Trip SummarySee full itinerary
You'll also get the opportunity to lend a hand on one of our awesome volunteering projects, from sea turtle conservation to helping build new homes for disadvantaged locals. Once you've been volunteering, the typical Costa Rica Experience itinerary will then take you to the gorgeous Bocas del Toro islands, which are just off the coast of Panama, for a massive chill out sesh. If you take the extra adventure option, there'll be a chance for you to take up some epic adventures activities along the way!
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|Dates of Departures||Duration||Price (Land Only)||Trip Status|
|8 September 2013||4 weeks||Now £1,757 Was £1,849 Save 5%||Available||Book now|
|13 October 2013||4 weeks||Now £1,757 Was £1,849 Save 5%||Limited Availability||Call Us 01892 882 737|
Arrival and Turtle Conservation (Days 1 to 7)
Trek, Surf and Horse ride (Days 8 to 12)
Volcanoes and Hot Springs (Days 13 to 20)
Travel to Panama (Days 21 to 24)
The last few days of adventure (Days 25 to 29)
One of our in-country Real Gappers will collect you from the airport and take you to your hostel accommodation in Alajuela. If your flight arrives before 6pm you're in luck- we host an awesome welcome dinner in a great local restaurant on your first night where you'll get the chance to tickle your tastebuds with your first taste of life in Costa Rica. Depending on your arrival time there may also be some free time before the meal for you to kick back and relax.
Rise and shine! It’s going to be an early start today as we begin with your orientation sesh- between 8.00am and 8:30am a Real Gapper will come to the hostel to collect you, and walk you through the town of Alajuela to the Real Gap offices, where you'll be given breakfast. The orientation session generally runs from 8.30am until approx 10.30am with a 15 minute break, so you'll get to learn loads about the area and ask any questions you may have. After the orientation you'll transfer to the location of your first volunteer placement at the Turtle Conservation Project– Junquillal! A packed lunch will be provided.
Today you'll begin an awesome volunteer placement on the beautiful Pacific Coast at the Sea Turtle Conservation Camp. You will spend five nights at the project in the volunteer house. Duties at the project are completely varied depending on what needs doing at the time, but you could be patroling the beach, helping to clear the area, or releasing baby turtles into the sea!
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are provided throughout your time at the Turtle Conservation Project.
After breakfast we'll say goodbye to the project and head up to Playa Grande beach by public transport. We'll then get a boat across the river and walk up the beach to our hostel!
No meals are included.
Surfs up, we're going to hit the beach today! We’ll start off with the basics (ie- learning to stand on the board from the safety of the beach, etc... you get the drill), and then it’ll be time to hit the waves with your English speaking professional surf instructor for a 2 hour long lesson! Lessons will be taken in groups according to group size.
No meals are included.
Fancy a chill out sesh? Sunbathing? Exploring? Today's a free day so you can enjoy the beach to your heart's content, or you could venture out to the nearby Tamarindo to have a look around.
No meals are included.
Today we'll travel by public transport up into the mountains, to the little village of Bijagua in the northern part of Costa Rica. We’ll be staying in an Eco Lodge nestled in its own private rainforest!
After a hearty local breakfast, we'll venture into the forest to see the tree canopy from above! This part of the forest boasts three hanging bridges to walk across – so it's an awesome way to see all of the wildlife that Costa Rica has to offer!
Breakfast and dinner included.
An early start today as we'll have breakfast at the lodge, then head back into the town of Bijagua to pick up our steeds! We’ll spend two hours on horseback riding through the lush jungle and through rivers until we reach Volcan Tenorio National Park. Here we dismount, and continue on foot up through the trails of the park, until we reach the majestic Rio Celeste (also known as the 'blue lagoon') with a waterfall and the viewpoint. The hike will take approximately three hours and at the end of it a traditional lunch awaits us in a local “soda” (small Costa Rican diner serving local specialities).
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
After breakfast we'll continue our travels by public transport to the epic Volcano Arenal – a must see on any trip to Costa Rica! The Arenal volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the Americas. We'll stay in a family run hotel, with an amazing view of the perfect conical volcano outside! You’ll have free time to explore the charming town of La Fortuna, with plenty of souvenir shops, cafès and internet cafes - or you may like to treat yourself to a massage after yesterdays hike!
