At a glance
Explore the beauty and nature of Costa Rica on a Discovery Tour with us. You’ll get to see all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures during your trip. You can experience the spectacular forest in various ways; peer over treetop canopies, pause on a hanging bridge or whizz through the air on a zipline. You’ll discover mighty volcanoes and relax in refreshing waterfall pools, hot thermal springs and the Pacific Ocean.
We’re ready for the adventure of a lifetime in Central America. Are you?
Fixed dates throughout the yearSee Dates
Anyone aged 18 or over can join
What are the highlights of my Discover Costa Rica trip?
Get ready for an action-packed outdoor adventure. Here are the highlights of our Discovery Tour in Costa Rica:
- Zip-line through the forest on the slopes of Paos Volcano
- Night walk through the rainforest to spot indigenous nocturnal wildlife
- Swim in a waterfall
- Learn to cook traditional Costa Rican dishes and sample the end result in Juanilama
- Hike solidified lava trails of Arenal Volcano and bathe in the natural hot springs
- Discover the cloud forests of Monteverde on a canopy tour
- Trek to Mirador de Jaco and soak up the sun on Jaco beach
Is this trip to Costa Rica right for me?
Our Discovery Tour in Costa Rica is for you if you're looking for an outdoor adventure with a strong focus on nature and conservation. You’ll spend your days exploring some of Costa Rica’s spectacular rain and cloud forests, amazing volcanoes, and lush flora and fauna. The wide array of indigenous species and wonderful mammals, birds, insects and reptiles that you’ll see up close is a thrill as a nature lover. You’ll also immerse yourself in the local culture by meeting a rural community to see how they keep cultural traditions alive and how they conserve the land around them.
Adventurers over the age of 18 are welcome to join, however, you’ll need an average level of fitness due to the nature of some of the activities.
During the majority of your trip, you and your group will stay with a local host family apart from the night you spend at our Conservation Project. There, you’ll stay in forest cabins in the middle of Barra Honda National Park. What an experience it will be to wake up to the sounds of the forest.
Day 1 – Arrival in San Jose
The moment you arrive at the airport, our staff will be there to collect you. They’ll take you and the rest of your group to your accommodations and make sure you’re settled and feel welcome. Once you’ve freshened up, you can get to know your fellow travellers at a welcome meal. Your trip leader will introduce everyone and will provide you with vital information that will make your trip a smooth one.
Day 2 – Zipline, Tirimbina Biological Reserve and night walk
Experience the stunning forest scenery on the slopes of the mighty Paos Volcano from the thrilling heights of the Colinas del Poas zip lines. You’ll zip through the cloud forest overlooking the treetops. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, you can enjoy a canopy tour and walk around the lake to see the natural wonders of the forest up close and personal.
Stop off at the Tirimbina Biological Reserve. You’ll enter the reserve via a 250-metre hanging bridge over the River Sarapiqui. You’ll explore the forest trails via suspension bridges and gain a stunning bird’s eye view of the unique flora and fauna of the forest. You will see different habitats from gardens to secondary forest, wetlands and river banks to the intriguing primary rainforest.
Your day doesn’t end there. Finish it off with a guided night tour through the forest. You’ll get to see nocturnal animals that only come out in the cover of darkness. You might be lucky enough to see sloths, howler monkeys, red-eyed tree frogs, porcupines and a variety of other weird and wonderful insects!
Day 3 – Juanilama, waterfall plunge pool, cooking class and hike to the Arenal Volcano
Immerse yourself in the rural community of Juanilama. You’ll see how tropical fruit is harvested and how plastic bottles, tins and newspapers are recycled to make souvenirs. You might even buy a few souvenirs of your own to remember it by. The locals will also show you how to prepare a Costa Rican snack, made from fresh produce, cooked over a traditional wooden stove.
After your cultural tour of Juanilama, you’ll hike through the forest to the La Leona waterfall where you can swim in the refreshing waters of the plunge pool beneath the falls.
Dry off and continue your hike up the solidified lava trails of the active but sleeping conically-shaped Arenal Volcano. Your reward for the climb is a bath in the rich mineral waters of the natural hot springs surrounded by the stunning forest. A perfect way to relax and be at one with nature!
Day 4 – Barra Honda National Park
Join our Conservation Project in the heart of Barra Honda National Park. You’ll learn all about how we’re addressing deforestation and climate change issues that threaten the forest.
You’ll start off with a trek to our tree nursery and the incredible underground bat cave. You’ll help out with wildlife surveys which may be about bats, monkeys or the endangered scarlet macaws. At night, our staff will take you to see the many species of insects, amphibians and reptiles.
Day 5 – Cloud forests of Monteverde
Discover Costa Rica’s finest natural beauty in the spectacular cloud forests of Monteverde. You’ll explore the magical cloud forest up close on a canopy tour giving you the chance to spot the incredible wildlife that lives there. The forest is home to the country’s largest population of quetzals which were once sacred to the ancient Mayans who considered their feathers more valuable than gold!
Day 6 – Mirador de Jaco, Jaco beach and Tico Pod Art House
Trek to the Mirador de Jaco and discover the colourful arches and ruins. This is the best vantage point of the Pacific Ocean, Jaco Beach and the surrounding countryside. You might even be lucky enough to see toucans, sloths and monkeys on your journey.
After your hike, you can relax and soak up the sun on Jaco Beach. You can surf the ocean waves or simply enjoy the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. Finish up with a visit to the Tico Pod Art House where you’ll get to see and buy unique crafts handmade by Costa Rican artists.
Day 7 – Departure from San Jose
Pack your bags and prepare for your departure. Enjoy breakfast with your group as you recap your time spent in this beautiful country.
Food and accommodation
You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad travellers during your stay in Costa Rica. This is a great way to get to know each other, share experiences, and explore your surroundings during your free time together.
The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.
Find out more about our accommodation.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.
Meet the team in Costa Rica
Not quite what you’re looking for?
Take a look at the following pages where you'll find collections of similar projects: