Costa Rica

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.

  • Days
  • Service
  • Students
  • Age
  • Availability
  • Tuition (USD)
Session 1 / Jun 27 - Jul 10, 2018
  • 14
  • 50 hours
  • 22
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $3,870 $3,570
Session 2 / Jul 12 - Jul 25, 2018
  • 14
  • 50 hours
  • 22
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $3,870 $3,570
Session 3 / Jul 27 - Aug 9, 2018
  • 14
  • 50 hours
  • 22
  • 14-18
  • Open
  • $3,870 $3,570

Focus

  • Humanitarian Support
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Language Immersion

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 Rio Claro

4 Days

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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

(cont.)

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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

(cont.)

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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

(cont.)

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.

costa-rica-teen-travel-trip-6

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific Coast

4 Days

After their initial introduction to the Central Valley area, students travel by bus through lush forests and dramatic mountain landscapes to the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast. While meandering down the coast towards the Rio Claro community, students spend time hiking through tropical forests, exploring beaches, whitewater rafting, and observing the extravagant wildlife.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific Coast

(cont.)

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.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific 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 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.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific Coast

(cont.)

Students have a blast while exploring the national park at Playa Ballena. Students head offshore on a boat tour exploring caverns, spotting dolphins, and snorkeling with 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.

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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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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 Chloe K. & Megan M.

Hot Springs!

Today we woke up at 7:30 in a cabin that previously had a bat in it the night before! We...

Read More
By Molly C.

Classroom Construction: Complete

  Today we woke up to a 6:30 delicious breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, plantains, fruits and more. Then...

Read More
By Devin W.

Long Live Living If Living Can Be This

I’m never short of amazed by what groups of teenagers can accomplish. Just a few weeks ago I was leading...

Read More
By Lifeworks Staff

Shoveling, Sifting And Serenading

Today was another amazing day with Fatima. Although the work is tiresome, it results with a great reward. In the...

Read More
By Lavanya R.

Day One In Rio Claro

Today was our first day in Rio Claro and it was exciting to say the least. We were welcomed into...

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.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific Coast

4 Days

After their initial introduction to the Central Valley area, students travel by bus through lush forests and dramatic mountain landscapes to the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio on the Pacific coast. While meandering down the coast towards the Rio Claro community, students spend time hiking through tropical forests, exploring beaches, whitewater rafting, and observing the extravagant wildlife.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific Coast

(cont.)

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.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific 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 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.

Adventure and Exploration down the Pacific Coast

(cont.)

Students have a blast while exploring the national park at Playa Ballena. Students head offshore on a boat tour exploring caverns, spotting dolphins, and snorkeling with 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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

4 Days

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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

(cont.)

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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

(cont.)

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.

Service Days in Rio Claro

(cont.)

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.

  • 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.
“ 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
costa-rica-teen-travel-trip-6
  • 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 Chloe K. & Megan M.

Hot Springs!

Today we woke up at 7:30 in a cabin that previously had a bat in it the night before! We...

Read More
By Molly C.

Classroom Construction: Complete

  Today we woke up to a 6:30 delicious breakfast of eggs, rice and beans, plantains, fruits and more. Then...

Read More
By Devin W.

Long Live Living If Living Can Be This

I’m never short of amazed by what groups of teenagers can accomplish. Just a few weeks ago I was leading...

Read More
By Lifeworks Staff

Shoveling, Sifting And Serenading

Today was another amazing day with Fatima. Although the work is tiresome, it results with a great reward. In the...

Read More
By Lavanya R.

Day One In Rio Claro

Today was our first day in Rio Claro and it was exciting to say the least. We were welcomed into...

Read More

Trip Logs

“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?

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 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. Costa Rica is an ideal destination for both the experienced traveller 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 this journey, we’ve found that a group size of 15 – 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).

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

Flights
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: leahctn68@hotmail.com). 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 20th, 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 20th 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).

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

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 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

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.

* 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
  • 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: leahctn68@hotmail.com). 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 20th, 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 20th 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).

  • 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

    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 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

    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.

    * 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.