Lunch and dinner not included
We venture a bit closer to the Arenal Volcano today; we drive to the other side of the Volcano where we enter Volcan Arenal National Park. After a short hike through the dry tropical forest we reach the old lava flows from the huge eruption in 1968. Later on, we move to a safe observation to watch the volcano; if we’re lucky we may feel the ground tremble and see the night sky lit up with explosions of ash and lava in a natural display of fireworks.
Then it’s time to relax as we finish off the day at Baldi Hot Springs – natural thermal pools at the bottom of the smouldering volcano! There are 23 different pools of varying temperatures along with water slides, saunas, wet bars and botanical gardens all for you to explore and enjoy! If you’re lucky you may be able to see the lava flowing from the continuously erupting crater in the distance.
No meals included
Today we hot the White water – for an adrenaline pumping rafting trip!
Our rafting guides will pick us up at the hostel, and take us to where our tour begins. After a safety briefing, we start this adrenaline packed tour down class 3 - 4 rapids. The tour takes approximately 3 hours and we will be met at the end by our transport which will take us back to San Ramon, and to our homestay accommodation ready to start work tomorrow! You will have dinner at your homestay accommodation - a chance for you to get to know your host families!
Fruit and Drinks included.
Days 16 - 20
Today we'll start work on the second volunteer project in San Ramon where you will be helping to build new homes for local people.
Your work schedule and construction site will be discussed with you once you arrive in Costa Rica; transport to and from your building site is included during your days of project work.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided on days 16, 17, 18 and 19, a packed lunch will be provided for you to take to the building site with you.
On day 20 we will be spending the day on a zip wire tour through the forests, which is approx an hour from San Ramon in the mountains. In total there are nine platform cables, a tarzan swing and three extra long cables- and it's all so much fun!
We say goodbye to San Ramon today, and head back into the buzzin' capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose. Our accommodation is in a lively Hostel located in Barrio Amon in the centre of the city. We will take a walking tour around the capital, taking in the sights such as the National Theatre, Plaza de Cultura, the central market and the artisan fair.
We travel towards the Caribbean by public transport which will take us down the Caribbean coast to Puerto Viejo. Here we will stay in a beach house and the rest of the day will be free time for you to sit back and relax!
No meals are included.
Today we'll say goodbye to Costa Rica for a few days, as we'll be off to explore Panama!
We take the two hour journey down to the border with Panama by public transport. After completing all the necessary immigration requirements, we are in a new country! (Immigration costs are not included)
Once in Panama we travel by minibus down to the docks where we hop on the water taxi over to the beautiful islands of Bocas del Toro. From the border crossing, the journey is approximately 1.5 hours.
Our accommodation will be in a quiet hostel with an amazing decking area over the ocean, which is located on the main island of Isla Colon.
No meals included.
It’s a full day today as we head out on the boat! First stop is dolphin bay, where you'll hopefully get the chance to see these awesome mammals jump up by the boat. Next we'll head off to Coral Cay to snorkel around the beautiful reef – if you’re lucky you may see moray eels, lobsters, rays and possibly a turtle or two!
After snorkelling the tour stops for a lunch break (lunch not included) before continuing onto Bastimentos island, and the private Red Frog Beach.
Our last stop is another snorkel experience on a high drop off with a possibility that you may see sea horses, barracudas, crabs, and maybe even a nurse shark!
The tour will last for approximately 6 hours.
No meals included
Today we will jump onto our kayaks, and head out on an adventure through the mangroves. The trip will last approx 4 hours, and be split into two groups depending on the number of people on your Costa Rica Experience!
No meals included.
We’ll be taking a trip today to Starfish beach, locally known as Playa Estrella, which gets its name from the thousands of starfish that live in the area. Once we arrive you’ll have free time for the rest of the day to relax on the beach. If the weather isn´t great we will visit the small town of Bocas del Drago – where Christopher Colombus first stepped onto these islands!
No meals included
It’s our last day in Panama!
