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Is an OAT Costa Rica Trip an Adventure in Paradise?

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Welcome to paradise

My wife Fyllis and I knew before we traveled to Costa Rica that the country has a well-deserved reputation for preserving its magnificent environment. We were aware of the great diversity of landscapes and multiplicity of animal and birdlife. But only after spending time in that virtual Garden of Eden did we come to fully appreciate that so much variety is compressed into an area only about the size of West Virginia.

As we soon discovered, the setting changes quickly and frequently in the compact Central American nation. A short walk can transport you from a dank, steamy Amazon-like jungle environment to a cool alpine woodland reminiscent of Switzerland. Both dry stretches of forest and pockets of verdant wetlands lie in the shadow of soaring volcanoes. 

Check out more Central American travel destinations   >>


The Road Less Traveled

Seeking to experience as much as possible of what Costa Rica has to offer in the limited time available to us, we went there with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) . As the self-styled “Leader in small groups on the road less traveled,” that tour company allows clients to pack as many experiences as possible into every hour of every day.

And packed with action and inviting alternatives every waking hour was for us. One day included a visit to an OAT-sponsored school, enjoying a traditional home-cooked lunch with a local family, and going on a guided horseback ride through dense forest. Another began with a hands-on tortilla-making lesson followed by viewing giant crocodiles at close range, then relaxing on one of Costa Rica’s beautiful beaches.

Check out OAT trips to Costa Rica >>


Commitment to Preserving Paradise

Of course, much time was spent being introduced to the country’s major claims to tourism fame – the outstanding animal watching and exploration of stretches of the unspoiled environment.  

Hotels, tour companies, and other travel vendors work hard to achieve the much-south-after Certification for Sustainable Tourism , which recognizes their commitment to that goal.  In order to do so, they must certify that they are complying with rigorous standards which will help them, and Costa Rica, achieve its ambitious environmental objectives.  

That’s just one part of the country-wide effort toward environmental protection. The fact is that little Costa Rica is moving toward carbon neutrality more quickly than any other country, and evidence of that effort is everywhere.

Almost all of its power comes from renewable sources. Environmental education is part of the curriculum for elementary school children, and environmental science programs are taught at universities.

List of sustainable Costa Rica tours   >>

Covid Updates

Welcome to paradise ...continued

A natural wonderland.

The results of these efforts are evident everywhere, and we had opportunities to observe a number of them first-hand. We hiked in the Manuel Antonio National Park which, despite its small size, is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world. Its varied terrain includes a luxuriant rain forest, bird sanctuaries which are alive with color and song, and inviting beaches.

The other-worldly-like Monteverde Cloud Forest spills down both the Caribbean and Pacific slopes of the Tilaran mountain range. Its environment lives up to its name. Warm air rising from the tropical coastline condenses into a persistent fog and mist.    

Adding to the wonder of Costa Rica are opportunities to spot wildlife that thrives in this inviting setting. Just one example: A sign at the entrance to the Monteverde Cloud Forest notes that 126 species of mammals and 448 types of birds make it their home.

In fact, wildlife is a main attraction throughout Costa Rica. A total of about 850 different kinds of birds have been spotted in the country, more than 600 of which are permanent residents. Over 1,000 species of butterflies dot the landscape with a myriad of colors.  Fortunately, we escaped encounters with the 100 or so different types of mosquitoes that we were told find Costa Rica’s damp environment to their liking.

Check out some wildlife and nature-focused trips   >>


Wealth of Experiences

When Christopher Columbus arrived on the scene in 1502, he chose the name Costa Rica, or “rich coast,” because he believed that the land would yield a vast treasure of gold.  However, the Spanish conquistadors who followed him soon realized they would not discover the mineral wealth they had hoped to find.

Visitors today discover wealth of a very different, but no less intriguing, kind. They’re likely to leave Costa Rica, as we did, with fond memories of a magnificent natural setting, an extraordinary assortment of wildlife, and people who value and protect the riches that Mother Nature has bestowed upon them.

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oat travel costa rica

Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)

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Trip prices

$2,895 — 9,190

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Age Range:  Primarily 50+

Average Tour Price: $4,538

Average Tour Duration: 15 Days

Group Size:  Small groups - between 10 and 16 travelers, max of 24 on small ship cruises

Travel Style:  Culturally immersive and local experiences. Walking between 3-6 miles a day.

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Our recent Tanzanian Safari was indeed the trip of a lifetime. Saw the big 5, met the wonderful locals and spent 5 days in the Serengeti. Saw many lions, zebras, gi...

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I went to this adventure with my sister-in-law and we had the absolute best time! Our guide were all amazing and our trip leader Martin was exceptional! My sister-i-...

We visited Panama on this trip with OAT

We visited Panama on this trip with OAT including walking through El Chorrillo neighborhood and listening to the stories of the survivors of the US invasion. We woul...

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Editoral Review of Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)

Founded in 1978, Overseas Adventure Travel specializes in small group and small ship adventure tours . Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) is now part of the Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation, which also includes Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line.

Quick Facts

Founded in 1978

Very welcome to solo travelers - Free or low single supplement

Average Tour Price - $4,538

Average Tour Duration - 15 Days

Small Groups - between 10 and 16 travelers, max of 24 on small ship cruises

Travel Style - Culturally immersive and local experiences. Walking between 3-6 miles a day

Age Range - Primarily 50+

What Makes Overseas Adventure Travel Stand Out?

  • Solo traveler friendly
  • Cultural immersion
  • Grand Circle Foundation

Touring southeast asia with Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)

Overseas Adventure Travel is solo traveler friendly . They offer free or low single supplements. OAT understands that solo travelers desire to follow their own schedule, desires and needs. They help handle all the details to make sure your trip is affordable, easy and enjoyable.

A major focus of OAT is cultural immersion . Travelers can expect to visit local schools, churches, and homes (where you might be treated to a home-cooked meal). Experienced guides -- all fluent in English -- lead groups off the beaten path when possible.

OAT strives to give back to the world they send travelers around.  A portion of all proceeds goes to the Grand Circle Foundation, which supports cultural and educational programs in the countries visited.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling With Overseas Adventure Travel?

  • Solo travelers
  • Cultural enthusiasts

Woman in Turkey on a tour with Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)

 OAT specializes in small group tours around the world serving Americans aged 50 and older. They appeal to the old fashioned - the fact that they still offer a physical catalogue is testament - and their travel style reflects an appreciation of the classics coupled with an adventurous spirit to explore each destination deeper and from a local perspective. 

Overall, prices fall into the moderate range, and are especially a bargain for solo travelers , who can save substantially by not having to pay for single supplements. Accommodations are designed to be both comfortable as well as unique and in keeping with the local spirit of the destination. If your hostelling days are over but you feel too adventurous for a standard hotel, OAT will be a great company to travel with. 

