Costa Rica

Coast to Coast Immersion

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is one of the most biologically and culturally diverse countries in the world. From the city to the countryside, you’ll work to alleviate problems in impoverished Central Valley communities while empowering local children through education. This unique corner of the world will heighten your sense of adventure through zip-lining, horseback riding, and participating in traditional indigenous ceremonies.

  • Days
  • Service
  • Students
  • Age
  • Availability
  • Tuition (USD)
Session 1 / Jun 16 - Jul 6, 2017
  • 21
  • 100 hours
  • 22
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $5,170
Session 2 / Jul 8 - Jul 28, 2017
  • 21
  • 100 hours
  • 22
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $5,170

Service Focus

  • Humanitarian Support
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Environmental Conservation

Adventure

  • Cultural Exploration
  • Hiking & Walking Tours
  • Water Sports
  • Land Sports

Environment

  • Urban
  • Rural
  • Mountains
  • Ocean
  • Rainforest

The Journey

Your Adventure Starts Here

¡Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica!

1 Day

Our journey 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 to the journey destination. 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.

Service Days in the Central Valley

11 Days

Students spend the majority of their trip in the Central Valley in communities west of San José. Students begin their stay with a service orientation and walking tour of the “slum” – La Carpio – that will become a major focus of the service projects for the next three weeks. After this eye-opening introduction, there’s much work to be done. 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.

Service Days in the Central Valley

(cont.)

GoBeyond students are able to participate in a variety of well-established projects in La Carpio and beyond. Throughout the years, the CRHF has built, maintained, and administered early education programs, clinics, in-house improvements, and much more. Year after year, we help where the need is greatest. Building bunk beds for children, painting murals, and leading school kids in activities is hard work but rewarding and unforgettable for all. It’s a rare treat for the children of La Carpio to be exposed to a world outside of the slum. By leading educational and cross-cultural programs, GoBeyond and the CRHF hope to further eradicate poverty that persists in the La Carpio community.

Service Days in the Central Valley

(cont.)

Students participate in service days working light construction at the CRHF’s “Finca,” or small farm. Donated to the CRHF several years ago, the goal for the Finca project is to develop a refuge/shelter/retreat center for people in La Carpio who have had difficulties in their lives. Here, they have a place to process and plan their futures. GoBeyond volunteers exchange laughs while becoming familiar with the site, the tools, safety procedures, and each other! Students also have the chance to act as cultural role models as we lead day camps and nature activities for the children of La Carpio.

Service and Exploration on the Caribbean Coast

2 Days

As a contrast to the service work in the Central Valley, students embark by bus on an exciting adventure to the Caribbean region of Costa Rica. Stopping along the way to see the beach, farms, plantations, and more, students then venture off-the-beaten track to visit indigenous reservations including the Cabecar and Amubri communities.

Service and Exploration on the Caribbean Coast

(cont.)

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 world view. 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. In the past, GoBeyond volunteers have helped plant gardens, construct buildings, paint structures, and more.

Service and Exploration on the Caribbean Coast

(cont.)

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 Caribbean Coast excursion, students stay in more rustic-style accommodation such as open-air huts (mosquito nets and screens provided) in the rainforest.

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The Need We Address

Amidst the exotic wildlife and lush rainforests of Costa Rica are areas of urban development in need of support. Most of the population is under 25 years old, unemployed and often live in poor, meager conditions…

Children come running out from under the four lane highway bridge that they call home to hug Giselle when she arrives. When working in the vast poor community of La Carpio, you’ll find Giselle helping doctors provide aid to children in her community clinic. Tomorrow, she’ll stop by the soup kitchen to visit with the homeless, donating both her time and energy to ensure that all are fed. This might be quite enough for one person, yet the elderly also know Giselle. Even the toughest street kids in Costa Rica’s capital, San José, will smile and shake your hand when they hear “Amigo de Giselle!”…”If she’s your friend, I’m your friend too!”