Today we head off to the remote Zapatillas Islands, a pristine marine national park which is approximately a 2 hour boat ride from Bocas del Toro. Here you’ll have the chance to be Robinson Crusoe, as you spend the day on these twin uninhabited islands.
No meals included
Today we take the water taxi back across to the mainland, followed by a minibus to the town of Changuinola where we take the direct bus back into Costa Rica and onto San Jose. We still have to pass through immigration, so remember to keep those passports handy!
We should arrive back in San Jose in the afternoon where we will hop on another bus back to the hostel in Alajuela, where we started this fantastic adventure all that time ago.
A farewell dinner will be arranged for the evening where you can share your stories with your fellow travelling companions.
After what we trust has been a thoroughly enjoyable adventure it is time to bid farewell to Costa Rica and Panama. No activities are arranged for today but a transfer back to San Jose International Airport will be arranged for you, depending on the time of your flight.
Please note: Itineraries and activities are subject to change
Trip Notes include a full itinerary, country guides and travel advice on visas, money, insurance and the local weather. By filling in your details you'll also be kept updated on all the latest news, offers and stories on this particular trip. Happy reading!
Minimum age 18, maximum age decided on health and fitness of potential participant.
This trip does require a minimum number of travellers to run. Please confirm with our travel advisors that the trip has met the requirements before booking flights.
The types of accommodation will vary throughout the programme from hostels to beach cabins to a lodge in rainforest!
Some meals are included in your programme, these are noted on your programme itinerary. On the days where meals are not included this is a fantastic opportunity to sample some of the traditional local dishes that Costa Rica and Panama has to offer; food is extremely cheap to buys in both countries.
The Costa Rica Experience gives you the chance to take part in a four-week adventure in this amazing country. The programme includes a two short volunteer project placements and a number of excursions.
Sea Turtle Conservation at Playa Buenavista.
Play a part in the effort to preserve one of the planets oldest species on this isolated beach on the Nicoya peninsular, on the pacific coast of Costa Rica. Volunteers are desperately needed to help patrol the beach at night time looking for nesting female turtles – and to relocate her eggs to a safe location inside a custom built hatchery. Without volunteers help, most nests would be poached by humans, eaten by wild animals or washed away in the tide – so every helping hand is appreciated!
The project itself is run by a local NGO, and receives no funding. Therefore be prepared to get back to basics! The camp has no electricity and has only cold running water – a perfect way to escape from our hectic lifestyles , on a beautiful deserted beach. Our accommodation for the week is a rustic style wooden house on the beach, with dorm rooms for the volunteers.
In order for these conservation projects to work, they need a steady flow of enthusiastic volunteers, not only to work directly with the turtles, but also to keep the logistics of the camp running. This means that there is plenty of day time work to be done as well. Although tiring, the memories of releasing dozens of baby turtles back into the ocean are unforgettable!
Generally volunteers are responsible for the following:
Building Houses for underprivileged families in San Ramon.
A rewarding way to help a family in need – help build them their own home!
Our building projects work in conjunction with Fundacion Costa Rica – Canada Rural housing programme, to help families with low income become home owners. The foundation supports families from the first application for housing, helping them fulfill the necessary requirements, support during the construction process, and collecting the monthly loan payments.
The Fundación para la Vivienda Rural Costa Rica-Canadá has left its footprints in the rural areas, changing the lives of the people and promoting a substantial improvement in each of the communities and families.
Places that didn’t have public services such as drinking water, electricity and telephone, now have them. Also, places with no adequate access roads, now have the possibility of improving them.
Volunteers play a huge part in the whole construction process. Taking instruction from a local foreman and local builders, we are there from start to finish, from digging the foundations, mixing cement, brick laying and leveling floors – this really is giving back to the communities as you see the results of your hard work each day!
Depending on which stage the house is at you may get involved in some of the following tasks:
Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay.
You will be assigned a personal travel advisor who will co-ordinate your programme with you. Feel free to contact them at any time before you go, or when you are on your travels.
In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our staff at any time should you need to.
Yes, these dates cannot change.
No, you will not have to speak Spanish.
We advise around £80-100 per week.
Yes, you would be more than welcome.
Yes and it’s a great way to meet like minded travelers.
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