OAT travelers are those with a passion for culture . They don’t just want to see a destination, they want to experience it. For these travelers, spending a day in a Maasai village in Kenya, eating dinner with a local family in Chile's oasis town and interacting with local musicians at the bustling Libertad Plaza in San Salvador, Belize is a welcomed adventure.

Top Destinations

Female traveler enjoying Overseas Adventure Tour in Patagonia, Argentina

OAT operates tours all over the world, specializing in remote, off the beaten path destinations. African safaris are an especially popular offering, though you can also travel to Japan , India , Peru , Iceland , Vietnam , Albania , or Morocco , to name just a few of its far-flung destinations. OAT also runs small-ship cruises through the Galapagos , on the Amazon , and along the Turkish coast.

OAT Travel Style

With Overseas Adventure Travel you’ll find a combination of transportation and accommodation styles, but all with an element of comfort. Groups are small, with a max of 16 (24 on small ship cruises). 

Accommodations vary, but generally favor being local and non-traditional over a basic centrally located hotel. Their exact words are “emphasis on authenticity, rather than amenities”.

Exploring rural China with Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T. Tours)

Their style is all about unique and meaningful cultural interaction . While you’ll learn the history and see the famous sights, their true focus is about people and connections. This means you’ll enjoy meals with local families, like you’re just a friend over for dinner; visit schools and see the amazing work being done in small communities. The visceral understanding and perspective that comes from learning to cook traditional meals and make traditional crafts is what you’ll find on an OAT tour.

Why Choose a Tour with OAT?

OAT offers a unique up close and personal experience, guaranteeing that its groups will never exceed more than 10-16 travelers. A spirit of spontaneity is part of what makes traveling with OAT special, as they strive to take advantage of every interesting opportunity during a trip. 

Woman in traditional dress in India

Traveling with Overseas Adventure Travel allows for an in depth cultural travel experience in comfort. Many opportunities exist for travelers to find deals, and it’s a great way to meet new friends in a similar age range.

If you traveled extensively in your youth and are not ready to slow down, but perhaps are looking for a few more logistical ducks to be taken care of for you, OAT could be the perfect fit. They offer a variety of options for more independent minded travelers, as well as ample free time to explore and plan your own adventure during cruise port stops and on their group tours.

Alternatively, if this is your first travel experience, OAT will be a great starting point. You’ll gain cultural insights, meet locals, as well as hit on all the best tourist sites that provide cultural and historical context to your destination.

Overseas Adventure Travel Covid Safety Precautions

Through December 31st 2020, Overseas Adventure Travel is offering Risk Free booking. You can transfer your departure with all change fees waived.  

Some countries are beginning to reopen to international visitors with entry restrictions while others have remained closed. Stay up to date and see a full list of which countries are open  »  

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Solo friendly.

  • No single supplement
  • Solo & Singles Travel

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About the company.

Overseas Adventure Travel offers unique small group adventures worldwide to Americans over 50. By land and sea, we explore on—and off—the beaten path with a resident OAT Trip Leader, immersing ourselves in local cultures, sampling unique modes of transportation, and staying in authentic lodgings that reflect the essence of your destination. Grand Circle Small Ship Cruises serves both our GCT and OAT brands with an award-winning fleet known for exceptional value and high-quality experiences in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Custom-designed according to our travelers’ specifications, our fleet includes 50+ small river and ocean-going ships that we own or privately charter.

Grand Circle Corporation is a global enterprise—comprised of a family of travel companies—committed to changing people’s lives by offering high-impact experiences to our travelers and building local communities through philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, and volunteerism.

Simply by traveling with OAT, you support the work of the nonprofit Grand Circle Foundation, which was created with the mission of changing people’s lives through travel—both those of our travelers, and of the people who welcome us so warmly into their homelands.

Journey with the Leader in Adventure Travel and Watch Your Dreams Take Flight : It is the stuff of dreams: gazelles bowing to lap at a glassy pool in the Serengeti as the vast sky turns purple with night, the tiered splendor of the Himalayas, rising behind a Tibetan monastery. Dreams like these are everyday realities for OAT travelers, thanks to the principles which ground every OAT adventure: value, choice, discovery, and carefully paced itineraries.

Our Value puts your travel dreams within reach: OAT can help you realize your travel dreams for a lot less than you thought possible. Together with our regional offices located throughout the world, we’ve been able to establish long-term relationships with many local vendors and hotels. Buying direct brings down our costs—and allows us to pass the savings on to you. And negotiating directly for hotel space also allows us to secure as many single room allotments as possible for our solo travelers. That way, we can also extend our great value to solo travelers. In fact, we offer the best value for solo travelers, guaranteed.

The Choice is yours : You’ll always have plenty of choices with OAT. We offer you a breadth of awe-inspiring travel destinations—from the peaks of the Andes to the sweeping desert sands of the Sahara to the rugged natural beauty of Iceland. You'll also enjoy more trip extension choices than ever before—like hiking to ancient monasteries in Bhutan or discovering the Moai monolithic rock statues on Easter Island. You have plenty of choices within each adventure, too, including several interesting optional tours. And the free time we’ve woven into our itineraries allows you plenty of opportunities for independent exploration. You can shop, unwind, perhaps linger at a sidewalk café, visit an interesting gallery or museum, or explore a cobbled street that caught your eye earlier in the day. You can do as much or as little as you want on an OAT adventure—the choice is yours.

OAT Difference

Adventure Travel : Adventure travel with OAT is a journey beyond the familiar, one that takes you into the very heart of a destination—to meet people where they work and live.

OAT Advantages : Journey with the leader in adventure travel and watch your dreams take flight, thanks to the principles which ground every OAT adventure: value, choice, discovery, and carefully paced itineraries.

Small Groups, Big Discoveries : When you discover the world in an OAT small group, you’ll journey off the beaten path to the places the big tour groups miss—and enjoy an intimate, discovery-filled adventure filled with personal connections, shared experiences, and treasured memories.

Trip Leaders : No matter where in the world you venture with OAT, you'll have one of our resident, expert Trip Leaders by your side. All are fluent in English and possess the skills, certification, and experience necessary to ensure an enriching adventure.

Airport Transfers : We’ve listened to your feedback, and will now offer international airport transfers to and from your hotel to our travelers who choose to purchase their own airfare on OAT adventures as part of our Personalize Your Trip program, which allows you create the OAT adventure that's right for you.

Personalize your trip : OAT travelers have long expressed the desire to decide exactly where they’re going, how they get there, and when they wish to leave. That’s why we developed a variety of choices that enhance the value of every trip we offer, allowing you to create the adventure that works best for you.

Traveling solo? Enjoy your own room or cabin—at no extra cost : You’re in control of your travel dreams—and we’re making them more affordable than ever: Maybe you prefer the freedom of solo travel—or maybe you and your usual traveling companion can’t agree on a destination. Whatever the reason, you don’t have to put your travel dreams on hold. When it’s time to go it alone, you’ll never pay a Single Supplement to have your own room or cabin with OAT.

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  • Expert designs the itinerary for you, and once approved, takes care of logistics

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O.A.T. Real affordable Costa Rica recommendation? - Costa Rica Forum

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O.A.T. Real affordable Costa Rica recommendation?

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Thinking to taking this tour in January 2014. Anyone have any experience?

oat travel costa rica

I haven't taken the tour - but - I did have a look at the price and itinerary and what's included.

Itinerary - good locations and good lodging choices. It's probably one location too many for my taste - it takes longer than you think to get from place to place. But still - a nice itinerary.

Price and what's included: At $1856 ($146 a day) it's a decent price for what you are getting. Lodging, many meals, excursions, transportation. And you get the bonus of having a "host" or "guide" with you.

For someone who doesn't want to travel independently, I think this is a wise choice.

Thanks. We travel with oat and they do a great job, but Coata Rica is so east to do for travellers that we may just do it on our own...

Yes it is easy to do on your own. There is an excellent tourist infrastructure all over the country so no worries there.

2. Pick your interests and decide if you want to visit "popular" spots or "off the beaten path" or a mixture of both.

3. Figure out what you want for transportation.

Done. (Not really that easy....... lol)

oat travel costa rica

The cost is reasonable $146 a day, transportation and a tour guide and 2-3 meals a day; assuming the hotels are decent. Most of the hotels I had when I took OAT to Egypt were great.

But there is a LOT of driving all over. The bonus of a tour is you don't ned to worry about any of the details.

The single supplicate fee is $0, that's a nice price, I can't always get someone to travel with me so I'll have to look for that for my next trip to somewhere new.

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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Traveling & Eating: Costa Rica

February 4, 2019 by Emily Brees Leave a Comment - This post may contain affiliate links.

Two weeks in Costa Rica. Highlights included enjoying traditional #casado, jungle trekking, abundant wildlife, beach days, and coffee and cocoa plantations. A guide for all your travel planning! | #Costa Rica | #Hiking | #Beaches | #Travel Post at OatandSesame.com

Two weeks in Costa Rica. Highlights included enjoying traditional casado, jungle trekking, abundant wildlife, beach days, and coffee and cocoa plantations. A guide for all your travel planning!

Monkeys resting in tree, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

For the holidays this year, we warmed up in the tropical jungles of Costa Rica! We had always wanted to visit simply to experience the biodiversity Costa Rica is known for. In fact, over twenty-seven percent of the country’s land has a protected status as national parks, wildlife refuges, and forest preserves …and that’s exactly what we found!

Miles of undeveloped coastline flanked by thick jungle and monkeys everywhere. I can’t tell you how many photos of monkeys I took!

Monkey hauling a coconut

2 weeks in Costa Rica

Our vacation style is rarely the kind where you sit still. It’s usually only on the beach days that we manage to rest. On this trip we started in the northern area of La Fortuna and Monteverde and skirted the western coast all the way down to the more remote area of the Osa Peninsula. With more time, we would have visited the east coast as well, but travel across Costa Rica is slow!

TRAVEL NOTE: When Google maps tells you it will take 3 hours to go 130 kilometers in Costa Rica, believe it. The roads are winding with no shoulder, many roads are gravel, traffic is congested getting in and out of San Jose, there are zero street signs and definitely don’t drive in the dark. All that said, it’s definitely safe and fun to drive around Costa Rica! It gives you the ability to reach spots you might not be able to get to otherwise! We read reviews and rented through Adobe Rental Car – two thumbs up.

We began our journey out of San Jose. Arriving in the later part of the afternoon, we knew we only had a few hours of daylight to drive to La Fortuna, our first stop. In retrospect, I would have spent 1 day, 2 nights exploring the food and art scene in San Jose. That would have made our arrival in Costa Rica less hectic – there’s my first tip for you!

Arenal / La Fortuna

The first 2 days / 3 nights we spent in La Fortuna – a sweet little town right outside of the famed volcano – Arenal. Traveling in December is towards the very end of the rainy season, so we weren’t sure if we would see the top of Arenal, but it was clear as day, smoky steam emerging from the top.

Main Square, Fortuna Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano with church

La Fortuna has a small main square with a few tourist shops on the perimeter. We stayed in an Airbnb a couple blocks off the main square and it was perfectly situated for walking to restaurants. 

We ate delicious combinations of casado – which is basically a typical Costa Rican medley on a plate. For breakfast it was rice + beans, eggs, a tortilla and delicious plantains – and DON’T forget the Tico sauce . (This sauce was so yummy we brought our family home a bottle to crack open for Christmas breakfast! It was gone so fast – thank goodness for Amazon !) For dinner it may be rice + beans, a meat, and a couple side salads. So satisfying. Outside of typical Costa Rican fare, there are some great options for salads, sandwiches, smoothies, etc. Fresh Dayz and Organico Fortuna are next to each other tucked a couple blocks off the main square. And at the suggestion of our Airbnb host, we headed to Pollo Fortuneño for roast chicken – twice!

oat travel costa rica

Favorite Places to Eat in La Fortuna: breakfast: Rain Forest + Red Frog Coffee Roasters lunch: Organico Fortuna dinner: Soda Viquez (casado) + Pollo Fortuneño (roasted chicken)

Us with Arenal in background

Hiking Around Arenal We chose to hike in a private reserve called Arenal 1968 . A reserve named after the eruption of 1968 which sent lava flows across the western side. It’s a great place to view the lava fields. Hiking around the volcano I would classify as easy – short and pretty flat. This is where I saw our first howler monkeys – sleeping way up in the trees. Later, I would find out just how noisy they are!

Hanging suspension bridge

Since the trails didn’t take up the entire day, we also ventured over to Mistico Hanging Bridges Park . It kind of seemed like a racket, $26 pp to get into this private reserve, but we decided to risk it.

We were pretty happy that we did! We saw monkeys take flying leaps from tree to tree, saw a saino (pig) and the mot mot bird . Plus the hanging suspension bridges brought your eye to all levels of the jungle, so it was worth it.

Cacao bean

Rainforest Chocolate Tour Our second day was calling for rain, so we opted for a chocolate tour. Our guide was hilarious, we learned a lot and we scarfed down endless spoonfuls of molten chocolate topped with combinations of extracts and spices.

Monteverde / Cloud Forest

Next on our route was the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Consistently covered in foggy clouds, this rare rainforest has always been intriguing to me. The drive from Arenal to Monteverde was winding and long around Lake Arenal, but it was gorgeous!

panoramic vista Lake Arenal

There are two cloud forests to choose from in Monteverde. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. We went to the Monteverde reserve and also hiked near the Santa Elena Reserve. Honestly the two forests will give you the same experience – Monteverde has a windy overlook at the Continental Divide.

Cloud Forest - foggy top

The forest is super thick and it’s really hard to see any animals or birds without a guide. We did go without a guide and successfully found a caterpillar. Although many guides had spotted some interesting birds. I’d recommend a guide at some point during your hiking adventures in Costa Rica – they can find animals and birds that you just can’t find on your own. Another really cool option we found after the fact, was the hike to San Gerardo Station with overnight at the station.

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Monteverde was surprisingly chilly and windy! Be prepared for that!

oat travel costa rica

On our second day in Monteverde we went hiking and ate dinner at the cafe at the Monteverde Inn / Valle Escondido. They have their own private reserve for hiking and the best sunset views from their second floor deck. The food is simple, but you can’t beat the view to the Gulf of Nicoya. We wish we would have stayed there!

Enjoying Coffee and cake

 El Cafetal Coffee Tour One of my top priorities for our Costa Rican adventures was to buy coffee – lots of it! We learned SO MUCH about the different ways to process coffee beans, how it is affected by climate change and how it can be more sustainable. I highly recommend this small, organic family farm outside of Monteverde.

coffee beans

There are three different processes for coffee beans. 1) Washed Coffee – the beans are washed clean of all the sweet fruity membrane that they are housed in and then dried. You can imagine the immense amount of water that is wasted in this process. This is the way almost all coffee you see in the stores is processed. 2) Honey Coffee – the beans are left to dry with the “honey” or stickiness from the fruity membrane left on. The drying process takes a couple weeks longer and is more labor intensive because the beans must be stirred to prevent fermentation. Leaving the sweet fruit on the bean to dry makes the final product sweeter and saves water! 3) Natural Coffee – the beans are left to dry whole – skin, pulp and all. Again, the process takes longer, but the result is a sweeter coffee bean and no water waste! Read more here. Buy honey coffee here.

Guide stirring the drying coffee bean in the greenhouse

Favorite Places to Eat in Monteverde: breakfast – Orchid Coffee lunch – Taco Taco dinner – Soda La Amistad,  Tico y Rico

After days of chilling out (literally) in the cloud forests of Monteverde, we were super excited to get some beach time in. The drive to Manuel Antonio National Park was quite long, so I made sure to research a great beach at the halfway point on the drive.

Playa Blanca

That Beach is Playa Blanca

A little off the beaten path, but well worth the dirt road and small scramble over some rocks to reach the beautiful horseshoe sparkly blue beach. It was amazing to watch scarlet macaws fly over the jungle while floating in the clear blue ocean. Wish I was back there! We loved it so much we stopped again for a few hours on our return trip up the coast.

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Playa Blanca coast line

TIP: to get to Playa Blanca, just follow google maps directions to Playa Mantas. Since there are many beaches across Costa Rica with the name Playa Blanca, it’s easier to map Playa Mantas which you walk across to get to Playa Blanca. There is a well marked parking lot with attendants. Take a ticket and pay per hour when you return to the car. From Playa Mantas, walk all the way to the left over the rocks to Playa Blanca – just follow everyone else that is going the same way. Note it’s a bit difficult to cross the rocks during high tide – so time your arrival and departure. Bring snacks and water since there are no facilities.

Manuel Antonio National Park

When we arrived at Manuel Antonio, we immediately wished we were staying longer. It’s such a cool oceanside town with windy roads and more touristy restaurants. It might have been that we were staying in a hotel with a pool and delicious breakfast . It was a touch of luxury that we hadn’t had yet in our trip.

Hotel pool

It was in Manuel Antonio that the howler monkeys were so loud in the morning they would wake you up at the crack of dawn. So we set out to catch the sunrise on Espadilla Beach. It was nice to be on this otherwise crowded beach with just a handful of people with the same idea.

sunrise over the beach

The national park was teeming with monkeys of all kinds – we saw Capuchin, Howler and Squirrel monkeys. Plus a lot of other animals and birds. And Manuel Antonio Beach is gorgeous!

Manuel Antonio Beach

TIP: You can’t bring any food into the park unless it fits specific guidelines. You can buy food at the one cafe in the park, but it’s not great. I’d recommend buying food from a vendor just outside the park before entering. The monkeys really do try to steal everything on the beach – weigh down your bags with fallen tree limbs so they can’t get into your bag while you swim!

oat travel costa rica

After a full day at Manuel Antonio National Park, we were ready for some beach relaxation time. We found a beach on GoogleMaps called Secret Beach, so we decided it was necessary to check this beach out too. It wasn’t quite so secret, but definitely beautiful and peaceful in the morning.

Secret Beach

Arrive in the morning, park along the road, walk down a path between two small metal fence posts and you’ll have the beach to yourself.

The final stop on our trip was driving all the way south to the Osa Peninsula. It’s home to nothing but ecolodges, remote beaches and the unspoiled wilderness of Corcovado National Park.

Osa Peninsula / Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park Beach

The Osa Peninsula is quiet. There is no cell service. Just unspoiled natural beauty all around. With options for some multi-day jungle trekking, Corcovado National Park is for those who really want to get out into wild nature. Guides are required for any hiking in Corcovado National Park.


We didn’t have time for the multi-day treks, but managed a 10 hr hiking adventure with Rodolfo from Corcovado Hiking Tours.

hiking into jungle

My husband “tried” (notice I said “tried” a surfing lesson with Pollo’s Surfing School. It was a great lesson; however, the ocean sent him back to the beach rather quickly.

surfing lesson

Our Airbnb was as close to sleeping in the jungle as we could get. It was open air luxury with mosquito nets.

With that we also experienced some not so luxurious things like the giant Costa Rican cockroach which was enormous and determined to return to visit two nights in a row despite being vigorously swept away twice. I’ll spare you the photos. Google it if you’re curious.

huge ficus tree

Moving to jungle creatures that are more pleasant, we saw so many new animals while hiking in Corcovado – anteaters, coati, toucans, frogs, scarlet macaws, tent bats and of course, monkeys. On our hike, a monkey purposely pooped on one of our other trekking mates from the trees above while we were passing through. Monkey business for sure!

oat travel costa rica

On our last day in Corcovado, we choose to find our way to the King Louie Waterfall at the end of the peninsula. Our Airbnb host gave us detailed directions that are necessary since there are no road signs. We didn’t think we would actually get there with all the twists and turns required. It was some intense off roading for our SUV, but we managed to get through and find ourselves at a beautiful waterfall and I saw this little frog tucked in a rock!


