternoon at the beach where your leader can arrange a volleyball competition!

Day 14


This morning there will be another opportunity to visit the beach for a swim followed by lunch.
In the afternoon, you'll board the coach back to Alajuela for a farewell dinner and final night.

Day 15

Travel Flight to London

Subject to flight times, there may be a chance for some last-minute souvenir shopping before transfer back to San Jose airport.
Arrive back into the UK the following day.

Whats included poster

Gapforce Costa Rica Expedition Leader

Throughout your expedition you will be accompanied by a Gapforce Costa Rica Expedition Leader. Gapforce is renowned for the select team of enthusiastic leaders who run our worldwide expeditions.

We hire great people experienced in delivering inspiring and safe travel experiences, many of whom have graduated from our intense 4-month Costa Rica Expedition Leader Training which includes:

  • Mountain Leader Training
  • RGS Off-site safety management
  • RLSS Water Safety
  • QA Level 2 Activity First Aid
  • Rescue Training
  • Wilderness Medical Training
  • Advanced Survival Training
  • Expedition Planning
  • Incident Management