• Experience exotic wildlife and the Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Explore the vibrant city of San Jose
  • Trek the Arenal hanging bridge
  • Explore Herpetarium and insect gallery
  • Visit Gandoca, a center for one of the world's largest turtle migrations
  • Explore Cahuita National Park hiking & snorkeling
  • Guided tour at the Jaguar Rescue centre
  • The Sloth Centre private insider's tour
  • Raft the exhilarating Pacuare River through spectacular canyons
  • Option to include a service learning project that addresses UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Tailor this experiential learning trip in Costa Rica to meet your school's needs & budget

For biology students and outdoor enthusiasts it would be hard to beat the National Parks and reserves of Costa Rica for an experiential learning journey. From our well-appointed lodges and hotels, our naturalist guide leads us on day walks, rafting and kayaking through areas of huge biodiversity. Think pristine rain forest, spectacular beaches and the cloud forests of the highlands. Expect to learn about many species of animals, some endemic to this region, and unique ecosystems as students explore this beautiful country. Highlights include the Jaguar Rehabilitation Centre, the Sloth Centre, the hanging bridges canopy in the Arenal Volcano region and walking the jungle trails of the Monteverde cloud forest.


Start and Finishing Point:

San Jose


Grading:Introductory to Moderate   

Welcome to the land of pura vida! After arriving at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José you will meet your guide and driver and head to your hotel for some much needed rest after your long flight.

Meals:  D

After breakfast, we will have a full trip and safety briefing then begin our transfer to Monteverde. Our journey will last approximately 3 hours. On arrival in the Monteverde area, we will take the afternoon to explore Santa Elena, a charming town with Quaker influences known for excellent coffee and cheese. This evening, we have the chance to experience the local wildlife when it is at its most active, after dark on a special guided night tour of the Monteverde Cloud Forest. A naturalist will accompany you along with your guide and point out sloths, armadillos, and kinkajous, as well as sleeping birds and frogs. The Reserve has an extremely high biodiversity, consisting of over 2,500 plant species, 100 species of mammals, 400 bird species, 120 reptilian and amphibian species and thousands of insects.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll head to the "Green Lung” of Costa Rica, known so due to its rich biodiversity. Located in the mountainous northwest region of the country, Monteverde is most well known for the 26,000-acre Cloud Forest Reserve, home to countless wildlife species. Suspension bridges throughout the reserve allow for walks above the forest canopy, with plenty of opportunities to spot the colorfully-plumed resplendent quetzal. Among the reserve’s exotic flora are over 500 species of orchids. In the afternoon you'll visit the Selvatura Park to enjoy a guided tour of the Herpetarium and Insects Gallery. In the Reptile and Amphibian Exhibition (Herpetarium) you will find frogs, lizards, geckos and snakes, more than 30 species! In this guided tour, you will be able to observe live reptiles and amphibians inside terrariums with specialized climate control which provides these wonderful creatures a home-like habitat. You will also enjoy the largest private insect collection in the world. Look closely at thousands of insects, butterflies, and other amazing specimens from the world of arthropods that you would not normally see. Appreciate the Bio-art Exhibition "Jewels of the Rainforest" made by the world famous Dr. Richard Whitten who has dedicated his life to collecting insects since he was 5 years old. It absorbs the knowledge that Dr. Whitten has captured in his special "Rainforest Jewels" video production which features insects from all over Costa Rica, many of which can be found in Selvatura Park, Venha and share knowledge and beauty of our Bio-art exhibition.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, after breakfast at our hotel, we will be transferred around Lake Arenal to our hotel near La Fortuna, the closest town to Arenal Volcano. In the afternoon, you will make a visit to Arenal 1968, a private reserve named for the volcano’s eruption of that same year, which transformed some of the region’s topography: lava fields now predominate on one side of Arenal. Trails wind through those lava fields as well as through the rainforest, offering beautiful views of the volcano. Afterward, soothe your muscles with a dip in the mineral-rich waters of Baldi’s hot springs, where dinner will be also included.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, you will experience the best of the Arenal Volcano region. We head out early to Mistico Hanging Bridges Park, where the students will get a kick out of crossing 15 bridges—some that are hundreds of feet long—for a once-in-a-lifetime view of Arenal Volcano. You'll also get an up-close look at the incredible biodiversity that occurs in this region, where uplands and lowlands rainforest meet. More than 350 bird species can be found here alone. Next, it’s time to head to La Fortuna Waterfall, at the base of the dormant Chato volcano, a short drive outside town. The falls drop some 210 feet, and a 1,500-foot downhill hike provides the opportunity to see it from the bottom up. Swim and relax in the La Fortuna River below the falls before heading back to your hotel to unwind. Free afternoon to explore the town and relax at the hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at your hotel, you will start your drive towards the Caribbean coast side of the country to the farming village of Mollejones where you camp for the night. The drive is around 4 hours so we will stop a long the way at scenic locations and take the opportunity to stretch our legs.