Giselle is actually Gail Nystrom, an ex-Peace Corps worker who went home to Colorado when her volunteer time was up, yet returned to Costa Rica less than a year later to follow her heart.  Gail is both founder and director of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF), an organization committed to making a real difference with real people. That’s the first, second and third priority of Gail’s mission, and her foundation currently supports more than fifty projects. During the GoBeyond Costa Rica journey, students have the opportunity to work alongside Gail in many of the different humanitarian projects with which she is involved. The core of our activity typically includes construction projects, such as a playground, community center, library building or home, and we also spend a lot of time interacting with local children at schools, retreat and family centers.

Learn More

  • Get Our Free Online Brochure

    Full of detailed information about our journeys, staff, and FAQs for you to access anytime
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
“ This trip taught me a lot about who I am as a person - the things I want to continue to foster and grow as well as the things that stop me from being the best version of myself I can be. I'm leaving as a new person who understands people and perspectives more...I could not be more grateful for that. ”
Stephanie A.Chelsea, MA
costa-rica-stephanie-a

Home Stays in the Central Valley

Unique to our Costa Rica program, students have the opportunity to get fully immersed into the life of Costa Rican people by participating in a homestay. Often the highlight of our trip, for 5-8 nights of the journey, students are divided into groups of 2-4 (boys with boys, girls with girls), then spend various evenings and nights with warm and welcoming homestay families. For the experienced and non-experienced Spanish speaker alike, this portion of the journey offers students a wonderful opportunity to pick up more of the local language.

Closing Activities

1 Day

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 trip, 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 GoBeyond Costa Rica shape our hearts and minds for many years to come.

By Alissa L.

Chocolate, Sloths and The Caribbean Coast

After spending the night at BriBri indigenous tribe, we started the day at 7 am for a breakfast of rice,...

Read More
By Kathryn B.

Introducing Our Inner Artists

Today we woke up and ate breakfast of toast, eggs and cereals in the eating area of the hotel. At...

Read More
By Lifeworks Staff

Hot Springs in The Forest

Our penultimate full day in Costa Rica kicked off with breakfast that our host families made. We all met up...

Read More
By Erika S.

Monkeying Around

Today was another fun-filled, adventurous and hot day for the Lifeworkers. The teens had to wake up bright and early...

Read More
By Christian J.

La Carpio Kids In La Finca, Futbol: Ticos vs. Gringos

  Day 13 ” The restful night of sleep got all of us ready for one of the most memorable...

Read More

Trip Logs

¡Hola! Welcome to Costa Rica!

1 Day

Our journey 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 to the journey destination. 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.

Service Days in the Central Valley

11 Days

Students spend the majority of their trip in the Central Valley in communities west of San José. Students begin their stay with a service orientation and walking tour of the “slum” – La Carpio – that will become a major focus of the service projects for the next three weeks. After this eye-opening introduction, there’s much work to be done. 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.

Service Days in the Central Valley

(cont.)

GoBeyond students are able to participate in a variety of well-established projects in La Carpio and beyond. Throughout the years, the CRHF has built, maintained, and administered early education programs, clinics, in-house improvements, and much more. Year after year, we help where the need is greatest. Building bunk beds for children, painting murals, and leading school kids in activities is hard work but rewarding and unforgettable for all. It’s a rare treat for the children of La Carpio to be exposed to a world outside of the slum. By leading educational and cross-cultural programs, GoBeyond and the CRHF hope to further eradicate poverty that persists in the La Carpio community.

Service Days in the Central Valley

(cont.)

Students participate in service days working light construction at the CRHF’s “Finca,” or small farm. Donated to the CRHF several years ago, the goal for the Finca project is to develop a refuge/shelter/retreat center for people in La Carpio who have had difficulties in their lives. Here, they have a place to process and plan their futures. GoBeyond volunteers exchange laughs while becoming familiar with the site, the tools, safety procedures, and each other! Students also have the chance to act as cultural role models as we lead day camps and nature activities for the children of La Carpio.