Anyone renting a car in Costa Rica needs 4 wheel drive. Especially on the Osa Peninsula. We went through many water crossings which were exciting; however, there was one crossing that was determined to take our license plate off. We had to check every time we crossed this one to make sure our plate was still attached. The final drive through on the last day sent it floating downstream, but we caught it! Go figure – it was just another bout with license plate problems while traveling – read our Mexico license plate story here !

license plate fell off car at river crossing

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Pura Vida Experience

From the moment you arrive in San Jose, you’ll become a part of Costa Rica forever. Leave your mark on the lush, yet underprivileged countryside by building community infrastructure, protecting the environment, painting murals, and participating in cross-cultural seminars. You’ll find it impossible to forget Costa Rica’s natural beauty as you traverse the Pacific coast, hike through dense tropical rainforests, observe incredible wildlife, and much more on this overseas adventure travel to Costa Rica.

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Our summer 2024 dates and costs for this journey are not yet published. Check back, or give us a call (+1.941.924.2115) to discuss our future offerings.

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  • Humanitarian Support
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Language Immersion
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Hiking & Walking Tours
  • Water Sports
  • Land Sports


The journey, ¡hola welcome to costa rica.

Our Costa Rica high school trip begins! Students have the option of flying to San José (SJO) via Miami (MIA) on a preselected group itinerary, or students can fly independently. For students flying via MIA, GoBeyond arranges for an airport representative to assist with the transfer. In some cases, this representative is one of the group leaders and flies with the students. In other cases, he/she is a local contact responsible for airport assistance but will not be on the flight to San José. After arrival in San José, students are met at the airport by GoBeyond’s professional staff and transferred to our comfortable and clean country B&B near the tranquil town of La Garita. First day activities include a fantastic Costa Rican welcome dinner, GoBeyond’s orientation, check-in, and icebreakers.

Itinerary Activities

La carpio & juan sanchez indigenous site.

Students begin their service abroad program with a service orientation and walking tour of the San José “slum” of La Carpio. After this eye-opening introduction, students get right to work with the people of the community. While the needs of our partner, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF), change from year to year, our projects often center on hands-on construction and infrastructure projects, as well as educational interactions with underprivileged children. In the afternoon, students bus to Quitirrisi indigenous village where they learn about indigenous culture while touring traditional grass huts, religious artifacts, and burial grounds. Students are offered the opportunity to juice sugar cane – tribal style – and participate in a traditional ceremony of blessing.

Community Service Activities

Service days in rio claro.

A critical component to our trip, students learn about and contribute to projects serving rural schools and family centers in southern Costa Rica. Although Costa Rica – by Central American standards – is a relatively wealthy country that spends a large part of its revenue on education, the schools out in the countryside are often underserved and don’t have finances to build classrooms, provide material or give English classes. Our work in the Rio Claro area helps provide cultural exchanges, promote reading, and upgrade physical infrastructure at these new CRHF project locations.

Fatima, one of the CRHF’s most experienced La Carpio teachers, recently moved with her family to Rio Claro, a community right on the Panama border. Since she has been working for so many years in La Carpio, she was able to make a positive impact on the children and families in this new community and has created the Family Well Being Center. With the support of GoBeyond groups, she has created a space, made furniture and provided classes for the children all year long.

CRHF’s other new center is located at the beach town of Uvita, where Gail Nystrom – CRHF’s Director – has assumed responsibility for the Family Well Being Center, Forjando Alas program. Introduced several years ago, the program aims to educate children who live in the beach community and, at the same time, to protect the children from falling prey to the drugs, trafficking, and prostitution that tends to be prevalent in the surrounding areas. GoBeyond students help to lead activities that strengthen their self esteem and academic skills.

Students who select to lend their hands and hearts to this program need to be ready to help build, paint, draw, play, teach, offer comfort and stay flexible to change. Yet in the end, students venture on with a sense of pride for having helped some of the real people to whom Gail and the CRHF have devoted their lives. It’s all in the process of making the lives of others better, one day at a time, one person at a time.

Adventure Activities

Whitewater rafting.

A highlight for many, students have an action packed day full of fun and excitement while rafting down one of the most pristine rivers in all of Costa Rica. Rapids range from class II to class IV on this scenic river, thus all ability levels – experienced and non-experienced rafters alike – are bound to have fun. When not navigating the rapids in the river, our veteran whitewater rafting guides fill the time with hilarious boat games, river jokes, and much more.

Discovering the Rainforest

Traveling to more rustic regions of Costa Rica allows students to see even more unique wildlife. When on the road, it’s not uncommon to spot insects, birds, and mammals of all different shapes and sizes. GoBeyond Costa Rica is truly a journey for nature lovers. During their jaunt down the Pacific coast, students stay in more rustic-style accommodation such as open-air huts (mosquito nets and screens provided) and ecolodges/B&Bs in the rainforest, which offer ideal home bases for wildlife viewing.

Marine Boat Tour

Students have a blast while exploring the national park at Playa Ballena. Students head offshore on a boat tour exploring caverns, spotting dolphins and sea turtles. If they’re lucky, students may even see whales! After this exciting excursion and a healthy Costa Rican lunch, students readjust to land then prepare for their service days in the small southern community of Rio Claro.

Indigenous Reservation & Hot Springs Visit

On the scenic bus ride back to the Central Valley, students venture off-the-beaten-track and travel inland to visit indigenous reservations such as Rincon Ecologico Cultural Terraba. Our goal in visiting and working with the indigenous communities is to strengthen their cultural heritage by being students to the leaders and youth so that they can see how valuable their own culture is in a broader worldview. Thus, students spend ample time learning about their customs and way of life. Students also undergo small community service projects on behalf of the people. After this brief yet enlightening tour, students return to the Central Valley and settle into a beautiful ecolodge complete with natural hot springs. This tranquil and relaxing environment provides the perfect backdrop for GoBeyond’s closing program and activities.

Program Focus

Exploring costa rican culture & giving back.

Interspersed through your time spent whitewater rafting, hiking through rainforests, and discovering the raw untouched beauty of the environment, you’ll spend 50 hours of our Costa Rica high school trip giving back to local communities in coordination with our service partner, Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation.

The Humanitarian Foundation works to improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable populations in Costa Rica. In operation over 30 years, the foundation now manages more than 50 projects throughout the country, with a focus on education, community development, health care and support services for women, at-risk youth and indigenous groups.