Meals:  B,L,D

We spend some quality time at this unique location on the banks of the Pacuare River, hiking the hills, exploring primary forest, swimming in the Pacuare, exploring waterfalls and swimming holes with water so pure you can drink it (most of the year). This area of rainforest remains in a very natural state, with minimum disruption to accommodate our guests. El Nido del Tigre is the name of the giant ginger plants carpeting the area around the campsite. It's a very private place, with small numbers of guests, so the sense of purity and nature seep into your dreams at night.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today the Pacuare takes us through virgin rainforest, cascading waterfalls and river carved canyons. We maneuver through the exhilarating rapids and in gentler sections you can see into the rainforest at the river’s edge. Along the way we take time out to do some hiking to spectacular waterfalls and have lunch on the shore. At last, in the late afternoon, we take-out at the beginning of the banana plantations at Finca Pacuarito, then rest for the night. Note: The section of rapids class IV will be done by walking.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today you traverse the final leg of the the Pacuare River in sea kayaks leaving the rapids behind as the river eases into the Caribbean lowlands where banana plantations gradually swallow the receding rain forest. At the end of the adventure, reach the mouth of the Pacuare as it meets the Caribbean Sea, celebrating your passage with the surf. Tonight's stay is in the small Caribbean village of Cahuita. Cahuita is a laid back and vibrant little village with a unique Creole culture, brought about by its Afro-Caribbean heritage. You'll be here for a few nights so enjoy a hearty dinner and get a good nights sleep after your active few days!

Meals:  B,L,D

Pacuare Reserve has been working for 34 years on Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) protection and collecting data on the nesting tendencies, population status and nest survival. In Central America Caribbean (Pacuare Reserve nesting beach included), the colony of Leatherbacks is one of the four bigger remaining in the world together to Surinam, Gabon and Trinidad (Troëng et al., 2004). The program for conservation and research on Sea turtles (PCITM, for its acronym in Spanish) also monitors Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas.) The 6 km (3,72 miles) of seashore are walked by the researchers’ assistants, volunteers and groups of students every night during the nesting season and during the time the eggs are hatching (from the end of February up to October) during their visit to the reserve. Each night, they walk the beach in three different turns from 8pm up to 4am for reptile monitoring. Also, during the morning, there is a counting to check if new activities are needed or if hatchlings have emerged. The censuses are performed in groups from the research stations one in the North and other in the South. Research assistants are trained at the beginning of the season with theory and practices to guaranty standardized collection of data. During the season there are different sessions to check protocol achievement and to correct differences between the stations. Security guards are also present guarding the two ends of the beach to protect people and nesting process.

Meals:  B,L,D

he Tour consists of a hike through the trail of the national park of 7 km (4.3 mi). approximately. The activity begins at our office in the community of Cahuita. We get into the National Park by the White Beach Sector, up to Cahuita point, crossing through beautiful beaches where tourists can relax and swim in the calm water of the Caribbean Sea for a While. points between Cahuita Point and the town of Cahuita (3.5 km) (2 mi) observing various types of snakes (boas, bocaraca, bushmaster, eyelash vipers, etc.), sloths, white-faced and howler monkeys, anteaters, armadillos, raccoons, blue morpho butterflies among others, birds and many more things such as medicinal plants, orchids, trees, ferns, vertebrates, invertebrates, sea and earth shellfish, etc Overnight in Cahuita hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

Surfing lesson: After breakfast, you will visit the beach town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for a surfing lesson. Learn to surf in Paradise! Puerto Viejo is a great place to learn to surf as there is a big variety of beaches with different conditions suitable for any level of surfer. In a 2.5 hour lesson you’ll be standing on your board — guaranteed! Group, semi-private and private lesson options are available. Sloth Rescue Center: Your intro to the real sloth life! You will have the chance to meet the sloth ambassadors in their protective enclosures at the Sloth Sanctuary and appreciate the rest of the sloths, but no touching! Conservation regulations limit handling only to Sanctuary staff, with no exceptions.

Meals:  B,L,D

The morning is free to relax around the hotel or on the beach. After lunch we head back to San José, about 4.5 hours away. You will gasp at the beauty of breathtaking views as we pass through high cloud forest, misty mountains, deep, steep, river-carved canyons, the spectacular Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Meals:  B,D

The trip concludes after breakfast today and you will be transferred to the airport in time for your international flight home.

Meals:  B

Learning outcomes for students

World Expeditions Schools journeys are designed to encourage positive personal development and the learning of life skills, while leaving the communities and environments we travel to, in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to:
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers, their teachers, and the local people they meet.
• increase the confidence to engage with new people, and collaboratively make informed decisions.
• discover the benefits of working cooperatively together as a cohesive team, to achieve a common objective.
• Increase the ability to face, and cope with, mental and physical challenges and therefore increase resilience.
• give students a chance to appreciate and care for the natural world. The environments we travel through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment.
• Learn personal skills i.e., time management, personal hygiene, responsibility for personal gear, patience, tolerance, and public speaking.
We help encourage students to learn what it means to be a true global citizen.


  • Accommodation on a twin-share basis throughout
  • Teachers accompanying the students
  • All meals as per itinerary, breakfast, lunches and dinners
  • All internal transport in private vehicles
  • All guide fees and entrance costs in itinerary
  • An expert bilingual guide accompanying the group throughout
  • Naturalists and specialist guides joining the group for hikes and at research centres

  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips & gratuities
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Departure Tax USD $29 per person


Introductory to Moderate

These trips involve trekking or walking, cycling, rafting or sea kayaking for up to five or six hours a day at a slow but steady pace and should never be misinterpreted to mean they are easy trips. These trips do not spend time at altitudes above 4000m and are usually a week in duration. You will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health.

Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.


Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

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