The Need We Address

Amidst the exotic wildlife and lush rainforests of Costa Rica are areas of urban development in need of support. Most of the population is under 25 years old, unemployed and often live in poor, meager conditions…

Children come running out from under the four lane highway bridge that they call home to hug Giselle when she arrives. When working in the vast poor community of La Carpio, you’ll find Giselle helping doctors provide aid to children in her community clinic. Tomorrow, she’ll stop by the soup kitchen to visit with the homeless, donating both her time and energy to ensure that all are fed. This might be quite enough for one person, yet the elderly also know Giselle. Even the toughest street kids in Costa Rica’s capital, San José, will smile and shake your hand when they hear “Amigo de Giselle!”…”If she’s your friend, I’m your friend too!”

Giselle is actually Gail Nystrom, an ex-Peace Corps worker who went home to Colorado when her volunteer time was up, yet returned to Costa Rica less than a year later to follow her heart.  Gail is both founder and director of the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation (CRHF), an organization committed to making a real difference with real people. That’s the first, second and third priority of Gail’s mission, and her foundation currently supports more than fifty projects. During the GoBeyond Costa Rica journey, students have the opportunity to work alongside Gail in many of the different humanitarian projects with which she is involved. The core of our activity typically includes construction projects, such as a playground, community center, library building or home, and we also spend a lot of time interacting with local children at schools, retreat and family centers.

Learn More

  • Get Our Free Online Brochure

    Full of detailed information about our journeys, staff, and FAQs for you to access anytime
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Service and Exploration on the Caribbean Coast

2 Days

As a contrast to the service work in the Central Valley, students embark by bus on an exciting adventure to the Caribbean region of Costa Rica. Stopping along the way to see the beach, farms, plantations, and more, students then venture off-the-beaten track to visit indigenous reservations including the Cabecar and Amubri communities.

Service and Exploration on the Caribbean Coast

(cont.)

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 world view. 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. In the past, GoBeyond volunteers have helped plant gardens, construct buildings, paint structures, and more.

Service and Exploration on the Caribbean Coast

(cont.)

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 Caribbean Coast excursion, students stay in more rustic-style accommodation such as open-air huts (mosquito nets and screens provided) in the rainforest.

“ This trip taught me a lot about who I am as a person - the things I want to continue to foster and grow as well as the things that stop me from being the best version of myself I can be. I'm leaving as a new person who understands people and perspectives more...I could not be more grateful for that. ”
Stephanie A.Chelsea, MA
costa-rica-stephanie-a

Home Stays in the Central Valley

Unique to our Costa Rica program, students have the opportunity to get fully immersed into the life of Costa Rican people by participating in a homestay. Often the highlight of our trip, for 5-8 nights of the journey, students are divided into groups of 2-4 (boys with boys, girls with girls), then spend various evenings and nights with warm and welcoming homestay families. For the experienced and non-experienced Spanish speaker alike, this portion of the journey offers students a wonderful opportunity to pick up more of the local language.

  • Chat With GoBeyond Alumni

    Enter your email below, and we'll send you some alumni references
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Closing Activities

1 Day

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 trip, 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 GoBeyond Costa Rica shape our hearts and minds for many years to come.

By Alissa L.

Chocolate, Sloths and The Caribbean Coast

After spending the night at BriBri indigenous tribe, we started the day at 7 am for a breakfast of rice,...

Read More
By Kathryn B.

Introducing Our Inner Artists

Today we woke up and ate breakfast of toast, eggs and cereals in the eating area of the hotel. At...

Read More
By Lifeworks Staff

Hot Springs in The Forest

Our penultimate full day in Costa Rica kicked off with breakfast that our host families made. We all met up...

Read More
By Erika S.

Monkeying Around

Today was another fun-filled, adventurous and hot day for the Lifeworkers. The teens had to wake up bright and early...

Read More
By Christian J.

La Carpio Kids In La Finca, Futbol: Ticos vs. Gringos

  Day 13 ” The restful night of sleep got all of us ready for one of the most memorable...

