Costa Rica Pura Vida Expedition: 3 weeks

Experience true off-grid living in a remote corner of the country whilst working on vital conservation projects. Keep an eye out for incredible wildlife as you travel around the country.

  • Location Costa Rica, Central America
  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Expedition Type Service Expeditions

Get back to nature and experience living in the heart of the rainforest, where monkeys and toucans will be your closest neighbours. Working alongside local people, you’ll learn about innovative and sustainable solutions to environmental issues and get involved in inspiring projects to support the environment, wildlife and community.


A fully supported expedition, from start to finish

Your expedition cost is comprehensive and covers the incredible activities you’ll be taking part in, as well as the extensive support you’ll receive in the lead up to, and during, your expedition.

Don’t forget you’ll also need your vaccinations, visas, kit and some spending money. You can find guidance on all of these on your personal Traveller Gateway once you sign up.

  • Ongoing pre-expedition support
  • Flights and in-country transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Food and accommodation
  • Adventure challenge
  • Project costs
  • Leader and staff costs
  • Camps t-shirt
  • Orientation and language lessons
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Reserve location

This sample itinerary will give you an insight into what you’ll be getting up to. Please note, the exact projects, activities and camps may change closer to the time of your expedition.

Day Activities More details
Day 1 Arrive in San Jose After arrival into San Jose airport, you will be greeted by a member of our Camps staff and taken to your accommodation in the city for the evening. There will be some free time for you to explore San Jose before you head back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Day 2 Transfer to Camp Terraba This morning, you’ll be transferred to your next camp, Camp Terraba. Once you arrive you will be greeted by the Camp Manager who will give you a camp tour and explain more about the projects you’ll be getting involved with over the coming days. In the evening you’ll have the chance to relax, take in the scenery and catch up with your travel journal.
Day 3 – 4 Community project work Over the next few days, you’ll be involved in community development projects to help improve infrastructure within the village. This could include building communal structures for community events or other important facilities to be used by locals. We are also working on long-term conservation goals with the community.
Day 5 -6 Trek to conservation project Today you will take a short trek to a conservation project outside the main community. In the afternoon you will work on conservation projects, which could involve reforestation, path building or animal monitoring, and you will sleep in cabins in the forest. In the evening you will learn about the traditional lives of the indigenous people of the area.
Day 7 Complete community project work You will spend the last day finishing off the projects at Camp Terraba, perhaps ending with a very competitive football match. There will be some time to reflect on your achievements so far before you head to your next camp.
Day 8 Trek to Uvita Today you will head to the town of Uvita where you will take a walk along the stunning coastline. Keep your eyes peeled on the ocean for the chance to see dolphins or a whale passing, although as with all wild animals there are no guarantees.
Day 9 Transfer to camp After breakfast we’ll take the five hour journey to Camp Santa Rosa. The camp is situated inside a dry forest national park on the Pacific coast, an hour’s walk from totally deserted beaches.
Day 10 – 14 Environmental project work Over the next few days, you’ll be working alongside the rangers of SINAC, the government national parks authority, on vital conservation projects. Those could include animal tracking, planting saplings for reforestation or working to conserve an area of mangrove. Animal spotting even within the camp is a possibility and there are great walks out to deserted Pacific beaches.
Day 15 Transfer to Camp Cano Negro After breakfast, you will transfer to Camp Cano Negro, situated in the north eastern region of the country. The area is home to a spectacular wetland national park which stretches over the border into Nicaragua and boasts some incredible wildlife from caiman, to sloths and a huge variety of birds. In the evening, you will have the chance to relax by the campfire and reflect on the day’s activities. The noise of the cicadas will accompany you while you get some well-earned sleep.
Day 16 – 17 Project work Over the next few days, you will be getting involved with a variety of projects in the local area, from community development to wildlife conservation. Projects may include making beehives, making boundary markers for the national park or helping a local women’s group.
Day 18 Boat tour After breakfast you will be treated to a boat tour of the wetland area itself. This is one of the most important migratory bird conservation areas in the world and is home to a huge range of wildlife.
Day 19 – 20 Project work continues Project work continues. For the next few days, you will continue with your project work ensuring that the goals that the group have identified are reached. The final night of project work is a great opportunity for reflection on the group’s achievements throughout the expedition.
Day 21 Departure Today you will say your goodbyes to Costa Rica before transferring back to San Jose airport in time for your flight home.

How you’ll make a difference

You’ll work on a range of projects throughout your expedition, each aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and designed to make a significant and lasting impact on the region’s most critical issues.

Wildlife conservation

Costa Rica – Wildlife protection and conservation

A number of regions within Costa Rica suffered from extensive deforestation through the last century, which negatively impacted the huge array of wildlife living here. But, in the last decades much has been done to recover this situation and you’ll help support on-going efforts to continue that good work such as with monitoring biodiversity, building bird boxes and supporting primate conservation.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

community development

Costa Rica – Community development

The indigenous communities of Central America have missed out on much of the economic development of the region. You’ll help to support one of our ongoing projects such as constructing a special educational needs centre and a community playground.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Good health and well-being

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages


Quality education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


Reduce inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries


Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Experience the local way of life in our authentic camps

Our camps are the heart of our expeditions. Built and staffed by locals in the traditional style, and located within the heart of communities, they are the perfect place to relax after a day of project work. You’ll get to stay in a number of camps during your expedition, which could include those featured below.

Camp Cano Negro

Camp Caño Negro

The boundaries of Camp Caño Negro are formed by the waters of the Caño Negro refugio (wildlife refuge) which stretches into Nicaragua. Situated in the far north of the county it is next to one of the world’s most important migratory bird habitats. Relax in the mornings spotting caiman basking on the banks of the waters edge.

  • Location: The community of Caño Negro is located in the Alajuela Province. 4 hours from San José.
  • Accommodation style: Cabins
  • Bed type: Bunk beds
  • Toilets: Flushing
  • Showers: Cold, running water
  • Power: Will need a universal adapter/converter
  • Signature dish: Hash palm with chicken with sauce
  • Social areas: Large lawns ideal for chilling out on
Camp Terraba

Camp Terraba

Immerse yourself in the local community – formed by the indigenous Teribe people – who are proud of their distinct culture and have autonomous control over more than 900 hectares of forested land.

Camp Terraba is based in a converted school and has spectacular views across the surrounding forests. You will be sharing the camp with your fellow travellers and some local toucans!

  • Location: The community Terraba is located in Buenos Aires, Puntarenas Province. 5 hours from San José.
  • Accommodation style: Converted school with rooms
  • Bed type: Bunk beds
  • Toilets: Flushing
  • Showers: Cold bucket shower
  • Power: Will need a universal adapter/converter
  • Signature dish: Rice and chicken.
  • Social areas: An outside chill out area close to the local football pitch

As lead teacher I’ve seen the groups respond to challenges and develop as people. They each faced uncertainty at times yet responded brilliantly to this. It’s been a real pleasure to be with them.

Simon – Travelling Teacher, Camp Costa Rica 2019

Our local camp legends

Our camps are staffed by members of the community who will make you feel like a local in no time. These legends will make your expedition spectacular and will show you the very best of their home country.


Costa Rica is a very happy, peaceful country with some of the world’s most important wildlife and rainforests. It is so important to protect the environment and the work that we do here at Camps International enables these natural areas to be protected for the future.

Interested in this expedition?

Step 1 of 3