Unique rainforest ecosystems. Jungle canopies with zip-lines for frolicking among the birds and monkeys. Spectacular volcanos with amazing valley views. Exciting rivers like the Pacuare that lead to relaxing Caribbean vistas. The tiny home to an outsized 5% of the world’s biodiversity .... Any visit to Costa Rica is a journey down El Sendero – “our own trail” – to enjoy what natives call the Pura Vida – “pure life” or “good life” – off the beaten path.
The culture of Costa Rica is a fusion of many. It’s the Central American crossroads for Mesoamerican and South American tribes. With the 16th century introduction of Spanish influence, Costa Rica became a largely Spanish-speaking country.
The food is simply satisfying. A good day includes the national dish, gallo pinto: mixed rice and beans served with eggs and tortillas. Just add chocolate (direct from the source) for dessert! Properly fueled, we live, work and play among the locals. With different trips for different age groups and interests, The Road Less Traveled makes the most of the Costa Rica experience with a 17-day high school program and a 10-day middle school program.
Your World AWaits
learn more about the road less traveled teen community service and spanish immersion trip costa rica: el sendero and middle-school summer community service trip costa rica: pura vida
15 years! We have been working with local communities, forging international friendships, and rafting the Pacuare since 2003.
Working in small Costa Rican communities like Tucurrique, our high school group joins forces with local families to repair homes, make improvements to community structures, teach English, paint classrooms, practice our Spanish and play futbol while taking in the scenic and wild tropical forests.
On our middle school program, students work at a local wildlife refuge to assist in preserving Costa Rica's unique forest ecosystem. Here, projects will include trail maintenance, building small bridges, and providing the wildlife refuge with any of their current needs. Evenings are spent bonding with the group and exploring the surrounding nature reserve.
Students on our high school program will take on a world-class whitewater rafting challenge! Paddling through rugged canyons, alongside lush tropical rainforests, beneath colorful parrots, and over thrilling Class III and IV rapids, we'll utilize teamwork and smile all the way down the river to the enchanting El Nido Del Tigre riverside lodge.
I want to thank you and the entire RLT team for putting together a life-changing journey for our daughter, Christina. Tina told me she had a spiritual awakening and has been empowered to continue her service to communities that are in need. What you guys do cannot be taught by books or teachers – only experience," Cynthia M., El Sendero Alumni Parent
I have been so lucky to call this place home for ten days. It is something I will never forget. Things like this don't come everyday...I never want it to end," Colette P., Excerpt from the Pura Vida Journal
When our daughter came home last night -- describing how the rainforest almost glows in the steamy dew after the rain -- telling tales of banana plants, outdoor showers, and the sounds monkeys make, our smiles grew. As she shared that even though she almost never eats breakfast -- she ate huge plates of food because 'how could she not show appreciation for the amazing woman who opened her home to them and cooked their meal.' And that even though she's done hours of community service, she now understands what it really means, to not just impact someone's life, but to allow them to impact yours, our joy was present. I can say with every confidence that Olivia's experience was all that she, we , and you, would hope it to be -- the emotion was overwhelming," Bernadette D., El Sendero Alumni Parent
Interested in hearing more? We have hundreds of alumni families who can tell you more about their RLT experience. Please contact our office at 773-342-5200 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. If you'd like to read more about our safety record and our accreditations, click here.
Get READY ...
To be welcomed to witness the cultural pride of Costa Rica’s indigenous Bribri community
To focus birding binoculars and cameras on colorful toucans, scarlet macaws and resplendent quetzal
To sample the 800 miles of palm-fringed coastline with its variety of black sand beaches, reef breaks and fertile river mouths
To enhance your Spanish language skills
To volunteer at local schools and communities ... to learn as much as to teach
To grasp the social, cultural and political power of the coffee bean
Get wet (and a little wild) surfing, snorkeling, paddling or whitewater rafting
Trek through the jungle to a soundtrack of tropical birds and playful monkeys
Rush through the treetops on a zip-line course