Read More

Trip Logs

“I have never had a better experience in my life. You get to meet people from all over the world and make life long friends while doing community service and having fun all at the same time. The counselors I had were truly amazing in making this program a once in a lifetime experience. It was some of the hardest work I have ever done, but it resulted in some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen. ”
Rick K. - Paradise Valley, AZ
“The service aspect of the trip was the most fulfilling, rewarding, and challenging thing I have ever done. The people I met and the memories I made will last a lifetime. ”
Tara-Shea N. - Alexandria, VA
“We are so impressed with the GoBeyond program from start to finish! Easily the best investment we've ever made in our son. ”
Frank B. - The Woodlands, TX
“From cementing floors to painting murals to holding a food kitchen for members of the local community, each project had a real impact and helped us become closer as a group. ”
Kathryn B. - Trappe, PA
“The GoBeyond program allows the students to experience another culture, perform meaningful service work, meet new friends, and realize that there are lifestyles and communities different from their own in the world. ”
Tonya B. - Brentwood, TN

Need More Information?

Affiliates

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

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 our time is up, 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-rica-crhf-logo

    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.

Need To Know

Is this journey right for me?

This journey has a little bit of everything. Costa Rica is an ideal destination for both the experienced traveler and people hungry for their first experience abroad. Completing 100 hours of community service over the span of three weeks makes this trip better suited to those students who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and getting involved. If you’re looking for a curriculum that puts you straight into the daily life of the Costa Rican people then look no further, you’re an ideal fit!

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 this journey, we’ve found that a group size of maximum 22 students works best. This journey 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?

Go Beyond 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 Costa Rica trip, students will need approximately $500 USD in cash. This cash is used for two purposes…

“Travel and Reserve Cash” ($200) is held in safekeeping by our staff during the journey. Its intended use is for anticipated travel needs to and from the journey destination and for any unanticipated emergency costs that might arise such as doctor’s visits. Any leftover cash at the end of the journey is returned to the student.

GoBeyond will pay all major journey costs while traveling and working, but there will also be opportunities for students to spend money on personal items. For a student’s personal “Spending Cash” ($300), the most common expenses include phone/internet time, souvenirs, and snacks. Based on our past experience, some students will spend less and some will spend more than our recommendation above. 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). Unique to our Costa Rica journey, students also spend a multiple nights in a Costa Rican homestay. The families we use are carefully screened by the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation; in fact, many are close friends of Gail Nystrom herself. Students are divided into gender-appropriate groups with 2-4 boys or girls per homestay family. This allows our students to have a more immersive experience in Costa Rica, while still benefitting from the presence of a few friends!

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. When students are with their homestay families, we also thoroughly enjoy their home cooking. 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

Flights
How To Book Flights

GoBeyond students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is of vital importance. For this reason, we strongly suggest that students book flights with our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: leahctn68@hotmail.com). Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Since we have no ability to access or modify flight bookings that are not purchased through Leah, GoBeyond cannot be responsible for the coordination of flights not booked through TRC Travel Center.

  • Preferred Itinerary – Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) via Miami (MIA). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that students 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.
  • Alternate Itineraries – As 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.
  • Airport Assistance – Our office team actively monitors and supports our participants on travel days. We suggest that students travel with a cell phone, as this can be useful for communication to and from the program. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers onsite airport assistance…
    • 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 onsite representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

Air transportation to and from the program is not included in the GoBeyond tuition fee. Please contact Leah for sample itineraries and an estimation of the international flight cost. 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).

Travel Docs & Vaccinations
Skip the stress and plan ahead

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.

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.

Tuition
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
  • One certificate of the President’s Volunteer Service Award (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only) upon successful completion of the journey

Not included in the GoBeyond tuition fees are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, health and travel insurance, medical and evacuation expenses, personal spending money, e-mail, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc. As students come from all over the world, air transportation, including in-country flights, is not included. Please see the Flights tab for more details.

OUR 6 WEEK PROGRAMS

Any two consecutive journeys can be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between journeys, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each journeys and subtracting the 5% extended course discount (this discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program ActionQuest). GoBeyond and ActionQuest enrollment for any two journeys 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.

