Plan Your 2025 High School Trip to Costa Rica: 7 ‘Pura Vida’ Adventures
Costa Ricans have a mantra… “¡Pura Vida!” It means “the simple life,” and here- it’s a way of life! The vibe is relaxed, everything is cool, and you just can’t help but be happy when you’re here. It is the PERFECT spot for hard-to-please high school students! Now is the time to plan your 2025 high school trip to Costa Rica for an adventure that’s pura vida!
Explore These Head-Turning Highlights
Costa Rica is only about the size of West Virginia, but there is SO MUCH you can do. Whether you head for the Pacific side, the Caribbean coast, or stay in the center of it all, there’s more than enough to keep you busy for as long as you want to explore.
Here are a few fan favorites to inspire your imagination and help you plan your 2025 high school trip to Costa Rica.
1. Go Wild in Guanacaste
Guanacaste is a province in the northwestern corner of Costa Rica on the Pacific. It’s renowned for its beaches and stunning, biodiverse environments.
Students can explore crystal-clear turquoise pools and waterfalls or hike trails in Rincón de la Vieja National Park to get up close and personal with an active volcano. They can also enjoy natural hot springs and bubbling mud pits in the beauty of a tropical forest.
There are animal sanctuaries scattered throughout Costa Rica, but we love the Diamante Eco Adventure Park in Guanacaste. It has world-class habitats for some of the most amazing creatures on earth.
Students can see and learn about the biology, ecology, and natural history of the animals. This place really focuses on education and raising awareness for the respect and protection of wildlife.
2. Live Like a Local: Experience Authentic Tico Culture
Dive deeper into the “Tico” culture as you explore the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Along the coast and in the mountains, the Spanish language and Costa Rican culture remain an integral part of daily life.
Students can take part in a “homestay” to understand what a typical family’s day-to-day looks like. Or they can give back to the community as part of a service-learning project.
And while your students are living like locals, they can live it up on the rolling rivers and beautiful beaches in the area!
3. Hang Ten on a Beach Adventure
And speaking of beaches… If your plans include relaxing on the soft sands of the Caribbean or riding Pacific waves, Costa Rica is a top spot for sun and surf. There are nearly 1,200 miles of hidden coves, pristine water, and vibrant beach towns just waiting to be explored.
Pro Tip: Our Best Beach Picks for Students – Cahuita and Jaco
Cahuita on the Caribbean Coast
Cahuita is a paradise in the southeastern region of Costa Rica. Palm trees, black sand, and calm waters meld into the forest where slow-moving sloths and energetic monkeys play.
Cahuita also boasts a rich tradition of calypso music. Walter Ferguson, one of the most influential calypso musicians in the world called Cahuita home until his death in 2023 at the age of 103!
Jaco Beach on the Pacific Coast
Jaco Beach in Puntarenas is a hot spot for sun-seekers and surfers. Here the volcanic sands take on a sparkling cinnamon color and are surrounded by lush flora and fauna.
There are plenty of adventures to satisfy your students – from watersports like kayaking to riding horseback through a rainforest. A stop at Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfall for ziplining, tram tours, exquisite gardens, and one of the highest waterfalls in Costa Rica is a must.
4. Get the Scoop on Coffee with a Plantation Tour
Most of us start our days with a jolt of caffeinated goodness. And that cup of dark liquid energy most likely originated in Costa Rica! Coffee makes up nearly 11% of the country’s total annual revenue with roughly 1.5 million bags shipped globally.
Coffee is a huge part of Tico culture and hospitality and is served practically everywhere and for every occasion. The beans grow throughout the country, but primarily in the Central Valley region.
Students can learn more about this essential export on a tour of one of the local coffee plantations. While each farm operates differently, most offer an expert-guided tour of the grounds and facilities. History, daily operations, and samples are included (of course!)
Pro Tip: Our Favorite Plantation Pick – Doka Estate
Doka Estate (near Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfall) is a great choice for a tour. It’s family-owned and one of the largest coffee and sugarcane plantations in Costa Rica. The guides are welcoming and knowledgeable, and the tour includes regional history, hydroponics, and even a bonsai garden.
5. Find Your Way to San José
San José is the capital of Costa Rica and the largest city in the country. Founded in 1737, it is a vibrant and thriving urban center with warm and friendly people.
Here you’ll find bustling city streets lined with colorful shops, an eclectic mix of traditional and modern architecture, plenty of museums, and impressive parks. Check out the 40,000-seat National Stadium that hosts international musicians and sporting events year-round.
Pro Tip: Don’t Skip the ‘Sodas’ at the Central Market
Students will love spending an afternoon taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Central Market. It’s open six days a week from dawn until dusk and packed with more than 200 stalls and shops. Vendors peddle everything from coffee to cowboy saddles!
Be sure to grab a bite from one of the ‘sodas’ – budget-friendly restaurants specializing in local cuisine.
6. Flutter Through the Clouds …. WITH a Butterfly!
This one is sure to be a hit with high school students. There are beautiful cloud forests throughout the central highlands of Costa Rica. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve near San Jose is a stellar example of this magnificent environment.
The low-level cloud cover (usually at the canopy level) certainly exists somewhere between 3,000 and 8,000 feet. It’s a magical area ecologically rich in unique flora and fauna.
In fact, Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, home to 4% of known species of plants and animals.
In addition to the cloud forest, the Selvatura Butterfly Garden is an exquisite jewel nestled in the heart of Monteverde. The garden features more than 30 species of butterflies with a pristine waterfall as a backdrop. Students can study these delightful creatures and their habits as they fly back and forth among them.
7. Slow Things Down in Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is the land of the turtles… literally. Massive numbers of turtles slowly make their way to the shoreline of this northeastern coast to nest. Surrounded by a forest of canals and rivers, Tortuguero provides the perfect backdrop for lessons in a fragile ecosystem.
Make Life Simple and Plan your 2025 High School Trip to Costa Rica with KA
Planning your 2025 high school trip to Costa Rica really is pura vida. And planning with Kaleidoscope Adventures makes your life even simpler!
KA has 30 years of experience planning outstanding student travel. Online registration and payments, convenient crowdfunding options, impeccable customer care, and an expert team make planning the perfect trip simple and efficient.
Why Kaleidoscope Adventures?
As a leader in the student travel industry for 30+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures exceeds expectations for student and performance group travel.
We’ll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finishLearn More