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“ Not only did I enjoy myself, establish lifelong friendships, and explore Costa Rica, but I also felt that I made an important contribution to the places I visited. I left New York with tears in my eyes, as a trip to Costa Rica meant limited contact with my friends and family and sacrificing the comforts of home, but in time I found that the fears and the worries that had plagued me were ill-founded. I was about to embark on a journey that would prove to be the most profound two weeks of my life. ” Brighid G. Staten Island, NY

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The last day is always so hard! Students say goodbye to their new friends at GoBeyond. Without fail, there’s a mix of emotions – there is excitement to return home; there’s sadness to leave. On the final day of the overseas adventure travel to Costa Rica, students are transferred to the San José airport by our professional staff, checked in, then travel on to their respective homes and families. Yet the journey continues for each individual in undefinable ways. The lessons we learn, the friends we make, and the personal growth we gain through the GoBeyond Costa Rica service abroad program shape our hearts and minds for many years to come.

oat travel costa rica

Waterfall Slide!

Hola Amigos! Today we woke up a bit later and got to go to breakfast at a recreation center where…

oat travel costa rica

Buenas! The day started off pretty early. We went to the rafting office and had some delicious Costa Rican breakfast.…

oat travel costa rica


After a great night of sleep we got to wake up a bit later and enjoy another traditional Costa Rican…

oat travel costa rica

What’s That in the bed? ;)

Today was our last full day in Costa Rica. 🙁 Everyone is sad to leave but also excited to return…

oat travel costa rica

Is Rico: (a) the Chocolate Squisher, (b) the Chicken Guy, or (c) an FBI Agent?

Today we got to “sleep in” because breakfast was at 8 am. We ate eggs, rice, beans, and plantains. Next,…

“I was very pleased with the way GoBeyond handled any safety issues in Costa Rica by keeping the students safe and the parents informed. At no point was I worried about the safety of my child. He had a wonderful trip and learned so much about himself and serving others! He loved every minute of his experience and came home immediately asking to go on another trip!” Jessica S. - Pelahatchie, MS
“I believe the trip has made a significant positive impact on our son's life as he is already wanting to collect soccer supplies to send to Costa Rica. As a parent, I was appreciative of the feedback cards each child and counselor wrote to him. It was amazing to see how well the counselors got to know him and his strengths and areas of growth. Thank you for providing an exceptional experience for Matt!” Jane R. - Alexandria, VA
“It has been wonderful to see our daughter return with so many experiences in another culture. She returned with a greater appreciation of her circumstances and what she has been given. The best things about GoBeyond are the international experience provided, the ability to give back, and the organized programming.” Randi E. - Raleigh, NC
“The best parts of a trip with GoBeyond are the positive feelings the students gain about themselves and the awareness of the world around them. ” Cynthia V. - Concord, MA

Need More Information?

Gobeyond is a proud supporter of local, national, and international service organizations around the world..

During their overseas adventure travel in Costa Rica, our students have the opportunity to work closely with local people, on projects where the need is authentic and the results are long-lasting. When the service abroad program is over, we provide much needed financial help with direct donations, which helps fund projects in an ongoing way. Consider your impact…join GoBeyond this summer and make a difference!

Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation

Need to know, is this journey right for me.

This service abroad program is for trailblazers who want to break free of the beaten path. You’ll have the chance to see a side of Costa Rica that few people get to by traveling up and down the Pacific coast mixing adventure with authentic service work. Overseas adventure travel in Costa Rica is ideal for both the experienced traveler and people hungry for their first experience abroad. If you’re interested in a genuine experience far from the wake of tourists then this is the trip for you.

What's the group like?

There’s really no rigid mold that GoBeyond participants are cut from. Since our students come from different backgrounds all over the world, the groups end up being naturally diverse. Everyone arrives with different goals, expectations, hopes, and fears but they quickly find common ground and begin to bond. The GoBeyond environment allows team members to connect quickly and become closer friends than anyone would expect. Many students report leaving feeling as though they had known their fellow students much longer than they actually had.

Our philosophy revolves around small group sizes that are still large enough to foster a sense of community. For the overseas adventure travel in Costa Rica, we’ve found that a group size of 10 students works best. This service abroad program does not require any previous experience, skills, or language fluency – only a willingness to get involved and appreciate each incredible adventure.

Who are the staff?

GoBeyond is proud to attract and recruit the best in our field. Our summer staff consists of avid world travelers, highly qualified professionals, and fun and experienced facilitators and educators. All members of our team are dynamic, multi-talented, and passionate individuals with a devotion and commitment to the safety and experience of our students.

The average age of our summer staff is 26. Staff skills are journey specific, such as holding a maritime license in the BVIs or having a background in childcare for China. All staff are First Aid and CPR certified, and many hold advanced training certificates such as Wilderness First Responder or EMT. Along with local guides and our community service partners, the ratio of staff to students is approximately 1:5. This enables close interaction and individualized attention during the journey.

Learn More About Our Staff

What do I need to bring?

GoBeyond students are responsible for carrying their luggage from place to place. As such, we recommend that you keep things simple and avoid overpacking. Students are given the opportunity to do laundry throughout the trip, so there’s no need to pack several weeks worth of clothing.

Our hope is that families will have minimal purchases prior to the trip, so we’ve compiled our packing lists in a way that you’ll find most of what you need in your closet at home. Around mid to late March, we make available our Pre-Trip Packet to enrolled students, which contains a detailed packing list for this year’s journey. If you’d like to see last year’s packing list as an example, you can download it here.

Download Sample Packing List

During the trip, students will need an emergency/travel credit or debit card in addition to personal spending cash. The credit or debit card (minimum balance of $400) is intended to cover travel costs to and from the program and any unanticipated costs that might arise such as clinic or hospital visits. While not required, if you are concerned about loss or theft, students do have the option of storing their credit or debit card with our staff during the journey.

GoBeyond will pay all major program costs while traveling and working, but there will also be opportunities for students to spend money on personal items. The most common expenses include snacks, souvenirs, and phone/internet time (calling cards, internet centers, etc.). Based on our past experience, some students will spend less and some will spend more than our recommendation ($200). Judge this amount by the spending habits of your student. Please set up boundaries for its use, as GoBeyond cannot be responsible for monitoring student spending. If you are concerned about loss or theft, students can give staff up to $150 of their spending cash to be put into safekeeping/drawn later.

Where do we stay?

GoBeyond is not a luxury journey; however, we utilize comfortable, clean, and safe accommodations during our trips. In Costa Rica, students spend most nights in local hotels, B&Bs, and quaint ecolodges. You can think of ecolodges much like standard B&Bs, yet they adhere to stronger sustainability practices and are more influenced by their natural surroundings. Examples include open air huts/cabins in the rainforest and indigenous reserves (screens and mosquito nets provided).

