Costa Rica Summer Immersion

Spanish intensive & sustainable development in the world's eco-tourism capital (8 weeks)

At the forefront of a sustainable future

Though small in size and population, this Central American nation holds great significance on the global stage. About 5% of the world’s biodiversity resides in Costa Rica, making it a critical site for conservation efforts. Its ecological richness and natural beauty draw adventurers and nature-lovers from around the world, who flock to its mist-enshrouded volcanoes, abundant waterfalls, and lush cloud forests containing flora and fauna found nowhere else on the planet.

A central tenet of Costa Rican culture is the idea of pura vida (“pure life”). It’s a phrase that encapsulates the wholesome, easygoing way of life embraced by so many locals, and helps to explain why Costa Rica is frequently cited as one of the happiest countries of the world. Yet, Costa Rica is not without its problems, facing rising poverty levels and the compounding effects of environmental degradation. Learn how local organizations are taking action on sustainable development goals, and what a pura vida future looks like for Costa Rica’s youth, precious wildlife, and environment.

Program highlights:

  • Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture with a homestay and intensive Spanish course at an EF Language School.
  • Collaborate with local NGOs on youth outreach, sustainable agriculture, and environmental conservation efforts.
  • Hike through the Arenal Region against stunning volcanic backdrops.
  • Explore the Santa Elena Cloud Forest—a rainforest canopy teeming with rare tropical flora and fauna found nowhere else on earth.

Program Itinerary

Program dates: April 9, 2021 to June 5, 2021

Costa Rica Immersion Itinerary 8 Weeks


2 nights San Jose

Your program kicks off with a brief orientation, where you'll meet your fellow travelers and get to know San José.

Spanish Immersion

26 nights Tamarindo

Head to Tamarindo for your 4-week accredited Spanish course. You'll live in a homestay or the school residence, and take Spanish classes at our gorgeous EF campus just steps away from the Pacific Ocean. Classes are typically a few hours a day, giving you plenty of time to explore and hang out with friends.

Guided Excursion: Arenal Region

3 nights Arenal

Head north on winding, mountainous roads to the Arenal Region. The journey offers many scenic vistas with stunning volcanic backdrops. Visit stunning waterfalls and hot springs, and zip-line through rainforest canopies.

Service Learning: Youth Education

6 nights San Jose

Collaborate with a non-profit that seeks to lift up local youth through education. Activities could include playing with children, helping with homework, teaching English, and facilitating project work.

Free Time: San Jose

3 nights San Jose

Enjoy San Jose on your own, with the option to join a whitewater rafting excursion.

Service Learning: Sea Turtle Conservation

6 nights Corcovado National Park

Partner with a local foundation to assist sea turtle conservation efforts. Learn about the importance of helping these endangered marine reptiles, and contribute to their conservation by studying, measuring, and tagging turtles.

Service Learning: Community Development

4 nights Corcovado

Work with a community-based project that leverages sustainable tourism for ecological restoration and community outreach efforts.

Free Time: Beach Day

Manuel Antonio National Park

Head to one of Costa Rica’s most celebrated beaches for some rest, relaxation, and reflection. Swim at the beach or take guided walks in the adjacent rainforest to see scarlet macaws and capuchin monkeys in their native habitat.

Leadership Academy

4 nights Peace University, San Jose

Reflect on your experiences and how you can apply what you’ve learned to your future. Hone your global leadership skills through speaker-led workshops. Sessions will focus on self- and global-awareness, influencing others, and executing on your personal goals.

Earn College Credit

You could earn up to six semester hours of credit through our educational partnership with Southern New Hampshire University. Enroll in the corresponding courses at SNHU to receive credit for your participation in our program:

Language and Cultural Fluency
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Civil Service in Modern Society
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Program Fee

Tuition for this 8-week program is $12,500, and scholarships are available. Tuition includes:

  • Airfare & Transportation

    Round-trip flights and local transfers to each stop in your itinerary

  • Room & Board

    Your accommodations and some of your meals on the trip

  • Classes & Activities

    Language classes, service projects, and excursions led by local guides

  • Global Support Network

    One-on-one mentorship and travel support before and during your program

  • Language Classes

    Tuition for 4-week course at EF's accredited language school

Risk-free cancellation means you can book with confidence.

Thinking about traveling in the coming year? Our flexible booking policies and risk-free cancellation options mean that you can book your gap experience with confidence. For more details, speak to one of our EF Gap Year Advisors, or see our full booking conditions here.

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