Itinerary
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 reflecting their participation on the journey.* The GoBeyond service letter describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead. Typically, our letter is accepted by most high schools/colleges as proof of community service participation. If your school needs a specific form signed or evaluation filled out, please make sure to bring this on the trip so a staff member can assist you.

President's Volunteer Service AwardPresident’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) – In addition, GoBeyond is a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. GoBeyond is able to award the PVSA to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed 100 hours of service during his/her journey. Please note that GoBeyond does not make the rules regarding who is eligible for the PVSA. Eligibility criteria is set by the governmental agency and, at this point in time, non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents are not eligible to receive the award. 

Learn More About The PVSA

* Note: 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 journey activities will receive the full number of service hours available for their journey.

  • Flights
  • Travel Docs & Vaccinations
  • Tuition
  • Itinerary
  • Service Hours
  • How To Book Flights

    GoBeyond students come from all over the world, so coordinated travel is of vital importance. For this reason, we strongly suggest that students book flights with our travel coordinator, Leah Hernandez of TRC Travel Center (T: +1.281.528.7727 or 800.329.9000 • E: leahctn68@hotmail.com). Leah obtains great fares and provides close monitoring and assistance on travel days in case of flight difficulties. Since we have no ability to access or modify flight bookings that are not purchased through Leah, GoBeyond cannot be responsible for the coordination of flights not booked through TRC Travel Center.

    • Preferred Itinerary – Each year, GoBeyond works with TRC Travel Center to select a preferred itinerary to/from San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) via Miami (MIA). GoBeyond strongly encourages U.S.-based families to book on our recommended route, so that students 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.
    • Alternate Itineraries – As 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.
    • Airport Assistance – Our office team actively monitors and supports our participants on travel days. We suggest that students travel with a cell phone, as this can be useful for communication to and from the program. For certain flight connections, GoBeyond also offers onsite airport assistance…
      • 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 onsite representative’s ability to attend to customs/immigration issues and ongoing connection coordination when they do not arrive with the students.

    Air transportation to and from the program is not included in the GoBeyond tuition fee. Please contact Leah for sample itineraries and an estimation of the international flight cost. 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).

  • Skip the stress and plan ahead

    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.

    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.

  • 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
    • One certificate of the President’s Volunteer Service Award (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only) upon successful completion of the journey

    Not included in the GoBeyond tuition fees are personal expenses such as the cost of obtaining passports, visas, vaccinations, airport taxes, extra baggage fees, health and travel insurance, medical and evacuation expenses, personal spending money, e-mail, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, etc. As students come from all over the world, air transportation, including in-country flights, is not included. Please see the Flights tab for more details.

    OUR 6 WEEK PROGRAMS

    Any two consecutive journeys can be joined to form one extended course. In the interim between journeys, students stay with staff. The total cost is determined by combining the cost of each journeys and subtracting the 5% extended course discount (this discount also applies toward any trips adjoining our sister program ActionQuest). GoBeyond and ActionQuest enrollment for any two journeys 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.

  • 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, Letters & Awards

    After the completion of summer, all students (U.S. and non-U.S. students alike) receive a GoBeyond service letter reflecting their participation on the journey.* The GoBeyond service letter describes the type of service work performed, the number of hours awarded, and is printed and signed on our letterhead. Typically, our letter is accepted by most high schools/colleges as proof of community service participation. If your school needs a specific form signed or evaluation filled out, please make sure to bring this on the trip so a staff member can assist you.

    President's Volunteer Service AwardPresident’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) – In addition, GoBeyond is a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation established the award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. GoBeyond is able to award the PVSA to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have completed 100 hours of service during his/her journey. Please note that GoBeyond does not make the rules regarding who is eligible for the PVSA. Eligibility criteria is set by the governmental agency and, at this point in time, non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents are not eligible to receive the award. 

    Learn More About The PVSA

    * Note: 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 journey activities will receive the full number of service hours available for their journey.