What do we eat?

GoBeyond’s tuition covers all meals after arrival in the host country. We strive for healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals, and serve a mixture of local and international fare (including Western). For our Costa Rica journey, we primarily eat at the hotels/lodges and local restaurants. Rice and beans is a staple in Costa Rica, so don’t be surprised if you see it frequently throughout the trip!

Note, as GoBeyond is a health-conscious program, our staff do not provide large quantities of “junk” food (i.e. sodas, chips, candy bars, large desserts, etc.). Students can always supplement our meals and snacks by shopping locally for their own items.

During the application process, families can inform us of any dietary allergies or restrictions. We are usually able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians, etc., as well as various food allergies. However, if your student has a severe allergy to peanuts or other common substances, please call our office to discuss the options.

Nitty Gritty

Are flights included in the tuition.

Since students join us from all over the world, the cost of transportation to and from the destination country is not included in the program tuition.

Who should we contact to book travel?

Helping to coordinate our students’ travel is of vital importance – and a mammoth task! For this reason, we strongly suggest that all families start by contacting our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: [email protected] ). Even if you are not originating in the U.S., Leah will be able to provide options and guidance.

When should I book flights?

We suggest you wait until March 20 th , and here’s why. The quality of the experience is in large part defined by the makeup of the student team, and unfortunately we can’t determine the status of a specific journey or session until we receive the appropriate number of enrollments to guarantee a great experience (which is typically no fewer than six). Therefore, unless you select a ticket fare type or flight insurance policy that allows flexibility for date modifications, refunds, or credits, we suggest that families wait until after March 20 th  to book their international flights.

What is the preferred itinerary for U.S.-based students?

Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from San Jose (SJO) via Miami (MIA). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that as many students as possible can fly together as a team. Please bear in mind, however, that GoBeyond has no control over the number of participants that choose to fly via MIA. Depending on the desires of other participants, the number of students traveling on the recommended route can vary greatly.

What about an alternate itinerary that suits us better?

Since students come from all over the U.S. and world, it is not required that students book on our preferred itinerary.  For non-U.S. based students, those looking to use frequent flier miles, or others who are not booking with TRC Travel Center or on our preferred flight itinerary, please contact our office prior to booking to ensure you are arriving and departing Costa Rica at appropriate times.

Does GoBeyond provide support on travel days?

Yes. We understand that travel days can be stressful for both parents and students, so no matter what time of the day or night, our office team actively monitors and supports our participants during travel. We require students to travel with a mobile phone with domestic data capability so we can monitor their progress and communicate directly if necessary. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers on-site airport assistance, yet our experience has shown that being active and available to everyone electronically is often more effective in quickly troubleshooting snags than being physically present in just one location. For this specific journey…

  • Preferred Itinerary (Outbound flight, MIA to SJO) – In some instances, particularly for the first session of the summer, GoBeyond has a group leader who flies with the students on the preferred itinerary at the start of the trip. When a group leader is not able to travel with the students on this outbound flight, GoBeyond will typically hire a representative for the MIA airport who is responsible for helping troubleshoot any flight/connection issues that may arise.
  • Preferred Itinerary (Inbound flight, SJO to MIA) – On occasion, particularly for the last session of the summer, a group leader will return to the U.S. on the preferred flight with the students. If a staff member is not able to return with the students, GoBeyond will not typically hire an in-airport representative for MIA. This is due to the lack of an on-site representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

For more information on airport assistance, please contact our office. We will be glad to let you know what type of support we typically offer for your journey (specific plans will only be available nearer the travel date).

Can I leave a program a day or two early or arrive a day or two late?

We understand that commitments at home may necessitate a student wanting to arrive or depart from our program on days other than our standard published dates. Each scenario is unique, and while we accommodate these requests when we can, we need to plan appropriately so that we know those additional staff resources are in place to ensure a safe, well-coordinated travel experience. We don’t charge extra tuition for accommodating non-standard travel, yet we do require that parents cover the direct costs associated with any additional staff travel, off-site accommodation, and meals. Please use this form to initiate a formal request for us to consider your non-standard travel wishes and a representative will contact you to discuss possibilities.

  • Travel Docs & Vaccinations

Travel Docs & Visas

GoBeyond cannot apply for passports or visas on a student’s behalf, but we can provide the information you need to do so yourself. At the time of writing, students traveling on U.S. passports do not need a visa but must have 3+ months of validity on their passport after the entry date to Costa Rica. For the most up-to-date and thorough information, please visit travel.state.gov . Students traveling on non-U.S. passports should verify passport and visa requirements for your nationality by contacting your local Costa Rican embassy or consulate.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

We do not currently require proof of vaccination in order to enroll.

Other Immunizations

GoBeyond understands that families have varying opinions on vaccinations. Some greatly desire the precaution; others prefer to avoid possible side effects of certain medications such as anti-malarials. Coupled with the fact that each student has unique medical considerations known best by his or her doctor, GoBeyond does not supply medical advice. We recommend that all families refer to the expertise of the CDC ( wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel ), their health care providers, and/or a travel clinic.

Living in the moment

Though the fundamentals of our journeys do not change, specific journey logistics evolve over time. It is typical for our community service partners to not choose our project areas until late spring/early summer, thus the final touches of our itineraries are not always set until then. The journey overview portions of this page should give families a basic understanding of the kinds of activities we do on the journey. We also suggest last year’s Trip Updates  if you need more descriptions. For the most up-to-date information on our expected itineraries, feel free to Contact our office.

With that in mind, we encourage all participants to “live in the moment” while on the journey. Travel, even on organized trips, requires flexibility and a willingness to accept adversity and change. Your journey country may not be as efficient, orderly, and/or timely as you are use to. We hope you’ll take the bumps in stride, and enjoy the adventure!

  • Service Hours

Service Hours, Letters & Awards

After the completion of summer, all students (U.S. and non-U.S. students alike) receive a GoBeyond service letter and transcript reflecting their participation on the program.*  The GoBeyond service letter and transcript describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead.

GoBeyond service hours are accepted by most high schools/colleges/institutions.  Please note, however, that every school is a bit different. Some schools have special community service requirements for graduation, etc., such as students performing a certain number of service hours locally rather than abroad.  We recommend that students/families check with their school administration prior to enrolling to ensure GoBeyond service hours meet their requirements for community service participation.

President's Volunteer Service Award

Learn More About The PVSA

* Presence alone does not necessarily earn students the community service hours. GoBeyond reserves the right to deduct hours due to non-participation and/or early dismissal. Participants who work hard and participate in all program activities can expect to receive the full number of service hours available for their journey.

GoBeyond tuition fees cover the following:

  • All in-country journey accommodation, meals, and ground transportation
  • Full-time service adventure staff, local guides, and tips
  • All group activities including service projects and materials, sight-seeing trips, and educational excursions
  • Physical and monetary donations to our partner organizations

GoBeyond tuition does not cover the following:

  • Air transportation, including in-country flights, are not included since our students come from all over the world
  • Required emergency evacuation insurance & International SOS and MedAire Membership ($85 for 21-day programs & $60 for 14-day programs) LEARN MORE >
  • Medical insurance, and optional trip cancellation insurance
  • Fees associated with obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations airport taxes & baggage fees
  • Personal spending money

OUR 5-8 WEEK Journeys

Any consecutive programs may be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between programs, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each program and subtracting the 5% extended course discount.   This discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program, ActionQuest. ActionQuest and/or GoBeyond enrollment for any consecutive programs in the same summer will be considered as a single extended program in the event of withdrawal or dismissal from the trip at any time.

  • Financial Aid

Every year, GoBeyond awards a number of partial tuition scholarships

The financial aid budget is determined by the GoBeyond Directors and is allocated from the organization’s operating budget. Eligibility is based on a number of factors, including financial need, past academic performance, community involvement, and promise of success on the journey.

As students come from all over the world, flight and travel costs are not included at any scholarship level, nor spending money and other additional costs associated with traveling abroad (vaccinations, doctor visits, visas, etc.). If you know that you are unable to fund your experience without financial assistance, then please visit our Financial Aid pages for more information and the application.

Related Journeys

Reef to rainforest adventure.

You’ll never get over the land down under. Revel in all that Australia has to offer by catching waves at Manly Beach, diving or snorkeling the stunning Great Barrier Reef and much more. Get a chance to earn 20 hours of service and make a positive impact in Australia’s rainforest.

Islands, Andes & Amazon

Discover nature in its purest form. Walk in the footsteps of pioneers and explorers like Charles Darwin and earn 50 hours of service. Your conservation efforts will be complemented by beautiful nature tours of the Galápagos, time in the High Andes and an exploration of the legendary Amazon rainforest.

Inspiring Iceland

Everyone is kind in the land of fire and ice. Earn 30 hours of community service restoring and protecting the other-worldly environment of Iceland. You’ll explore some of the world’s most unique natural wonders and get to know this one-of-a-kind culture in the land of the midnight sun.

GoBeyond Student Travel online brochure

Full of detailed information about our programs, staff, and FAQs for you to access anytime.

Rafting on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Adventures

oat travel costa rica


Costa Rica’s most famous saying “Pura Vida” easily sums up the fun-loving, active and easy-going lifestyle you’ll find in this Central American nation. Whitewater rafting through tropical canyons to ziplining through amazingly biodiverse rainforests, OARS multi-sport itineraries provide the experience of a lifetime for international river nomads, avid beach goers, wildlife lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and those in search of the quintessential Costa Rica vacation.

Find Your Perfect Trip

Adventures in Costa Rica

oat travel costa rica

Costa Rica Rainforest & River Explorer

Location: Costa Rica Adventure Level: Moderately Challenging Minimum Age: 12

A paddle raft going through rapids surrounded by lush rainforest on a Costa Rica Pura Vida trip

Costa Rica: Pura Vida

Everything was exciting and fun, from the drive to the river, to the hiking, waterfalls, monkeys, sloths, rain, kayaking in the rainforest, bird watching and more. It could not have been any better. The scenery was beautiful and the activities were wonderful, but the guides made the trip. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Diana OARS Costa Rica guest

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions?

Which Costa Rica trip is right for me?

OARS has two different Costa Rica itineraries to choose from. Both the 7-day and 9-day trip offer a variety of activities, including whitewater rafting, ziplining and wildlife viewing. The primary difference between the two is the longer trip allows an extended visit to the coast and Manuel Antonio National Park towards the country’s southwest coast. Both trips have a minimum age of 12. The 7-day itinerary includes a visit to Tortuguero National Park to see Atlantic green sea turtles nesting, which only occurs July through September. The 9-day trip visits Arenal Hanging Bridges and nearby hot springs. This itinerary is available October through May. See the Costa Rica Rainforest & River trip page (9-days) and the Costa Rica: Pura Vida trip page (7-days) for detailed information.

Why travel with OARS in Costa Rica?

OARS has offered Costa Rica trips for 20 years. Along with our partners, we’ve developed engaging and unique itineraries with a ton of activities and just the right amount of time to relax. 

Since 1969, OARS has led active travelers of all ages and abilities to some of the most naturally alluring and vibrant locations on Earth. We thrive on creating adventures that take you off the beaten path and away from the crowds to exotic landscapes. Our safety-conscious guides are multi-lingual and know the ins and outs of traveling in Costa Rica. We provide the best guide-to-guest ratio in the adventure travel business, thus ensuring your questions are answered and your concerns are given the personal attention you deserve. Our local guides will share their knowledge of Costa Rica’s rich history, landscape and wildlife.

OARS believes it is a fundamental part of eco-tourism to work with local guides, while at the same time bringing our wealth of experience to the table. We’ve chosen our Costa Rica connections carefully, so you can rest assured you will be in good hands. That’s where experience and thoughtful planning comes into play. All of our trips have undergone rigorous exploration, development and review by our knowledgeable staff.

What is the lodging like in Costa Rica?

From five-star boutique hotels to cozy lodges nestled in lush jungle, OARS Costa Rica trips visit several different properties, depending on the itinerary. At all of our partner lodges, you can expect comfortable rooms with private bathrooms. Amenities vary by property. More details on each stay can be found on the Costa Rica Pura Vida page and the Costa Rica Rainforest & River Explorer page .

What is Rio Pacuare whitewater rafting like?

The Pacuare River has several raftable sections with rapids ranging from Class II-III and Class III-IV. The easier sections provide a great warm-up for the more technical rapids. During calm sections, there’s plenty of wildlife and tropical bird sightings to keep paddlers busy. Depending on water level and timing, guides often try to stop for a hike up one of the river’s many tributaries.

Is Costa Rica a good destination for my family vacation?

Costa Rica is a fantastic destination for families due to its winning combination of natural beauty, diverse activities, and a family-friendly atmosphere. The country’s well-developed tourism infrastructure ensures a welcoming and convenient travel experience. For families with children over 12, OARS’s Costa Rica trips promise an unforgettable family vacation.

Related Blog Posts

7 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Costa Rica at Least Once

7 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Costa Rica at Least Once

10 of the Best One-day Rafting Trips in the World

10 of the Best One-day Whitewater Rafting Trips in the World

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